The 20 Best Animation Software for Beginners

Animation isn’t easy. It can be fun, but it is a lot of work.

You don’t have to deal with all the pain of creating animations by hand. With animation software, you can automate some complex tasks.

Like most cartoonists and animators, you want the best animation software to bring your designs to life.

I ranked and reviewed the 20 best animation software for beginners. I also list my top five to help you choose the best one.

Here are my top five picks for animation software.

blender

Blender is a professional 3D animation software for animating, rendering, compositing, and more.

clara io

Clara.io is perfect for creating stunning visual effects and animations.

k3d

K-3D is a 3D modeling, animation, and rendering program that is free and open source.

Adobe_Animate_

Adobe Animate lets you create and publish professional-quality animated content.

Moho offers everything you need to create beautiful 2D anime-style cartoons.

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What Is Animation Software?

An animation software program is a computer program that lets you make animated images, special effects, and models for games, movies, and TV shows.

Animation software can be 2D and 3D, depending on the animation type.

The Difference Between 3D Animation and 2D Animation

There are some significant differences between 3D animation and 2D animation.

3D animation uses three-dimensional models and surroundings to simulate real-world objects and movement. This animation lets animators can create natural walking, running, and jumping.

3D animations use three-dimensional objects, making realistic lighting and shading easier.

2D animation uses two-dimensional imagery, like cartoons or computer graphics. To make an animation, you make minor adjustments to each image and then play the sequence quickly.

2D animations are perfect for cartoons and comic strips since they use flat colors and shapes.

3D animation is a more complex and sophisticated way to do animation. At the same time, its similarity to 2D animation makes it perfect for projects that need to look very real.

The Best Free Animation Software Programs For Beginners

Here are the top free animation software options for beginners.

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Omar's Take

Blender is a professional 3D animation software for animating, rendering, compositing, and more.

  • Best Overall animation software for beginners
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Blender is a free animation application used by hobbyists and professionals. It has many customization possibilities and supports many file types, making it ideal for novices.

This software is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Highly customizable 3D modeling and rigging tools
  • Extensive animation controls to create more complex animations
  • VFX and animated video editing
  • Advanced rendering options for creating photorealistic images and videos

 

Pricing

  • Free to use

 

Pros

  • A powerful tool for creating professional-quality animations
  • Ability to fine-tune animations

 

Cons

  • It can be time-consuming to learn.
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Omar's Take

Clara.io is perfect for creating stunning visual effects and animations.

  • Best For Beginner 3D animators
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Clara.io makes creating and customizing animated videos easy and has everything you need to produce high-quality whiteboard videos, ad campaigns, and cartoons. This software is web browser-based and available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Robust tools to create, manipulate, and animate 3D objects in real-time
  • Advanced rendering options such as global illumination, raytracing, and GPU acceleration
  • Wide range of plugins available for extra modules, features, and effects
  • Extensive online community & tutorials to help you get started and troubleshoot any issues

 

Pricing

  • Basic: Free to use
  • Standard: $10 monthly
  • Advanced: $100 monthly
  • Enterprise: Custom

 

Pros

  • A powerful tool for creating stunning visual effects
  • It has an easy-to-use interface, even for beginners

 

Cons

  • Some complex features may be challenging to learn without a tutorial.
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Omar's Take

K-3D is a free and open source 3D modeling, animation, and rendering program.

  • Best For Beginner 3D animators
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

K-3D is a flexible 3D animation software that makes it easy to create stunning 3D content. K-3D is available on Windows and Linus and has the tools and functionality you need, whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist.

Features

  • Support for a wide range of 3D modeling tools, including sculpting and texturing
  • Powerful animation features such as keyframing, rigging, and animation scripting
  • Advanced rendering options such as global illumination, raytracing, and GPU acceleration
  • Extensive online community for troubleshooting and support

 

Pricing

  • Free and open-source

 

Pros

  • It has powerful animation features
  • It has many customization options

 

Cons

  • A complex interface that can be difficult to learn
  • No tutorial on how to use
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Omar's Take

OpenToonz is for creating traditional hand-drawn animations, digital cartoons, and more.

