15 Best Animation Software for 2022

Animations let us explore worlds and realities that would either be impossible or too expensive to create in live-action. They’re also just better suited to specific stories and audiences. Today, tons of animation software produce high-quality animations, and we’ve put 15 of them on this list.

Best Animation Software

1. Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony is a professional 2D animation software that’s used by beginners as well. This software can be used for flash-style cut-out animation, particle effects, hand-drawn animation, and more. 

The software comes packed with great tools and features such as a toolset for frame-by-frame animation, different camera angles and composition control, easy export to game engines, and integration with other software. Toon Boom Harmony has been used to create popular animated shows such as “Spongebob” and “Rick and Morty.”

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

2. Autodesk Maya

Autodesk Maya is an animation software that can be used for 3D computer animation, simulation, modeling, motion graphics, and much more. Maya can and has been used to make animated movies, series, and even video game graphics. Maya produces incredible high-quality animation with next-gen display technology and excellent tools for managing data.

Autodesk Maya is an industry staple used by many professionals, including some Disney artists. “Finding Nemo,” “Avatar,” and “Monsters, Inc” are some of the animated movies Maya has played a part in.

Autodesk Maya runs a free trial, and if you’re a student, you may be able to use it for free.

Compatibility: Mac, Windows, Linux

3. Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate (formerly Adobe Flash) is a 2D animation software that lets you animate with a host of different techniques. This software has hand-drawn animation, frame-by-frame animation, and puppet animation. It also allows for integration with other software to import and animate characters made in Procreate or other illustration tools.

“My Little Pony” is just one of many popular animations made with Adobe Animate. Adobe Animate can be purchased as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud package, but it can also be independently purchased.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

4. Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator is a quick and easy-to-use animator that requires little skill, making it ideal for beginners.

Character Animator’s most impressive feature is that it allows you to pick characters called puppets, which users can design themselves and import from Procreate, Illustrator, or Photoshop. The software then detects your voice and movements via your Device’s microphone and camera, and it uses this information to animate the puppet. It does this in real-time, too, turning your actions into your character’s actions.

Your gestures, facial expressions are all captured and given to your character. If you’re a beginner, This is a great way to begin.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

5. Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is a 3D animation software that was initially developed for a now-defunct computer company called Amiga. It has since been modified and made compatible with computers running Windows and Mac operating systems.

This software is relatively easy to use with a customizable layout that lets you set it up as you would set up your work desk to fit your preferences. Cinema 4D has an impressive collection of tools and features that aid the animation process, but that’s not all it does. You can also use it to add or modify lighting, Visual effects, Modelling, texturing, and more.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

6. Houdini

Houdini is a 3D animation software known for its quality graphics. It provides modeling, rendering, compositing, lighting, and more.

Houdini creates dynamic and realistic effects. One of its best features is the procedural workflow, which lets users create animation in real-time. This is especially useful for animating things like water, fire, smoke, and clothing.

The software is relatively easy to use and is an excellent choice for beginners. Houdini has been used to animate many popular movies such as “Frozen” and “Zootopia.”

If you’re a student, you can get a free version of Houdini to work on non-commercial projects.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

7. Pencil2D

Pencil2D is a free, open-source 2D animation software that lets users create hand-drawn animations. It allows users to create plugins and contribute to its capabilities, which is why it’s one of the best animation software around. Also, it’s constantly updated and upgraded. And if you have a problem using it, you’re welcome to fix it yourself.

Pencil2D lets users easily switch between bitmap and vector workflows, add layers, input distortion and light effects, import/export as GIF, and much more. This is one of the most accessible software to use and an excellent choice for beginners. Pencil2D may not be adequate for advanced users as its features are not vast enough for them.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Free BSD

8. Blender

Blender is a free, open-source 3D animation software. Like Pencil2D, users can contribute to its development, ensuring it stays updated. Blender can create video games, models, animations, simulations, and more.

Blender’s features include advanced rigging and animation tools, a built-in path tracer engine, powerful visual effects, and much more.

Blender lets users import external files such as textures and other animations. The software isn’t the most accessible software to use, but it has tutorials to aid the learning process. If you have a specific problem, you can share it in the Blender community with millions of experienced animators.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux

9. Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud package. As the name implies, it’s ideal for post-production work, providing great, fantastic motion graphics and visual effects.

After Effects can be used to create 2D and 3D animations, and it can integrate with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps and other non-Adobe software to enhance your animation capabilities. 

After Effects is packed with features and tools to play with and is suitable for beginners or pros.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

10. Cartoon Animator 4

Cartoon Animator 4 is high-quality animation software. With it, you can select characters from its database and import PSD character templates. The motion templates in its library make it easy to animate any static image, even 3D motions.

Cartoon Animator 4’s features include a bone-rigging tool, 4k video support, audio lip-syncing, 360-degree head-turning, live facial motion capture, template library, and much more.

This software grants you complete control over your characters and is very well suited to both beginners and seasoned animators. 

11. Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio is an animation software ideal for beginners. You can create 4K stop-motion animations that you also blend with 2D-type drawings pasted directly on the image.

Stop Motion Studio is ideal for beginners and is easy to master. Its features include frame-by-frame view, media file importation, DSLR camera support, 4k ultra HD videos, green screen option, grid and onion skinning options, paint tools, magic eraser, and sound effects.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android

12. DigiCel FlipBook

DigiCel FlipBook is arguably the simplest 2D animation software around. It’s great for starters, but it’s also compelling and has a lot to offer.

This software lets users create frame-by-frame animation, and you have the option to draw directly on the software or scan artwork from paper to the software, and you can also create stop-motion animation.

DigiCel FlipBook’s Features include lip-syncing support, import and export functions, multiple-frame workspace, pan, zoom, blur, rotate, dissolve, and scanning options. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

13. Animaker

Animaker caters to a variety of users, from beginners to teams of animators. It can be used to make 2D and 2.5D videos, animated infographic videos, typography animations, whiteboard videos, handcraft videos, and more.

Animaker is loaded with features and tools that help to make impressive creations. Its extensive collection of templates, illustrations, and characters make it easier for beginners to use the software.

Animaker’s features include 

  • Enterprise and team management features
  • Large template and asset library
  • Music tracks and sound effects
  • Full HD video support
  • Horizontal and vertical layout
  • Direct upload to Youtube and Facebook
  • Animated infographic maker
  • Six video styles to edit
  • And advanced features like curve, transition effects, and multimove. 

14. Vyond Studio

Vyond Studio is an animation software that people can use on opposite ends of the skill spectrum. It possesses many features and tools that cater to the needs of newbies and veterans. 

Vyond’s features include team collaboration, a drag, and drop tool, template library, automatic lip-syncing, media importation, camera tools, and a collection of customizable characters.

Vyond offers three visual styles: whiteboard, business-friendly, and contemporary. It also has a free trial if you’d like to try it out.

15. Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio is an open-source 2D animation software that comes free of charge. If you’re dissatisfied with synfig, its open-source status means you can contribute to the source code and submit upgrades.

Synfig lets you create animations with over fifty layers that can be connected via mathematical expressions. The layer types are also vast; they can be geometric, distortions, filters, transformations, and more. This animation software also possesses a top-notch bone system that’s packed with options. 

A drawback for Synfig is that it isn’t beginner-friendly and can be challenging to learn.

Compatibility: Windows, Linux, and macOS.

Need a smart and easy way to edit your animations together? Read this article on the 10 best video editing software you can use to get the best results.

If you’re more interested in static images, read the 10 best photo editing software.

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