10 Incredible 2D Animation Software for Every User: Free and Paid

10 Incredible 2D Animation Software for Every User: Free and Paid
Michael
Michael

March 20, 2023

2d animation software
2d animation software
Michael
Michael

October 09, 2023

Table of Contents

2D animation software remains a popular and essential medium for creating engaging and compelling designs and artworks. Animation comprises a broad perspective; it has been used in plentiful resources like educational videos, explainer videos, animated ads, cartoons, even in businesses.

Animation is one of the most exciting and rapidly growing industries in the world. While 3D animation is the most prominent type of animation in modern cinema, 2D animation remains a popular and essential medium for creating engaging and compelling content. Whether you’re looking to create animations for personal projects, marketing materials, or for a career in the industry, mastering in 2D animation video is a crucial step.

Whether, the art of 2D animation and create stunning animations that engage and entertain your audience, you need to first understand what the main crucial steps to create 2D Animation. I would suggest to check out our step-by-step guide on how to make 2D animation. 

Creating a 2D animation is to decide on your animation software. There are several options available, such as Adobe Animate, Synfig Studio, Toon Boom Harmony, and OpenToonz. Once you have chosen your software, you can start working on your animation.

One important aspect of 2D animation is understanding the principles of animation. These principles include squash and stretch, timing and spacing, and anticipation, among others. By understanding and applying these principles, you can create animations that look more natural and realistic.

I would suggest some best 2D animation software that is reliable as well as tremendously easy to use after reading this article. These software programs are specifically for you if you are at your initial and professional stage in the world of animation.

NoProduct NameSupported OSPriceBest for
1. Synfig StudioWindows, Linux, and OSXFreeBeginners
2.OpentoonzWindows and OSXFreeBeginners
3.Pencil 2DWindows, Linux, and OSXFreeBeginners
4.MaeflorestaiPhone and AndroidFreeBeginners
5.AnimakerWindows, Linux, and OSXLifetime Free Basic PlanBeginners
6.Adobe AnimateWindows, Linux, and OSXStarting at US$20.99/moProfessionals
7.Toon Boom HarmonyWindows, Linux, and OSX$109 per monthProfessionals
8.CelAction2DWindows, Linux, and OSX$1300 for one single licenseProfessionals
9.Moho (Anime Studio) ProWindows and OSX$399.99 for the full packageProfessionals
10.Stop Motion StudioWindows, OSX, Android, and iOS$59.99 for the full packageProfessionals

Best Free 2D Animation Software for Beginners

1. Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software that offers a range of advanced features for creating high-quality animations. It is a popular choice for both beginners and professional animators due to its user-friendly interface and powerful capabilities. You can create your own story in this animation software and then condense it in the back-end later. The software uses a vector-based workflow and supports a variety of animation techniques, including traditional frame-by-frame animation and cutout animation.

Features

  • There is a bone system to create cut out animations.
  • It offers a built-in soundtrack which you can insert in your video.
  • There are several filters and effects offered by the software so that you could create both simple and complex animations. 
  • Synfig Studio offers many drawing tools to draw your objects and characters.
  • It also enables you to draw on some other platform and import it on Synfig Studio.
  • After creating objects, you can easily animate and manipulate them by just pressing ‘record.’
  • It’s ability to handle large resolutions and frame rates, and its scripting language that allows for the creation of custom tools and effects.
ProsCons
Free and open-source, making it accessible to users of all budgets.Steep learning curve for beginners, especially those without previous animation experience.
A wide range of features for creating complex and high-quality animations.Some features can be buggy or unreliable.
Supports multiple animation techniques and allows for custom tool creation.Limited community and online resources compared to other 2D animation software.

Overall, Synfig Studio is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a free and open-source 2D animation software that provides a range of powerful features and a low learning curve. Its vector-based approach and support for bones and skeletons make it a great choice for creating complex and detailed animations.

2. Opentoonz

OpenToonz is a powerful open-source 2D animation software that has been used to create various professional animations, including feature films and television shows. It offers an extensive range of tools and features for both traditional and digital animation, making it a popular choice among animators worldwide.

Features

  • OpenToonz provides a complete set of tools for traditional animation, including a pencil test feature for drawing rough animation.
  • The software also offers a range of digital animation tools, including vector drawing and compositing features.
  • It supports various file formats, including popular image and video formats, making it easy to import and export files.
  • OpenToonz also offers a multi-plane camera feature that enables animators to create complex scenes with multiple layers and camera angles.
ProsCons
OpenToonz is an open-source software that is free to download and use.The user interface can be complex and difficult to navigate, especially for beginners.
It offers a wide range of tools and features for both traditional and digital animation.Some features, such as the pencil test feature, can be slow and laggy.
The multi-plane camera feature makes it easy to create complex scenes and camera movements.OpenToonz requires a powerful computer with high-end specs to run smoothly.
The software supports various file formats, making it easy to work with other software and share files.

