51 Tools for creating motion graphics and animation videos

Animations are not hard to do or physically demanding as it was in its early days of development. Thanks to the advent of technology and its evolution, we can now make animation from the comfort of our home. Back then it was not an easy task to produce 2 minutes of motion graphics. Animators had to sit for hours to make each frame one by one by hand-drawn picture. Things are different in the 21st centuries. We can do all this with the help of animation software on our personal computer.

Since it is getting easier to do these kinds of tasks, animations are getting popular day by day. Animations are being used in a lot of areas from running an effective marketing campaign for your product to personal projects.

Needless to say, with its popularity a plethora of animation software and mobile apps are now available to create animation for different purposes. There are two types of animation.

🔹 2D animation

🔹 3D animation

However, based on the complexity and the ease of use, all kinds of software are available. From novice to advance, there is one for everyone to fulfill their need. In this article, we have presented a list of 51 software and you can choose what suits you the most.

 

2D animation software

  1. Blender Grease Pencil
Developer: Blender Foundation
License: GPLv2+
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Free BSD

You can use the Grease Pencil tool to draw freehand sketches and annotations in most of the Editors. The sketches that are made are saved with the blend-file so they can be seen at any time, an advantage over the old grease pencil. However, you can also do much more with the digital grease pencil such as:

🔹 Planning animation poses and motion curves.

🔹 Sketching out model topology.

🔹 Hand-drawn storyboarding in 3D.

🔹 As director’s tool to review shots.

🔹 2D animations

  1. OpenToonz and Toonz
Developer: Dwango, Digital Video S.p.a.
License: (Open source) BSD, Proprietary
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

OpenToonz is an open-source 2D animation software. A premium version of this version is also available under the name Toonz. This a very capable piece of software. Over the years, this software was used to create some of the masterpieces including Miyazaki’s Spirited away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo. Other notable works include Futurama, Anastasia, Asterix in America (in this movie the part of the sea storm was created by Toonz completely), and much more.

Open-source version of this software was announced March 19th, 2016.

  1. TupiTube
Developer: MaeFloresta, Gustav Gonzalez
License: GPLv2
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

TupiTube Desk is a desktop application to create and share 2D animations, focused on kids and teenagers. Its user interface has been designed looking for providing a high-level experience of usability. Some notable features of the software include:

🔹 Support for basic tools for vector illustration that includes rectangles, ellipses, lines, and polygons. Paths can also be created using the pen or pencil tool. The paint bucket tool can be used to fill bounded areas of vector objects.

🔹 Raster images (sometimes called Bitmap) can be imported and used as either static backgrounds or animated assets.

🔹 Finished animations can be exported to various file formats that include: (Ogg Theora, AVI, MPEG, SWF. Or as a sequence of images in PNG, JPEG, and SVG format.

🔹 Basic support for tweening of positions, colors, rotation, scale, sheer, and opacity has been added to recent releases.

🔹 The Library panel allows for the organization and reuse of imported media assets.

 

  1. Pencil2D
Developer: Matt Chang
License: GPL
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Pencil2D is an open-source 2D animation software. This software features a simple-looking user interface which is very easy to get used to. You can easily create 2D animations, graphics using its vector/bitmap drawing interface of the application.

 

  1. Synfig
Developer:  Robert Quattlebaum
License: GPL
Operating System or Environment:  Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Synfig Studio (also known as Synfig) is a free and open-source 2D vector graphics and timeline-based computer animation program. This is a true front-end and back-end software. It is possible for you to design the animation in the front-end and later you can render the project on another computer without having to worry about the graphical display.

 

  1. Adobe Animate
Developer: Adobe Systems
License:  Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Developed by Adobe System, Adobe animate is a multimedia authoring and animation software. This software is very popular for designing vector graphics and animation for television programs, online video, web application, website, rich internet application, and video games. It also offers a vast area of support for raster image, Action scripting, audio and video embedding, text, etc.

For publishing the animation you can choose any from its many media format including HTML5, WebGL, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) and more.

 

  1. Adobe After Effects
Developer: Adobe Systems
License:  Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

After Effects was originally created by David Herbstman, David Simons, Daniel Wilk, David M. Cotter, and Russell Belfer at the Company of Science and Art (CoSA) in Providence, Rhode Island in 1993. Later in 1994 Adobe acquired the software from Aldus. Since then it never stopped gaining momentum and has become the worldwide phenomena that it is today.

