Cartoon Animation Software

The cartoon animation software listed in this page are vector based.
Unlike the Classic Animation Software that are designed for drawing animation frame by frame, a vector based software lets you use the computer to do some of the hard work.

cartoon animation software

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The two big players in vector based animation today are Flash and ToonBoom.

Flash animation is a popular example of this genre. It is not, however, a dedicated animation software, but a web-authoring tool. It does lack in - how shall I call it - "animation mentality".
ToonBoom recognized this and came up with an entire family of animation software that export SWF but are actually designed with making animation in mind.

It's up to you to know what you need.
Both have a trial period, so you can see what works best for you.



Starting Small

Also listed below are a number of completely free cartoon animation software.
As with all free software, they vary in complexity and the features that they provide.
If you've never worked with symbols and "tweens" before, you might need a little practice to get the idea behind this technique. Do browse the Flash cut out animation tutorials in this site to get an impression of how it's done.
It might be better to get the hang of it with a free software, before investing a couple of hundred dollars in a big professional program.
Aniboom's ShapeShifter is a great place to start.

Be careful - it's addicting :-)
I started out as a classic animator, and didn't even want to look at cut outs, but once I started I got hooked on the marvelous things you can do with symbols.

cartoon animation software

Last thing to consider:

You can always use these software to create or draw animation frame by frame -
But you can't use Symbols in a Classic animation software. (TVPaint is the only exception, I think).
So if you're just starting to learn animation, leave your options open.

List of Cartoon Animation Software


An overview of the software
Trial download link
  • Trial period for 30 days
  • PC and Mac compatible.

A little peak into the Flash spirit... speaking from the GUTS, I'm sure you know this one, but I though I'd put it here anyway:

Animator VS Animation




A whole family of programs for making animation, for all levels of animators, from kids to pro:

  • Free trial downloads
  • PC and Mac compatible

Toon Boom Animation - Animation Software


List of Free 2d Vector Based Animation Software


An online animation widget from, quite simple to use and a great way to make a first try with object (symbol) animation.
Create your animation, export it as GIF animation, and mail to your friends.

  • Free
  • No download- this is an online animation software

cartoon animation software online


Pivot Stickfigure Animator
  • Free
  • PC only

pivot stick figure animator

Sooo many people have discovered this software and go crazy with it.
Just search YouTube for "stickfigure animation" and see for yourself...


  • Free and open-source
  • Windows, Linux and MacOS X


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Learning Flash for Animators

How to animate a butterfly in cut outs

List of 3d animation software

What do you say? Leave me a comment in the box below