20+ Tools for Creating Motion Graphics and Animation Videos

51 Tools for creating motion graphics and animation video

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 Software for Motion Graphics and Animation

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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).

5. Movavi Video Editor

Developer: Movavi Software Limited
License: Trialware/Commercial
Operating System or Environment: Windows, Mac OS X

Movavi Video Editor stands out as a user-friendly yet powerful tool for video editing and animation. Designed to cater to both beginners and intermediate users, it offers a wide range of features that make video creation effortless and fun.

With its intuitive interface, users can easily cut and join video clips without losing quality, apply stylish video effects and filters, add music, titles, and much more.

Movavi Video Editor is particularly noted for its smooth performance and robust editing capabilities, making it an ideal choice for quick video edits and creative projects. Whether you’re looking to create stunning motion graphics, engaging YouTube videos, or personal memories, Movavi Video Editor provides the tools you need to bring your vision to life.

3D Software for Motion Graphics and Animation

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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”.

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

Web Based Motion Graphics and Animation Application

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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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