After Effects is a visual effect, motion graphics, and compositing application. It has many usages, for example, after effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation. Mostly used in the post-production process of film-making, television production.

 

  1. Moho (Anime Studio)
Developer: Smith Micro Software
License:  Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Moho (Anime Studio) is a 2D vector-based animation software. This is claimed to be an all-in-one animation software. To back up this claim, it has two Oscar-nominated films in its sleeve. The Breadwinner and Song of the Sea, for Best Animated Feature Film. Formerly known as Anime Studio, Moho comes in two different versions, Moho Debut, and Moho Pro.

Moho debut is more focused on beginner friendliness and ease of use, as a result, it is restricted in terms of length and image size. It doesn’t feature all the function that its big brother has. Moho supports English, German, Japanese and Spanish (Since version 9.2).

 

  1. Antics 2-D Animation
Developer: Smith Micro Software
License:  Trialware
Operating System or Environment:  Windows

This is a proprietary vector-based 2-D software for animators and graphic designers. Antics is most probably the oldest software in this category. Created by Alan Kitching in 1972. From the year 1977 to 1998 Antics were continuously developed and widely used by many studios around the world.

The support for the older version of this software was discontinued in 1998. In 2006, development of a newer version began and made available later in 2010.

 

  1. DigiCel FlipBook
Developer: DigiCel Inc.
License:  Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Digicel Flipbook is a 2D animation software and probably the simplest among the bunch. This software was designed closely replicate the traditional animation process. It is a raster-based system, doesn’t support vector graphics. Tweenig is done by onion screening and only uses frame by frame drawing.

This software has four different versions available. Lite version has some limitation where the later versions support more features as well as higher output resolution. A full-featured free demo version of this software is also available for download but produce watermarked output.

 

  1. DrawPlus
Developer: Serif
License: Commercial
Operating System or Environment: Windows

DrawPlus is a 2D vector-based animation software developed by Serif, a UK –Based software company. It has many popular software in its vicinity. However, DrawPlus was discontinued due to the development and release of its successor, Affinity Designer. This software is now part of their legacy products line up.

Regardless of its discontinuation, DrawPlus packs a very useful set of functionalities. That includes paint with watercolors, oils, and other media whilst retaining vector editing capability. It also has support for action script and a dedicated pressure studio for pen tablet calibration.

DrawPlus has two versions available for download. One is a paid version (DrawPlus X8 ) and another one is a cut down starter version which is completely free.

 

  1. Motion
Developer: Apple Inc.
License: Commercial proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: Mac OS X

Motion is developed and maintained by Apple Inc. for its MacOS operating system. It is a motion graphics tool, used to creating and editing motion graphics for video production and film production, 2D and 3D title animation and compositing for visual effect.

It has a plethora of features and advantage when used with Final Cut Pro. Final Cut Pro integration will allow you to open a Motion project file directly in Final Cut Pro. You can also be able to edit Final Cut Pro titles, effects and transitions by opening them in Motion.

Among its other features, it also has after effect integration. This has no trial or demo version available. You can buy it from the apple store.

 

  1. RETAS
Developer: RETAS STUDIO
License: Commercial proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

RETAS abbreviation for Revolutionary Engineering Total Animation System is considered to be a leader when it comes to Japanese anime creation. RETAS is a 2D animation software bundle developed and sold by Celsys. It is available for Windows and Mac OS system.

It is a complete software solution for entire animation production from digitally drawing or tracing to exporting. It has four different pieces of software to handle a specific task in animation process.

 

  1. Harmony
Developer:  Toon Boom Animation Inc.
License: Commercial Proprietary software, Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

Developed and maintained by Toon Boom Animation Inc., Harmony is a 2D animation software with full production capabilities. It is considered to be one of the most popular industry-leading production animation software. It has been used to create numerous animation films and series including Family guy, South Park, The Simpsons, SpongeBob Squirepant, etc.

It is also used by many reputed production studios like Universal, Ubisoft, Lucasfilm, FOX, NBC, and many others to create commercial projects for TV and web.

This is a feature-packed software studio with a lot of functionality including Export to Game Engine, Pipeline Integration, Effects, and Compositing, Brush Engine, Traditional Paperless Animation, and many more. It offers a free trial period of 21 days. After the trial, you have to purchase a license for uninterrupted usage.

