12 Best Free 2D Animation Software

12 Best Free 2D Animation Software in 2021

Do you want to try yourself as a 2D animation maker but not sure what to start with? I have prepared a review of the best free 2D animation software that will be especially interesting for beginners.

Top 12 Free 2D Animation Software

  1. Pencil 2D - Our choice
  2. Syngif Studio - For vector animations
  3. Opentoonz - Download Opentoonz 2D Animation Software
  4. Anime Studio Pro - For anime
  5. Toon Boom Harmony - For professionals
  6. CelAction2D - For commercials
  7. Stop Motion Studio - For frame-by-frame animation
  8. Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator - The lightest 2D animation editor
  9. Plastic Animation Paper - For hand-drawn animation
  10. CreaToon - For simple animated videos
  11. Stykz - For quick animations
  12. Krita - The full-featured digital art studio

How does the best animation software for anime work? To create an animated picture, you need to arrange several images and they will transition one into another.

2D and 3D animation software allow you to create several layers containing pictures and sounds, control scenes and cameras and other features. The software for the beginners doesn’t require any serious study or preparation. The functions are easy to understand and apply.

To create complex moving objects like in computer games, there is special free 3D modeling software.

1. Pencil 2D

 
Our choice
  • Easy creation of smooth animation
  • User-friendly interface
  • Possibility to control the speed of animation
  • Popular tablets’ support for drawing
  • Creation of GIFs
  • Language of the interface cannot be changed
  • Eraser tool doesn’t work properly

Verdict: Pencil 2D may be considered the best free drawing software with 2D functions for beginners. All the frequently used tools are present. An animator may also work with vector and raster layers – a feature that can be rarely found in free programs.

Besides, there is a great community helping improve the utility and helping beginners get acquainted with the software.

pencil 2d animation software interface

2. Syngif Studio

 
For vector animation
  • Automatic creation of the keyframes
  • Vector and raster format import
  • Form animation (morphing)
  • Sound, filters and fractals processing
  • Complicated interface and video export
  • RAM-demanding

Verdict: Syngif Studio is free 2D animation software for beginners developed to create high-quality vector 2D animation in a small group. You can work with vector objects to create both small animated pictures and draw the entire cartoons. Besides, this program can be used as a replacement for expensive photo animation software.

Compared with other free 2D animation programs, Syngif Studio can boast of a professional interface with a window for the image and dashboards (tools, properties, layers, navigation, settings, etc.) To create animation, you have to set key points of the image, and the software will count and create inbetweening.

syngif studio 2d modeling software interface

3. Opentoonz

 
Open-source
  • GTS scan
  • Adjustable picture styles
  • Adds light effects and distortion
  • Compatibility with black and white or color scans
  • Outdated interface

Verdict: It is meant for everybody willing to create 2D animated content. The source code is easy to modify in order to add some special features to the software.

With this open-source animation software you will be able to work as an artist drawing with a pen, using special graphic tablets to create bitmap or vector graphics. Opentoonz pleases users with a range of interesting features and tools. For example, there is a special tool to draw “skeletal animation”. Moreover, it can easily compete with entry-level motion graphics software.

opentoonz 2d animation software interface

4. Anime Studio Pro

 
For anime
  • Graphic tablets support
  • Skeletal animation
  • Inverse and direct kinematics support
  • Masks and various effects
  • 3D space and animation
  • No free trial period

Verdict: Anime Studio Pro is meant for professionals rather than for beginners. It is a very convenient drawing animation software designed to create 2D animation, combining the most powerful 2D rigging system and traditional tools. It gives you an opportunity to draw high-quality animation quickly on the lightest tablets without serious efforts.

To make the process of creating animations smoother and more efficient, Anime Studio Pro has several unique features of raster and drawing to offer. There is also a range of great vector animation tools, a system for skeletal animation, 3D objects support and a lot more to make your experience with this software pleasant and unique.

anime studio pro 2d animation software interface

5. Toon Boom Harmony

 
For professionals
  • Unique raster and vector drawing technology
  • Professional color palettes and options for drawing
  • 2D and 3D support
  • Cut animation tools
  • Paperless animation support
  • Expensive full version
  • High system load

Verdict: Toon Boom Harmony is the most advanced and powerful software to create animation. Toon Boom animation 2D will help you with a wide range of tasks on the way of creating an animated film, but you need to use the best animation tablet to enjoy trouble-free work.

If you are a beginner, you may need some time to get acquainted with the functions offered by this software, and the most efficient way of using them. You will be able to work with bitmap and vector tools, 3D models for hybrid productions. You can even create multiple scenes with Z-depth.

toon boom harmony 2d animation software interface

6. CelAction2D

 
For commercials
  • For professional use
  • Ergonomic controls
  • Complex projects
  • The multiplane camera
  • Drawing is not supported
  • Animation only
  • Expensive license

Verdict: CelAction2D is free animation software for beginners and professionals. It is a complex solution, with interesting and unique features to create a top-grade 2D animation film at a professional level, even if you are only a beginner.