Overall, OpenToonz is a great option for both traditional and digital animators looking for a powerful and versatile 2D animation software. Its open-source nature and extensive range of features make it a popular choice among animators worldwide. However, its steep learning curve and high hardware requirements may make it a challenging option for beginners or those with lower-end computers.

3. Pencil 2D

Pencil 2D is a free and open-source software that is designed for traditional hand-drawn 2D animation. It offers a simple and intuitive interface that is easy to use for both beginners and professionals. The software is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Features

  • Pencil 2D offers a variety of drawing tools, including pencil, pen, and brush.
  • It supports multiple layers, allowing users to work on different elements of the animation separately.
  • The software offers a timeline-based interface for easy editing and organization of frames.
  • Pencil 2D supports various file formats, including PNG, JPEG, and BMP.
  • It also allows for the import of audio and video files to be used in the animation.
ProsCons
Pencil 2D is free and open-source, making it accessible to anyone who wants to create 2D animations.Pencil 2D does not support advanced features such as rigging and tweening, making it less suitable for complex animations.
The software is lightweight and fast, even on older hardware.The software has limited export options, with only a few file formats available.
Its simple interface makes it easy to learn and use, even for beginners.Pencil 2D does not have a built-in audio editing feature, so users will need to use a separate software for sound editing.
Pencil 2D offers a variety of customization options for the drawing tools, allowing users to adjust the settings to their preferences.

Overall, Pencil 2D is a great option for beginners or anyone looking for a simple and free software to create hand-drawn 2D animations. However, its lack of advanced features may make it less suitable for professional animators or those looking to create complex animations.

4. Maefloresta

Maefloresta is a free 2D animation app that allows users to create animations on their mobile devices. This app is a popular choice among beginners due to its simplicity and user-friendly interface. It offers a range of features that allow users to create professional-looking animations quickly and easily.

Features

  • Easy-to-use interface: Maefloresta has a simple interface that makes it easy for beginners to create animations without any prior experience.
  • Onion skinning: This feature allows users to see the previous and next frames of their animation, making it easier to create smooth and seamless animations.
  • Layers: Maefloresta allows users to create multiple layers for their animations, which makes it easier to edit and manipulate different parts of the animation separately.
  • Sound effects: Users can add sound effects to their animations, which can add depth and richness to the final product.
ProsCons
Free to use: Maefloresta is completely free to use, making it an accessible option for anyone who wants to create 2D animations.Limited functionality: Maefloresta is a mobile app, so it doesn’t offer the same level of functionality as desktop 2D animation software.
User-friendly interface: The app’s interface is simple and intuitive, making it easy for beginners to start creating animations right away.Limited export options: The app only allows users to export their animations in MP4 format, which may not be suitable for all users.
Range of features: Despite its simplicity, Maefloresta offers a range of features that allow users to create professional-looking animations.

Overall, Maefloresta is an excellent option for anyone who wants to create 2D animations on their mobile devices. Its simplicity and user-friendly interface make it a popular choice among beginners, while its range of features allows for more advanced animation techniques. However, its limited functionality and export options may be a drawback for some users.

5. Animaker

Animaker is a cloud-based 2D animation software that enables users to create animated videos, infographics, and other types of visual content. It is an intuitive and user-friendly tool that does not require any prior experience or technical expertise.

Features

  • Animaker offers a vast library of pre-animated characters, backgrounds, and props, allowing users to create videos quickly and efficiently.
  • The software provides a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to add, move, and edit elements on the canvas.
  • Users can also import their own images, audio, and video files to create custom animations and videos.
  • Animaker provides various animation styles, including 2D, infographic, handcraft, and whiteboard animation.
  • The software also offers features like lip-syncing, voiceovers, and text-to-speech functionality, allowing users to add a professional touch to their animations.
  • Animaker provides a range of export options, including HD videos, GIFs, and social media-ready videos.
ProsCons
Animaker is a user-friendly software that does not require any technical expertise or prior experience in animation.The free version of Animaker is limited in terms of features and export options.s.
The vast library of pre-animated elements and animation styles makes it easy to create engaging and compelling content quickly.
While the software is easy to use, it may not offer the same level of customization and control as some other 2D animation software.
The software offers a range of features like lip-syncing and text-to-speech that can add a professional touch to your animations.Animaker may not be the best choice for creating highly complex or detailed animations, as it is primarily designed for creating short, engaging video
Animaker’s cloud-based platform allows users to access their projects from anywhere with an internet connection.

