Whether you’re just starting in animation or looking to upgrade the software in your professional arsenal, discover the best software for 2D animation that’s right for your needs. We’ll talk about animation for both beginners and professionals and their features so that you can make the best decision for your level.
Beginner 2D Animation Software
For the beginning animator, here are four programs for you to consider.
Stop Motion Studio
This program is a 2D animation without the actual animation. Stop Motion Studio allows you to create great stop-motion animations for the beginner, effortlessly, and quickly. This software is not complicated or requires previous knowledge. Plug your DSLR and capture photos with the program and take full control of all camera settings. Besides, you can add text, drawings, themes, and colors to your stop motion animation. Available on both Mac and Windows, a beginner can’t go wrong with this software.
This free 2D animation software is nearly twenty years old and was created by two animators to help propel animation in Latin America. Since it’s free and open-source, you can download it at any time and try it out. A simple interface, this type of software, and easy to learn, so you shouldn’t have any issues.
Tupi lets you create an animation frame by frame and cut-out flash style with tweening (a kind of animation that uses symbols to develop movement, size, and rotation changes, fades, and color effects). You can find many video tutorials from a growing community that allows you to learn the software basics. You can download it for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Moho (Anime Studio) Pro
Moho is the perfect choice for someone who wants to begin creating animation but doesn’t have money for an advanced animation program. Just because it’s inexpensive doesn’t mean it’s a cheap program. It’s one of the most popular software for beginners, because of the price and features, including Smart Bones.
It helps reduce or eliminate any distortion around the knees, elbows, or any joint of your animation. This takes much less time than some other programs because of the simplified process. To learn automation, on an inexpensive level, try Moho with a free trial.
For artists, FlipBook is an excellent piece of software. If you’ve wanted to try your hand at creating your own Disney-like cartoon, this is the software program for you. What’s great is that you can import photos from your scanner, but because it doesn’t include bones animation technology, you will need to animate everything manually. This may be fine for someone who already knows how to draw.
Professional 2D Animation Software
An open-source and free animation software program, Synfig is great for professionals. It makes beautiful animations easily and quickly and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There’s no shortage of video tutorials in which to learn and is designed to look like and work similarly to Flash. One of the best animation programs on the market, Synfig, is great for those with years of experience or just beginning with a professional animation program.
Toon Boom Harmony
Great for both beginners and professionals, Toon Boom Harmony is a 2D animation software program used by Disney, Pixar, and Warner Bros, so it is very advanced. It’s not complicated for a new developer, and the amount of tools and options available makes it one of the best 2D animation programs out there. Best, it offers a whole range of brushes and pencils that you can directly draw into the program with your mouse or Wacom tablet. You can use the cut-out or traditional frame-to-frame animation.
Other available features include camera angles, post-production special effects, and vector drawing. It also offers a fantastic lip-syncing feature that matches the voice with the animations.
Another open-source 2D animation program is one of the most powerful in existence. Because it offers a minimalist-style workspace, it avoids distractions from the main animating window. It focuses on a made-from-scratch, frame-by-frame animation that comes with a manual so you can learn the program adequately. If you need tutorials, there are videos with which you can watch.
Since there’s a completely supportive community, if you find any bug or problem, you can get help from them. You can download it for Linux, Mac, and Windows and is lightweight that doesn’t use massive amounts of ram so that most computers can handle it.
This 2D animation software program uses bones technology; you can upload pieces of the character’s image and place them in the correct positions; this allows you to animate it piece-by-piece. You can do animation quite fast with Spriter Pro, which will enable you to keep up with the trends. Included with the software are video guides, so you have a good understanding of how the program works. The best thing—it’s available on Steam, however, you may think the program seems expensive.
Opentoonz is an open-source, free 2D animation software used by Studio Ghibli and which created the world-famous Princess Mononoke if you like using it, good news! It’s completely free for as long as you want to use it. A great benefit to using Opentoonz is the ability to combine traditional drawing with 2D animation. You can scan your pictures and animate them, and with a great group of community developers, there’s program stability.
Each one of these 2D animation programs has useful information with beginners and professionals alike. You can try these and see what works best for you.
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