The interface of the software is easy to understand, so do not hesitate to try it. Considering the widest range of 16 million bright colors to use in your palette, it stays on par with the best rotoscoping software. You might want to start with a free trial version to appreciate all the benefits the software offers, as the license is rather expensive.

celaction2d 2d animation software interface

7. Stop Motion Studio

 
For frame-by-frame animation
  • Add backgrounds, foregrounds, fade effects
  • Built-in music and sound effects
  • Rotoscoping
  • Green screen for the background change
  • No camera zooming

Verdict: Stop Motion Studio is a great choice among free 2D animation programs. With its help, you will be able to create a real masterpiece. Even if you are a beginner, Stop Motion Studio is easy to use, you just need some time to practice. The software has features to attract all kinds of users: intuitive controls, easy frames movement, and a lot more.

Your 2D GIF animation film will be unique with this editor. Upload your elements and objects, change the focus, white balance or exposure, edit frame by frame to create a top-quality product.

If you have a high-end camera, you will be able to use it with Stop Motion Studio thanks to the DSLR support.

So, in case you are looking for the best free 2D animation software, no matter if you are a beginner or a professional, you should try Stop Motion Studio.

stop motion studio 2d animation software interface

8. Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator

 
Lightest 2D animation editor
  • Use of bitmaps and photos
  • Facial expressions are fixed in real-time
  • Converts an image to a moving cartoon
  • Ability to create 2D visual effects
  • Trial period lasts 15 days

Verdict: CrazyTalk Animator will be a wonderful choice of drawing animation software if you want to create a full-fledged animation video. It offers a list of unique creative features to make your character high-quality and realistic. You will be working in real-time, processing your images, adding sound, etc.

With CrazyTalk Animator, you can animate digital pictures of people and animals, create talking objects, even the entire animated scenes using special tools. Edit your photos, videos, as well as other multimedia, and enjoy the highest quality of the product.

reallusion crazytalk animator 2d animation software interface

9. Plastic Animation Paper

 
For hand-drawn animation
  • Precise lines
  • Ability to import video or frame-stacks for rotoscoping
  • Full-frame reference on the second monitor
  • Various ways of flipping
  • Black and white images only
  • Need to read the instruction to use all the functions

Verdict: Making a list of 2D animation software, it is necessary to mention Plastic Animation Paper (PAP). It helps animators transfer the whole process of drawing into a PC, increasing productivity while creating animated characters.

PAP is the best 2D animation software to create TV cartoon series, commercials or even full-length animated movies.

PAP will provide you with all the necessary tools for drawing and editing images. The software is optimized to be used on a tablet and allows to draw quickly and to preview the animation in real-time at the speed of 60 frames per second.

plastic animation paper 2d software interface

10. CreaToon

 
For simple animated videos
  • Edit and preview in real-time
  • Simple character animation
  • Multiple inputs and outputs
  • Special tools for transformation
  • License activation is required
  • The use of some features may be complicated

Verdict: CreaToon is professional 2D animation software developed to help with the creation of simple animated videos. It is focused on animation in cut-out style, featuring special effects that are not available while dealing with traditional animation.

You will be working in real-time, combining bitmaps and vector graphics, editing and previewing your animation, saving time.

If you are looking for a straightforward and robust 2D animation software that offers advanced capabilities within the power even of beginners, CreaToon is just what you need.

creatoon 2d animation software interface

11. Stykz

 
For quick animations
  • Ability to create frame-based animations
  • Work with several projects
  • Full range of tools
  • Technical knowledge is not required
  • No cancellation
  • No adding backgrounds or graphics

Verdict: Stykz is the best 2D animation software if you are looking for a straightforward option. You will create animated movies with stickmen. These are simple line drawings that represent human beings. It is possible to rotate, scale, duplicate and color them.

In the system based on frames and squares, you will need to create different frames one by one. There is a special function to view the previous frame while you are creating a new one, which is called onion paper.

So, if you don’t need professional 2D animation software, try Stykz. You will like the efficient process and the result.

stykz 2d animation software interface

12. Krita

 
The full-featured digital art studio
  • User-friendly
  • Adjustable interface
  • Import/export brushes
  • Create hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation
  • Freezes and glitches may happen

Verdict: Krita is great software to create digital painting files from scratch by masters. It is not only the best animation software but the entire digital art studio. Working with it is fun and you will be happy with the result.

If you choose this program you will get a full range of brushes and other painting tools. You will be able to work with layers, modify vectors, use the full-color palette, and a lot of filters to retouch photos. In addition, the software supports the majority of image formats. This makes it very similar to Adobe product and serves as a basis for serious Krita vs Photoshop competition.

krita 2d animation software interface
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