 

  1. TVPaint Animation
Developer: TVPaint Developpement
License: Commercial Proprietary software, Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux

TVPaint Animation is a Raster graphics editor, animation and storyboarding software used to produce 2D animation. This software is developed by TVPaint Developpement SARL based in Lorraine (France).

It has been used to create numerous animated films and series including the OSCAR nominated animated feature film ‘Isle of Dogs’, César Award winner for Best Animated Film  “Loulou, l’incroyable secret”, and many more.

The trial version of this software is also available for download.

 

3D Animation Software

  1. Akeytsu
Developer:  Nukeygara
License: Commercial Proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: Windows

Akeytsu was developed by the company Nukeygara. Co-founded by Aurélien Charrier, who was an animator with more than 12 years of experience in the game industry. He wanted to make something which is intuitive and easy to use.

Akeytsu is a 3D animation and rigging software intended to target the game development market. 3D animation production process is complex and not an easy thing to do. Akytsu was created to reduce the effort so that you can produce large volumes of 3D animation with simple tools.

 

  1. Aladdin4D
Developer: Aladdin4D
License: Commercial Proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: AmigaOS, Mac OS X, iPad, Linux, AROS, MorphOS, Windows

Aladin4D is one of the earliest 3D modeling and animation software. Originally created by Greg Gorby, Aladdin4D was then acquired and updated by Nova Design, Inc. Nova tried to make it easy to use and added many new features. It was one of the first 3D software to have volumetrics which were used to create volumetric gas.

However, Aladdin4D was sold to DiscreetFX LLC in 2007 and again in 2014 to A-EON Technology Ltd. Aladdin 4D 5.x supports exchange of data with ImageFX, Amiga Lightwave 3D/Video Toaster, World Construction Set and all programs that support Nova Design’s “Magic” protocol for buffer sharing.

  1. Anim8or
Developer: R. Steven Glanville
License: Freeware
Operating System or Environment: Windows

Anim8or was developed by an NVidia software engineer named R. Steven Glanville. It is a freeware OpenGL based 3D modeling and animation program. This 19-year-old software is featured with some great high-end tools likes of which are expected only in high-end pain software.

This software does not take the full advantage of the windows native interface. That is why to this date, every update of the software is under 3 MB. There are few tutorials from the author himself on the youtube and also from some of the users as well. Once comparable to other freeware software such as Blender, it is now way behind in the race as it has seen less progression in recent years.

 

  1. Art of Illusion
Developer: R. Steven Glanville
License: Freeware
Operating System or Environment: Windows

Art Of Illusion is entirely written in java. This 3D-graphics software is free and open-source. Initially, it was created with a similar intent of use as for example 3DS-Max or Maya of the commercial software packages or Blender or Wings 3D on the freeware side.

It provides tools for 3D-modeling, creating and mapping textures and rendering both, still images and animations. Models, which are created in Art of Illusion, can also be exported for 3D-printing in .stl format.

Some user reviewed the software as ‘intuitive’, ‘straight forward to learn’, and ‘good candidate for the first 3D modeling tool’, while some characterize it as ‘software for experienced CAD users’ or taking plenty of time to figure out.

 

  1. Autodesk 3ds Max
Developer: Autodesk, Inc.
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows 7 or later

Autodesk 3Ds Max is one of the most popular and the oldest 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games, and images. It is designed for professionals and comes with a lot of quirks and features.

It has also an extensive capability to use plugins from other third party software and the architecture can be used only on the Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios and architectural visualization studios. It is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization.

  1. Autodesk Maya
Developer: Autodesk, Inc.
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: RHEL/CentOS, Windows 7 or later, Mac OS X 10.11 or later

Like 3Ds Max, Maya is also very popular and widely used for creating interactive 3D applications, including video games, animated film, TV series, or visual effects. With this amazing software, you can create reality-bending visual effects, photorealistic and natural characters, and procedural motion graphics.  It is adaptable and sturdy enough to support complex pipelines for big projects. It supports standard workflows and data formats in film and games. You can rig and animate fluid character movement and facial animation. It employees tools for complex simulations like hair, fur, fluids, cloth, and particle simulation.

Moreover, Autodesk Maya has received several Academy Awards for Technical Achievement from 2003 to 2008 and it had been used on every winning film since 1997.

 

  1. Unity
Developer: Unity Technologies
License: Proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux (preview)

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technology. It has support for more than 25 platforms. Unity can be used to build 2D or 3D virtual reality and augmented reality games, as well as simulations and other experiences. The engine has been adopted by industries outside video gaming, such as film, automotive, architecture, engineering, and construction.

