16 Best Free Animation Software

16 Best Free Animation Software In 2021

Choose one of these free animation software, if you want to create a cartoon, video, infographic or 2D animation even without much experience. This list contains free animation programs for beginners and professionals, as well as top-notch 3D animation software that can be installed on Windows and Mac.

Top 16 Free Animation Software

  1. Adobe Animate
  2. Blender
  3. Maya
  4. Toon Boom Storyboard Pro
  5. K-3D
  6. Daz Studio
  7. Animaker
  8. KeyShot
  9. Renderforest
  10. Toontastic 3D
  11. Powtoon
  12. Pencil2D Animation
  13. Synfig Studio
  14. TupiTube
  15. OpenToonz
  16. Plastic Animation Paper

Here are 16 free programs for creating animated videos in 2D or 3D format, which will be useful to designers, photographers, marketers and brands that want to boost recognition.

1. Adobe Animate

Our choice
  • Straightforward, Adobe-style UI
  • Many tutorials to master the program
  • Works with all sorts of vector and bitmap photos
  • Amazing export capabilities
  • May be difficult for newbies
  • Limited trial period

Verdict: Adobe Animate is free animation software included in the Creative Cloud. The program is so feature-rich that you may need to spend several weeks to learn them all. For example, there is an interesting function allowing you to draw new frames on top of previous ones.

The program has an integration option with your Adobe cloud library. You can use Adobe Animate to create Flash games, movie animations, kinetic typography, cartoons, animated GIFs and more. Similar features are available in Character Animator, which is a serious ground for Adobe Animate vs Character Animator rivalry.

Adobe Animate is the best photo animation software for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as those, who are already actively using Adobe products.

  • adobe animate free animation software interface

    2. Blender

    Open source program
    • An impressive number of features and add-ons
    • Powerful modeling tools
    • Simple importing of outside objects
    • Pre-defined keyboards shortcuts
    • Image-based animation may cause problems
    • Not beginner-oriented

    Verdict: Blender is one of the best free animation programs with open source and a high-quality motion graphics software. It is used for creating 3D animations, games, motion tracking, and more. The software allows artists to turn photos into 3D animations. In addition, Blender has a Rigging Tool for converting 3D models into animated characters.

    Users get access to basic, e.g. video cropping, and advanced functions such as color gradation and video masking.

    • blender free animation software interface

      3. Maya

      For 3D applications
      • Performs complex animation tasks in a simple way
      • Profound color management
      • Suitable for creating realistic effects
      • Wonderful rendering technology
      • Once the free trial finishes, the price is $1,545/year
      • Steep learning curve

      Verdict: Maya from Autodesk is a 3D computer graphics and animation software that is especially useful for creating interactive 3D applications, movies, video games, TV shows, and more. By the way, this program was used when working on “The Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars”, so it is definitely one of the best free animation software.

      Together with Maya, you can create animated pictures, video games and add 3D effects to moving images. Besides, you can use Maya as efficient storyboard software.

      • maya free animation software interface

        4. Toon Boom Storyboard Pro

        A complex tool
        • Fast processing and switching
        • Cooperation feature
        • Many options for import and export
        • Tools for video editing
        • Impossible to record and edit audio
        • Not for beginners

        Verdict: Here is an award-winning software, winner of Primetime Emmy. This is a comprehensive storyboard tool that boasts functions for drawing, creating scripts and animations, and controlling the camera and sound.

        Using this best free animation software, you can create frame-by-frame animation and edit frames. You get a pressure-sensitive pencil, texture brushes, and the Bone Deform function. Thanks to onion skinning, you can control the movement and time of each animation, which makes Toon Boom Storyboard Pro a great alternative to the best motion tracking software.

        • toon boom storyboard pro free animation software interface

          5. K-3D

          Polygonal modeling tool
          • Simple undo/redo functions
          • A node-based visualization pipeline
          • Straightforward interface
          • Handles procedural and parametric tasks with ease
          • No tutorials
          • May be confusing for novice users

          Verdict: K-3D is free 3D animation software aimed at polygon modeling. According to this approach to digital graphics, the surface of objects is represented with the help of polygons. The program contains a complete set of tools and plug-ins for such a task.

          In addition to powerful polygon modeling functionality, K-3D has handy undo/redo features, which all together make it one of the best free animation software.

          k-3d free animation software interface

          6. Daz Studio

          For 3D lovers
          • Tools for 3D animation, rendering and modeling
          • GPU-accelerated real-time rendering
          • Realistic characters
          • Motion features
          • Resource demanding
          • For pro users

          Verdict: Daz Studio is a free tool for creating 3D animations and short videos. The main emphasis in this good free animation software is on 3D effects. Make models, visualize them and create animations at the level of skin texture.

          Other advantages of this program include fast real-time rendering and interactive tutorials to help you become the best 3D artist.

          • daz studio free animation software interface

            7. Animaker

            Drag-and-drop builder
            • Drag-and-drop mechanism
            • Large library of animated templates
            • 6 different animation video styles
            • Supported on multiple devices
            • Previewing causes lagging
            • Limited number of animated characters in the library

            Verdict: Animaker is a free online program for creating animations of various types: 2D, infographics, handcraft, whiteboard, 2.5D, typography. You can also work with audio: convert text into audio, add background music, sound effects, and voice.

            I liked the drag-and-drop function, which helps create animations on the go.

