11 Best Animation Tools You Should Definitely Try
For a digital artist, game developer, or character designer, animation tools are an essential component of the process. It’s quite cool to see your illustrations animated. Whether your animation is brief and straightforward or a full-length cartoon, giving your illustrations movement gives them a fresh, intriguing dimension.
It can be intimidating to venture outside of your comfort zone of static images and into the world of digital animation. It can be difficult to know where to start when there is so much to learn (including the 12 principles of animation) and a sea of tools to choose from.
You can find some of the greatest tools for 2D animation creation in this list. With the use of vector-based graphics and pixel art, gaming is the main focus.
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See our roundup of the finest animation software if you’re looking for something a little more challenging.
Cartoon Animator (opens in new tab) is the program you need if you need assistance with 2D facial and body puppeteering or audio lip-syncing for characters created using sprites or morphs.
It comes in two varieties, Pro and Pipeline, and was once known as CrazyTalk Animator. The Pro edition will get you started with basic timeline editing and G3 character templates, but you’ll need the Pipeline version to fully enjoy the advantages of building your characters directly from PSDs. Both versions offer the import of photos and movies in a number of different formats.
Toon Boom Harmony
There are three versions of Toon Boom’s Harmony (opens in new tab), which some people believe to be the industry standard for animation software: Essentials, Advanced, and Premium. Three license types are also available: perpetual, monthly (beginning at $25/£20 month), or annual (starting at $17/£14 month).
You can doodle, sketch, and paint in bitmap and vector formats with Harmony’s drawing and animation capabilities. Additionally, you may use deformers, frame-by-frame animation, special effects, and advanced color palettes.
A more “professional” collection of tools is TVPaint (opens in new tab), which enables you to render completely animated scenes from beginning to end. Because it employs bitmap technology, you may traditionally animate natural representations like gouache, watercolour, oil painting, crayon, and pen.
One of the more expensive options in this comparison is TVPaint Animation, but it does include a trial version, and based on what we’ve seen thus far, it’s quite capable and well worth the money. Don’t trust us? View its photo gallery (opens in new tab).
Moho Debut and Moho Pro
A vector-based 2D animation application for both beginners (Debut) and experts is called Moho (opens in new tab) (Pro). Both are jam-packed with pre-made characters and content to help you get started or inspire your ideas.
With the Debut edition, you can adjust features like body proportions and premade 2D components using a character wizard. Alternately, you can utilize the autotrace feature and input your own photos. Motion blurs, frame-by-frame capabilities, FBX support, and more features are available to Pro users.
Synfig Studio is yet another powerful, cross-platform, open source 2D animation application (opens in new tab). Synfig allows you control over practically every part of your animation while being more complex than the majority of other graphics program. It also gives you access to tools you are likely already familiar with, such as brushes, fills, masks, layers, and more.
FlipBook (opens in new tab) is another option if you’re seeking for a graphics program to produce conventional 2D animation, much like Pencil2D. You can import backdrops, cels, overlays, and even movies using FlipBook. You can even sketch and scan these items. You can also include audio. When finished, you can export either static photos or the entire animated film.
Bring your hand-drawn animations to life with the help of this cross-platform 2D drawing and animation tool. Pencil2D (opens in new tab minimalist)’s design enables you to concentrate on the animation and art rather than the user interface. It includes capabilities for importing and exporting data in many formats and supports both raster and vector.
Beyond pixel art, Spine enables you to animate your previously created artwork. Yes, Spine does not come with any illustration tools. But it’s definitely worth a look because it’s such a potent animation tool.
Spine provides you with a dope sheet and a Free-Form Deformation (FFD) tool, as well as all the other tools required to animate your characters. You can adjust the timings of the animation by taking a close look at the timeline in the dope sheet. Additionally, you can deform your image and change specific mesh vertices with the FFD tool.
Aseprite is another excellent tool for pixel art and animation (opens in new tab). This program includes layer support, onion skins, playback modes, alpha channel control, shading options, and custom brushes—everything you’d expect from a bigger publisher. You may import and export a wide range of formats, including animated GIFs, spritesheets, and PNGs, just like Piskel.
An online program for making animated sprites and pixel art is called Piskel (opens in new tab). It is simple to use and requires no registration. However, you can create a gallery using your Google account by logging in, whether the gallery is public or private.
You may get a live preview of your image while you create it using Piskel. Additionally, you have the choice of importing animated GIFs, PNGs, JPGs, and BMPs. Alternatively, you can import files in Piskel’s exclusive.piskel format. You can choose from animated GIFs, PNG spritesheets, or a zip file that contains every frame rendered as a PNG when it comes to exporting.
Although this is an online application, Windows, Mac, and Linux users can download a version of it.
As per a website designing institute in Delhi, the most recent version, 1.4, was launched for Mac and Windows last year. It included a number of new features, including a stop-motion panel that supported Canon DSLR cameras. Additionally, there is another open-source version of OpenToonz called the Morevna Edition (opens in new tab), which is also compatible with Linux and has extra features like assistant guides to make it simpler to add perspective to your environments, integration with the MyPaint brush engine, a horizontal timeline, and a sophisticated color selector.