Unity was the default software development kit (SDK) used for Nintendo’s Wii U video game console, with a free copy included by Nintendo with each Wii U developer license.

Unity offers primary scripting API in C# and a version of JavaScript called UnityScript, which was deprecated in August 2017, after the release of Unity 2017.1, in favor of C#. Unity technology is the basis for most virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, and Fortune said Unity “dominates the virtual reality business”.

 

  1. Blender
Developer: Blender Foundation
License: GPL v2 or later
Operating System or Environment: Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFly BSD, Haiku

Blender is the most popular open-source software for creating 3D computer graphics. Many companies have used Blender as their in-house tool like NeoGeo. Blender has been used for television commercials in several parts of the world including Australia, Iceland, Brazil, Russia, and Sweden.

Blender was used in Spider-Man 2, where it was primarily used to create animatics and pre-visualizations for the storyboard department. Not only that, many other big films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation, Wonder Woman also took advantage of blender.

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications and video games. Blender’s features include 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, rendering, motion graphics, video editing, and compositing.

 

  1. Bryce
Developer: DAZ 3D
License: Shareware, Freeware, Commercial Proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Bryce is an easy to use 3D modeling, rendering, and animation program. This award-winning software is designed in a way that will allow new users to create and render mind-bending 3D effects and environment. Moreover, Bryce is specialized in fractal landscapes. So you can completely rely on Bryce to create your 3D environment.

Add wildlife, people, props and more to your scenes via the DAZ Studio character plug-in in addition to terrain, water, sky, rocks, clouds, fog, vegetation, and architecture for which Bryce has long been the standard.

 

  1. Carrara
Developer: DAZ 3D
License: Proprietary commercial software
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Carrara is a full-featured 3D computer graphics application capable of nature modeling in addition to traditional modeling, animation texturing and rendering. The software is also capable of dynamic hair and fur simulations, particle effects, soft body, and rigid body dynamics.

It also features figure posing and editing which is the most highlighted capabilities of the software. Carrara is now owned and developed by DAZ 3D. In addition to its native renderer, the program is also integrated with external 3rd party renderers LuxRender and Octane.

 

  1. Cinema 4D
Developer: MAXON Computer GmbH
License: Proprietary commercial software
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X, AmigaOS

Cinema4D was primarily developed for AmigaOS in 1990 by MAXON Computer GmbH. With its 4th iteration, MAXON began to develop the software for windows and macintosh platform as well. As a professional 3D modeling, animation, motion graphic, and rendering application, CINEMA 4D is very popular. Like Autodesk’s Maya and 3Ds Max, CINEMA 4D is also used for creating big-budget Hollywood films such as Furious 7, Iron Man 3, Spider-Man 3(2007), War of the Worlds, Inception and many more.

Cinema 4D is a 3D modeling, animation, motion graphic, and rendering application. It is capable of procedural and polygonal/subd modeling, animating, lighting, texturing, rendering, and common features found in 3D modeling applications.

 

  1. Houdini
Developer: Side Effects Software Inc.
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Linux

Houdini is constantly working on to improve its procedural architecture to distribute tasks and manage dependencies to scale, automate and analyze content pipeline for Film, TV, Games, Advertising, and VR. And to say the least, the feature is getting improved with its every iteration.

Houdini is a 3D animation software application developed by SideFX, based in Toronto. SideFX adapted Houdini from the PRISMS suite of procedural generation software tools. Its exclusive attention to procedural generation distinguishes it from other 3D computer graphics software.

 

  1. iClone
Developer: Reallusion
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows

iClone is one of the fastest real-time 3D animation software application as it employs a 3D game engine for instant on-screen reply. Film & VFX, advertisement, animation, game, VR, education you name it, iClone has been used for every single one of them.

It’s easy to use environment and intuitive workflow has simplified the 3D animation world that blends character animation, scene design, and cinematic storytelling; thus turning your vision into reality.

iClone offers a wide range of functionalities including full facial and skeletal animation of human and animal figures; lip-syncing; import of standard 3D file types including FBX; a timeline for editing and merging motions; a scripting language (Lua) for character interaction; application of standard motion-capture files; the ability to control an animated scene in the same manner as playing a videogame; and the import of models from Google 3D Warehouse, among many other features.

And on top of that iClone does not demand royalty for the content you made using the software even when you use Reallusion’s own assets library.

