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The animation world has come a long way from the days when cartoons were created by hands. Nowadays there are several animation software available that have made the process of animation a pleasant experience. There is animation software for beginners as well for professionals. You don't have to complete any course or training to be able to use this software as they are extremely easy to use.

Animation is no longer used for just entertainment purposes. It has become a tool for marketing. You might have seen million-dollar businesses advertising using animated videos for promoting their product or services. Animated videos have proven to be effective in enhancing brand name manifolds. Even if any brand is considerably new, animated videos help them create a place for themselves in the market and in the minds of the audience.

One more misconception that prevails in the minds of people is that animation software is expensive. Well, that is not completely false. Some premium animation software may be expensive but their features are also top-notch. However, for those of you who have a budget constraint or want to pursue animation just as a hobby there is free animation software. But even with this free animation software, scaling up will require you to spend money.

In case you are one of those people who are beginners in the animation industry, we have compiled a list of the top 25 best animation software for beginners. This list includes both paid and free animation programs. By the end of this article, you will be able to choose the software that will suit you the best. So make sure to go through the full article.

Best Animation Software for Beginners (Free & Paid)

Here is a preview of all the software that has made it to this list. This list includes both software that has free trials and also fully paid animation software. However, both kinds are suitable for a beginner in the animation industry. We will look into both kinds of software separately below.

  1. Powtoon
  2. Animaker
  3. Blender
  4. Synfig Studio
  5. K-3D
  6. Pencil 2D
  7. Key Shot
  8. Plastic Animation Paper
  9. Open Toonz
  10. Stykz
  11. Toontastic 3D
  12. Adobe Character Animator
  13. Cinema 4D
  14. Stop Motion Studio
  15. Digicel Flipbook
  16. Moho Anime Studio
  17. Toon Boom Harmony
  18. Vyond
  19. Moovly
  20. Wideo
  21. Autodesk Maya
  22. Cartoon Animator 4
  23. Houdini

Best Free Animation Software

1. Powtoon

Powtoon

Features:

  • It is an excellent free animation software for beginners.
  • Powtoon is an online software for animation.
  • Powtoon was founded in 2012.
  • Currently, over 30 million people across the world use Powtoon for the purpose of animation.
  • An animated video can be created on Powtoon in just 20 minutes.
  • So far about 80 million Powtoon videos have been created and shared worldwide.
  • The video resolution offered by the free version of Powtoon is pretty standard.
  • The free version allows limited access to the Powtoon image library.
  • You get to create videos that are up to 3 minutes long even with the free version.
  • Powtoon provides a video exporting option to various platforms like Facebook, Youtube, or any website.
  • You can choose from a wide range of sizes and aspect ratios.

Pros:

  • Beginners can easily use it with the help of several ready-made templates.
  • The process of adding characters to the slides for the purpose of the animation is pretty smooth.

Cons:

  • Powtoon's free animation programs have characters that are really simplistic which are not suitable for high quality videos.

2. Animaker

Animaker

Features:

  • Animaker is one of the best animation software that offers free trials to beginners.
  • It is web-based animation software.
  • Very easy to use software without any complex technicalities.
  • This software is best suited for people in the marketing field.
  • You will get flawless performance from this software as it is powered by an HTML5 engine.
  • There are many pre-made templates available for you to choose from. You can further customize these templates.
  • Animaker has a huge library of assets that can be used in making a video.
  • Characters can be customized according to the demand of your videos.
  • The smart move feature in Animaker lets you add complex movements to your characters effortlessly.

Pros:

  • The drag and drop interface helps in saving a lot of time.
  • Seamless performance with HTML5 engine.

Cons:

  • You can't make long presentations with the free plan.

3. Blender

Blender

Features:

  • Blender is a cross platform animation software for Mac, Windows and Linux computers.
  • You get a steady performance with Blender as it uses OpenGL.
  • Blender lets you create amazing 3d animation out of ordinary stills.
  • You get walk cycles that are automated along the paths for animation.
  • Blender lets you modify your characters' animated poses with a special editor.
  • Further you can create character movements that are independent with the help of non-linear animation.
  • One of the best features of Blender is its mirror functionality.

