Animation is a technique in which pictures are formed to appear as moving images. Unlike the traditional animation where images were drawn by hand on transparent celluloid sheets, computer-generated imagery (CGI) has taken over the modern animations.
Computer animation is a detailed 3D animation, while 2D computer animation is used for stylistic reasons, with low bandwidth or faster real-time renderings. There are a few other common animation techniques which apply a stop motion technique to two and three-dimensional objects like paper cutouts, puppets or clay figures.
In the field of animation, exceptional software is needed whether you are a beginner or an expert apart from the other programs and tools. Fortunately, there are several animation software available online which are not only absolutely free of cost but are also equally effective and competent.
Free Animation Software for Beginners
There are a number of animation software that can help you create great animations. It can be a serious hard work if you are a beginner in animation but want to know about the great tools that are free but effective. The list below gives you the information on which tool to start your animation journey.
2D Animation Software
2D animation generates movement in a two-dimensional creative space. 2D animation requires both creativity and technological skills including tools that can elevate your skills. To enhance your creativity, here are five best 2D software tools.
Plastic Animation Paper
Plastic Animation Paper is one of the best 2D animation software. It offers less complex yet powerful tools to convert your designs into beautiful cartoons and animation in 2D. And it is free of charge. This program is intuitive and extremely easy to work with. It is best suited for beginners to begin their work with animation.
Plastic Animation Paper controls the swift sketching movements, the process of rough sketches and space where you animate. It gives the real-time suggestions, an easy process that helps to interpret the ideas for a particular movement, a specific character or your upcoming action sequence.
The best part of the Plastic Animation Paper is its key features. It offers a sketching space, addtion of color to the sketch, setting the frame speed, zooming in and out, insert music and more.
Once the drawing is completed, it can be saved in different formats, like AVI, PNG, TGA, GIF and a few other formats. This software is available for Mac OS X and iPad, as well as or Windows absolutely free of cost.
Stykz is an animation software that allows users to draft their animation before working into the painting and animation completely. It is the first cross-platform stick figure animation software across the globe that helps develop, edit and preview your creations. Stykz is strikingly similar to the Pivot StickFigure Animator as it adapts some of its features along with some of its own unique features.
Stykz enables the user to create captivating 2D animations as it supports all chief operating systems that include, Mac, Linux, and even Windows. The full version of it is available to download that is free of charge and offers plenty of handy tools to help the user to create great animations on a user-friendly interface.
Stykz is built on frames, which means users can work on each frame of their creation to finish it perfectly. The Onionskin feature on it allows users to view what was in the initial frame to help tweak your present frame conveniently.
Pencil is a free open-source animation software that helps users to create 2D animation handily. It is easily the most varied animation program in the 2D category. It offers some of the remarkable features that are for no charges attached. It allows users to bring out their creativity with the help of the most simple and innovative tool through colorful 2D graphics.
Even though its interface looks extremely simple and spotless, it comes with all the necessary tools that are offered by some of the paid programs in the category.
Pencil supports both the bitmap and vector images along with multiple slabs and owns an inherent set of illustration tools that lets users bring in graphic pictures or draw them shortly prior to the animation part.
Pencil offers some other features which include fixing the frame rate, sound and image import, adding colors and so on. This program also helps users to export their graphics.
Creatoon is a user-friendly, simple and spontaneous animation software that allows users to create 2D animations in cut-out style and add different special-effects to the work. The interface is very simple, but the software can carry out some of the complicated tasks that can deliver exceptional results.
Creatoon offers menus on each side of the working space for the users to have instantaneous access to the main features. Even though the interface cannot get customized, but it is accurately ordered for users to have a clear view of the project in process. It allows users to fix the frame rate per second along with the height and the width, it also allows users to select the format of the design file.
Synfig Studio is a free open source and a multi-platform software that allows users to create animations in 2D. Synfig comes with a sharp learning curve due to its avant-garde features and amazing results which you can definitely achieve once you have mastered using its tools at a professional grade.
The interface of the program is divided into four separate windows that include tools window, editing window, navigator window, and parameters window. It is based on vector and bitmap technique.