 

  1. LightWave 3D
Developer: NewTek, Inc.
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: AmigaOS, Windows, MacOS

LightWave3D is an award-winning 3D computer graphics software capable of rendering out of the world 3D model of product, character, architectural structure, interior design, volumetrics, Landscape and many more. This software is among the best 3D production application out there.

It includes a fast rendering engine that supports such advanced features as realistic reflection, radiosity, caustics, and 999 render nodes. The 3D modeling component supports both polygon modeling and subdivision surfaces. The animation component has features such as inverse and forward kinematics for character animation, particle systems, and dynamics. Programmers can expand LightWave’s capabilities using an included SDK which offers Python, LScript (a proprietary scripting language) scripting and C language interfaces.

This software is responsible for the production of a lot of big-budget Hollywood movies both animated and live-action. List includes (according to LightWave website):

007 GoldenEye (1995) – The World Is Not Enough (1999) – Die Another Day (2002) – Skyfall (2012) 300 (2007), A Thousand Words (2012), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), After Earth (2013), Alice in Wonderland (2010), Angels & Demons (2009), Armageddon (1998), Avatar (2010 Visual Effects and Art Direction Academy Awards), Batman Begins (2005), Black Hawk Down (2001), Blade (1998) – Blade II (2002) – Blade: Trinity (2004), Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Deep Impact (1998), Eagle Eye (2008), Elysium (2013), Fantastic Four (2005), Ghost Rider (2007), Hancock (2008), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), Hellboy (2004), His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (2007), Hotel for Dogs (2009), I, Robot (2004), Iron Man (2008), Jumper (2008), Jurassic Park (1993 Visual Effects Academy Award) – Jurassic Park III (2001), Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) – Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Looper (2012), Men in Black (1997) , and many more.

 

  1. MikuMikuDance
Developer: Yu Higuchi
License: Freeware
Operating System or Environment: Windows

MikuMikuDance is a 3D animation software application used to create 3D animation and movies. Since its creation, the software has gone through some significant upgrade. Yu Higuchi developed the program originally for the Vocaloid character Hatsune Miku.

However, MikuMikuDance doesn’t offer modeling of character, environment or product so you need to use some 3D modeling software such as Blender or Metasequoia to create the model and UV map.

The software allows users to import 3D models into a virtual space that can be moved and animated accordingly. The positioning of the 3D figures can be easily altered, the facial expressions can be altered (as long as the model has morphs to use), and motion data can be applied to the model to make it move. Along with these functions for models, accessories, stages, and backgrounds can be added to create an environment, and effects such as lens flares and AutoLuminous (an effect that makes things glow and light up) can be applied as long as the MikuMikuEffect (MME) plugin is installed into the interface.

 

  1. Modo
Developer: Luxology, LLC,   The Foundry Visionmongers
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Linux, macOS

Modo was created by the same core group of people who were responsible for creating pioneering 3D application LightWave 3D. Originally it was developed for Amiga platform and bundled with the Amiga-based Video Toaster workstations that were popular in television studios in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Modo is a polygon and subdivision surface modeling, sculpting, 3D painting, animation, and rendering package. The program incorporates features such as n-gons and edge weighting and considered to be one of the best in what it does. Studios that adopt Modo include Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, Zoic Studios, id Software, Eden FX, Studio ArtFX, The Embassy Visual Effects, Naked Sky Entertainment, and Spinoff Studios. Also, movies like Stealth, Ant Bully, Iron Man, and Wall*E used Modo in their production.

 

  1. Moviestorm
Developer: Moviestorm Ltd
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, macOS

After its initial release in 2008, Moviestrom was predominantly used for education by the film and media student to develop their skills and portfolio. It is also used for cross-cultural creative tool from elementary to high school.

Moviestorm is a real-time 3D animation app published by Moviestorm Ltd. The software is available to and used by people of all age groups and appeals to those with a diverse range of backgrounds and interests, from amateur and professional filmmakers, through to businesses and education, as well as people just looking to simply tell stories or create messages to share using video. Moviestorm enables the user to create animated movies, using machinima technology. It takes the user from initial concept to finished, distributed movies. Sets and characters can be created and customized, and scenes can be filmed using multiple cameras.

 

  1. Muvizu
Developer:  Digimania (Formerly knowns as the DA Group)
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows

Muvizu is an interactive 3D animation package with a very sophisticated design. Drag and drop customizable characters and sets, animation libraries and automatic lip-synching makes it easy to create compelling animations in minutes.

