Animation Software

  • Sep 24, 2019 Blender animation is a 3D animation software, open-source and free in nature. It is comprised of critical tools like simulation, modelling, video editing, motion tracking, compositing and rigging for making 3D animations. Inbuilt also are these options for animation pipelines in 2D format.
  • Smart 2D animation software that lets you turn still images into live moving scenes.

Imagine this scenario. What if you have a story to share with the world and you want to keep the visuals of it a novelty. Well, in that case, there is a good chance one will want to create either 2D or 3D animation. It is after all the best way to engage a broader sector of audience as viewers. But again, the issue with this medium is the lack of natural talent. There are very few storytellers or for that matter visualizers, who have the skill to create character models and backgrounds that go with the story. With the advent of technology, there are now many software available in the market with which they can create and express their story.

Check out the list of 55+ best animation software for creators. This list includes the free animation software, 2D and 3D animation software, and more.

Best Animation software for PC

Listed below are the best animation software for Windows PC that are easily downloadable.

1. Pencil 2D:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: Free
  • Output: 2D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Download: Here
Programs

This software is perfect for newbie animators. With an easy to use interface, one only needs to focus on the art they are creating and not the technicalities of the software. With this software, one can easily switch from simple Bitmap images to high end Vector images. One can sketch, ink and paint and even create rendered background images with it. Due to its ease of use, it is quite popular for creating anime style animation. The timeline helps one create easy keyframe manipulation and placement of layers and onion skins is easily done too.

2. Synfig Studio:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: Free
  • Output: 2D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Download: Here

This software in particular helps the animator to explore and create ‘bones’ in the model of the character that they are creating. This additional feature is useful as it makes the character have a professional touch. The interface of this software is split in 4 different windows with which one can easily access the multiple nodes such as tools window, an editing window, a navigator window, and a set parameters window. All these contribute to a seamless creation of animation. This software even has an amazing range of features and tools through which one can give personalized touches to their art and animation. The animation keyframes , get automatically attached to the timeline as they’re created. This leads to steadier motion in the character’s movements.

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3. Bryce 7 Pro:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: $19.95 (free version with limited features also available)
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X
  • Download: Here

Animation Software For Mac

To give your art realistic backgrounds and to create whole islands with a few clicks of buttons, Bryce 7 Pro is the tool for you. One can also add features like people, sceneries, wildlife characters, with just a few clicks. In fact, features such as landscape, clouds, rocks, water, sky, vegetation, fog and composition of all with the pre created background occurs seamlessly. It has an interactive user interface and is easy to use. This software is a must use for those that want to give their animation a realistic touch.

4. Clara.IO:

Animation software for windows

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: $1000 /year (free version with limited features also available)
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Linux
  • Download: Here

How does one further describe a software that proudly claims to be professional and made by professionals? Well, one call just simply calls it by its name. Clara. What an amazing software this turned out to be? Polygonal modeling and skeletal animation becomes easy as pie, simply because the professionals behind Clara know what their end customer requires. Sub object editing, while keeping tabs on subdivision surfaces including the extensive range of mesh instruments and operators is not something that is offered by just anyone. What makes this software even more awesome is the fact it allows importing files from almost 30 other 3D formats such as Blender, Collada, STL, etc.

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5. Blender:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: Free
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Download: Here

Halfway through our list of the best animation software for Windows PC comes the one software that shook the entire industry with its many innovative features clubbed along with the fact that is an open source 3D animation suite. Its features include cloth texturing, blending of lights and VFX along with a horde of multiple animation options makes it a favorite of many. In fact, its online community is filled to the gills with professional animators, VFX experts, game developers, students, artists and hobbyist. It has a little something to offer everyone. Used in mainstream Hollywood movies, this software is especially famous for the multiple lighting options that it has to offer.

6. Aurora 3D:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: $69.99 /year (Free Trial Available)
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X
  • Download: Here

For those who are interested in pursuing a field of SEO, this software is especially famous for web designing purposes and for creating titles or logos. To further enhance the animation one has created, this software has a key feature which is a must use and that is embedding a watermark. In the world where everyone is out to steal content and take credit of one’s creation such a feature shall definitely come in handy. Aurora 3D gives the user the choice to export its video on to Flash (Windows), GIF or Video formats. Effects like fireworks, snowfall, flames and more give the end product a realistic feel.

7. MODO:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: $599 /year ( 30 day free trial available)
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Download : Here
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Simulation tools are not easy to use. One needs to be hyper aware of each and every facet that is being animated at the same time. Hence, with the launch of MODO, one can be assured of getting the best visual effects with the least amount of worry. It specially excels as a texturing and rendering toolset. Many industry professionals prefer using MODO for its seamless rendering qualities.

8. Houdini FX:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: $ 269 /year (free learning edition available)
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10 and Linux
  • Download: Here

A VFX special software that delivers industry standard of special effects with a simple home PC. This software offers its users the basic features such as texturing, modeling, animation and adds on extra features that aren’t available with other 3D enabled software. Creation of Wire frame, cloth, fur, crowds and liquids including the waves are easily done with Houdini VX. just like its namesake, it surprises a user with the ease and speed at which the final render is undertaken.

