+10 2D, 3D and Stop Motion animation software to bring to life the ideas stored in your mind

why is it important for you to know which are the best animation software? the answer is simple! Animation software allows you to make the most unusual and crazy ideas come true, for example, turning a girl’s emotions into characters and even training dragons (yes, we’re referring to the movies Intensely and How to Train Your Dragon).

If you have reached this note is because you surely have some idea, story or character you want to bring to life, but you are missing the most important thing: choosing the animation software, right?

So, how to choose the right animation software? Don’t worry, in this article we will tell you all about the best 2D, 3D and Stop Motion animation programs. This way, you will be able to choose more easily.

We’ll also tell you what animation software is and what types of animation software exist. Read on and find out how to turn your ideas into animated videos!

let’s get started!

what is animation software?

Animation software is a computer program that provides users with a workspace and a set of useful tools to create sequences of images that generate the illusion of motion, i.e. animations.

Animation software is used to produce movies, games, web animations, interactive menus and cartoons, among other uses. Throughout the history of animation, technology has played an increasingly important role. In the early days, animators only needed a pencil and some paper to create an animated project. Today, with the advent of the digital era, there are many possibilities and animation software is the medium on which the major industries are betting.

While film studios and video game designers use more sophisticated animation programs and special hardware configurations, there are many affordable and versatile software packages available to the general user.

If you are just starting out in the world of animation, it is important that you choose the animation program you are going to work with very carefully, as it takes time to learn to master all the tools each one has to offer .

Therefore, before introducing you to the best programs to make animations, we want to tell you a little about the different types of animation software that exist.

software de animacion

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what types of animation software are there?

Now that you know what animation software is, are you ready to learn about the best programs for making animations? wait! First let’s see what types of animation software there are, so you can know which animation program is ideal for you.

The first thing you have to think about when starting a project is what kind of animation you want to create, because the choice of software will depend on it. We can distinguish three main types of animation software:

3D animation software: animation programs of this type are used to create 3D models and give them movement. If you have experience in 3D modeling, this type of software can be very interesting.
2D animation software: it is used to create animated videos by freehand drawing each of the drawings within the program’s interface. In this category we can also find those that are used to create Motion graphics and that work with vectors, images and other elements, as is the case of After Effects.
Stop-Motion animation software: this type of animation software is used to control the camera shots when creating a stop-motion sequence.
Video editing software: you can use a conventional video editing program such as Adobe Premiere to create animations from videos with different animation techniques, such as rotoscoping. You can even create a sequence of images with photographs of your pencil drawings.

As you can see, it is very important that you have in mind what type of animation you want to generate, since, in general, animation programs specialize in a certain style.

If you still don’t know where to start, you can download and try different animation software and then decide which tool best suits the idea you have in mind. Let’s see which are the best animation programs.

what are the best animation programs?

good! Now that you know what animation software is, it’s time for you to get to know some of the best examples of this type of programs so that you can start trying them out and choose the one you like the most.

Let’s start with 2D animation software.

2D Animation Software

As you may know, there are several animation software options on the market. In 2D animation, also known as traditional animation, the characters or objects are characterized by having width and height, hence the two-dimensional.

Now, let’s get to know the 2D animation programs that make this type of animation possible.

1. Adobe Animate

The most used animation program by professionals.

It is a 2D animation program developed by Adobe. In fact, it is a very popular software among animation artists. It used to be known as Flash, but Adobe Systems decided to rebrand it to emphasize its use in digital animation. And it succeeded.

Adobe Animate CC is an animation program that allows you to design animations for video games, applications and websites. Its tools make it possible to easily animate characters and create scenarios or splash screens. It is available for Windows and Mac.

2. CelAction2D

One of the best 2D animation software for professionals.

If there is a 2D animation software used by professionals, it is CelAction2D. Did you know that the preschool series Peppa Pig is animated in this program?

CelAction2D allows you to animate characters from their “skeleton”, that is, you don’t need to draw the frames of a character sequentially to animate it.

