12 Best Animation Software for Beginners (Premium, Free, and Online)

12 Best Animation Software for Beginners (Premium, Free, and Online)

Updated: May 13, 2022

Investigating which is the best animation software for beginners? Check out this selection of animation software including some of the most popular and preferred products on the market, as well as less-known but still very good animation tools available today.

In this post about the best animation software for beginners, you will find premium, free and open-source products, as well as online tools for animating. No matter if you are just making your first steps in animating, search for an alternative to the software you are using right now or want to experiment with a completely different type of animation (e.g. traditional frame-by-frame, Flash-style animations, stop motions, 2D and 3D animations, etc.), this post will help you sort out your options. Let’s begin!

Article overview:
Premium animation software for beginners
Open-source & Free animation software
Easy online video animation tools

Premium animation software for beginners… Who aim big!

A selection of the best animation software available on the market right now and preferred by all levels of users. These products are armed with rich arrays of functions and tools that will allow you to create powerful animation projects. Each of these software products come with subscription plans or as one-time purchases with free trials or free versions included. If you are a complete beginner, don’t worry – all of these programs come with tons of tutorials to start with!

1. Adobe Character Animator

Animate in real-time. Really.

Being one of the newest additions to the Adobe family, Adobe Character Animator is a powerful tool that allows you to animate cartoon characters in real-time with your movements very easily and fast. The software works very simply. You plug in your mic and cam. Then import a character specifically prepared for animation in Adobe Character Animator (called a puppet). The program detects your facial expressions and voice in order to animate the character’s face. By using pre-defined triggers and functions, you make the character walk, make gestures, hold objects, and more.

  • automatic lipsyncing and animation of facial features like mouth, eyes, and eyebrows;
  • support of real-time animation and live streaming;
  • in-app template puppets;
  • streamline recording and editing;
  • scene snapshots which act like onion-skinning;
  • walk cycles, behaviors, breathing, blinking, and other animation options;
  • replays, magnets, and more functions.
  • Perfect for online education, game streaming, live chat and more.
Pricing plans:
  • Free trial – 7 days
  • Creative Cloud All Apps – $52.99/month billed annually
  • Students and teachers – $19.99/month billed annually
  • Business – from $33.99/month billed annually

If you are interested in the software, check out these 16 Tutorials to Learn Adobe Character Animator. And if you are ready to go with the software – grab these free Character Animator Puppets.


2. Cartoon Animator 4 (formerly CrazyTalk Animator 3)

Professional 2D creativity and animation design

Cartoon Animator 4 is software for all levels of users – suitable for beginners as well as professionals who want to create engaging high-quality animations.

The software allows you to create custom 2D characters, choose characters from the huge database, and import PSD character templates.  You can easily make any static image move by applying different motion templates provided in the library, even 3D motions.

The software also comes with a bone rigging tool, and supports audio lip-syncing, facial detection, and many more simple and advanced features, depending on the edition you are using. Pretty much, Cartoon Animator 4 allows you to have full control over your 2D characters and create professional animation.

  • 4K video support;
  • library of pre-made character templates and motion templates;
  • tools for creating 2D characters including rigging and bone tools;
  • tools for animating characters including elastic and bouncy curve editing, facial free form deformation, audio lip-syncing;
  • tools for creating talking heads and employing them on any character;
  • easy to import PSD files as character templates, and export them to PSD for graphic editing;
  • live facial motion capture – from any angle;
  • head driven body movements;
  • up to 360 degrees head-turning;
  • supports many popular images and video formats;
  • plus many more advanced animation features.
  • Pro Edition – $99 (+80 motions), discount available
  • Pipeline Edition – $248 (+80 motions), discount available
  • Special bundle discounts
  • Free trial – 30 days


3. Stop Motion Studio

Stop-motion animation software for beginners

An app perfect for beginners in video making. Stop Motion Studio will help you create amazing 4K stop-motion animations that can easily be mixed with 2D style drawings painted directly onto the image.

With the frame-by-frame editor enriched with super handy features, you have a powerful and affordable app for your device. Stop Motion Studio can be installed on iPhone, iPad, macOS, Android, and Windows, and you can easily open the same project on different devices.

  • 4K ultra HD videos;
  • runs on iPhone, iPad, macOS, Android, and Windows;
  • manual or automatic control of the focus, exposure, ISO, white balance
  • DSLR camera support;
  • green screen option and background library;
  • import of images, audio, video files;
  • frame-by-frame view and easy editing;
  • grid and onion skinning options;
  • connect a remote camera as a second device;
  • paint tools, sound effects, magic eraser, and more handy tools.
  • for iOS – $4.99
  • for Mac – $9.99
  • for Android – $4.99
  • for Windows – $9.99


4. DigiCel FlipBook

Easy to use and powerful enough to create great 2D animations

Considered as one of the easiest 2D animation software on the market, DigiCel FlipBook allows you to create traditional frame-by-frame animation. You can draw directly onto the software or scan your paper drawings – it’s completely up to your personal preferences! The software also allows you to create stop motion animations if that’s the type of animation you are looking for. Boosted with very useful features, DigiCel FlipBook is a powerful and easy-to-understand tool for traditional 2D animation.