Pros:

  • Even though it is free, it is still really powerful.
  • Permits import of external objects.
  • It has professional-looking shadow and lighting functions.

Cons:

  • You may face difficulty in animating images.

4. Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio

Features:

  • Synfig Studios is a 2d animation software for Mac, Windows, and Linux computers. Further, it is open-source software.
  • You can do vector tweening with this free animation software for beginners. This means that you can change the shape of your vector artwork to anything you want.
  • There are over 50 layers such as geometric, gradients, filters, distortions, transformations, fractals, and others that you can use for animation.
  • You get to use a featureful system of bones for cutting out animations with the help of bitmap images and also govern your vector artwork.
  • You can add complex deformation to your bitmap artwork by using an extra Skeleton Distortion layer.
  • Synfig allows you to add dynamic structures or character puppets by linking parameters of various layers either through mathematical expressions or directly.

Pros:

  • Best part of Synfig is that it is open source and accessible to audiences of all kinds.
  • Attractive 2d presentations can be made with a limited number of resources and tools.
  • There is no effect on results in case of a change in resolution.

Cons:

  • Sometimes the interface of Synfig shuts on its own and also slows down a bit.
  • Installing it in 32bit programs can be difficult.

5. K-3D

K-3D

Features:

  • Specially designed for polygon modeling, K-3D is a free animation software for beginners.
  • Artists can use this software to combine visual pipeline architecture with plugins.
  • With this software, you can adapt the very essence of the tool you integrate it with.
  • Unlike other free animation programs, this software has both redo and undo functions that let you quickly rectify any errors.
  • With K-3D you can view the changes made by you immediately due to its workflow which is both procedural and parametric.
  • You can connect and combine different elements within your videos with the help of a visual pipeline that is based on nodes.

Pros:

  • The undo and redo feature is of great help.
  • Ability to adjust properties in an interactive manner.
  • A visual pipeline that is based on nodes.

Cons:

  • You may not find any helpful guide or tutorial to get you started with the software.

6. Pencil 2D

Pencil 2D

Features:

  • Pencil 2D is one of the best animation software for beginners that is open source and well suited for bitmap and vector animation.
  • You can create animation using pen, brush, or pencil tools on a really user-friendly user interface.
  • There are a number of functions and features on this software that you can rearrange according to your workspace and requirements of animation.
  • You will be able to create animations without any hassle with its neat and clear timeline. This makes it one of the best free animation software for beginners.
  • Pencil 2D as the name suggests supports only 2D animations.
  • It is cross-platform animation software for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.

Pros:

  • The user-friendly interface makes it best for beginners in animation.
  • You can effortlessly shift from vector to raster files and vice versa.

Cons:

  • You may need to set your settings every time you start the software as it gets reset to default. Especially when you are using the pen tool or using colors in your animation.

7. KeyShot

KeyShot

Features:

  • WIth Keyshot you can create featureful animations by combining, copying, or linking individual objects and camera changes.
  • No other application will be required for animation as all features are included within Keyshot itself.
  • Keyshot provides an environment that is ray traced for setting up, editing, and playing back videos in real-time.
  • When playing back videos you can interact in real-time with the camera, lights, and other materials.
  • For beginners, Keyshot has an animation wizard that provides a detailed tutorial that will help to get started with the software.
  • You will get several modification options such as grouping, locking, mirroring, hiding, and duplicating.
  • There are a number of pivot points that are dynamic.
  • You can just click a button and partly blur or include the camera.

Pros:

  • Very powerful software that gives fast results.

Cons:

  • The configuration for animation can be a bit tricky and lacks movement options.