While it is easy to learn and use, it does not allow you to draw; unless you have a drawing program like Photoshop, so you can transfer your characters and elements directly to CelAction2D.

Despite this small detail, it has a wealth of effects and tools, such as inverse kinematics (IK) and lip-sync. In addition, CelAction2D makes camera animation possible for each panel, facilitates animation control and gives you a real-time preview of your work.

CelAction2D is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

3. OpenToonz

The freely modifiable 2D animation software.

It is an open source 2D animation program used by professionals and amateurs. If you like Studio Ghibli films, you’ll be happy to know that OpenToonz was used in some cuts of Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.

Like CelAction2D, Opentoonz (formerly known as Toonz) allows you to move your character parts individually and has unique features that have been iterated based on feedback from production staff, including the specialized animation scanning tool “GTS,” which was developed at Studio Ghibli.

What’s more, this animation software can be used for both commercial and non-commercial projects, as it can be used in all types of scenes: professional production, amateur production, and school education. Moreover, its source code can be freely modified, according to the license .

OpenToonz can run on Microsoft Windows 7 SP1 / 8.1 / 10 and on Mac OS X 10.9 or later.

4. Moho Animation Software

The 2D animation program with the most efficient tools

If you want to get started in the world of animation, Moho Animation Software, formerly known as Anime Studio, will be your best ally. This 2D animation software allows you to make Flash-style animations and animations drawn frame by frame (traditional style) .

Moho Animation Software makes it possible to draw freehand, create textures and unique effects. It also offers powerful vector animation tools, enhanced 3D object support and other features in order to simplify your workflow and make it more efficient.

5. Adobe Character Animator

2D animation software with AI

This Adobe software combines live motion capture with a multichannel engraving system to control 2D characters as if they were a small vector or bitmapped puppet.

For example, you can create files in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop and import them into Adobe Character Animator as a new character. Thanks to Adobe Sensei’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology, you will be able to “bring to life” any drawing in a matter of seconds by means of a webcam.

In addition, this animation software coordinates your expressions – from lip-syncing to eye-tracking – through your webcam and microphone to animate in real time.

6. Harmony 20

The 2D animation program with a user-friendly interface

This animation software was developed by ToonBoom and is the standard for animation for TV series and video games. It has three versions: Essentials, Advanced and Premium. The difference between one and the other is that some offer 2k, 4k and 8k render output and can also offer 3D scene integration.

This is an all-in-one tool for efficient animation from the drawing stage to final production. Its prices are not the lowest, but remember that it is the software of choice for leading animation studios worldwide for more than 25 years.

Harmony 20 offers you the most advanced brush engine, 2D/3D integration, innovative cut-out animation and rigging, and special effects. what more could you ask for in animation software?

You can find it for Mac and PC.

7. Adobe After Effects

Animation software for creating amazing projects

After Effects is a software part of the Adobe suite and is specialized in animations. If you love special effects or are interested in motion graphics, this is the animation program you should learn to use.

One of its best benefits is that it allows you to create visual effects, montages and has tools for virtual reality and 360. In short, After Effects is totally aimed at graphic designers, video producers, multimedia professionals, etc. Undoubtedly, it is a very complete 2D animation program that also lets you add plug-ins.

If you are just starting to use this program, we recommend you to set up your setup in After Effects to maximize its performance.

After Effects is available for Windows and MacOs.

Programs for 3D animation

3D animation consists of “giving life” to characters or images in three axes, by means of software. Different digital tools are used to model objects and create the virtual skeletons of the characters, which are covered with textures and, later, animated and rendered; all this thanks to the functions of animation programs.

1. Autodesk Maya

The 3D animation program with powerful tools.

This 3D animation software has tools for modeling, visual effects, simulation, motion tracking, etc. You can work with game prototypes and is recommended for anyone working on projects related to film, advertising and graphic design.

Autodesk Maya works with surfaces such as NURBS or polygons. One of its most important features is that it is open to third-party software, so it allows you to change its appearance.in addition to animating characters quickly, this animation software lets you shape 3D scenes and objects thanks to its intuitive modeling tools and the creation of realistic effects, such as explosions, snow or storms.

