Having skills in animation can help you establish your career, get started with video editing, generate money online, or monetize a YouTube channel.
This guide will assist you in selecting the best animation software to use, whether you are a professional seeking extensive 3D modeling or a company owner seeking a simple animated explainer video.
I’ve compiled a list of some of the best animation softwares, free animation software, 2D and 3D animation software options this year to assist you in choosing the best animation software.
What Exactly is Animation Software?
Animators employ animation software to generate motion graphics on a single-frame basis. Individual frames are merged to form motion graphics utilized in video games and animated films.
Computer animation originated in the 1940s and 1950s, but modern animation began in 1988 with a program named Softimage. For the first time, animation, modeling, and rendering were merged into a single tool, which has since been utilized in producing hundreds of feature films and video games.
Almost everything we do involves animation. Animation software is at the center of everything, from sending GIFs and generating presentations to creating video games and feature films. Making an animation entails manipulating a series of images across a number of keyframes.
You may create professional animations using software or hire someone to do it for you.
If you’re ready to download and utilize a program, this article ranks and assesses the best animation software to attempt this year.
Let’s get going.
#1) Which animation software is ideal for beginners?
Answer: Various Animation Software options are available, some oriented for beginners and others for more skilled users. If you’re just getting started, check out Moho and FlipBook, which should give you an excellent introduction to the fantastic world of animations.
#2) What is the cost of Animation Software?
Answer: The cost of animation software ranges from free to hundreds of dollars. If you’re new to animation software, we recommend one of the many open-source alternatives that may help you learn animation fundamentals without breaking the bank.
#3) Can I purchase a new computer to use Animation Software?
Answer: The solution to this question depends on your computer and the software you wish to execute. Most firms provide minimal website requirements, allowing you to determine whether your computer is powerful enough to run the software.
Some companies also provide Android and iOS versions of their applications, which you should look into.
#4) Which animation software is the best?
Answer: There is no simple answer to this question. The tool that completes the task is always the best for the job. Some software solutions are intended for novices and can handle little charges.
What is the Best Animation Software?
Here are my picks for the best animation software for animators and businesses.
1. Maya Autodesk
Maya, founded in 1998, is an Academy Award-winning (2003) 3D CGI and animation software. It is owned by Autodesk and is particularly beneficial for developing interactive 3D applications such as motion movies, video games, television programs, special effects, and more.
It has received praise for its use in well-known movies like “Lord of the Rings,” “Spiderman,” “Star Wars,” and “Ice Age,” and is, without a doubt, one of the top software tools available on the market for 3D animation.
The best aspect is that it works on all operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Clip matching functionality
- The Bifrost liquid generation function generates photorealistic movie simulations.
- Outstanding Adobe character animator
- Deep adaptive liquid simulations are possible.
- Workflows for faster modeling are built in.
- The paint effect function enables you to create 3D shapes using freehand painting tools and drawing software.
- Viewport 2.0 enhancements and the DX11Shader rendering engine (blur reflections, shader effects, imparting translucency)
- A free-form 3D modeling approach that allows you to add as many layers as you desire.
- Arnold integration – this RenderView tool allows you to see real-time scene modifications.
- Make your scripts and plugins to improve customization (in Maya-embedded Language or python scripting)
- Lip-syncing technologies, motion capture, and walk cycles are all available from Voice-o-Matic.
- Challenging hand-drawn animation assignments simplified
- Color management that works (functional Boolean operations on polygon geometry)
- Produce realistic effects such as explosions and fabric simulations.
- Even for the most complex tasks, excellent rendering technology is available.
- It comes with a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, which are ideal for putting it through its paces.
KeyShot is an animation tool that uses ray tracing and global illumination. It is used primarily to produce high-quality 2D and 3D animations. KeyShot eliminates the need for an additional graphics card in your PC.
It also supports over 30 file types for producing 3D animation and is studded with features such as interactive labeling, texture mapping, and physical lighting.
- Real-time 3D picture rendering workflow is provided.
- Over 30 3D file formats are natively supported.
- More than 750 preset assets are included to help you style your videos uniquely.
- The speed and flexibility of the core are its greatest assets.
- VR and animation are offered.
