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The Best Animation Software In 2024 (Reviewed & Compared)


The Best Animation Software in 2024

Creating impressive animations used to require expensive software and years of training. Not anymore! Technological advances have put powerful yet easy-to-use animation tools into the hands of anyone with a creative spark.

Whether you’re a hobbyist wanting to bring your doodles to life or a professional animator working on the next blockbuster movie, there’s an animation program perfect for your needs. This guide will explore the best animation software options for 2024 based on your skill level, platform, and project goals.

What Makes “Good” Animation Software?

Best Video Animations In Advertising

Before making recommendations, what features should you prioritise when evaluating animation tools?

Powerful Drawing and Colour Features

At their core, animation apps need to help you quickly:

  • Draw whatever shapes, figures, and objects you can imagine
  • Fill those objects with vibrant colours and gradients
  • Add realistic-looking shadows, lighting, and textures

You want fluidity, control, and many customisable brushes to bring any style to life.

Intuitive Keyframing Capabilities

“Keyframing” lets you set animation milestones like a character raising their arms or a ball bouncing. Your software then handles the frame-by-frame movement between those key poses.

Look for tools that make building sequences easy yet flexible enough for complex motions. Being able to tweak timing and trajectories on the fly helps speed up workflow.

Asset Libraries & Scene Creation

Even animation pros need some help kickstarting projects. Many apps now include huge libraries of ready-made assets, templates, and backgrounds that you can customise and drop into your scenes and stories.

Spend more time animating rather than labouring over every single element from scratch!

Animation Software Compared

How do some popular options stack up across these animation must-haves? Here’s a high-level glimpse:

Software Drawing Tools Keyframing Assets/Scenes Price
Adobe Animate ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ $20.99/month
Toon Boom Harmony ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ $399+
Animaker ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Free – $20/month
Vyond ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Free – $49/month

As you can see, products cater to distinct experience levels and budgets. Let’s explore them in more detail!

Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate Animation Software

Adobe Flash was the gold standard for producing web animations and interactive content for decades. When Flash was discontinued in 2020, Animate took its place for crafting vector animations, ads, games, apps, and more across desktop and mobile.

With Animate, you can:

  • Draw using familiar Illustrator-style vector tools
  • Import rich graphics from Photoshop
  • Build complex interactive triggers and actions with JavaScript
  • Export animations seamlessly to various formats like SVG, GIF, and MP4

It lacks advanced features like scene navigation, camera tools, or auto lip-syncing. But Animate shines when you want frame-by-frame control over figure motion and must deliver projects running smoothly across platforms.

Ideal For: Digital designers, advertisers, marketers

Learning Curve: Intermediate

Pricing: $20.99/month individual plan | $33.99/month teams

Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony Software Review

Toon Boom Harmony has long been the premiere choice if you’re serious about 2D animation and want to level up your skills. Major studios like Disney and Warner Bros rely on Harmony for television shows and movies like The Simpsons, Rick and Morty, Bojack Horseman, and more.

With Harmony, you gain incredible control over:

  • Custom brushes, textures, paper styles
  • Frame-by-frame drawing
  • 2D rigging and cutout character builds
  • Realistic shadows, lighting, and camera movement
  • Lip sync to the recorded dialogue
  • Multi-track timeline for complex scenes

It has a steeper learning curve and a higher price tag than other options. But if you want to animate like the pros, Harmony is mighty. Export your stories as videos, gifs, sprite sheets, and more.

Ideal For: Professional studios, aspiring filmmakers

Learning Curve: Advanced

Pricing: $399+ individual | $1,199+ teams

Animaker

Animaker Best Animation Software 2024

If you’re brand new to animation or prefer creating quick, simple scenes, check out Animaker. They distil software complexity down to a fun drag-and-drop builder experience.

Animaker makes it stupidly easy to:

  • Select animated assets from their library
  • Personalise figures with your photos
  • Pick from beautiful premade backgrounds
  • Drag around characters and set basic motions
  • Add speech and text bubbles

You won’t have granular control like Harmony. But you can build sweet little animated stories for YouTube, social posts, ads, and more in minutes.