2. Cinema 4D

The 3D animation program for beginners and experienced users alike

If you want to create 3D animations quickly and smoothly, Cinema 4D is a great choice. did you know that the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu team used this animation software to work on some graphics for Ryme City?

Cinema 4D offers a wide range of animation tools and features. Its advanced features allow you to record mouse movement as position data and automatically redraw to create dynamic IK (Inverse Kinematics) setups, streamlining the workflow of animation artists.

In addition, thanks to the Pose Morph tool, you can create facial expressions and define your character’s moods.

Cinema 4D is available for Windows, MacOs and Linux.

3. Zbrush

The animation program that goes beyond the traditional

ZBrush is a 3D modeling and animation software ideal for creating organic shapes, although its recent updates have gradually improved its capabilities to make disruptive projects that at first glance leave you stunned.

Mind you, it works in a non-standard way, with a workflow and user interface that is initially very difficult to learn, so we recommend you to use this animation software every day to master it from head to toe.

However, this animation software is not only useful for modeling objects, but you can also use it to create UV maps and paint textures, which allows you to make entire figures with clothes and accessories, ready to render.

In addition, ZBrush is a preferred alternative among artists who want to get 3D action figures with tools specifically intended for 3D printing.

4. Houdini

Make anything you can imagine possible with this 3D animation program

This is an industry-leading animation software, as it features visual effects and game development. In fact, it is widely used by major animation companies such as Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks and Sony Pictures.

Like K-3d, this animation program is designed around a node-based workflow with a procedural modeling approach that allows you to generate almost anything you can imagine, from terrains to complex characters in a professional manner.

With this animation program you can easily create biped and quadruped 3D characters with the automatic rigging tool. This way, you can add realism to your projects.

Also, you can perform complex crowd simulations and create highly accurate 3D animations with the built-in muscle simulation feature of this animation software.

Stop Motion Animation Software

Finally, let’s get to know some of the best programs to make animations with the Stop Motion technique.

1. Stop Motion Studio

The easiest and fastest stop motion animation program

To create 2D animations in Stop Motion Studio you don’t need any previous knowledge. It is an easy and fast animation software to use, because its editor allows you to create animations frame by frame, achieving great animated projects, such as Wallace and Gromit.

In fact, capturing images with Stop Motion Studio is easier than ever. If you have a digital camera (Canon, Nikon or Sony) you can use it to capture images without any problem, and it is also possible to use a second device as a remote camera to get a new perspective.

In addition, this animation program lets you use the various available sound effects and music clips in your movie, as well as control shutter speed, ISO and aperture directly from the app and remove unwanted objects from your project with the eraser tool.

Stop Motion Studio is available for iPhone, iPad and MacOS, as well as Android and Windows.

2. Dragonframe

The animation program behind the movie “The House” on Netflix

Dragonframe is an acclaimed animation program that has been used in the production of famous animated film works, such as.Kubo and The Two Strings (Kubo and the Samurai Quest), Isle of Dogs (Isle of Dogs) and, most recently, The House (The House). This animation software has a number of easy-to-use tools and is one of the most comprehensive on the market today.

Dragonframe is available for Windows and MacOS, as well as Ubuntu and Fedora.

3. Eclipse – Stop Motion Pro

The best Stop Motion animation program for developing video games

Eclipse, by Stop Motion Pro, is one of the best Stop Motion animation programs and has numerous success stories, including the development of the visual section of Globbert, a video game available on iPhone and iPad.

With this animation software, you can not only connect the camera to control angles, zoom and more, but it also lets you create and edit videos with the captured images.it even features lip-sync tools and a multi-track editor that will make it easy to add sound to your animations.

Eclipse – Stop Motion Pro is available for Windows and MacOS.

what do you think of this list? have you already used any of these animation programs?

Now that you know what animation programs are and which ones are the best, you’ll be able to make all those stories you have in your head come true. Don’t wait any longer and start trying them out now!

good luck!

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