- HDRI lighting allows you to alter and illuminate your scene as needed.
- We can use KeyShot XR to generate interactive, touch-enabled visualizations for mobile and web.
- Ray tracing in real-time (progressive global illumination with dynamic lightning)
- Can create static picture animations, interactive web content, and mobile content.
- The media dispersal feature (adds particle scattering)
- Unrivaled visualization detailing, precision, and realism
- Both Windows and Mac systems are supported.
- An easy-to-use, intuitive interface (for those with experience)
- Several model formats are imported and exported.
- It comes at a high cost.
- For a beginner, 3D animation can take much work to grasp.
- Framing, scaling, and resizing the window might be challenging at times.
Blender is one of the most widely used free animation programs for creating 3D animation. It was first released in 1998 and is now commonly utilized in various industries. Most films, 3D printed objects, motion graphics, and cinematographic visual effects can be animated with it.
- Renderings and generates renders with high-end production path tracers.
- Models; provide a comprehensive toolkit for activities such as sculpting, retopology, and modeling.
- Robust simulation with industry-standard libraries like Bullet and MagnaFlow
- Provides a powerful built-in video editor
- Its new ‘game engine’ function facilitates game development.
- Modifiers are provided to apply a non-destructive effect.
- Grease Pencil tool for designing 2D concepts and 3D models.
- Supports several geometric primitives such as metaballs, icospheres, and Bezier curves
- The interface is extremely user-friendly and intuitive.
- It is highly customizable.
- Features such as award-winning animation and bone rigging
- Integration with a variety of pipeline tools such as Collada, Alembic, and others
- It works with Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
- In-depth tutorials to help you learn how the software works.
- A little tricky to use for beginners
- The learning curve is steep.
Animaker is a do-it-yourself (DIY) 2D animation software and video editor released in 2014. It provides a variety of services, including assisting customers in creating animated films with built-in videos and infographics.
It was the first animation firm to develop a vertical video maker tool (animated) in 2017.
- It is a cloud-based animation and video maker for creating GIFs, short videos, and live videos.
- HTML and Adobe Flash are used.
- Can publish animated videos directly to networks such as Facebook and YouTube (videos can also be downloaded as mp4 extension)
- Provides a Google Chrome addon
- It possesses one of the most extensive collections of animated characters, properties, icons, charts, and maps.
- Provides video creation in six distinct styles and video layouts.
- Provides video infographics
- You can modify and customize explanation videos (text-to-speech, background music tracks, more than 100 sound effects)
- Professional features (record, multi-movie, camera, curve, transition effects, enter and exit effects)
- The Animaker deck (pools all the features of animated videos and the convenience of PowerPoint on the same platform)
- Characters’ audio features include voice-over and auto lip sync.
- Text support for almost 50 languages (custom font support)
- Full HD video should be exported (1080 p)
- Previewing can cause the video to lag at times.
- When uploading videos, there are occasionally issues.
- The free version lacks HD animation.
5. Maxon Cinema 4D
Maxon’s Cinema 4D is a 3D package that is simple to use and incredibly powerful. The UI is simple and straightforward. Cinema 4D is an excellent program for novices because it includes several courses and a perfect assistance system.
Businesses picked Cinema 4D because of its dependability and ability to generate speedy, high-quality results.
- Many 3D creation tools are available, including modeling, texturing, animation, and rendering.
- Pipeline supports a wide range of import and export formats.
- High-quality texture and object template collection.
- Ideal for motion graphics
- Iteration and rapid generation
- The current edition includes numerous quality-of-life enhancements.
- New ZRemeshing, simulation, and scene graph tools increase power and versatility.
- Excellent tabbed interface
- Because there is no indie license version, it is more expensive than the competitors.
- The addition of scene nodes leads to a perplexing combination of systems.
- There are no native fluid simulation tools, only old particle and hair tools.
Renderforest is a one-stop shop for creating online videos, animations, logos, and websites. This application is ideal for web designers, business owners, and individuals who do not require extensive 3D modeling.
Renderforest is the obvious choice if you aren’t a design expert but need to produce a logo, animated film, music visualization, or professional intro.
- With just a few clicks, machine learning and AI provide the best logo design possibilities.
