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8 Best Free Animation Software for 2019

Category: B2B News
What is the best free animation software?
The best free animation software is Blender. With Blender, you can easily create real-life textures and simulations. Better still, it lets you animate 3D characters with amazing detail. Best of all, Blender is absolutely free for a very powerful app.

One of the best formats for your content is animation, which is made easier with the availability of animation software. You can create educational series or branding campaigns in easily digestible content. Traditionally, animation software costs a whole lot. You would also need a considerable amount of training time to be proficient at it.

Fortunately, these tools are so user-friendly these days that even a newbie can get up to speed with the features in a few hours or even less. Better still, you now have plenty of free animation software at your disposal. And if you have reliable graphic design software, you can do a lot of quality animation with something so free.

In this article, we will feature the 8 best free animation software available today. We will pay close attention to their key features that make them unique such as real-life simulation, real-time rendering, effects library, cloud-hosted deployment, and ease-of-use. The last one is pretty important especially if you are seriously considering to do it yourself. 

top free animation software

What are the best animation software solutions?

The days of talking-head dominance are over, especially when many people are on mobile.  Quick and easy-to-understand videos are the delivery mechanism of choice. They are either supplemented by diagrams or animations.

Many companies even invest in video editing software to come up with purely animated video content to share around social media. This is because drawings and animations help communicators simplify complex ideas. The ideas could be about the proper use of your product or the problems that your services can solve. 

Just a decade ago, producing these videos with animations is quite costly. Thanks to the democratization of technology, many lean-and-mean business outfits today can afford to put out good quality video content with in-house talent.

We all can thank the vendors that provide us with free animation software. Now their use is as ubiquitous as the social media platforms that they inhabit, a thing that most companies leverage by using animated videos for marketing.

In general, 87% of businesses use video for marketing in 2019, based on a Wyzowl report. Among these marketers, 83% claim that marketing videos impact their ROI positively. The same survey found that 96% of respondents watch explanation videos to supplement their purchasing decision.

Furthermore, 79% of them claimed that videos put out by companies have convinced them to purchase software and apps. Videos are just vital to any mobile marketing strategy

Video Usage in Marketing

87%

of businesses use video as a marketing tool

83%

of marketers claim they get good ROI from videos

79%

of users claimed a brand’s video convinced them to buy software or an app

Source: Wyzowl

Designed by

Today, ‘how-to’ videos on YouTube are very popular. Brands have leveraged their popularity and engaged audiences that are eager to learn. A study indicates that 65% of people visit YouTube for self-directed learning like fixing one’s home or car.  Also, 54% go on the online platform to satisfy their curiosity about something.

This ‘something’ could be your brand, company, or offerings. It could be how your products and services help people with their problems. In fact, many software providers put up tutorial and promotional videos online. Many incorporate their knowledge base management platforms with a good deal of animation and so can you!

A note, while free animation software is all good, you can pair it with one of the leading video editing tools and take your creativity one level up.

8 Best Free Animation Software for 2019

1. Blender

Blender dashboard example

Blender includes object tracking features as well. You can pan, tilt, track and rotate the camera around your objects in 360 degrees. Also, it comes with a Python API so advanced users can customize its user interface.

Another nice thing about Blender is that it integrates well with Pipeline Tools. A powerful software, Blender is the go-to animation software of professionals. It has been instrumental in creating award-winning animations. The Netflix animation ‘Next Gen,’ for example, was created with the help of Blender.

Blender easily caters to the needs of advanced users. It is not that friendly to novices although many tutorials are up online. You can download Blender here for free and learn as you go if interested. If you are looking for simpler tools, then please read on.

Key Features of Blender:

  • High-end production path tracer for realistic rendering
  • Designed for powerful animation
  • Industry-standard realistic simulation
  • Customizable user interface

2. PowToon

PowToon dashboard example

If you are here looking for free animation software to use for simpler but eye-catching presentations or videos, PowToon may just be the best free software for you. You will find it is basically an online presentation and animation video maker. Thus, it is perfect for idea pitches, product introduction, company profiles, how-to videos, infographics, and online advertising.

As a user-friendly animation platform, it empowers anyone to make professional-looking presentations for free (with its free plan). Of course, it is not as feature-rich as others. 

With PowToon, you can create, post, and share your creations online. You can share them through emails or on your virtual workspaces like project management software.  PowToon integrates well with Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube, and Slideshare. With a touch of well-directed creativity, you can take your corporate presentations to another level. 

The only downside with it is that video exports will contain PowToon branding. Also, the maximum length of your HD-quality videos will be set at 3 minutes. Free accounts only get 100 MB of storage. The Starter plan costs $16 per month billed annually. 

