Over the years, the 2D animation programs used by the cartoonists have been changed a lot. From the traditional approach of using pen and paper to filter out the ideas for using this software to illustrate more than the user thinking, make the job and even life easier and effective. A professional 2D animation software for beginners comes with everything from pre-defined slides to step-by-step tutorial guides which help the newcomers to give wings to their ideas.
There are a lot of 2D animation programs and software available in the market, and most of them are good as well as free for use too. But, when it comes to picking up the best among them, it becomes somewhat difficult especially for the beginners to start from. So, we have picked some of the best software available in the market and provided their reviews to help the new professionals as well as the pros too for getting the good tool for creating awesome cartoon series and videos.
Best 2D Animation Software
The “Anime Studio Debut” from Smith Micro Software Inc. is a perfect 2D animation program for the beginners. It comes with an included library of pre-loaded characters and assets. You can use them for creating stunning scenes to make a popular video or series.
- It comes with tools which work as freehand drawing tools
- Compatible with drawing tables
- You can get full control on your character’s moves, turns, and bends
- It comes with a multi-touch support for the Wacom tablets
- Though the Anime Studio Debut gets updates at frequent times; sometimes it keeps crashing a much
- If you want a 2D animation program for a comic creation, then you may not find this strong enough
You may be able to create your comic series, but it is not-at-all suitable for a graphical novel. It is a tremendously helpful 2D animation software for the beginners, though.
Again from Smith Micro Software Inc., you will get another great 2D animation software – Clip Studio Paint Pro. It will add power and flexibility in your animation design process. It was formerly known as ‘Manga Studio 5’ which gives you a total solution of having a stunning and publishing ready comics and manga.
- The intuitive interface and a super flexible feature set will help you to quickly and easily create your animation projects
- It will help you to create natural artwork with your pen tablet by sketching, scanning, and importing your animation work directly
- It has a frame-by-frame animation feature which has an onion skinning display (to see your previous slide in the current one), timeline with adjustment settings, and light table which will help you to create stunning series
- Three options available for download; for Mac, for Windows PC, and CD-ROM
- Lack of some shortcuts like changing the size of the brush with a click while drawing
- You cannot rotate the image/text without rasterizing it
Though the Clip Studio Paint Pro from Smith Micro Software Inc. is lacking some basic features like changing the brush size, rotating text, or a high-quality transform tool as available in the other standard 2D animation software, it is one of the best 2D animation programs for creating cartoon images. It surely gives more than its money.
“Adobe After Effects” is perfect for creating post-production effects on a video and to create a high-end motion graphics. The smaller scale of the program allows creating stunning 2D video animations. It allows you to create series of content titles and quick animations.
- It has an accurate and fast face tracker
- Compatible with the Windows and Mac Operating Systems both
- It allows you to have an uninterrupted preview
- Full access to the Adobe Creative Cloud Library
- It draws an enormous power, so you will need a powerful computer to run it normally
- If you are getting it for professional work, then you may find that the character animator has limited features
You may not find some advanced or full features, but the Adobe performance will make you enjoy it for quite a time.
To help out the younger beginners in the field of 2D animation software, the HUE Animation has designed this wonderful 2D animation studio software for the Windows, Apple, and MAC PCs. It is an all-in-one package which provides everything to the teenagers, especially kids, to start their first animation. This 2D animation software has won several awards like Creative Child (Product of the Year), Parent’s Choice Award, Good Toy Guide, Teacher’s Choice Award, Mom’s Choice Award, and Dad’s Choice Award.
- It is a solid stop motion animation kit which is simple and easy to learn and start animation straight away
- Easy to setup and use Animation software
- An HD camera with mic and USB cable comes as plug n play
- A 60-page full-color book from HUE Animation will help the kids and teenagers in their different animation projects
- Free access to the ‘Creatubbles’ which is an online community to share the ideas, work, and conversations
- You can choose the color of the included camera from blue, red, green, and black
- We tried twice, but we could not install it on a MAC system, probably the piece we got may be defective, but beware if you are buying it for MAC
- No phone number of the company available for the direct contact
- Camera quality is not as high-standard as mentioned
For a kid or a youngster who is eager to start the first animation after watching a fantastic animated movie, then the HUE Animation Studio is the good animation software to choose. Ease-of-use makes it extremely helpful for the beginners, but pray to get a good piece of the product. Otherwise, you will have to wait for a bit more time for the replacement or to solve your queries from the end of the company.