Most of its elements are built on vector and all slabs are developed parametrically. The only pixelation(of an image caused by displaying a bitmap or a section of a bitmap at such a large size that individual pixels, small single-colored square display elements that comprise the bitmap, are visible) that appears in the imported raster pictures and not the inherent items while modifying the end result of the design. The keyframes of the animation are automatically appended by the PC leading to a steady motion.
3D Animation Software
3D animated objects appear in a three-dimensional space. They can be rotated and moved like real objects. 3D animation is at the heart of games and virtual reality, but it may also be used in presentation graphics to add effects to the visuals. Below given is a list of best 3D Animation Software that you can use to create excellent animations.
Aurora 3D Animation Maker
Aurora 3D Animation Maker offers a comprehensive array of features to develop continual animated effects in the film. It comes with special effects that can be used on drawn images and films with its user-friendly interface. Users can also add their watermark or logos to their mages and videos with special effects.
Aurora 3D Animation Maker also allows users to convert text to a 3D animation that emphasises the design of web pages or a video. With Aurora 3D, users can apply some attractive effects like fireworks, snowfall, flame, and so on. Users can also add motion effects such as Cubic, Quad, Linear, to supplement movements like twists and bounce.
Aurora 3D provides the choice to transport it to Flash (Windows), GIF or Video formats along with 3D video titles, super 3D logo animations or amazing 3D text with this program.
The software offers a free trial period so you can try many of its awesome features at no cost during that time frame.
Clara.io is cloud-based software that helps users with 3D animation illustration which is free of cost. It is a web-based tool and does not require any plugins on your browser to run. Clara.io claims of a user base of over 80,000 which form a solid community where people meet and discuss while they shop.
Clara.io gives modelling features like sub-object editing, a variety of mesh instruments, subdivision surfaces, operators, and many more. Clara allows users to import files into over 30 3D formats such as Collada, Blender, Babylons, STL, FBX, STEP and many more.
Clara comes with a large library of photorealistic material that offers simple yet advanced materials with adjustable lighting setup in super-fast speed. It is a cross-platform tool that works with a majority of the browsers and OS that includes, Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Mac OS X, Linux, Android, iOS and Windows.
Its interface comes with an easy to use features that enhance sensitive work process like Undo, Redo, Drag, Drop files anywhere. Users can also customize, stretch, blend, and develop Custom 3D viewers of their own.
Blender is one of the most popular, open source software used by many expert animators, video game specialists, scientists, students, VFX professionals, studio artists and more across the globe. It is under constant development animation programs that helps users to create excellent 3D animations at free of cost.
Blender offers a multitude of tools for lighting, modelling, animation and video post-conversion operation and many others. It also provides cross-platform functionality and works with a majority of the operating systems like Linux, Mac OS X and Window.
Daz Studio is a 3D animation creator software that is user-friendly. It comes packed with strong features and functions. It is suited for a beginner as well as professionals. It allows you to create a free account once you sign up. The design engine is as fast and holds a massive library containing pre-developed elements that help users to develop animations in a short time.
It comes with a wide range of new features that includes NVIDIA Iray-a fresh photoreal render tool with similar items to create life-like furnish such as, HDR photo environment maps and a caustic sampler.
It also comes with Bloom Filters, NVIDIA Iray Draw-style that enables users to preview the finished animation inside a Viewport, NVIDIA Iray Uber Shader (a single shading tool that blends three different shaders), NVIDIA Material Definition Language (includes material properties like, surface color, reflection/refraction, emission of light, and volume diffusion and intake characteristics), Draw Settings Pane, Light Category Support and many more useful features.
KeyShot is a fast and user-friendly and free 3D Animation Software that allows users to go from a simple model to a stunning visual in minutes. It has a number of features to support animation and 3D rendering, including
2D animation and 3D animation, HDRI lighting that allows users to light and adjusts their scene as required, camera control that enables users to reproduce real-camera behaviour. It also includes dynamic texture mapping to mimic the real-world appearance of a landscape. It has focused caustics to secure the objects to get well lighted.
These free alternatives do a great job to meet the needs for those animation enthusiasts. The list above includes the best from each category that is, 2D and 3D animation software. It not only help you to create awesome animation also allows you to transport tools in various formats.