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Top 10 2D Animation Software in 2020 [Free/Paid]

Are you looking for the best 2D animation software to create funny cartoons? Do you want to create engaging and informative explainer videos to post online? Do not stress out; 2D animation software is the perfect solution to engage your audience and bring in new leads. With the right 2D animation software, you would be able to get your message across to your audience in the most exciting manner as well as engage them.

If you are teaching a group of kids, adults, or staff or introducing potential buyers to a product or service, a 2D cartoon animation can help deliver your message correctly in no time. However, if you are looking for a free animation software for beginners or paid animation software, then read this write-up to the end as we review the top 10 2D animation software you can lay your hands on. 


Top Free Animation Software for Beginners

The following are the best 2D animation software free you can lay your hands on as a beginner to learn the rope and create 2D cartoon animation or explainer video:

1. Synfig

Synfig is one of the best free 2D animation software that is compatible with Windows, OSX, and Linux. The best thing about Synfig is that it provides more than 50 layers you can choose from to create simple or professional animation. It does not impose any limitations on you. If you search online, you will find tutorials to get started with using Synfig to create animation. 

As a beginner, Synfig studio is the best place for you to start learning 2D animation. Synfig is an open-source application with a stable version and testing version. You can experiment with the testing version before the new features are released in the stable version.


Features of Synfig

1. Allows several layers of content

2. Support using bitmap images through its bone system function

3. Allows adding audio files, voiceovers, or music to the project.


2. Opentoonz

This is another free 2D animation software best suited for beginners. The software is compatible with Windows and OSX devices. Opentoonz comes with pre-loaded plugins that allow creating amazing animation effects automatically without needing more editing. However, the downside of Opentoonz is that the design of its user interface is outdated compared to other 2D animation software in the market. Regardless, users would still have an exhilarating experience.

Opentoonz is easy-to-use, free, and available for download. Meanwhile, users can modify the source code to introduce new features to the software.


Features of Opentoonz

1. Allows changing picture styles

2. In-built GTS scanning too

3. Supports adding light effects and distortion

4. Supports black and white and colored scans


3. Maefloresta

Another free animation software for beginners, you can use is Maefloresta. It is a free app that supports both iPhone and Android devices. This software allows learning and creating animated content on the go. It is easy to use for beginners. Meanwhile, you may not get the installer online except you email the software company. The best thing is the flexibility to use the software on Android and iOS devices. Above all, the software is free of charge – you so not have to pay for some animation software to create fun videos. 


Features of Maefloresta

1. Free downloadable app for both iOS and Android devices

 2. Easy-to-use animation software with tutorial

3. User-friendly interface easy to use for beginners 


4. Pencil 2D

Pencil 2D is a great 2D animation software that is compatible with OSX, Windows, and Linux. Pencil 2D is a free software that comes with tutorials in multiple languages – English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The downside of Pencil 2D is that it does not support shapes tools, which makes creating or drawing shapes impossible. Meanwhile, Pencil 2D is an open-source 2D animation software. It is user-friendly and easy-to-use.


Features of Pencil 2D

1. Supports switching between vector and raster workflow

2. Minimalist design for easy animation creation

3. Cross-platform compatibility. 


5. Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony is one of the best paid animation software. It comes with 21 days trial period, after which you would be required to pay $109 per month before you can use the software again. The software is compatible with OSX, Windows, and Linux.

With Toon Boom Harmony, creating 2D and 3D animations is hassle-free. However, it takes some time to learn to make 2D animation for newbies.

Toon Boom Harmony is best suited for narrating a story through 2D images, creating an art piece, or creating a message for your audience. 

It is professional software that contains vector and bitmap tools to create art, 3D imported models, and best suited for creating multiplane scenes with z-depth. It may take some time to master the learning curve of this software; it is worth it. 


Features of Toon Boom Harmony

1. Built-in vector and bitmap drawing tool 

2. Advanced color pallettes and painting options

3. Supports 2D and 3D integration to create impressive animation

4. Cut-out animation tools

5. Conventional paperless animation


6. CelAction2D

This is another free 2D animation software. It has a paid version, the studio Edition that costs $1,300 for a single license. CelAction2D is compatible with OSX, Windows, and Linux. The software is light and does not encumber the system's processor due to its low system requirements.

CelAction2D is the best 2D animation software to create unique and complex animation videos. The software has everything you need. It is best suited for beginners, intermediate, and advanced users.


Features of CelAction2D

1. Handles complex projects easily

2. Easy to use for professional

3. Has ergonomic control

4. Compatible with all Windows and Mac

5. More controls through the multiplane camera function


7. Moho (Anime Studio) Pro 

Moho Pro is one of the best paid animation software. It costs only $399.99 to have its full package. The software is compatible with OSX with Windows. The software gets updated and upgraded regularly to introduce new features and tools. The downside of Moho Pro is that it is not user-friendly for beginners. 

Meanwhile, if you intend to become a professional 2D animator, Anime Studio Pro is the right animation software you should lay your hands on. It is affordable and best suited for flash-style animations.


Features of Moho Pro

1. Allows the animation of several layers concurrently

2. Feature freehand drawing tools for flexibility and complete control

3. Realistic motion blur

4. Freedom to design videos as you wish

5. Smart warp for easy creation of custom meshes for bending and twisting animations


8. Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio is the top paid animation software that is compatible with OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android. The software costs $59.99 to own a license. The software comes with built-in sound to create a unique animation. It also supports recording or importing voice over to use on the video. The only limitation that Stop Motion Studio has is that it can only create 2D stop motion animations.

If you are looking for the best way to create fun animation or 2D animated presentation, Stop Motion Studio comes handy. You can use a high-end camera with the software as it has DSLR support.


Features of Stop Motion Studio

1. Comes with Chroma key, audio recording option, and voice effects 

2. Supports viewing previous frames through a transparent overlay

3. Supports DSLR camera for 1080 HD recordings

4. Supports sharing videos to Facebook and YouTube


9. FlipBook

FlipBook is a top-of-the-line 2D animation software. It costs from $19.99 to $199.99 for different grades. It is compatible with OSX and Windows. With this software, you can draw your images. You can also scan images and add sound to your project. You can create an incredible video with FlipBook. However, the software does not come with bone rigging, which makes making subtle changing impossible.

FlipBook is suitable for both beginners and pros. It makes 2D animation creation hassles-free and exciting. If you are a lover of 2D cartoon animation, this is the best animation software for you. 


Features of FlipBook

1. Supports scanning images to be added to a project

2. Provides ten layers for effective editing and adding final touches

3. Allows speed painting by pressing the shift key

4. Allows real-time editing


10. Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator

This is topnotch paid animation software for professionals. It costs $99 to $199, and it is compatible with OSX and Windows. Whether you are a beginner or professional, Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator has something for everyone. It allows the characters’ control without any hassles. Meanwhile, the downside of the problem is that it requires Photoshop to import and export videos.

You can control your characters through your facial expression and lip-syncing. Most marketers, educators, and YouTubers use Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator for their animation videos.


Features of Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator

1. Supports real-time control through facial expression

2. Bundled with tools to turn an image into a moving cartoon

3. Supports making 2D visual effects


Conclusion

With the right software, it is fun creating 2D videos. You only have to get your script and storyboard ready; you can lay your hands on the amazing 2D animation software discussed above. You can always find the right software that suits your level, whether you are a beginner or professional.


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