Ideal For: Beginners, small business marketing

Learning Curve: Super easy

Pricing: Free – $20/month

Vyond

Vyond Video Animation Tool

Once called GoAnimate, Vyond lets anyone make fun animated videos starring themselves. Upload a photo, and Vyond auto-fits it onto a personalised character rig you can move around.

It’s crazy simple to:

  • Customise unique characters
  • Select and edit premade scenes
  • Add speech with automatic lip-sync
  • Record your voiceover
  • Include props, backgrounds, text, music

The automated tools limit customisation. But the ease of use can’t be beaten for fast video results.

Ideal For: Beginners, vloggers, teachers, personal projects

Learning Curve: Super easy

Pricing: Free – $49/month

Honorable Mentions

While the options above take the spotlight, keep these capable tools on your radar as well:

  • Adobe After Effects: motion graphics and composition
  • Blender: powerful free and open-source 3D creation
  • Procreate: drawing and painting on iPad
  • Anime Studio: speciality anime drawing style

Now that you’ve got the lay of the animation software landscape, which option seems best for your needs and skill level?

Guide to Choosing Animation Software

With all the options available, how do you narrow down to the proper animation tool for your specific goals and budget?

Step 1: Consider Your Target Animation Type

First, what type of animation project do you want to create?

  • 2D animation: hand-drawn or vector
  • 3D animation: CGI, claymation
  • Motion graphics: kinetic text, infographics
  • Frame-by-frame animation versus tweening
  • Character rigging and premade assets
  • Rotoscoping over live footage

Certain tools specialise in specific animation flavours. Adobe Animate excels at frame-by-frame vector animation, while Blender offers powerful 3D capabilities. Most support multiple techniques, but know what you want to focus on.

Step 2: Determine Your Skill Level

Next, think honestly about your experience with animation, visual design tools, and comfort in learning new software:

  • Beginner: little to no experience. Want premade assets and automatic features?
  • Intermediate: familiar with keyframing timelines. Some comfort with manual frame controls.
  • Advanced: Deep knowledge of animation principles, fine-tuning control over every element and frame.

Try not to bite off more complexity than you can chew when starting. Beginner-friendly options like Animaker or Vyond eliminate substantial learning curves.

But serious animation pros will feel limited. They need the deeper capabilities of Toon Boom Harmony or Adobe Animate.

Step 3: Figure Out Your Budget

Unfortunately, professional power and ease of use often come at a cost:

  • Free: typically minimal features, assets, and export options
  • Freemium: a free trial with premium monthly subscriptions $10-$30 range
  • Paid: owned license models in the $100-$500 range
  • Enterprise: suite models in the $1,000+ range

Determine what consumption model aligns with your means and needs. Individual creators may prefer one-time purchases or free tiers. Teams and studios may invest in subscription suites to access asset libraries and collaborative workflows.

Animation Software in Action

Let’s walk through examples of popular animation tools in action so you can see them in practice. Understanding the typical user workflows for each can help find the right fit.

Toon Boom Harmony: Achieving Expert Control

Say you have strong animation foundations and want to level up your skills towards professionals. This quick scene showcases Toon Boom Harmony’s advanced capabilities:

Notice the incredibly fluid frame manipulation:

  • Custom brushes for stylised effects
  • Keyframes distributed across the timeline
  • Complex rigging of the wolf model
  • Realistic motion trajectories and easing
  • Camera zoom movement
  • So much more!

You pay for this control, but it handles expert workflows.

Adobe Animate: Crafting Web Animations

If your goal is building online ads, interactive apps, or vector animations, see how Adobe Animate gives you just what’s needed:

Notice how Animate provides:

  • Easy import of vector graphics from Illustrator
  • Intuitive transforms and bitmap layering
  • Custom vector brush shaping
  • Interactive hotspot triggers
  • Quick export to web delivery formats

Animate focuses specifically on responsive vector capabilities suited for online deployment.