It is based on Unreal Engine 3 and the rendering is blazing fast. The software is aimed at people who wish to make 3D animations without using expensive software packages and without specialist training. It is a popular tool for educational purposes. Muvizu has a wide variety of content producers, from single amateur users to professional studios, such as Zubox, who create shows such as The Football Special, which is broadcast on MSN.

 

  1. Messiah
Developer: pmG Worldwide, LLC
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows

Messiah is a 3D animation and rendering software application developed by pmG Worldwide. Messiah was only released for windows platform but also marketed to run on Mac OS X and Linux via Wine.

In 2000, pmG released messiah: animate; a stand-alone application that provided animators with an advanced rigging and animation toolset geared towards the animation of complex organic characters and shapes. This new package offered an Animation Host Connection which allowed users to transfer animation data into a variety of packages including Cinema4D, Lightwave, 3D Studio Max, Softimage 3D, and Maya.

 

  1. Poser
Developer: Smith Micro Software
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Poser is a beginner-friendly 3D computer graphics animation application. Developed by Smith Micro Software, Poser was optimized for 3D modeling of human figures and has gained popularity due to beginners being able to produce basic animations and digital images, as well as the extensive availability of third-party digital models.

Poser is a 3D rendering software package for the posing, animating and rendering of 3D poly-mesh human and animal figures. Similar to a virtual photography studio, Poser allows the user to load figures, props, lighting, and cameras for both still and animated renderings.

 

  1. Shade 3D
Developer: Mirye Software, Shade3D Co., Ltd
License: Trialware
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Shade 3D is a 3D modeling, rendering, animation, 3D printing computer program and it was developed by e frontier Japan and published by Mirye Software. After terminating the sales agreement with e frontier Japan and Mirye Software by the end of December 2014, Shade3D company is now developing and marketing Shade 3D products in Japan and worldwide exclusively.

Shade was first published in Japan in the mid-1980s. That means this piece of tech is was one of the oldest 3D applications on Mac OS and Windows. Shade 3D supports polygon modeling, however, all versions of Shade support curved surface modeling based on bezier based lines – a unique modeling method similar to bezier based vector editing tools such as Adobe Illustrator and not available in some other 3D modeling applications. Modeling in Shade is done with Metric or Imperial measurements selected making Shade useful for architecture.

 

  1. ZBrush
Developer: Pixologic
License:  Commercial proprietary software
Operating System or Environment: Windows, MacOsX

ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool that combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing and painting. It uses a proprietary “pixol” technology which stores lighting, color, material, and depth information for all objects on the screen. The main difference between ZBrush and more traditional modeling packages is that it is more akin to sculpting.

ZBrush is used for creating high-resolution models (able to reach 40+ million polygons) for use in movies, games, and animations, by companies ranging from ILM and Weta Digital to Epic Games and Electronic Arts. ZBrush uses dynamic levels of resolution to allow sculptors to make global or local changes to their models.

Through GoZ (“Go ZBrush”), available in Version 4, ZBrush offers integration with Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, LightWave 3D, Poser Pro, DAZ Studio, EIAS, Modo and Blender.

Animation Application for Mobile

  1. Toontastic
Developer: Google LLC.
License: Free
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

Toontastic is developed and maintained by Google. This is one of the best animation software that you can lay a hand on both for Android and iOS. With Toontastic 3D you can draw, animate, and narrate your own cartoons. It’s as easy as play. Just move your characters around onscreen, tell your story, and Toontastic records your voice and animations and stores it on your device as a 3D video. Toontastic is a powerful and playful way to create interstellar adventures, breaking news reports, video game designs, family photo albums, or anything else you might imagine!

 

  1. PicsArt Animator
Developer: PicsArt
License: Free (In-app Products)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

PicsArt Animator is developed and maintained by PicsArt Inc. for both Android and iOS. It is an animation software for mobile platform with a list of functionality that is on per with the pro-level desktop software. PicsArt Animator is simple and easy to use. Most intuitive part of this software is its usability. So much so that it was announced as the “Most Entertaining” app of 2017 on Google Play Store.

If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, we’ve got you covered! PicsArt Animator is jam-packed with animation features like duplicate frames, layers, fully equipped drawing tools, animated stickers, Emoji Me features, and much more!