            • animaker free animation software interface

              8. KeyShot

              Rendering software
              • Understandable interface
              • Quickly switching between different model sets
              • You can view changes in real time
              • May be legally used on several computers
              • Rendering could be faster
              • Occasional crashes

              Verdict: KeyShot is a handy free animation software for beginners with 3D rendering capabilities. Developers have added the physically correct render engine to the program to accurately copy materials from the real world and create photorealistic visualizations.

              I liked the rendering quality and a simple interface. As for the minuses - the process takes a little longer, when compared with other programs.

              • keyshot free animation software interface

                9. Renderforest

                An all-in-one software
                • Intuitive user interface
                • Create animation in a few clicks
                • Top-quality graphics and logos
                • Advanced AI technologies
                • 3-min free video limit
                • Watermarks added on all outputs

                Verdict: Renderforest is a universal online video, animation, logo, and website maker. To create an easy animation, you have more than 50,000 unique graphic files to choose from and more than 100 ready-made templates for mobile devices.

                Here you have hundreds of animated video templates at your disposal to suit your needs, including slide shows, splash screens, explanatory videos, logo displays, corporate presentations, and animated infographics.

                • renderforest free animation software interface

                  10. Toontastic 3D

                  Google’s flexible tool
                  • Compatible with several platforms
                  • Easily exportable
                  • Ads-free
                  • Works online
                  • Limited settings and characters
                  • Available only on mobile devices

                  Verdict: Toontastic 3D is a free mobile application from Google, originally created for children, but the functionality is also enough to generate corporate animated 3D-videos. A nice bonus – this free animation software for beginners also works offline, so you can create videos on the go or when Wi-Fi is off.

                  According to Google developers, you can create a one-minute video with six scenes in just a minute, excluding the time spent on creating characters.

                  • toontastic 3d free animation software interface

                    11. Powtoon

                    Presentation maker
                    • Variety of styles and designs
                    • Flexible customization of text layers
                    • Lots of ready-made templates
                    • There is a function to share the presentation
                    • A 3-minute video limit
                    • Presentations with a watermark

                    Verdict: Powtoon online application is mainly used for creating short videos and dynamic video presentations. There are some limitations in the free plan: you can create HD videos lasting up to 3 minutes, and the storage capacity is limited to 100 MB.

                    In Powtoon, you can choose your own style, change the proportions and sizes of the animation, export videos to YouTube, Facebook, Wistia, and Vimeo. There are also handy Powtoon tutorials, which makes mastering the app even quicker.

                    • powtoon free animation software interface

                      12. Pencil2D Animation

                      Easy to use
                      • Simple restarting
                      • Cross-platform program
                      • Smooth switching between raster and vector files
                      • Step-by-step instructions
                      • Setting preferences aren’t saved between sessions
                      • The program doesn’t support video export

                      Verdict: Pencil2D Animation software free is used for creating 2D animated videos. It allows users to create more traditional, hand-drawn scenes.

                      Animator artists will like a clean, non-cluttered timeline, where it’s quite simple to add new frames on different layers, duplicate them, change the frame rate and quickly create animations with minimal effort.

                      • pencil2d free animation software interface

                        13. Synfig Studio

                        For all platforms
                        • Timeline-style interface
                        • Bone system for complex editing of bitmap images
                        • Lots of top-level technical features
                        • Layering support
                        • Easy to learn
                        • Lacks some standard functions

                        Verdict: Synfig Studio is another free online 2D drawing animation software. Here you use vector graphics to create timeline animations.

                        To make the movements of the drawn characters more natural, the developers integrated a bone system. Thanks to the parameters of the layers, you can create dynamic characters.

                        • synfig studio free animation software interface

                          14. TupiTube

                          For kids and beginners
                          • Clear UI
                          • Free open source program
                          • Supports vector illustrations
                          • Compatible with many file formats
                          • Only for 2D animation
                          • Limited functionality

                          Verdict: TupuTube is a free 2D animation program. You can use a mobile application or a desktop version.

                          The program supports vector illustrations. You can add rectangles, lines, polygons and other shapes. You can also import bitmap images and export finished pictures to different file formats.

                          • tupitube free animation software interface

                            15. OpenToonz

                            For 2D animation
                            • Open source animation software
                            • GTS scanning tool
                            • Unique Xsheets & Timelines functions
                            • Audio/Soundtrack Implementer
                            • Limited plug-ins effects
                            • Learning the program requires some time

                            Verdict: OpenToonz is open source 2D animation software. Users can enjoy vector and raster drawing tools, quick painting and color changing, blurs, lighting, keys, masks, warps, and more than 100 other effects. You can also combine animation with video, create frame-by-frame animation, motion tweening and bones character animation.

                            • opentoonz free animation software interface

                              16. Plastic Animation Paper

                              For simple drawing
                              • User-friendly interface
                              • Quick drawing and flipping
                              • Simple video and frame stacks import
                              • Full-frame reference on the 2nd monitor
                              • Only for 2D animation
                              • Limited functionality of a free version

                              Verdict: Plastic Animation Paper is one of the best 2D animation software, where you can create drawings in black and white, and make them color.

                              You can quickly switch from one screen to another and check the drawing that you’ve created. The advantage of PAP is that the program works well with frames of any size.

                              • plastic animation paper free animation software interface

                                Ann Young

                                Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

                                creative cloud all special offers creative cloud all special offers