  • shoot and scan your drawings or draw right into the software;
  • lipsync support;
  • work on one or multiple frames at a time;
  • pan, zoom, rotate, blur, dissolve;
  • import/export functions, and more;
  • runs on macOS and Windows.
  • Free version with a watermark
  • FlipBook Lite:  $19.99*
  • FlipBook Studio:  $49.99*
  • FlipBook ProHD:  $99.99*

*promotional offer


5. Moho (Anime Studio) Debut & Moho (Anime Studio) Pro

Complete 2D Animation Software

While Moho (Anime Studio) Debut is aimed at beginners, even for kids, it includes powerful features that allow you to realize your vision into an animation. The revolutionary tools are combined with an easy-to-understand interface. Once you get the hang of it, you can try the Pro version which is quite more pricy, in fact, but it comes with powerful features that will help you create professional animations.

Features for the Debut version:
  • available for Windows and macOS with online or offline activation;
  • multilingual support: English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Simplified), and Japanese;
  • advanced freehand tools;
  • advanced bone rigging, plus pin bones;
  • tablet support with pen pressure support;
  • animated effects for layers and shapes;
  • easy to edit and animate brushes;
  • support for images and layered PSD;
  • keyframe options: additive cycle, stagger, bounce, elastic;
  • advanced masking options, auto freeze tool, and more.
  • $59.99
  • Free trial: 30 days.
Features for the Pro version:
  • all features included in the Debut version;
  • advanced bone rigging system, plus a Physics engine, Dynamic bones, and Smart bones to control complex movements;
  • smart wrap for images and vectors;
  • frame by frame capabilities;
  • vector tools with bezier handles, plus accurate SVG, AI, and EPS import;
  • 4k video export, vector export;
  • realistic motion blur;
  • easy control of multiple layers and channels, and even more.
  • $399.99
  • Free trial: 30 days.


6. Toon Boom Harmony

The most powerful software for animation production.

Professional software for animation is used by beginners as well as very experienced animators. Toon Boom Harmony is a product with which you can create any kind of animation, be it traditional drawn animation, Flash-style cut-out animation, particle effects, a combination of 2D and 3D animations, and more. The popular software offers advanced tools and features for drawing, rigging, animation, and pretty much, all that is required from animation software.

  • runs on Windows and macOS;
  • advanced vector/bitmap drawing technology;
  • advanced palettes and painting tools providing effective control over texture and color;
  • a toolset for traditional frame-by-frame animation;
  • integrating 3D elements with 2D characters;
  • special effects including volume and lighting effects to characters with auto toning;
  • different camera angles and control over the composition;
  • cut-out animation with master controllers;
  • integration with other software: multilayer PSD and PSB files, Illustrator, PDF, bitmaps, audio;
  • easy export to game engines.
  • Harmony Essentials: $25.50 per month or $209 annual subscription
  • Harmony Advanced: $64.50 per month or $500 annual subscription
  • Harmony Premium: $117.50 per month or $954 annual subscription
  • Free trial: 21 days.


Open-source & Free animation software… To test the waters!

A selection of free animation software for beginners and not only! These completely free software products allow coding gurus from around the globe to contribute and enrich them with even more powerful features. The listed software options are some of the best ones to start learning animating. The suggestions include software for 3D animation, software for traditional 2D frame-by-frame animation, as well as software for Flash-style animations.

7. Blender

Open Source 3D creation. Free to use for any purpose.

Blender is a cross-platform free 3D creation suite offering a powerful arsenal of tools. By using Blender, you can create animations, video games, renders, models, and more 3D based projects. The software is open source and developed by many contributors from around the world. The feature-rich 3D suite software is suitable for beginners, as well as advanced users.

  • available for Windows, macOS, and Linux;
  • a built-in path-tracer engine that includes a real-time viewport preview, CPU & GPU rendering, PBR shaders & HDR lighting support, VR rendering support;
  • advanced modeling, sculpting, and UV tools;
  • advanced rigging and animation tools;
  • powerful visual effects: auto and manual tracking, camera reconstruction, real-time preview of your tracked footage and 3D scene, and more;
  • drawing in 2D mode оnto the 3D viewport;
  • full animation support including onion skinning, layers and colors for the stroke and fill, sculpt brush strokes, and more;


8. Pencil2D

Light and easy to use tool for 2D hand-drawn animations

If you are into traditional hand-drawn animation, then maybe Pencil 2D is a great software to start your animation project. This free software lets you use both raster and vector graphics and you can switch easily between the two types of artwork. Pencil 2D is a cross-platform tool and lets you focus on animating even when you are on the go. Since the software is completely free and open-source, users can have access to the source code and add features.

