Explore the 7 best free animation software programs of 2023 and create stunning animations with ease.

Photo by Afif Ramdhasuma on Unsplash  

It's a well-known fact that video content is an effective marketing tool, as it has been shown that video marketers generate 66% more qualified leads per year compared to non-video marketers. However, creating high-quality video content is often a challenging task for businesses. One of the biggest hurdles that marketers face is coming up with fresh and creative video ideas that captivate audiences.

If your goal is to increase engagement and promote your business, creating animated videos could be a game-changer. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to invest in expensive software or hire a team of animators to produce animated clips. There are numerous free animation software programs available that are suitable for both beginners and experts.

By using these free animation software programs, you can create unique and visually stunning animated videos that showcase your brand and capture the attention of your target audience. Whether you are a small business owner, a marketer, or a content creator, the possibilities are endless with these tools. Take advantage of these free resources to create engaging animated videos that will elevate your marketing game and drive results.

Discover the best 13 animation software programs that are free and suitable for both beginners and professionals.

Animaker (Web Based)

Animaker is a free and user-friendly animation software that is ideal for beginners. With its easy-to-use drag-and-drop functionality and intuitive interface, users can create various types of animated videos with ease. The software offers six core video types, including 2D, infographics, handcraft, whiteboard, 2.5D, and typography, and supports full HD with both horizontal and vertical layouts.

In addition to its premade graphics, Animaker also provides audio features such as text-to-speech, background music, and sound effects, and users can choose from Animaker's library of sounds or upload their own audio files.

If you opt for the pro version, you'll gain access to advanced features like in-app camera, multimove, curves, transition effects, and enter/exit effects. Animaker offers more versatility and creativity than traditional PowerPoint animations, making it a fantastic option for creating cool and engaging animated videos.

Blender (Windows, Mac, Linux)

For professional editors and creators in search of the best video animation software, Blender is the perfect option. This free and open-source 3D animation tool supports a wide range of functions, including modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and 2D animation pipeline.

Blender is a public project, and its maintenance is a result of contributions from creatives around the world. Some of its notable features include Cycles, a ray-trace-based production render engine, FreeStyle, an edge- and line-based non-photorealistic (NPR) rendering engine, and real-time feedback that speeds up the editing process.

Blender's modeling tools are extensive and include sculpting, retopology, modeling, curves, and more. Additionally, its digital sculpting tools are flexible and can be used in any stage of the digital production pipeline. Its animation and rigging tools offer a character animation pose editor, non-linear animation (NLA) for independent movements, IK forward/inverse kinematics for fast poses, and sound synchronization.

Blender's Grease pencil allows users to draw directly in 3D and combine 2D/3D art. The software also offers a range of VFX features, including camera and object motion tracking, masking, and compositing. Furthermore, users can create simulations for fog, smoke, rain, fire, liquid, and more.

Blender has an extensive list of import/export options and comes equipped with a built-in video editor that allows for basic actions like video cuts and splicing and more complex tasks like video masking or color grading. With its comprehensive features and free availability, Blender is a top-tier choice for professional creators and editors.

OpenToonz (Windows, Mac)

OpenToonz is a highly versatile open-source animation software that supports 2D video creation. This top-rated tool is suitable for commercial and non-commercial use, and it offers a wide range of features that can help you create engaging marketing videos for your brand.

One of its most useful features is the digital drawing tool, which includes both vector and bitmap drawing tools. This feature allows you to create stunning graphics with ease. Additionally, it offers indexed color palettes that help you quickly paint and change colors.

OpenToonz also comes with an impressive collection of effects and compositing tools. With more than 100 effects to choose from, including blurs, lighting, keys, masks, wraps, and animated special effects, you can add a professional touch to your videos. The software also supports scripting and motion tracking, making it easier to automate repetitive tasks and combine your animation with video footage.

Other features of OpenToonz include scan and cleanup tools that enable you to convert paper drawings into vectors, configurable onionskin for frame-by-frame animation, motion tweening to link objects or use motion paths to execute complex movements, bones character animation with IK support and mesh deformations, and particle systems for creating rain, dust, and other effects.