8. Plastic Animation Paper

Plastic Animation Paper

Features:

  • This free animation software for Windows, Mac, and Linux has a really fast response time.
  • In Animation Paper, there is no deterioration in the quality of the lines even if you make any changes in the resolution.
  • You get to choose from formats of frames that range from small to large.
  • There is the option to zoom or rotate your view in real-time.
  • Animation Paper has the feature of Onion Skinning that is both at an advanced level and also customizable.
  • There are several layers that you can customize and use for animation.
  • Rotating, scaling, or repositioning your artwork or part of it can be done easily.
  • You get many options of flipping like wheels, return flips, keys, etc.

Pros:

  • Best for hand-drawn animation in the traditional way.
  • The interface feels very natural and easy to use.

Cons:

  • The schedule of releasing is pretty slow.

9. Open Toonz

Open Toonz

Features:

  • One of the top free 2d animation software opentoonz is open-source software. This means that you can customize the software to suit your requirements.
  • It is a free animation program compatible with Windows and Mac computers.
  • It has digital drawing tools such as bitmap and vector.
  • You get the option to choose from over 100 composite scenes and special effects for animations.
  • Opentoonz has a scripting engine that is compatible with ECMA and helps in automation.
  • You can add animation to your video footage with the help of motion tracking.
  • It allows you to create vectors right from your paper drawings.
  • There is an onion skin feature that you can configure frame by frame for the purpose of animation.
  • Opentoonz allows you to perform motion tweening.
  • You can animate bone characters with the help of mesh deformations and IK support.
  • You can add rain, dust, or other similar effects to your animations with the help of Opentoonz's particle system.

Pros:

  • Opentoonz is filled with tons of features.
  • It is a professional software that can also be used by the beginners very easily.

Cons:

  • Complete beginners may take some time to get used to all its features.
  • The software tends to crash sometimes.

10. Stykz

Stykz

Features:

  • Stykz is the perfect free animation software for beginners that is cross-platform and compatible with both Windows and Mac computers.
  • It is best for stick figures. with which you can convert vectors into attractive 2d animations.
  • You can use this animation software as an outline for your bigger animation project.
  • This software is based on the Pivot Stick Figure. If you have used Pivot before you will definitely like Stykz.
  • You can use several frames for animations on Stykz.
  • Further, Stykz makes smooth transitions that look natural with the help of its onion skinning feature.

Pros:

  • This software is best for kids as it is really simple and easy to use.
  • Even though it is simple but it still is powerful.

Cons

  • Stykz animation software is restricted to only 2d stick figures with shapes that are pretty basic.

11. Toontastic 3D

Toontastic 3D

Features:

  • Toontastic 3D is a free animation software for mobile devices.
  • This software can be used by both experts and beginners to create exceptional 3D animations.
  • You can add photographic images to your 3D model in this software.
  • There is also the option to add storyboards.
  • Further, you can even add customized music to your animations.

Pros:

  • Toontastic 3D is very kids friendly.
  • Best software for creating animation that tells a story.

Cons:

  • You can only create a number of characters in this software.
  • Some of the users have complained about sound issues.

Best Animation Software for Beginners Paid

12. Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator

Features:

  • The Adobe Character Animator is a new addition to Adobe Software.
  • This tool lets you animate cartoon characters very easily and that too in real-time.
  • This tool has the ability to automatically capture all your facial expressions.
  • You can live stream on this tool and animate in real-time.
  • There are pre-made puppet templates that you can use in your animation.
  • With this tool, you will get a smooth editing and recording experience.
  • This tool has scene snapshots that provide the effects of onion skinning.
  • You get tons of animation options.
  • This software can be used for streaming, live chatting, and even for online education.
  • This tool has a 7 days free trial. It is available as a part of Adobe's Creative Cloud on a $52.99 per year basis.

Pros:

  • This animation software is best for beginners as they can make animations really easily and in a short period of time.

Cons:

  • There are not many options for adding physical movement to the animated characters.