  • runs on Windows, Mac OSX, Linux & Free BSD
  • supports raster and vector images;
  • includes various handy tools;
  • includes distortion and light effects;
  • import/export as a GIF is available;


9. Synfig Studio

Open-source 2D animation software

Very easy for those of you who have worked with Flash and are looking for a similar animation software instead of frame-by-frame animation software. Synfig is based on vectors and allows you full control of editing the vector artwork in the animation. You also have advanced control over your characters, as well as the option to create character puppets.

Luckily, Synfig is 100% free and you can use it on Windows, Linux, and Mac. Since the software is open-source, you also have the option to access the source code.

  • full-control vector editing which allows automatic calculation of frames;
  • a variety of over 50 layer types including geometric, gradients, filters, distortions, transformations, etc.;
  • control over your character by using a bone system and complex deformations;
  • advanced controls for creating character puppets and other dynamic structures.
  • Free


Online video animation tools… To create videos in seconds!

Maybe becoming a professional animator isn’t a part of your plan and you just want to create quick animations, let’s say, for your brand. There are many great tools available on the web that will help you realize your ideas.

10. Animaker

World’s largest animated library

Animaker is an online tool for animation that offers plans for all kinds of users – from beginners to enterprises. Each version comes loaded with features and assets to help users create amazing animated videos in a diversity of styles. With Animaker, you can create 2D and 2.5D videos, animated infographic videos, handcraft videos, whiteboard videos, typography animations, and more.

  • 6 styles of videos: 2D, 2.5D, infographics, handcraft, whiteboard, typography;
  • horizontal and vertical video layouts;
  • full HD video support;
  • animated infographic maker with over 100 charts, 1000 icons, and 3000 maps;
  • advanced features for animation such as record, multimove, curve, camera in and out, transition effects, enter/exit effects;
  • a deck feature allowing you to use the animation as a video or an animated presentation;
  • audio features: text-to-speech, background music tracks, sound effects, voice recording, plus the option to import your custom sounds;
  • a library of pre-designed templates.
Pricing plans:
  • Free
  • Basic – $10 per month billed annually
  • Starter – $19 per month billed annually
  • Pro – $45 per month billed annually
  • Enterprise – you have to contact Sales


11. Vyond

The easiest way to create professional animated videos.

Vyond Studio offers an online animation-making tool suitable for people of all skill levels to make great professional animations including explainer videos, whiteboard videos, and more kinds of animated videos. Enriched with handy features, this online tool for video animation allows you to build animations based on characters, make engaging data visualizations, and more.

  • a convenient drag-and-drop tool;
  • a rich library with pre-built templates and assets;
  • import images and MP4s;
  • an array of enter and exit effects for static images;
  • automatic lip-syncing;
  • a library of characters available for full customization;
  • camera tool – pan zooms and camera angles;
  • team collaboration.
Pricing plans:
  • Free trial – 14 days
  • Essential –  $299 per year
  • Premium – $649 per year
  • Professional – $999 per year
  • Enterprise – contact Sales


12. Moovly

A cool online tool for creating animated videos for different purposes: social media, advertising, explainer videos, whiteboard videos, presentations, and more. The tool is perfect for users of all levels, as well as big and small businesses. Easy to work with, Moovly provides a library of templates, as well as images, video, and audio files to choose from.

  • user-friendly drag and drop interface;
  • a library of templates, images, video clips, and sound files;
  • upload your own media easily
  • download and sharing options
Pricing plans:
  • Free
  • Pro – $24.92/month billed annually
  • Max – $49.92/month billed annually
  • Enterprise – custom pricing


Bonus software: Wideo

Online animation software for all levels of users

A great online tool for animation that doesn’t require any previous experience in animating. With Wideo, you can create animated videos for different purposes: explainer videos, data videos, promotional videos, animated presentations, videos for e-commerce, business, real estate, and more.

To help you get started easily, the guys from Wideo have provided very useful lessons for beginners that explain the basics of working with the tool.

  • HD and full HD support;
  • a library of scene templates suitable for videos for all kinds for purposes;
  • a library of graphic assets;
  • music soundtracks;
  • video length and storage capacity depending on your plan;
  • YouTube upload, and more.
Pricing plans:
  • Free trial – 7 days
  • Basic – $19/month billed annually
  • Pro – $39/month billed annually
  • Enterprise – $79/month billed annually


Ready to make your first video animation?

We hope we’ve been helpful with this selection of animation software for beginners. The good thing is, that all software products offer free versions or free trials. So, you will be able to try before you buy.

Have a favorite animation software for beginners that are not listed on this page? It would be awesome if you share it with us in the comments below.

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Iveta Pavlova

Iveta is a passionate writer at GraphicMama who has been writing for the brand ever since the blog was launched. She keeps her focus on inspiring people and giving insight on topics like graphic design, illustrations, education, business, marketing, and more.

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