8 Best Cartoon Making Software

8 Best Cartoon Making Software in 2021

Whether you are a beginner who has just made the first steps in animation or an experienced digital drawing artist, you will definitely need the best cartoon making software. Read this article and discover the most popular products that will help you create fantastic animation clips and experiment with different techniques, such as hand-drawn traditional style, 2D and 3D animation, frame-by-frame animation, etc.

Top 8 Cartoon Making Software

  1. Pencil2D - For 2D traditional animations
  2. Adobe Character Animator - Real-time animation software
  3. Anime Studio - Feature-rich 2D animation software
  4. Synfig Studio - Open-source 2D animation software
  5. Inkscape - Open-source vector graphics software
  6. Adobe Animate CC - Creation of 2D and 3D web animations
  7. Adobe After Effects - For advanced animation and visual effects creation
  8. Toon Boom Harmony - Full-featured animation studio

I’ve picked the best animation software for anime and cartoons hat will satisfy the needs of users who are ready to pay for premium quality or those who are looking for an open-source product. The list entails the popular software and the options that are just gaining the trust of users.

1. Pencil2D – Our Choice

 
For 2D traditional animations
  • Works with raster and vector graphics
  • Offers an array of useful tools
  • Tools for creating distortion and light effects
  • GIF importing/exporting
  • None

Verdict: Being compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux, Pencil2D is well-recognized software for making cartoon and digital drawings. Although it is free and open-source, it boasts excellent features for creating animated videos and illustrations.

Pencil2D has a professional-looking layout, but it is more suitable for novice users. If you’ve just embarked on the path of cartoon drawing, it can be a perfect tool for you. The most distinctive features of the software are several modes for files exporting, support for multiple layers and an ability to work with FLV animation.

pencil 2d cartoon making software interface

2. Adobe Character Animator

 
Real-time animation software
  • Auto lip-sync feature
  • Creates animations in real-time
  • Built-in template puppets
  • Straightforward video recording and editing
  • 7-day free trial version

Verdict: Character Animator has been recently added to the Adobe family and hit the market due to its powerful features. With this 3D animation software, you can easily bring cartoon characters to life in real-time. Using this software for cartoon animation is a breeze. All you need is to plug in your microphone and camera. After that, you can add a static character (puppet) to start creating an animation video.

You can take advantage of numerous Adobe Character Animator tutorials to go deep into every stage of creating a custom animation clip with your webcam and microphone.

adobe character animator cartoon making software interface

3. Anime Studio

 
Feature-rich 2D animation software
  • Comes with a graphics editor
  • Adds backgrounds and pictures to your projects
  • Frame-by-frame animation
  • Integration with Unity 3D
  • Doesn’t offer complete support for 3D objects
  • Isn’t compatible with Windows Vista and XP

Verdict: Anime Studio Pro is one of the best 2D animation software currently available on the market. You can create either your own objects or use a built-in library with a set of pre-installed characters.

Even though Anime Studio is mainly designed for novice users and even kids, it offers powerful functionality to accomplish all your creative goals. The combination of top-tier tools and a streamlined user interface makes it the best photo animation saoftware for many users.

Once you understand all the features of the software, you can switch to the Pro version. Although the paid version is relatively expensive, it offers impressive functionality suitable for professional use.

anime studio cartoon making software interface

4. Synfig Studio

 
Open-source 2D animation software
  • Well-elaborated tools to create character puppets
  • Bone system and an ability to apply complex deformations
  • Automatically calculates frames
  • 50+ layers types
  • Doesn’t offer an ability to create a project from scratch

Verdict: Synfig Studio is a 2D animation tool that can work with vector and bitmap graphics. With this software to make cartoons, you can create your animation faster while using fewer resources. It supports geometry, gradients, filters, transformations, etc.

Synfig Studio gives you complete control over the process of editing vector images while creating your artwork. You can also create puppet characters and use advanced tools to manipulate them.

synfig studio cartoon making software interface

5. Inkscape

 
Open-source vector graphics software
  • Integrated bitmap vectorizer
  • Ability to collectively edit a project using the XMPP protocol
  • Excellent work with tablets
  • Cross-platform
  • Can lag when working with large files

Verdict: Inkscape is a well-developed and easy-to-use vector graphics tool for creating artistic and technical illustrations based on XML, SVG and CSS standards.

You can use it as the software to create cartoons and take advantage of numerous tools for working with colors and styles, such as color selection, ability to copy/paste colors and style, gradient editor, outline markers.

With Inscape, your cartoons appear neat and professional-looking. You can also make your creations in vector formats without sacrificing resources.

inkskape cartoon making software interface

6. Adobe Animate СС

 
Creation of 2D and 3D web animations
  • Allows adding and sharing assets to Adobe Stocks
  • Ability to adjust the stroke width after drawing it
  • Scale your drawing without loss in quality
  • Works with 4K formats and supports video exporting options
  • Doesn’t offer support for raster drawing
  • Rendering issues

Verdict: Adobe Animate CC is a good software to make cartoon designed to create different animated content such as games, cartoons, commercials, etc. Once your project is ready, you can upload it on such platforms as WebGL, HTML5 Canvas and Snap SVG.

Adobe Animate CC includes a rich array of tools designed to make your cartoon creation experience as effective as possible. The toolset largely resembles that of Character Aimator, which is frequenty discussed in different Adobe Animate vs Characte Animator reviews. Since the software is released by Adobe, you can find here numerous useful Adobe tools that will help you boost your productivity.

adobe animate cc cartoon making software interface

7. Adobe After Effects

 
For advanced animation and visual effects creation
  • Frame-by-frame animation technology
  • Streamlined tools for creating characters
  • Easy to work with layers
  • Can be integrated with multiple programs
  • Isn’t suitable for beginners

Verdict: Adobe After Effects is professional animation software with powerful features designed for advanced graphics and visual effects creation. If you aren’t going to create complex animations, you can use After Effects as make cartoons software.

Due to a neat and straightforward interface, this Adobe product is suitable for all types of users. All the necessary tools have a convenient and intuitive layout.

You can make the most of such features as a timeline for editing, an ability to view the current active layers’ frame and the Filters section on the Properties panel.

adobe after effects cartoon making software interface

8. Toon Boom Harmony

 
Full-featured animation studio
  • Powerful vector and raster drawing tools
  • Convenient texture and color manipulation tools
  • Ability to integrate 3D objects with 2D characters
  • Exporting options to game engines
  • Resource-consuming software

Verdict: Toon Boom Harmony is a full-featured software for animation production. It caters to the needs of both aspiring animators and professionals. With Toon Boom Harmony, you can produce any kind of cartoons, whether you are going to use hand-drawn animation technique, cutout-style animation with Flash, particle effects, Hybrid animation, etc.

This product employs a slew of powerful features for creating animation, drawing and rigging, everything you can expect from the best cartoon making software.

toon boom harmony cartoon making software interface
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