 

  1. I Can Animate
Developer: Kudlian Software Limited
License: Free (Digital Purchases)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

I Can Animate is a stop motion animation software developed by Kudalian Software Limited in UK. This app is available both for Android and iOS. I Can Animate has many pro-level features like green screen composition, 4K output, sound effect and many more.

Stop motion animation is a great way to create movies and with I Can Animate you can easily create animations like the professionals. I Can Animate can also bring your Brick models to life and allow your creative streak to flourish. You can then amaze your friends, family, and other ‘Brick Animators’ by putting your shorts on YouTube and other video sites.

 

  1. Animation Desk
Developer: Kdan Mobile Software Ltd.
License: Free (In app purchase)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

Animation Desk is a traditional sketch style animation software for mobile platform. This app lets you sketch and animate at the same time. A list of brush is available for drawing strokes with different brush sizes.

Animation Desk provides an easy, friendly, and intuitive drawing environment so that everyone can enjoy creating their own animated works. Main features of the app include Friendly and gorgeous user interface, Layers, Various painting tools with pressure sensitivity, Color selection palettes, Onion Skinning, Adjustable size and opacity for the brushes and eraser, Background images.

Unfortunately, taking full advantage of this app will require you to use a larger screen in other words tabs. Animation Desk is developed both for Android and iOS.

 

  1. Stop Motion Studio
Developer: Cateater
License:  Free (In-app purchase)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

Stop Motion Studio is developed and maintained by Cateater. This app is considered to be one of the best stop motion app for mobile. Easy to use interface and intuitive design gives the user a smooth experience over all. With a basic video editing tool, this app also features a list of useful features.

It has overlay mode showing the differences between frames, grid mode to position animated objects more easily, copy, paste, cut, and insert frames at any position, movie editor with frame-by-frame preview, timeline so you never get lost, even if you have hundreds of frames.

It also has a professional-level camera adjustment features like full camera control with automatic or manual white balance, focus and exposure; second device as a remote camera, headphones as a remote shutter release.

 

  1. FlipaClip
Developer: Visual Blasters LLC
License: Free (In-app purchase)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

FlipaClip is very responsive layer-based animation tool for mobile. FlipaClip is developed by Visual Blasters LLC. This is one of the most popular animation software for mobile. It has over 10 million downloads on Google play store and ensured its way on the editor’s list.

However, this app features all the usual animation tools along with some great and unique ones. For example, it includes pressure-sensitive support for Samsung S Pen.

The idea was basic from the start, build something that will replicate the traditional style flip book animation. And gradually it improves upon the idea and has become so good that now you can make animated feature films with hand drown images on your phone.

 

  1. RoughAnimator
Developer: WeirdHat
License: Free (In-app purchase)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

RoughAnimator is one of the most advanced animation application for mobile, featuring desktop-like environment with timeline editor and an umpteen number of advanced features. Made by an animator, for animators. Powerful enough for professionals, simple enough for beginners. Everything you need to create traditional hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation, anywhere you go.

It offers a list of advanced features including:-

Timeline with unlimited layers and easily adjustable exposure length of individual drawings, for pose-to-pose or straight-ahead, animating
– Onion skinning
– Preview playback
– Scrub along timeline
– Import audio for lip-syncing
– Import video for rotoscoping animation
– Custom brushes
– Supports Galaxy Note S-Pen and other pressure-sensitive devices
– Control framerate and resolution
– Export animation to Quicktime video, GIF, or image sequence
– RoughAnimator projects can be imported to Adobe Flash/Animate, After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony

 

  1. Animation Desk Classic
Developer: Kdan Mobile Software Ltd.
License: Paid – $4.99 (In app purchase)
Operating System or Environment: Android, iOS

This is one of the best-paid animation application for both Android and iOS. It resembles the real working environment of a professional animator who completes each frame of an animation on a specially-designed desk, the animation desk.

Animation Desk for Android provides an easy, friendly, and intuitive drawing environment so that everyone can enjoy creating their own animated works. It has a powerful color selection pallets with features like various painting tools with pressure sensitivity, Adjustable size, and opacity for the brushes and eraser, Background images, Onion Skinning, Four sets of frame rate supported, Powerful frame manager.

