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.
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.
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.
Simon's cat, for example, is drawn this way.
List of Totally Free Classic Animation Software
A simple and very friendly 2d animation software
- Pentium III or higher (seriously people?? Pentium?!)
- Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7
- DirectX 8 or higher
Read The Flying Animator's Software Review
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
Now look at some Heavier Canons -
Not Free, but Not Expensive:
Built to accommodate professional classic animators.
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
- Storyboard Software
- Animate Garfield the Cat and friends - great fun!
- Free trial downloads
- PC and Mac compatible
Here, check it out -
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 artwork 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:
- Digital camera
- Webcam, preferably one that has an adjustable focus.
- Pen tablet
- Peg bar, or some other way to register hand drawn paper pages.
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