  • Best For First-time cartoonists and animators
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

OpenToonz is one of the best free animation programs for beginners and experts.

Its many features and customization options make it easy to create stunning animations. It works with both Windows and Mac.

Features

  • Extensive drawing tools and customization options
  • Support for frame-by-frame animation
  • Tools to fine-tune your animations by adding and editing keyframes
  • Ability to export animations in a wide variety of file formats

 

Pricing

  • Free and open-source

 

Pros

  • Powerful animation software for beginners and professionals.
  • Zero-cost.

 

Cons

  • It has a steep learning curve.
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Omar's Take

Animaker offers various scenes and props to improve your animations.

  • Best For Videomaking hobbyists
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount Save up to 50%
  • Promotion N/A

Animaker is a quick and easy animation software program perfect for beginners. Animaker’s massive library of templates and drag-and-drop interface make creating excellent animations easy.

Features

  • Over 100 characters, props, and backgrounds (including audio tracks)
  • Pre-built layouts with animations and sound effects
  • Easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface
  • Pro-level features to create smooth animations

 

Pricing

  • Free to use
  • Basic: $10 monthly
  • Starter: $19 monthly
  • Pro: $49 monthly

 

Pros

  • Professional-looking animations.
  • Excellent user experience, even for beginners.

 

Cons

  • It may be too limited in features.
  • Some animations may look jarring and not as smooth.
  • The free version includes a watermark.
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Omar's Take

Synfig Studio is a vector animation software that can create high-quality 2D animations.

  • Best For Vector and 2D artists
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Synfig Studio makes building detailed 2D animations and vector graphics easy. Its tools and customization features let you create professional-quality animations quickly. You can get this software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Support for layers, masks, and other advanced animation tools
  • Flexible timeline to create complex animations in a simple interface
  • Community-built tutorials and knowledge base for users of all experience levels
  • Access to animation preview and editing tools for the open-source community

 

Pricing

  • Free and open-source

 

Pros

  • Powerful animation features
  • Advanced customization options

 

Cons

  • Limited support for third-party apps
  • Possible bugs or glitches in the software
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Omar's Take

Toontastic 3D is an animation software perfect for creating rich, engaging animated stories.

  • Best For 3D storytellers
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Toontastic 3D makes creating professional-quality animations and tales easy.

This software’s easy interface, tools and features, and community support help bring your ideas to life. It’s web-browser-based but is also available on Android and iOS.

Features

  • Advanced storyboarding tools to help you plan out your animation scenes
  • Customizable characters and backgrounds with a wide range of options
  • Tools to animate your characters by recording voice narration or using keyframes
  • Easy sharing options to export and share your animations with others

 

Pricing

  • Free to use

 

Pros

  • Powerful and easy to use
  • Great for beginners looking to tell animated stories

 

Cons

  • A limited selection of pre-built assets
  • It may not have all the features needed for more complex animations or projects.
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Omar's Take

Animation Paper is easy-to-use and perfect for creating traditional hand-drawn animations.

  • Best For Beginner 2D Animators
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Animation Paper’s capabilities let you build great 2D animations. Animation Paper includes the tools and functionality traditional artists and beginners need to create 2D animations. It is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Simple drag-and-drop interface to create characters, props, and scenes
  • Tools to customize your characters with a wide range of features and parameters
  • Advanced features like animating layers or using onion skinning to fine-tune your animations
  • Ability to export animations in typical video or image formats for quick sharing

 

Pricing

  • Free and open-source

Pros

  • Easy to use and great for beginners who want to create hand-drawn animations

 

Cons

  • A limited selection of pre-built assets
  • A complex interface that may be difficult to learn for some users
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Pencil 2D is ideal for creating cartoons and traditional, hand-drawn animations.

  • Best For Novice cartoonists
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Pencil 2D Animation is excellent for newbie animators, available on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Its easy-to-use interface and features let you easily create professional-quality animations.

Features

  • Aid for many layers and frame-by-frame animation
  • Tools to create smooth and natural animation
    Works with standard image formats such as PNG, JPG, and GIF
  • Easy-to-use drawing tools and timeline animation functions

 

Pricing

  • Free and open-source

 

Pros

  • Excellent tool for hand-drawn animations
  • Simple interface that is easy to learn

 

Cons

  • A limited selection of pre-built assets
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Omar's Take

Tupitube is cutting-edge animation software that makes collaborating on animated content easy.