Pencil 2D is one of the most favorite drawing/animation software for the beginners. It is available for free to download and use. It helps to create traditional hand-drawn animation cartoons.
- You can use both bitmap and vector graphics
- Free to use, which makes it perfect for beginners to start with
- You will be able to start animating immediately
- Layered functionality makes easy-to-use
- Needs improvements in importing and exporting features
- If you are using MAC OSX 10.8 or lower version, then you can’t use all of its advanced features (Upgrades are good always)
It is a good 2D animation program for the users of all ages.
In the industry of 2D animation software, Toon Boom Harmony is a premier name. The big banners like Warner Bros., Disney, and Nickelodeon uses the products of Toon Boom wisely in their projects. It can be said as the best powerful 2D animation software available today. Get this independent guide for the Toon Boom Harmony.
- It allows you to do everything including Flash Style cut-out animation, traditional paper drawing, etc. with its awesome drawing tools
- It allows you to give a natural look to the character’s movements
- You can also show your previous work under the sketch which gives a smooth motion
- It automatically animates the series of points either via keyframe or frame-by-frame animation
- It is very expensive
- You may not get full step-by-step tutorials for all the features
Nevermind if you are a hobbyist or a beginning animator or a professional designer, the Toon Boom Harmony will not let you down.
As they bannered on their website, the Digicel FlipBook makes the 2D animation even easier for the beginners in the field. It is a favorite 2D animation program among the professional animators as well as a company like Disney. According to your budget and needs, you can choose from a range of different versions of the software.
- Easy to use interface
- You can designate your own areas to erase or fill with
- You can trace your previous as well as next frame to adjust the movements in the current working frame
- Different file types support for import, export, and render
- If you want a High Definition output, then you will need to buy a more expensive ProHD version
- Limited support for the animation tutorial
It is one of the most favorite 2D animation software today which comes with old-fashioned drawing tools with time-saving features.
Being marketed as a fun education 2D animation software, the Honestech Stopmotion Studio 4.0 is specially designed to create stop motion videos from the differently angled or posed images captured by you. It is a good choice for the beginners and for the school projects of creating animated movies.
- The Onionskin feature helps you to see the previous frames in an overlay which is transparent to create the next image or frame easily
- You can directly upload your videos to Facebook or YouTube by just click of a button
- It has support for the DSLR camera which will help you to create stunning videos in High Definition format
- You can add your own sound effects, background music, voice overs, and can change the background settings using a green/blue screen to get the best match with your project
- Supports different file formats like WMV, AVI, MPEG1, MPEG2 or HD MPEG
- It only supports Windows platforms
- Instructions are there, but not with step-by-step guide to help the new starters
- You should record your voice outside the program. Otherwise, you may not get control over the sound
With the easy installation process and a good beginner’s program, the Honestech Stopmotion Studio 4.0 by VIDBOX is a worth-the-money 2D animation software. It will not support other than the Windows System and some knowledge you should get from outside, but still, it is a good choice for the beginners.
In the Adobe’s creative cloud application suite, the Animate CC is a new and major component. It was previously named as Adobe Flash which was quite popular among the worldwide users. It has become the pioneer in the animation industry. It will give you the new ability to create custom designed animations. Check below how you will get the wings to your beautiful ideas with the Adobe Animate CC.
- It is an industry leading software which was specifically designed for those who want to create some interactive animations
- You will get access to the all the latest Adobe updates with latest features
- It comes with Adobe CreativeSync which allows you to use Creative Cloud Libraries and Adobe Stock
- You will get the high-standard drawing tools to create stunning animation projects
- You can create custom designed banner ads, micro-interactions as well as interactive infographics
- You can publish your animation work on different platforms with just a click
- Once you have subscribed from the Adobe site, you cannot cancel it afterward
It may not be the perfect 2D animation software, but the Adobe Animate CC is surely the application that the designers would want on their PCs. There are more animator-friendly tools at lower prices available in the market, but still, the Animate CC is a web animator’s choice of 2D animation tool.
We all grew up watching Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, etc. Still, they refresh our minds while we watch them again. Many times, I thought that maybe someday I also will be able to create my own animated cartoon series (Ideas and their implementations are two different things!).
The 2D animation software saves your time of spending years in an art school or getting training from a production house. From simpler to complex animations, you can create stunning cartoons and videos in your way. The above list of the “Best 2D Animation Software for Beginners” will help you to get a perfect animation program according to your budget and requirements.