9. Stykz:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: Free
  • Output: 2D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Download : Here

Before we wind up this list of best animation software for PC, let’s take a step back to the basics. With Stykz, one gets exactly what has been promised in the product’s name. Stick figure animations along with Onion skin features allows for seamless animation tweaking from the first frame to the last. It’s timeline too is easy to tweak. One can edit, preview and develop all creations before getting the final output. A must-have for novices in the field.

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10. Autodesk Maya:

Specifications:

  • Online Tutorials: Available
  • Cost: $1,505.00 /year
  • Output: 3D
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Download: Here

How can a list on the best animation software for Windows PC be complete without the mention of Maya? It is after all the mother of dragons. We mean, this software is the big daddy in the field of animation. Used in creating effects, characters on many renowned shows and movies on the small screen and large (cough* Game of Thrones cough*) this software is where the real magic (Maya) happens. This software is a must for all those who want to create the most professional 3D animation right on their home PC. A word of caution. Like all magic, there is no end to the many ways it can surprise you. With new features and developments that are actively updated, one can get quite addicted to this software. But with it, they can create the most noble and novel animation of all time.

Best Animation Software

There you have it folks. Do drop us a line in the comment section below. Share your views on the products reviews and suggest those you want to see featured.

Cover image via

Let’s look at the best FREE animation software that you can download and start using today. Featuring 10+ software options!

Anyone interested in diving into animation may be shocked to see just how many free software options are available these days. And these aren’t cookie-cutter programs — many of these free applications are frequently used by animation-industry pros!

SketchBook’s free animation program is easy to use, even without the tutorial. Image via SketchBook.

Let’s look at the selling points of each free animation program, where to download them, and where to find some beginner tutorials.

Pencil2D

Pencil2D is a simple, user-friendly 2D animation app, widely considered to be a perfect starter program for beginners and ideal for frame-by-frame animations.

Pencil2D is a free, open-source animation program — even for commercial use. It supports both bitmap and vector graphics, and has features like onion-skinning.

Onion-skinning allows you to keep track of each frame in the drawing process. Image via Blender.

FYI, onion-skinning refers to the ability to see previous frames of your animation while you create the next frame. Check out the Pencil2D Tutorials page to get started.

Krita

Krita is probably one of the most highly-regarded free animation applications. Ideal for hand-drawn animation, Krita includes over 100 pre-loaded brushes, each with a wide variety of effects.

Krita is great for hand-drawn animations, has built-in brush stabilizers, and a wide variety of effects. Image via Krita.

Krita also has built-in brush stabilizers that can smooth out the effects of shaky hands, making it great for tablet use. Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what Krita has to offer. Want to learn more? Check out this amazing starter tutorial from kdsketch!

SketchBook

SketchBook was previously a paid animation app from Autodesk, but now it’s completely free! Similar to Pencil2D, SketchBook is a perfect starter program. It has a beautiful user interface that’s easy to pick up and understand — even without a tutorial. The brushes also feel really natural when you’re drawing on the canvas.

SketchBook’s user interface has a wonderful layout and is user-friendly. Image via SketchBook.

SketchBook was the first free animation app I tried out, and I wasn’t disappointed. As a filmmaker, I could see myself using it to create write-on text or animation arrows. It also has features like onion-skinning and allows you to rearrange the UI to suit your needs. Check out Autodesk’s Sketckbook Starter Tutorial playlist to learn more.

Blender

Blender’s recently overhauled drawing tool — known as Grease Pencil — allows you to draw in a 3D environment. It’s perfect for creating traditional 2D animation, cut-out animation, and hand-drawn motion graphics.

This tool allows you to draw in a 3D environment, create hand-drawn motion graphics, as well as traditional 2D animation. Image via Blender.

If you’re already familiar with Blender’s 3D tool set, then you should be able to dive right in. If you’re totally new to Blender, check out this beginner Grease Pencil tutorial by Dedouze.

OpenToonz

OpenToonz is another popular 2D animation application, and it’s widely accepted as a free substitute for apps like Adobe Animate. It may have more of a learning curve than other beginner apps, but it has a host of professional features — onion-skinning, bone rigging, node-based editing options, and more. OpenToonz also supports bitmap and vector images.

For a closer look, check out this beginner OpenToonz tutorial by NobleFrugal Studio.

Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio is an animation app similar in depth to OpenToonz and Adobe Animate. While the user interface looks a bit sterile and comes with a bit of a learning curve, it does have many advanced features.

One of those advanced features is vector tweening, which allows layers to automatically transform into other shapes. The software also includes layers, filters, and bone-rigging, and it supports both bitmap and vector images.

Other Free Software

There are a few other free software apps that may be helpful in your animation journey. Take Inkscape, for example, which is an open-source illustration application. It allows you to create vector graphics, which can be ideal for animated character designs.

Free

Inkscape is a perfect tool when creating character designs for animation. Image via Inkscape.

Want a more advanced video editor that lets you cut animation clips together or add post-effects? Check out DaVinci Resolve and HitFilm Express. Both of these free video editing apps include a plethora of effects.

Cover image via Krita.