  • Best For Team of Animators
  • Price Free
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion N/A

Tupitube is a powerful video animation software for creating interactive videos.

This software provides everything an animator needs to produce high-quality animations from scratch. It’s web browser-based but is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Powerful collaborative tools to help you work with others on your animations
  • A unique platform for building interactive stories and games, as well as traditional animations
  • Advanced animation tools such as motion capture, lip-syncing, and dynamic simulations
  • Extensive library of pre-built assets and effects to choose from

 

Pricing

  • Free and open-source

 

Pros

  • Innovative platform for creating animated content
  • Robust tools for creating complex effects and animations

 

Cons

  • Limited tutorials or resources for beginners
  • It may be challenging to learn all the features in one sitting.

Best Paid Animation Software Programs For Beginners

 

Let’s look at the top paid animation software options for beginners:

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Omar's Take

Adobe Animate lets you create and publish professional-quality animated content.

  • Best Animation software for beginners
  • Price Starts at $20.99 monthly
  • Annual Discount Annual subscription, cancel within 14 days for a full refund
  • Promotion 30-day free trial of Adobe Stock

Adobe Animate is an industry-leading animation software that makes it easy to produce high-quality animated videos for the web, mobile apps, and more. Adobe Animate is ideal for generating professional-grade animations, even for beginners. It is available on Windows and Mac.

Features

  • Advanced drawing tools for creating complex vector workflows and illustrations
  • Support for importing media files from a wide range of formats, including PSD, SVG, WebP, and GIF
  • Integrated collaboration tools for working with other users and sharing your projects
  • Advanced rendering capabilities with support for rendering in 2D, 3D, and VR formats

 

Pricing

  • Plans start at $20.99 monthly

 

Pros

  • Provides all the professional-grade features you need to create interactive animations

 

Cons

  • Some users may find the steep learning curve and complex interface hard to master
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Omar's Take

Moho offers everything you need to create beautiful 2D anime-style cartoons.

  • Best For 2D cartoons
  • Price One-time purchase (download & physical)
  • Annual Discount N/A
  • Promotion 30-Day free trial

Moho (previously called Moho Anime Studio) is a popular paid animation software tool. Whether you’re making 2D or 3D animations, Moho has the tools and functionality to bring your characters, scenes, and stories to life.

This software is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Features

  • Custom character creator with a wide range of selections
  • Advanced animation tools for creating complex movements and transitions
  • Support for in-depth animation scripting for advanced users
  • Extensive library of pre-animated characters, props, and effects

 

Pricing

  • Debut: $59.99
  • Pro: $399.99

 

Pros

  • Professional-quality animation software
  • Tons of customization options and features

 

Cons

  • Some users may prefer a more simple animation software
  • No free trial is available
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Omar's Take

Cinema 4D lets you create 3D models, animations, motion graphics, and more.

  • Best All-rounder
  • Price Starts at $64 monthly
  • Annual Discount Save up to 36% when you buy a yearly than a monthly subscription
  • Promotion Limited-time offer

Cinema 4D is a powerful animation tool. Cinema 4D has all the tools you need to create animation and spectacular 3D models for games, movies, and TV. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Features

  • Advanced animation tools for creating realistic and lifelike characters and movements
  • Powerful rendering capabilities with support for global illumination and ray tracing
  • Support for an extensive library of add-ons and plugins for advanced customization
  • Share your projects with other users through the cloud or social media.

Pricing

  • Plans start at $64 monthly

Pros

  • Powerful animation software
  • Perfect for professionals and hobbyists alike

Cons

No free trial

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Omar's Take

Houdini is a 3D visual effect, molding, and compositing software used in movies and TV shows..

  • Best For Industry-standard software
  • Price Starts at $75 monthly
  • Annual Discount Avail 50% off and upgrade your Houdini software
  • Promotion Free trial available

Houdini is a popular 3D animation application. It provides many complex animation tools and features. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional animator, Houdini makes sophisticated 3D animations easy.

