2d Animation Software

The term "2d animation" " refers to hand drawn, classic animation.
The programs listed below are an extension of the light-table-and-pencil world.

If you need a Flash style, vector based animation software - click here.
You can, of course, draw your animation frame by frame in a Vector-Based program. Simons's cat, for example, is drawn this way.

At the end of this page you will find a list of what to expect from a 2d animation software, and also what hardware and complementary programs you might need.

List of Totally Free Classic Animation Software



free 2d animation software

A simple and very friendly 2d animation software

  • Totally free
  • PC only

MonkeyJam has got a new version at the end of 2011- and a new web site! Check out the new features here.

Documentation does not list Windows 7, but it works fine on mine.
Mac: the developer states that "Some users have reported success using MonkeyJam on OSX running Virtual PC and may work on Linux running WINE."

Read The Flying Animator's Software Review



2d animation software for mac

  • Free and open-source
  • Mac and Linux oriented. PC has some issues:  "At the moment the Windows version can only export frames and Flash files".


Plastic animation paper


  • Completely free at this point
  • Windows only

Tutorials, Gallery and more are at the old site.

Take a look at The Big Monsters:

Not Free, but Not Expensive

DigiCel FlipBook

Their FB page

classic animation software

Built to accommodate professional classic animators.

  • You can download a full working version of FlipBook for free here.
    It's delivered in trial mode with a permanent (and very large) watermark.
  • PC and Mac compatible


2d Animation Software with Trial Versions




An amazing family of programs for making animation, for animators of all levels.
They offer software for:

  • Advanced animators and a complete studio pipeline
  • Freelance, "solo" animators
  • Beginners and kids of all ages
  • Story board Software
  • Animate Garfield the Cat and friends - great fun!
  • Free trial downloads
  • PC and Mac compatible

Click this absolutely gorgeous banner to check it out -

Toon Boom Animation - Animation Software




For exciting brushes, and an Un-flashy, artistic look.

  • Trial version available
  • PC and Mac compatible

A beautiful example of what you can do with TVPaint



An overview of the software
Trial download link

  • Trial period for 30 days
  • PC and Mac compatible.

What to expect in a Classic Animation Software?

A free 2d animation software usually allows you to:

  • Scan your art work and place it on a timeline.
  • Use a pen tablet and draw the frames directly into the software, bypassing the need for pencil and paper.
  • Capture images from a camera on an animation stand, or a simple webcam, to create a pencil test or stopmotion.
  • Import an existing image sequence.
  • Insert a soundtrack.
  • Ink and Paint your animation.
  • Most 2d animation software will work together with an external image editing program, such as Photoshop, to let you to work on your frames.
  • All will export your creation to a video file, usually to an AVI or WMV or Quicktime format.



You will need one or all of these:

  • Scanner
  • Digital camera
  • Webcam, preferably one that has an adjustable focus.
  • Pen tablet
  • Peg bar, or some other way to register hand drawn paper pages.


Complementary software

A 2d animation software will usually only take care of making the animation itself.
Beyond a certain level of production, you will probably need:

  • A Sound Editing software
  • Image editing (eg. Photoshop or Gimp)
  • Compositing and Editing software (Premier, After Effects, iMovie, maybe Movie maker could do up to a certain level.)
    You will need this to combine several shots into a sequence and add a soundtrack of reasonable quality.

The overall production software can come later though, when you feel you need them.
First, pick one and just start animating!

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Learn to draw people

How to animate a walk cycle

List of vector based 2d cartoon software



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