- There are over 50,000 different artwork files to choose from.
- Professional mockups and brand guidelines that can be uploaded
- 100+ mobile-friendly website design templates have already been created
- There are hundreds of animated video templates to choose from, including slideshows, intros, explainer films, brand reveal videos, corporate presentations, and animated infographics.
- Animated blocks that are ready to use
- Web page animations with a single click
- A simple user interface makes it simple to create animated videos in a few clicks.
- Their powerful artificial intelligence understands how to supply high-quality logos and graphics.
- Simple monthly cost based on the number of videos required
Moho is an animation software solution in two versions: Moho Pro13 and Moho Debut13.
Moho Debut 13 is a fun and easy-to-use 2D animation software, but Moho Pro 13 is a more complex version that supports 3D animation. Moho is utilized in classes, professional workplaces, and private residences all around the world.
- Make your characters’ effects and textures one-of-a-kind.
- This software can also generate bespoke bitmap brushes. The output of a bitmap brush can be controlled using velocity, pressure, and direction.
- Advanced support for 3D objects can be obtained by employing toon shading and material editing.
- By looking at enhanced object previews, you may adjust the material qualities of 3D objects.
- Chat can make use of keywords, sub-words, and Boolean operations.
- You can also send traditional-style emails.
8. Synfig Studio
Synfig, often known as Synfig Studio, is one of the most recent animation tools on the market. It is a free 2D animation and character animation program. It also specializes in vector graphics solutions.
- Mac, Windows, and Linux are all supported.
- Two versions with differing attributes are provided for a separate group of people (stable version and development version)
- Provides vector tweening, removing the need for manual tweening.
- There are numerous layers and filters to pick from (over 50 layers to create artwork and animation)
- It keeps its files in XML format.
- GIF and MNG animated graphic formats are supported.
- Advanced controls are available (link parameters of various layers either directly or mathematically)
- HDRI technology is used (High Dynamic Range Imaging)
- Open-source and free
- Free video training in four languages, including English, French, and Dutch, for a thorough understanding of the product.
- A bone system for cutout animation using bitmap pictures or control vector artwork, as well as a Skeleton Distortion Layer for bitmap artwork, are among the animation capabilities.
- Initially difficult to grasp
- It takes some time to get your head around how it works.
- The user interface could be more user-friendly.
- In the past, there have been concerns about software issues.
9. Adobe Animate
Adobe Animate is a vector and 2D animation tool for web and mobile app development.
You can animate vector graphics, create interactive material, add effects, and do various other things. This software also has built-in templates that you can personalize.
- To animate vector graphics, use Adobe Animate.
- Using Adobe Animate’s features, you may create interactive content.
- Simple drag-and-drop actions are used to create content.
- Use Adobe Animate’s built-in templates to add effects to your animations, such as color and tone, video temporal effects, and more.
- Extensive vector graphics animation support
- Pre-built templates for easy customization and interactive content
- Color and tone effects, temporal video effects, and more.
10. Pencil 2D
Pencil 2D is a simple and intuitive tool for creating hand-drawn 2D animations. Because it is open-source, everyone can use it for free. It employs both bitmap and vector imagery. Pencil 2D users can also include audio and video files.
- Produces bitmap and vector artwork.
- Brushes, pencils, and shapes are among the simple tools available.
- Open source and simple to modify.
PowToon, which was founded in 2012, develops and distributes animation software as a service. It is a web-based animation software specializing in 2D animation and provides a wide range of services.
PowToon is helpful for everything related to animation, from developing educational courses to personal engagement.
- There are no watermarks.
- Downloadable in mp4 format
- High-definition video (1080 p)
- You have ultimate control over your account’s privacy.
- Directly export to numerous social media platforms, such as YouTube
- Detailed video walkthroughs and tutorials are available to assist you in getting started.
- There are multiple character animations and cartoons to pick from.
- The animations are intelligent and thorough.
- Priority customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
- There is a free plan. However, it has limited features.
- It can get slow at times (while editing)
- There are no offline editing options.
- A little pricey
- It does not support 3D animation.