This software is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Powerful modeling and animation tools for creating professional-grade 3D visuals
  • Support for advanced rendering features like radiosity, ray tracing, and more
  • Support for a wide range of video formats, including OBJ, FBX, and STL
  • Extensive library of tutorials and training resources

 

Pricing

  • Plans start at $75 monthly

Pros

  • Perfect for professionals and hobbyists alike
  • The free version is available

Cons

  • Some users may find the steep learning curve challenging
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Omar's Take

Moovly lets you create engaging video content without prior video editing experience.

  • Best For Beginners and professionals
  • Price Starts at $33.25 monthly
  • Annual Discount Get up to 40% off on all yearly subscriptions
  • Promotion Free trial and special holiday offer

Moovly is ideal for creating high-quality animated videos. You can create compelling animations with hundreds of templates, resources, and editing tools. It is web-browser based.

Features

  • Hundreds of templates and resources to get you started
  • Support for editing videos in a wide range of formats, including AVI, MOV, and MP4
  • Integrated collaboration tools for sharing and collaborating with other users
  • Access to free video training resources

Pricing

  • Plans start at $33.25 monthly

Pros

  • Easy-to-use platform
    Free version

Cons

  • Some users may find the subscription-based pricing model limiting.
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Omar's Take

Cartoon Animator 5 makes it easy to create professional-quality animations in minutes.

  • Best Cartoon animation software
  • Price Starts at $129 monthly
  • Annual Discount Avail a bundle and save up to 42%
  • Promotion Special holidays and limited-time offers

Cartoon Animator 5 is a sophisticated animation software that makes professional-grade animations easy. Cartoon Animator 5 lets you create engaging animations quickly and effortlessly.

This software is available only on Windows.

Features:

  • Full suite of tools for drawing 2D characters, backgrounds, and props with precision
  • Support for advanced animation effects like onion skinning, inverse kinematics, and more
  • Integrated video editing tools for adding audio and video effects to your animations
  • A user-friendly interface makes it easy to master the software in just minutes.

 

Pricing:

  • Starts at $129

Pros:

  • It provides all the tools you need to create engaging
  • Professional-quality animations quickly and easily

Cons:

  • Quite challenging to learn at the beginning.
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Omar's Take

Adobe Character Animator is a 2D tool that lets you edit and animate your illustrations.

  • Best For Character animation
  • Price Starts at $19.99 monthly
  • Annual Discount Annual subscription, cancel within 14 days for a full refund
  • Promotion 30-day free trial

Adobe Character Animator is one of the leading paid animation software programs today. Whether creating 2D animations or 3D character models, Adobe Character Animator has all the tools you need to bring your characters to life.

This software is compatible with both Windows and Mac.

Features

  • Powerful masking and tracking tools to animate individual parts of your character
  • Support for many layers and frame-by-frame animation
  • Real-time lip sync with automatic audio analysis tools
  • Advanced animation controls for facial expressions, body movements, and gestures

 

Pricing

  • Plans start at $19.99 monthly

Pros

  • Powerful animation features and customization tools
    Professional-quality animations

Cons

  • Users may experience bugs or glitches due to frequent updates.
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Omar's Take

Wideo is a cloud-based online animation software and video creation platform.

  • Best Cloud-based platform
  • Price Starts at $19 monthly
  • Annual Discount Get 20% off yearly plans
  • Promotion Videos up to 30 seconds free forever!

Wideo lets you create professional-quality animations in minutes. Whether a beginner or seasoned animator, Wideo has all the tools and features you need. It is also web-browser based.

Features

  • Drag-and-drop editor for creating animated videos without the need for technical skills
  • Support for a wide range of video formats, including MP4, AVI, MOV, and more
  • Hundreds of preloaded templates and media assets to help you get started
  • Advanced editing tools for adding text, images, and other multimedia elements
  • Access to the Wideo community of animated video creators for collaboration and inspiration

Pricing

  • Free
  • Basic: $19 monthly
  • Pro: $39 monthly
  • Pro+: $79 monthly

Pros

  • Intuitive interface and a wide range of features and customization
    options
  • A free version is available

Cons

Some users may find the lack of advanced animation features limiting.

