Even though graphics today might appear to be mostly 3D animation, 2D animation is still alive and well, and a growing industry. 2D is used in all sorts of applications, even today. Game developers even still use 2D animation, and it’s also heavily used by architects, artists, and animators. That said, 2D animation might be something that you want to get into, either as a hobby or a career, but where do you start?
First, you’ll need a good piece of 2D animation software to start. So if you follow along below, we’ll show you some of the best options available today. Let’s dive right in.
Coming in as number one on our countdown, we have Synfig Studio. This one is a free piece of software, but it has the prowess of many industrial and professional level animating tools on the market. Synfig Studio has an easy interface, which makes this ideal for beginners to the field; however, there are definitely some advanced tools inside that make it a little more difficult as you start to want to do complex stuff. Synfig Studio is actually pretty unique in that it allows users to create powerful animations without having to do any sketching per frame.
On top of that, a full-featured bone system allows you to create cutout animation using bitmap images or control your vector artwork. The Skeleton Distortion layer allows to apply complex deformations to bitmap artwork.
Buy it now: Amazon
CrazyTalk comes in as number two on our list. It’s an innovative piece of software that says goodbye to the traditional methods of animation, and offers artists and designers a new way to approach 2D animation. One of the neat tools about CrazyTalk Animator is that it allows you to add 3D features to your 2D animations as well. It’s a fairly efficient program, so it doesn’t take up a whole lot of your computer’s resources. As far as animation tools go, this is one of the best that you can buy today for hobbyists, though there are plenty of better options out there for those looking for professional-level tools.
Buy it now: Amazon
If you’re looking for a tool that has multi-functionality, Spine is one that will allow programmers, artists, and animators use it to its fullest potential. While it can be used as a traditional animator, Spine is definitely designed to be more geared towards game developers who need to quickly create models and objects for their games. Spine allows you to create individual characters, and a whole lot of them as well. It’s easy to use, and it’s free of charge. Even many of its advanced tools do not require a subscription or purchase to use. However, there are subscription tiers for using Spine in Enterprise-level applications.
Get it here: Spine
Animation Paper comes up as number four on our list, and is actually professional software used in many industries where animation is used. Animation Paper allows for users to do professional animation, and many of the tools inside of it are available for free.The downside is that Animation Paper isn’t one for beginners to animation — it’s definitely a tool where you need to know what you’re doing to make the most use out of it. BrashMonkey and Synfig Studio are definitely the ways to go as far as animation goes.
Get it here: Animation Paper
BrashMonkey comes in as last on our list, but that’s because it’s one of the more niche pieces of 2D animation software. Designed specifically for game developers, BrashMoney allows you to create characters, objects, items, and environments for your game. It has a suite of tools to accomplish a variety of different art styles and creations with it. It’s a powerful piece of software, ideal for both beginners and those that are experts in the field.
Powerful tools will allow beginners to feel like they’re accomplishing something, and they can be mastered enough where BrashMonkey can be used in professional settings.
Get it here: BrashMonkey
As you can see, there are a ton of great pieces of 2D animation software out there. Any one of these tools will get you started in 2D animation, and some of them are even tools that you can take into your professional life. Of course, every company you work with will have their own tool that you’ll have to learn, but these are all great starting points.
Do you have a favorite piece of 2D animation software? Let us know in the comments section below.