In conclusion, Animaker is a great choice for beginners or anyone looking to create quick and engaging 2D animations without much technical expertise. Its vast library of pre-animated elements, user-friendly interface, and range of features make it a powerful and accessible tool for creating visual content. However, it may not be the best choice for more complex or detailed animations, and the free version may be limiting in terms of features and export options.


Best Paid 2D Animation Software for Professionals

1. Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate is the most common animation software which mostly animators use. It is a paid software which is ideal for professional use that gives the animated video a classic and definitive appearance. It allows users to create interactive animations and multimedia content for a variety of platforms. It is widely used by animators, game developers, and multimedia designers around the world.

Features

  • It supports both video and audio implanting in the animated videos.
  • There are virtual cameras to give your animation a realistic view.
  • You can export the format to publish your production to any platform.
  • In this software, you get a Typekit tool which offers a number of font styles.
  • It has a variety of brushes to create different objects, either small or large.
  • There is a modern timeline where you can edit frames, highlight letters, and whatnot.
ProsCons
Adobe Animate is a powerful and versatile software that offers a wide range of features and tools for creating complex and interactive animations.Adobe Animate can be quite expensive, especially for those who are just starting out in animation.
It has a user-friendly interface and is easy to learn for those who are familiar with other Adobe products.It requires a powerful computer with sufficient RAM and processing power to run smoothly.
It supports a variety of file formats and export options, making it easy to integrate animations into different platforms and devices.Some users may find the learning curve steep, especially if they are not familiar with other Adobe products or animation software in general.
Its integration with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications, such as Photoshop and Illustrator, allows for seamless workflow and design integration.The software has been criticized for being buggy and prone to crashes, especially when working with complex animations.

Overall, Adobe Animate is a powerful tool for creating engaging and interactive 2D animations, but it may not be suitable for everyone due to its cost and learning curve.

2. Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony is a flexible animation and production tool. It helps you to make animations for web content, television, video games, and short films.

This software allows you to produce animations using a variety of methods, including traditional, paperless, and cutout animation. It can perform 2D-3D integration as well as animation duties like scanning and compositing. Pencil lines, textures, deformation tools, morphing tools, inverse kinematics, and a built-in compositor are a few of the available tools. 

Features

  • A sophisticated brush engine.
  • Combination of 2D and 3D.
  • Color palettes and painting.
  • Traditional paperless animation.
  • High-speed low drag | Real-time.
  • Set up photorealistic scenarios with D5’s Environment system and post-production editing interface.
  • Create as many projects as you need.
  • Export images, panoramas, and videos without watermarks.
  • Customize your library with HDR/LUT/IES files, custom models, and materials.
  • Access thousands of free assets in the regularly updated D5 Asset Library.
ProsCons
Rich in Features: There are several different drawing tools available in Toon Boom Harmony. Additionally, bitmap painting and drawing tools are included. The software contains tools that allow you to create richer, hand-drawn animations and is fantastic to get if you are a digital animator. Steep Learning Curve: Harmony has so many features, it’s simple to get confused. The interface’s poor design doesn’t help matters either.
Special Effects: Toon Boom Harmony provides a sophisticated set of rigging tools, including sophisticated deformers. Additionally, it offers powerful compositing tools. Visual effects are already included, including a nodal compositing system.Complex: The software is so complicated, expect to spend a lot of time fiddling with it. You will want a powerful computer because the features are rather demanding.

3. CelAction2D

CelAction2D is a professional 2D animation software used by studios and animators worldwide. It offers a range of powerful features and tools for creating high-quality 2D animations, including TV shows, films, and commercials.

Features

  • CelAction2D offers a unique hybrid approach to animation, combining traditional frame-by-frame animation with cut-out animation techniques for a more efficient workflow.
  • It offers a range of advanced features, including camera motion, lip sync, and advanced rigging options for more complex character animations.
  • The software allows for real-time playback and animation, making it easy to make changes and adjustments on the fly.
  • It also supports multi-plane camera setups, allowing for dynamic and cinematic shots.
ProsCons
CelAction2D is known for its high-quality output and is widely used by studios for producing professional-grade animations.CelAction2D can be expensive, with a price tag that may be too high for individual animators or small studios.
Its hybrid approach to animation allows for a more efficient workflow, making it easier and faster to create complex animations.It may not be as widely used as some other 2D animation software, meaning that it may be more difficult to find resources and support for the software.
The software is user-friendly, with a straightforward interface that is easy to learn for those with animation experience.The learning curve may be steep for those who are not familiar with animation software or who are used to working with other software.
Its real-time playback and animation capabilities make it a great choice for animators who want to see their work come to life quickly.