Top free 2D animation software with both commercial and non-commercial use. 

It offers a variety of features including digital drawing tools, indexed color palettes, special effects and compositing, scripting, motion tracking, scan and cleanup, frame-by-frame animation, motion tweening, bones character animation, and particle systems. 

It is a powerful tool for creating animated videos for marketing purposes.

Pencil2D (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)

Pencil2D is a free and open-source animation software designed to create 2D hand-drawn animations. The software is perfect for beginners who want to learn how to animate and create simple, yet engaging 2D videos.

One of the best things about Pencil2D is its simplicity. The interface is user-friendly and easy to navigate, making it an excellent tool for those who are new to animation. With Pencil2D, you can create hand-drawn animations using both bitmap and vector graphics.

Moreover, Pencil2D offers a range of tools and features that make it easy to create animations. You can use the onion skinning feature to see previous and next frames, making it easier to create smooth animations. Additionally, the software supports a range of file formats, so you can easily export your animations to share with others.

Pencil2D is free to use for both personal and commercial projects, which means you can create animations to promote your products and services without having to pay for expensive software. There are also numerous tutorials available on the Pencil2D website, which can help you get started with the software and improve your animation skills.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced animator, Pencil2D is a great tool to have in your arsenal. With its simple interface, powerful tools, and flexibility, Pencil2D can help you bring your creative ideas to life and create engaging 2D videos that capture the attention of your audience.

  • Switch between raster and vector workflows to sketch, ink, and paint.
  • Import images and audio into your project.
  • Customize your toolbar for quick access to your most-used tools.
  • Adjust the frame rate to achieve the desired animation speed.
  • Add distortion and lighting effects to enhance the visual appeal of your animation.
  • Utilize onionskinning to create smoother animations by seeing previous and upcoming frames.
  • Take advantage of pressure sensitivity to create dynamic and varied line work.
  • Export your finished project in a variety of formats to suit your needs.

Plastic Animation Paper (PAP)  (Win, Mac, Linux)

Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) is a free software for creating hand-drawn 2D animations. Although the interface may be outdated and the editing experience a bit clunky, it is easy for beginners to learn and use, making it sufficient for creating basic animated videos. It features basic drawing tools, zoom, rotation, cutouts, layers, and more.

PAP's creator is soon releasing a new program called Animation Paper for $79, which is more advanced and suitable for skilled animators. This program includes small and large format frames, real-time rotation and zoom, multiple flipping options, advanced onionskinning, layers, lasso, high-quality lines, stabilization, coloring and paint, and real-time full-frame reference on a second monitor for quick editing.

Once you have finished creating your animated video, PAP and Animation Paper offer several export options, including .mp4, .mov, and .png or .svg frame stacks.

Synfig Studio (OpenSource | Windows, Mac, Linux) 

Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio is a free and open-source platform that allows you to create 2D animated videos using vector graphics. It offers a bone system for animation controls that creates natural movements. Additionally, it provides the ability to create cutout animation using bitmap images and the Skeleton Distortion layer for complex deformations of bitmap artwork.

With Synfig Studio, you can link parameters for layers to build character puppets and other advanced dynamic structures, making it an ideal tool for skilled animators. However, it may not be suitable for beginners, so it is recommended to start with an easier option before upgrading to Synfig’s advanced feature set. The platform provides plenty of video tutorials to help users get accustomed to the program.

Cinema 4D (Windows, Max, Linux)

Cinema 4D Image

Cinema 4D is a software that caters to both beginners and advanced animators. This versatile software allows users to do more than just animate; you can also use it for modeling, texture application, visual effects, and lighting. The user interface is intuitive, and the layout is customizable, which is ideal for creating the most convenient user experience for every animator.In addition, Cinema 4D provides access to Mograph, which helps designers create more complex sequences without the confusing elements of traditional software. This software is easy to learn, making it an excellent option for those who are just starting. It's also scalable, which means it can help you create more sophisticated animations as you become more advanced.

Moreover, Cinema 4D provides bonus features, such as automatic retopology from ZBrush for creating optimized meshes and advanced cloth simulation.

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