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Omar's Take

Powtoon is easy to use and has a wide variety of templates and preset characters to help get you started.

  • Best User-friendly animation software
  • Price Starts at $20 monthly
  • Annual Discount Get 30% off on all premium plans (limited-time offer)
  • Promotion Free trial

Powtoon helps amateurs easily animate their material. Anyone can make professional-looking animations with drag-and-drop.

Since this software is web browser-based, sharing and embedding animations are straightforward.

Features

  • Lots of ready-made templates divided into five different categories
  • Character creation and extensive animation controls
  • You can upload audio files, record audio, or use the built-in audio
  • Download in various file types or post straight on social media

Pricing

  • Paid subscriptions begin at $20 monthly

Pros

  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Many built-in graphic assets
  • Limited plan for free

Cons

  • Watermark is visible for free users
  • Ads may interfere with the user experience.
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Omar's Take

Autodesk Maya is one of the most known and in-demand animation software packages on the market today.

  • Best For Advanced animators
  • Price Subscription and Flex
  • Annual Discount Buy three subscriptions and save 20%
  • Promotion Free trial available

Autodesk Maya is a 3D animation software that makes it easy to produce movies, TV shows, video games, and more. Autodesk Maya is great for generating professional animations, whether you’re a novice or an expert.

This software is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Features

  • Full suite of tools for modeling, texturing, rigging, and animating 3D models.
  • Support for advanced features like particle simulations, dynamic simulation systems, and more
  • Advanced rendering capabilities with support for ray tracing, global illumination, and more
  • Integrated collaboration tools for easily sharing your projects with other users

Pricing

  • $5,085 paid every three years
  • $1,785 paid yearly
  • $225 paid monthly

Pros

  • Provides a level of flexibility and control in every part of your animation projects

Cons

  • Time-consuming and might be hard to understand

Considerations When Choosing the Best Animation Software

 

Be careful when picking out the best animation software for beginners. Choosing the best animation program depends on what you want and how good you are at it.

Compare the ease of use, the templates, and the advanced features.

Consider how well the software renders, how it handles different video formats, and how much it costs.

I already listed the most popular choices above, so it should be easier for you to choose the right one.

 

Advantages of Using Animation Software

Here are some advantages of selecting the proper animation software for your needs.

  • Good animation software gives you the tools to generate high-quality animations. It saves time and effort, allowing you to be more creative with your creations.
  • The best animation software includes multiple rendering options to make realistic or stylized effects.
  • Technology can boost performance by shrinking files or reducing system usage.
  • Many animation programs offer free training and support to aid beginners and learners.

 

Disadvantages of Using Animation Software

Here are some problems with free animation software.

  • Many free software programs lack the advanced functionality necessary to make good, professional animations.
  • Paid software is safer and more stable than free because of updates to function with newer OSes or hardware.
  • Most free software packages have minimal community support or resources, making it troublesome to get help if the software gives you trouble.

 

Paid animation software provides better tools, rendering, and technical support. It also has frequent software updates to guarantee OS and device compatibility.

However, animators on a budget may prefer free software.

 

Should You Get Free or Paid Animation Software?

 

Paid options are often better and more robust than free ones, making them good tools for pros. It’s for those who want advanced features right away.

Free animation software is suitable for amateurs or those with limited funds.

Many free options still give you good tools and resources. Some also have paid upgrades or versions with more features.

 

How To Stay Safe When Using Free or Paid Animation Software

 

Whether you use free or paid animation software, following simple rules is crucial to keep your computer and data safe from possible threats.

Log into your accounts with strong passwords, back up your work often, and update your operating system.

Consider turning off any add-ons or plugins you don’t need that could put your system at risk.
Remove unknown programs and disable automatic updates for apps you don’t need for work.

Don’t click on links or download files from websites you don’t know because they could make your computer more vulnerable to malware or other viruses.

 

The Bottom Line:

I hope my list of the best animation software has made it easier for you to choose the right one.

Use the information you learned to make an informed decision and get the most appropriate animation software for your specific goals, budget, and animation needs.

You can also check out my blog if you’re looking for other types of business software.

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Omar
Founder of OJ Digital Solutions

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