13. Maxon Cartoon Animator 4D

Maxon Cartoon Animator 4D

Features:

  • Cinema 4D by Maxon is one of the best animation software for beginners that is compatible with Windows and Mac Computers.
  • For beginners, this animation software has a spontaneous and easy-to-use interface that lets them start animating almost instantaneously.
  • There are several tutorials and a worldwide community of users that help beginners reach professional levels in a short period of time.
  • Even if you are a professional animator, you will be amused by the ease of use of this software.
  • The layout of Cinema 4D makes sure that all its functions are easily available and even the new users do not face any problem while accessing them.
  • Cinema 4D releases new functions only after getting it tested by their beta testers. They are very well known for their stability in the 3D community.
  • This software covers several areas of animation including texture.
  • You can even customize the layout of Cinema 4D layout to suit your needs.
  • They release free service packs that help to optimize the software and also adapt to the alterations made in various drivers and operating systems.
  • Cinema 4d has a very efficient help system that lets you find information about any function just by right-clicking on the particular function.
  • Cinema 4D has several functions that let you make any last-minute changes very easily.
  • If you have multiple versions of a scene you can save them in a single file.
  • You can get its annual plan at $60 per month. You can also get the software for a year at $999 which is charged on the basis of per feature.

Pros:

  • It is very easy to use no matter if you are just a beginner or professional.
  • Smooth and spontaneous user interface.
  • Extremely stable.
  • A powerful assistance system for all functions.

Cons:

  • There is a free trial but no free version.
  • Little bit expensive.

14. Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio

Features:

  • The Stop Motion Studio application is one of the well-known best animation software available on ios, android, windows as well as mac.
  • You can open your single file on all these devices.
  • This application is perfect for beginners to create amazing stop motion animations in 4k. You can even mix them with 2d style drawings that can be painted directly on the images.
  • This software supports all major cameras so you can now easily capture images in high quality.
  • Stop animation studio is a powerful software that lets you edit your movies on any device while maintaining a desktop-like standard and quality.
  • You can easily animate using this application with its in and out point feature that can be used for playback and looping.
  • You can make use of its onion skin controls and grids for perfectly positioning your animated objects.
  • There are dozens of audio or sound clips available that you can use for your animated videos.
  • You can make unwanted objects disappear from your image with Stop motion Studio's masking tool.
  • This software lets you use or make your own titles and credit cards.
  • Stop Motion Studio is available on ios devices and on Android and Chromebooks for $4.99, to be downloaded from the App Store or the Playstore.
  • It is also available on Windows in the windows store and on Mac in the Mac app store for $9.99.

Pros:

  • You can use it on all devices.
  • It is compatible with external devices like cameras.

Cons:

  • There is no free trial with this animation software.

15. Digicel Flipbook

Features:

  • The Flipbook is regarded as the easiest 2d animation software for beginners.
  • It follows the conventional method of the frame-by-frame animation process.
  • This software allows you to draw directly on it with the help of a graphics tablet.
  • You can even scan your paper drawings if you want to and still get amazing quality.
  • This software allows you to add your own soundtracks and also lipsync according to your needs.
  • The flipbook has the option to create stop motion animations also.
  • If you want you can even import your artworks that are present on other programs.
  • The Flipbook has various versions that you can get. The FlipBook Lite costs $19.99, FlipBook Studio is $69.99, FlipBook Pro is $169 and the FlipBook ProHD is $199.99.

Pros:

  • Flip book follows frame by frame animation process that is easy to learn for beginner animators.
  • It is an animation software for Mac and Windows computers.

Cons:

  • The free version comes with a watermark.

16. Moho Anime Studio

Moho Anime Studio

Features:

  • Moho anime studio is a popular animation software that is very powerful yet easy to use.
  • With the help of online or offline activation, you can use this software on windows or mac OS.
  • The 2d rigging system in this software is the best in the animation software market.
  • Apart from advanced features it also has traditional animation tools that make it a wholesome animation software.
  • The Moho animation software features the latest SmartBones technology.
  • This software provides FBX support for game developers of Unity™
  • An update to Moho's bone technology will now let you create characters that are more powerful and complex.
  • You will be able to import your files from photoshop while keeping the layers intact.
  • This software allows connecting with media files in real-time.
  • There are 30 days of free trials with this software.
  • After the free trial, you can get the full package of the software for $399.99.