Animaker: DIY Explainer Magic

For folks looking to make fun social videos easily, see how Animaker expedites the process:

The magic of Animaker for beginners:

  • Huge media library of animated characters and scenes
  • Drag-and-drop video builder workflow
  • Customise poses with automatic tweening
  • Input dialogue with automatic lip sync
  • Change camera angles with prebuilt options
  • Quick export to social formats

It trades control for speed and automation. Perfect for hobbyists!

Use Cases and Alternatives

Best Animation Software Pencil 2D

Let’s explore specific popular animation needs and which tools can best accomplish those jobs. I’ll also suggest alternative options based on skill level and pricing.

I Want Software For 2D Character Animation

  • Beginner: Vyond
  • Intermediate: Adobe Animate
  • Advanced: Toon Boom Harmony
  • Free Alternatives: OpenToonz, Blender Grease Pencil

I Want Software For Building Interactives and Web Banners

  • Primary: Adobe Animate
  • Alternatives: Adobe After Effects, Blender Grease Pencil

I want Software For Making Explainer Videos For Social

  • Beginner: Animaker, Powtoon
  • Intermediate: Vyond, After Effects
  • Advanced: Toon Boom Harmony

I Want Software For Rotoscoping Footage

  • Primary: Adobe After Effects
  • Alternatives: Toon Boom Harmony, DaVinci Resolve Fusion

I Want Software For Making 3D Animations

  • Beginner: Blender
  • Intermediate: Cinema4D
  • Advanced: Autodesk Maya

I Want an iPad App For Drawing and Animating

  • Primary: Procreate
  • Alternatives: RoughAnimator, Animation Desk, FlipaClip

The Best Animation Software Is The One You Use

With the embarrassment of riches available today in animation tools, what matters most is finding software that empowers your creative skills rather than overwhelms them. As the headline says, the best animation software for you is the one you’ll use.

Opting for a solution well-matched to your experience level, project goals, and budget makes consistency and progress far more achievable in mastering animation.

Whether you’re a hobbyist wanting to bring your sketches to life over the weekends or a studio pro tasked with delivering commercial projects on tight deadlines, rest assured there’s an app that’s just right. Hopefully, this guide has helped narrow your search by illuminating critical differences across the landscape of options.

Have you successfully used any highlighted software here for your animation efforts? Are there any other great options I may have overlooked? Let me know in the comments!

Conclusion

The animation software ecosystem grows more robust each year, making creating engaging motion graphics, ads, shorts, and features accessible to all skill levels. Choosing the tool that aligns with your experience and goals will determine whether you find the process enjoyable or frustrating. Take stock honestly of where you are, through learning curves transform over time.

What matters most is sticking with an application long enough to realise your creative vision rather than bouncing between options endlessly. The best animation software for anyone remains, which fuels their passion for bringing stories to life through movement rather than letting complexity intimidate their imagination. Keep your head up, and have fun with it!

FAQs

What’s the most accessible animation software for beginners?

The most accessible animation tools for complete beginners, thanks to premade assets and templates, are Vyond, Animaker, and Powtoon. They favour drag-and-drop simplicity over control.

What animation software do professionals use?

The industry-standard tools professionals use are Toon Boom Harmony for 2D projects and Autodesk Maya for 3D animation. Tools like Adobe Animate, After Effects, and Blender are also ubiquitous.

What software can make 2D character animation?

All the significant tools can facilitate some form of 2D character animation. Still, Adobe Animate and Toon Boom Harmony provide the most robust toolsets purpose-built for hand-drawn and rigged 2D movement.

Can I animate on an iPad?

Yes absolutely! Some excellent animation and drawing apps for iPad are Procreate, RoughAnimator, Animation Desk, FlipaClip and others tailored to various styles. Many support integrations with desktop tools in production pipelines.

Is there any free animation software?

Blender is a free, open-source, and enormously powerful 3D creation suite. OpenToonz offers a free traditional-style 2D alternative. Essential web apps like Vyond, Animaker, and Kapwing also have generous free tiers but promote subscriptions for additional capabilities and exports.



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