Dragonframe is software for stop-motion animation. The software includes a plethora of options that allow you to make high-quality stop-motion cartoons more quickly. Dragonframe, in addition to the software, provides keypad controllers, lighting, motion control, and other devices to take stop-motion animation to the next level.
- Timeline, drawing tools, guide layers, and other animation tools are available.
- Camera settings and lighting.
- Onion Skin adds a transparent layer over your existing image.
TupiTube is a free software solution that is accessible for both desktop and mobile platforms. TupiTube App is designed for children and teens, while TupiTube Desk is ideal for youngsters and amateur artists. This program is excellent for classroom use and people who want to begin generating animations.
- Tools for animation and transition.
- Modeling and game development.
- Collaboration software
iStopMotion is a Mac and iOS stop motion and time-lapse program. It is not only user-friendly and simple to use, but it is also quite strong. It is compatible with Mac laptops, iPads, and iPhones. Educators of many disciplines, as well as beginning artists and small businesses, use iStopMotion.
- Users may generate GIFs with up to 200 frames using Animated GIFs.
- Onion Skin – displays the preceding image as a translucent overlay.
- Chroma Keying enables you to blend animation with real-world footage.
OpenToonz is, as the name implies, an open-source and free 2D animation program. It provides a robust suite of utilities that includes all the tools most animation artists want. It also contains unique features created in response to user and production crew input.
GTS, a scanning tool, is one of them. Furthermore, OpenToonz is the open-source version of Toonz, the animation program used by Ghibli studios.
- Provides a GTS scanning tool for sequence scanning (only available for Windows)
- TWAIN compatibility (and an animation program interface)
- It has various animation effects, such as shifting picture styles, influenced incident light, and more.
- Provides a variety of keyboard shortcuts, so you don’t have to use the mouse all the time.
- It works with four different methods of scanning (black and white, colored, and with or without binarization)
- Cutout animation that is efficient and flawless
- Provides an FX schematic feature
- It can produce wavy distortions and alter image aesthetics.
- Provides a built-in particle effect feature (create rain, snow, sparkles, smoke, and much more)
- Supported on a wide range of systems, including Windows, Mac, and Linux
- Free and open-source software (can be edited at the source for high customizability)
- It is completely free to use.
- Major animation companies have acknowledged it as trustworthy (Studio Ghibli)
- For first-time users, a user manual is included (it comes in English and Japanese)
- An easy-to-use, intuitive interface
- To function correctly, a large amount of RAM is required (otherwise, it may crash)
- Drawing is required for new frame-by-frame animation and frame production (it is not an automatic feature)
- Only 2D animation is available, although onion skinning is available.
16. Digicel Flipbook
FlipBook is a user-friendly 2D animation software package that is sophisticated enough to be utilized by both beginners and experts.
FlipBook’s parent firm also provides tutorials and limitless technical help to all customers. FlipBook includes all the tools needed to produce high-quality 2D animations at a low cost.
- Many tools are available, including sketching, shooting, scanning, and painting tools.
- FlipBook allows you to import backdrops, cels, overlays, and movies for producing 2D animation.
- You may also include soundtracks in various formats, such as WAV, MP3, or AIF.
17. Toon Boom Harmony
Toon Boom Harmony is an animation software with three packages: Essentials, Advanced, and Premium. This makes it an excellent alternative for everyone, from independent artists to large animation studios. It is mainly used in 2D games, films, and television shows.
- Vector and bitmap graphics are supported.
- Cut-out animation is used to generate rigs and distinct styles using specific tools.
- Pipeline integration enables you to deal with many file types, including PDF, Illustrator, bitmaps, and audio.
Animation software, like many other software solutions, comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. While there are some clear winners, the most important thing is to identify your goals and select the software solution that best meets your objectives and budget.
We have chosen the winners for the best overall solution and the best solution for beginners to assist you in getting started.
Autodesk Maya is the overall winner.
Maya Autodesk is the clear victor in terms of raw power and capacity. While the pricing is the highest of any of the products we reviewed, nothing tops this program regarding technical competence.
Moho is the best option for beginners.
While free animation software options are ideal for novices. Moho provides something that evolves with you. It is also enjoyable and straightforward to use, making the required time investment enjoyable.