Pros:

  • This software keeps coming out with new updates on a regular basis introducing latest and most advanced features to be used by the animators.

Cons:

  • The features and function on this software may get a bit overwhelming for the beginners but they will get a hang of it soon.

17. Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony

Features:

  • Even though toon Boom is a professional software, it is regarded as one of the best animation software for beginners.
  • Toon Boom is compatible with both windows and mac OS.
  • This software features Brush Engine which is an advanced bitmap and vector art technology.
  • You will have better control over the texture and color of your artwork with advanced painting tools and palettes.
  • Toon Boom allows you to make traditional style frame by frame animation.
  • You will be able to integrate 2d elements with 3d elements in your artwork.
  • You can auto tone your character using special effects that include volume and lighting.
  • This software lets you use different camera angles while having a control over the composition.
  • There are master controllers for your cut out animations.
  • This software allows integration with other software.
  • Exporting animations to game engines can be done easily with this software.

Pros:

  • You can make both 2d and 3d animations too with models.

Cons:

  • Beginners can use software. However, they will need to go through a lot of tutorials in the beginning.

18. Vyond

Vyond

Features:

  • Vyond's animation tool can be utilized by both beginners and professional animators.
  • There is an option to make varieties of animations like whiteboard animations, explainer videos and many more.
  • This software has an easy to use drag and drop interface.
  • You get to choose from a library full of pre-made templates and other kinds of assets.
  • For your static images there are a bunch of entry and exit effects that you can use.
  • Vyond animation software features auto lip syncing.
  • Its library is full of characters that you can customize and use if you want.
  • The camera tool in this software lets you use different angles and pan zoom.
  • There is a free trial available for 14 days.
  • Vyond offers three different plans for you to choose from. The Personnel Plan costs $49 per month and $299 per year. The Business Plan will cost you $89 per month and $649 per year. Lastly, the Enterprise Plan is $159 per month and $999 per year.

Pros:

  • It is suitable for beginners as it has an easy to use drag and drop interface.

Cons:

  • It is a bit expensive although it has a free trial for 14 days.

19. Moovly

Moovly

Features:

  • Moovly is an online animation software that can be used for creating animations for a variety of purposes.
  • This animation software is both for beginners and professionals. In addition to individuals it can also be used by businesses both small and big.
  • Moovly also features a drag and drop interface that is pretty simple and easy to use.
  • You get to choose from a large number of templates, images, video and audio files available in Moovly's library.
  • There is an option for you to upload your own files.
  • You can even download and share your creations.
  • Moovly has a free version. Its pro version will cost you $24.92 per month that will be charged annually. There is also a customizable Enterprise plan.

Pros:

  • It has a free version.

Cons: 

  • Requires the internet to be used.

20. Wideo

Wideo

Features:

  • Wideo is an online animation software for beginners where you can create animation videos very easily.
  • This tool supports both HD and full HD.
  • With Wideo you get to choose from a library full of scene templates and graphic assets that can be used for different types of videos.
  • There are also pre-made soundtracks available for you to use.
  • The length of your video and the storage capacity shall depend on the plan that you buy.
  • Wideo allows you to upload your finished videos to various other platforms.
  • Wideo has a free trial of 7 days.
  • After the free trial, you could buy its basic plan that will cost you $19 per month that is billed annually. Wideo's pro plan will cost you $39 which will be billed annually. The enterprise plan is $79 which will also be billed annually.

Pros:

  • Wideo has a free trial of 7 days.
  • Beginners are provided with a number of tutorials to help them understand the tool better.

Cons:

  • You don't have an option to include any videos inside the software.
  • You cannot create a group of folders in Wideo.

21. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya

Features:

  • Maya software by Autodesk is a well-known animation software for beginners in the animation industry.
  • It has been used for animation in many popular movies such as “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters, Inc.,” and “Avatar.”
  • Maya is compatible with animation software for mac, windows, and Linux.
  • This software has an option for fast playback.
  • There is a non-linear animator that let's make high-level animations.
  • With the help of a graphical representation of your scenes, you can easily view, create or modify animation curves.
  • There is a ghosting editor that lets you view the movement and position of animated objects.
  • Maya's deformation effect lets you increase the animation of your character and object.
  • You can use Maya to capture top-quality motion directly in the software.
  • After the end of Maya's free trial, you can use it for $122 per month for its three years license.

Pros:

  • You will find the interface easy to use after you learn how to use the software.
  • There are a number of tools that help in speeding up the process of creation.

Cons:

  • It can take some time to learn the whole software as there are many layers to it.
  • Outdated versions of the software tend to get very glitchy.

22. Cartoon Animator 4

Cartoon Animator 4

Features:

  • Cartoon Animator 4 is an animation software that can be used by both beginners and professionals.
  • You can create videos in 4K resolution in this software.
  • This software also has a huge library of ready-made templates for characters and motion.
  • There are a number of tools like rigging and bone tools that you can use for creating 2d animations.
  • Cartoon Animator 4 has several tools for animating characters.
  • With this software, you can create talking heads and imply them on your characters.
  • The PSD files can be imported as character templates and also exported for graphic editing.
  • This software allows you to capture facial motion from any angle.
  • The body movement of your characters will be head-driven.
  • Cartoon Animator 4 allows the head to turn up to 360°
  • This software can support almost all the popular image and video formats.
  • You get a free trial of 30 days with Cartoon Animator 4.
  • Cartoon Animator 4 has a pro edition that will cost you $99 and a pipeline edition of $199.

Pros:

  • Cartoon Animator 4 has a free trial of 30 days.
  • You will easily learn how to use this software.

Cons:

  • The tutorials are not up to the mark.
  • The pro version lacks a number of important features.

23. Houdini

Houdini

Features:

  • Houdini is another advanced animation software that has been used for animating popular feature films like "Zootopia" and "Frozen"
  • This software is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
  • You will be able to generate the dynamic and realistic effect in your animation with the help of Houdini's procedural workflow that is used for generating real-time animation.
  • With Houdini's node-based workflow you will be able to make animation in a flexible and cost-effective manner.
  • Houdini has tons of advanced features that are smooth and spontaneous.
  • Houdini has a non-commercial version that can be used for free.

Pros:

  • The procedural workflow helps in making changes quickly and easily anywhere in the pipeline.
  • It has a powerful rendering capacity.
  • There are built-in particles and dynamics systems.

Cons:

  • It takes some time to learn how to use Houdini as it is an advanced tool.
  • The interface may seem to be a bit cluttered.

Summary

So, we have come to the end of our ultimate list of the best animation software for beginners that includes both the best free animation software for beginners and paid ones. We hope you will be able to find the right animation software for yourself from this list and start animating. Animation becomes a lot easier with the right software. The simple software is easy to learn but doesn't have many advanced features. On the other hand, powerful animation software has several advanced features that may not be easy to learn but produce amazing results. Similarly, the free animation software will have limited features and the paid ones will have additional features that will render better results. Now you have to decide on the right software keeping in mind your expertise and budget. You should take into consideration the kind of videos that you want to create using this software. It will not be wise to spend money on advanced software like Maya and Houdini and then use them for making simple cartoons.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best animation software?

Ans. There is no specific answer to this question. What is best for you may not be best for others. You need to keep in mind your requirements, expertise, and budget to decide on which animation software will be the best for you.

Which is the best 2d animation software for beginners?

Ans. There are a number of software available for 2d animation for beginners. However, Pencil 2d will best suit a beginner according to us as it is very easy to learn and has an interface that is very user-friendly.

Are there free animation software?

Ans. If you are a beginner then you can go for Pencil 2d, Synfig, or Opentoonz. However, if you are experienced then you can use the free version of Blender or Maya.

Which animation software is mostly used by the Youtubers?

Ans. Most of the youtubers use Animator and Blender for animating their youtube videos.


“What we love most about animation is, it’s a team sport, and everything we do is about pure imagination.”