 

Web Based Animation Application

  1. Clara.io
Developer:  Exocortex
License: Creative Commons (free to the public)
Operating System or Environment: Any (you just need a browser and an internet connection)

Clara.io is a web-based freemium 3D computer graphics software developed by Exocortex, a Canadian software company. Clara.io was announced on July 2013 and first presented as part of the official SIGGRAPH 2013 program later that month. By November 2013 when the open beta period started, Clara.io had 14,000 registered users. Clara.io claimed to have 26,000 registered users in January 2014, which grew to 85,000 by December 2014.Many of its reviewers compared it to 3D Studio MAX and MAYA. Clara is that powerful but even better, it’s also free.

Clara supports over 30 common 3D files formats supported. FBX, Collada, STL, OBJ, Three.JS, Babylons.JS, STEP, IGES, 3DS, Blender and more.

 

  1. Animatron Studio
Developer: Animatron
License: Saas
Operating System or Environment: Any (you just need a browser and an internet connection)

Animatron Studio is a web-based animation software developed by Animatron. This software enables businesses and individuals to create high-quality visual content with its online video making tools. It has three different versions for Business-related usage, Professional Usage and free usage for personal usage.

This software is very easy to use with advanced drag and drop features. It has plenty of built-in animation for different usage.

For business and startups, it offers library of 500K royalty-free video clips, audios, and photos, 200 pre-animated sets to drag-n-drop, Whiteboard animation style. For artists & animators, it offers Real-time collaboration, Voiceover, easing, Google fonts, Import/export in any format, Keyframe animation.

Other common features include free music, icons and images, Playback on mobile and desktop, export to HTML5, GIF, PNG and video formats, media import in various formats.

 

  1. Powtoon
Developer: powtoon
License: Saas
Operating System or Environment: Any (you just need a browser and an internet connection)

Powtoon is created targeting business specific purposes. Powtoon can help you build any kind of product promotional video, explainer video and concept video with great animation templates and other features.

Powtoon is a company which sells cloud-based software (SaaS) for creating animated presentations and animated explainer videos. Powtoon is a Web-based animation software that allows users to create animated presentations by manipulating pre-created objects, imported images, provided music and user-created voice-overs. Powtoon uses an Apache Flex engine to generate an XML file that can be played in the Powtoon online viewer, exported to YouTube or downloaded as an MP4 file.

Powtoon is also available on the Google Chrome Store and has an application on Edmodo.com.

 

  1. Makewebvideo
Developer: makewebvideo
License: Free (In-app purchase)
Operating System or Environment: Any (you just need a browser and an internet connection)

Makewebvideo is a web-based animation application. If you need an advertisement video for business marketing, a commercial promo video or a product video for your website this app can help you make that exist. Makewebvideo’s promo video maker software uses state of the art movie technology, to produce high quality, full HD promotional business videos using the best Adobe After Effects templates available today.

This app has in-app purchase option. You just have to pay a one-time payment for 1 Full HD video (1920 x 1080), without watermark. Including stock footage, royalty-free music, video hosting, and video player.

 

  1. Vyond
Developer:  GoAnimate, Inc.
License: Saas
Operating System or Environment: Any (you just need a browser and an internet connection)

Vyond (previously known as GoAnimate) is a cloud-based, animated video creation platform owned by GoAnimate, Inc. By July 2013, over ten million videos had been created using the GoAnimate platform. So it’s safe to say that the software is hugely popular.

On October 19, 2015, it was announced that GoAnimate would migrate from Adobe Flash and go towards HTML5 animation, which can allow mobile device compatibility. Vyond provides its users with a library containing tens of thousands of pre-animated assets, which can be controlled through a simple drag & drop interface. Asset types include characters, actions, templates, props, text boxes, music tracks, and sound effects. Users can also upload their own assets, such as audio files, image files or video files. There is also a drag & drop composition tool, which users can employ to create pans and zooms.

You will be able to export animations directly to a variety of video-hosting sites including YouTube, Wistia, Vidyard, Vimeo, Vzaar and WeVideo.

 

  1. Toonator
Developer: toonator
License: Free
Operating System or Environment: Any (you just need a browser and an internet connection)

Toonator is a simple and easy to use flash-based online animator tool. It’s absolutely free so anyone can create and upload their own animation on their site. It uses more traditional flip book type animation with layer based mechanism.

You can add as much frame as you want. When you add a new frame the previous frame become translucent so that you can trace your character, movement, and action.

This is our top picks for motion graphics and animation tool and as you can see there are a lot of options to choose from. Depending on your needs, try different 2D and 3D animation and motion graphics technology, choose what suits you the most to create amazing animations.

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:  2D, 3d, Videography