Overall, CelAction2D is a powerful and versatile 2D animation software that is widely used by professional animators and studios. Its hybrid approach to animation and advanced features make it a great choice for creating high-quality 2D animations, but its cost and learning curve may be a drawback for some users.

4. Moho (Anime Studio) Pro

Moho (Anime Studio) Pro is an advanced 2D animation software that offers a plethora of features for professional animators. It is an affordable and user-friendly option that is designed for creating animations with Flash-style rigging. Whether you’re interested in creating high-quality 2D animations, Moho Pro is an excellent software choice.

However, before you dive in, it’s important to understand the difference between 2D and 3D animation. To gain insight into the unique advantages and limitations of each technique, consider reading an article on the subject 2D vs 3D Animation. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced animator, learning about the differences between 2D and 3D animation can help you make informed decisions about your animation projects. Once you have a solid understanding of these two techniques, you can leverage the powerful features of Moho Pro to create stunning 2D animations that capture your vision.

It offers advanced tools for vector-based drawing, bone-rigging, and motion tracking, which can help you bring your creative ideas to life. While it doesn’t offer frame-by-frame animation like some other software, it has a robust set of features that can help you create fantastic videos nonetheless.

Additionally, there is also a free version of the software called Moho Debut, which is designed for beginners and offers a simplified version of the software.

Features

  • Moho Pro offers a bone rigging system that simplifies the animation process and enables users to create complex character animations.
  • The software allows for bitmap and vector artwork creation, and the ability to import and export files in various formats.
  • Moho Pro provides tools for lip-syncing, motion tracking, and 3D integration, making it an all-in-one animation software.
  • With its built-in physics engine, Moho Pro allows users to create realistic movement and interactions between objects.
ProsCons
Powerful bone rigging system that simplifies character animation.Steep learning curve for beginners.
Capable of creating complex and realistic movements.Some users have reported occasional glitches and crashes.
Offers both bitmap and vector drawing tools.Limited resources and tutorials available compared to more popular software like Adobe Animate.
Looks realistic and the ability to animate multiple layers simultaneously.

Overall, Moho (Anime Studio) Pro is a powerful and versatile 2D animation software that is widely used by professional animators and studios. This software offers extensive documentation, tutorials, and community support, making it easy to get started and learn how to use the software effectively.

5. Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio is a popular 2D animation software that allows users to create stop motion animations using a variety of tools and features. This software has an ability to add sound effects and background music to your animations & to export your animations in a variety of formats, including HD and 4K resolution.

Features

  • Simple and intuitive interface that makes it easy for beginners to use.
  • Onion skinning and grid overlay features for precise frame-by-frame animation.
  • Chroma key support for adding green screen effects.
  • Audio recording and integration for adding sound effects and music.
  • Compatibility with both iOS and Android mobile devices.
ProsCons
Affordable price point for both the mobile and desktop versions.Limited export options in the mobile app version.
User-friendly interface that makes it easy to learn and use.Some users may find the software’s features and tools to be too basic for more complex projects.
Offers a range of tools and features for creating high-quality stop motion animations.The desktop version is only available for Mac users, which may be a limitation for some Windows users.
Mobile app version allows for on-the-go creativity and convenience.

Overall, Stop Motion Studio is a great choice for anyone who wants to get started with stop-motion animation or who is looking for an affordable and easy-to-use animation software.

Irrespective of the animation software you opt for, mastering the art of creating animations can be a fun and rewarding experience. By utilizing the appropriate tools and dedicating some time for practice, you can transform your concepts into dynamic and compelling animations that capture the attention and inspire your viewers. If you’re looking for ideas to get started, check out this article on animation ideas for beginners with examples by Ideas Animation.


Assumption

Concisely, you have known that creating 2D animated videos is a lot easier after reading this article; however, it is only possible if you pick the right software. You must have been regretting now because you had some brilliant and extraordinary ideas in your mind, but you were unable to carry them into animation.

It’s still not too late. I have discussed 10 software programs for both beginners and professionals. Yet, the best animation software relies upon what you actually want to use for your use. Of course, when you begin using this software, it is better to watch some tutorials first to Create more spectacular and captivating 2D animated videos.

However, you need to get some excellent ideas to market your product or services that that may aid in connecting with your audience, making a lasting impression, bringing in new viewers, and boosting conversion rates. Animated marketing videos have a wide range of possibilities; it doesn’t have to be accurate or realistic; it may be fun, original, and creative. It’s not only another effective way to engage your audience and tell a narrative.

Get in touch with us if you are looking for a reliable and skilled animation studio or production firm. You want to include animation in your marketing strategy but are unsure how. To discover more about our animation service, contact Ideas Animation right now.

On the path to your company’s growth, our best animators at Ideas Animation is prepared to take on fresh creative challenges and video production initiatives.

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