Key Features of PowToon:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Access to PowToon video library
  • Royalty-free content
  • Export straight to sharing platforms (Facebook, Vimeo and others)

3. Animaker

Animaker dashboard example

Animaker may be the most user-friendly of our list of the top 8 free animation software solutions. If you are looking for a platform that has a predominantly drag-and-drop interface, Animaker is the best free animation software for you. It is as easy as operating PowerPoint but only for animation. In fact, it looks a bit like PowerPoint or Google Slides. There are many types of videos that Animaker is designed to help you create. It has different specialized modules ranging from explainer videos to advertisements. 

If you want to level up your content marketing quick, Animaker will help you achieve this for close to nothing. With a large library of animated characters and templates, you can put cartoon faces and let them move around to add human elements to your videos. You can also make whiteboards, 2D cartoons, and infographics using Animaker. 

There are also Animaker paid plans should you wish to add more features. The Free plan only affords you two minutes of videos while the popular Business account will let you create 30-minute long of videos. 

Key Features of Animaker

  • Whiteboard video maker
  • Infographic maker
  • Massive library of characters and templates
  • Drag-and-drop user interface

4. Pencil2D

Pencil 2D dashboard example

Pencil2D is an animation software that stays true to its name. It allows you to create traditional hand-drawn animations. The application lets your turn traditional 2D hand-drawn animations digital. It is also offered in macOS, Windows, and Linux. It stays completely free and open source. There are no paid plans and you can use it commercially. 

Because it is a digital version of traditional animation workflow, the best way to leverage it for business is to have someone with traditional art skills to handle it. If you have that yourself, the animation will be easy. The interface is straightforward and user-friendly. 

Key Features of Pencil2D

  • Functional for popular OS
  • Easy user interface
  • Lightweight program
  • Switch between vector and raster files easily

5. Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio dashboard example

Synfig Studio is open-sourced and free animation software. Its user interface is timeline-based. Just like Pencil2D, how it works is predicated on traditional animation workflow. It is not as user-friendly as others but video courses are available online to get you on your way to use Synfig. You will most likely need an artistic mentality to make the program work for intended commercial use. If you are familiar PowerPoint, then the application looks like it in many ways. 

For those of you who are not animation novices, it is relatively easy to work with. It is a little time consuming as there are no templates or huge content libraries to work with. If you can afford to invest significant man-hours mixed with good technical skills, then this might be easy for you. 

If you are a budding advertising company or a lean-and-mean content department, this may be the perfect free animation software to level up your work.

Key Features for Synfig Studio

  • Animate bitmap images with bone system
  • Filtering features
  • Layering features
  • Vector tweening and advanced capabilities for advanced users

6. OpenToonz

OpenToonz dashboard example

OpenToonz is a 2D animation software. It is open-source and free of charge, which means anyone in the world can use it for commercial purposes or for personal use. Advanced users can modify the software to fit their uses. The user interface is pretty much straightforward but there are advanced tools and capabilities that allow you to make more technically complex animations. 

It is a mid-level animation software where both experts and novices can use it for their particular projects. If you are an individual business professional with no leisure time to put up customized animations, maybe this is not for you. But for professionals in content departments, this is a free animation software worth considering. You can exercise your creativity without being bounded by a cumbersome user interface or workflow.  It also has a paid version called Toonz. 

Key Features of OpenToonz

  • Change picture styles easily
  • Create wavy distortions
  • Affected incident lighting available

7. Plastic Animation Paper

Plastic Animation Paper dashboard example

Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) is widely considered to be one of the go-to free animation software for animators. It is a 2D animation tool that enables you to intuitively switch from analog animation into its digital cousin. This is intuitive if you already are an animator or have the necessary art skills and understanding of such tools. If you are new at animation yet are reading this list to boost the visuals of your corporate presentations, this may not be for you. This is unless you really have the passion to learn and be good at animation. 

PAP is actually the old version of Animation Paper, the paid version. While many digital artists consider PAP to be outdated, it still works well if you can get used to it. The creator is not sold on the old version’s user interface yet it is highly functional and free. The paid version is definitely an update. It has a newer UI and is packed with more features. It will set you back for $79. Both versions, though, are fit for hand-drawn animation artists. 

Again, PAP still works well when you get the hang of it. You can always take it for a spin. 

Key Features of Plastic Animation Paper

  • Layering ability
  • Basic drawing tools
  • Light table
  • Walk cycle and clone timing

8. K-3D

K-3D dashboard example

K-3D is a totally free animation and 3D modeling platform. It offers artists a digital platform with a comprehensive set of tools complete with plugins. K-3D uses a pipeline architecture that enhances its usability and flexibility. The platform allows you to create different combinations. The user interface is quite straightforward. It allows you to make 3D models easily. 

If you want to animate logos or texts, K-3D may be the perfect free application for you. It is easy to use and will always be free from the looks of it. It makes use of ‘undo trees’ so you don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes. Also, because of the pipeline architecture, you can modify your workflow from the beginning portion and witness as changes come about automatically to your work’s end. 

Key Features of K-3D

  • Node-based visualization pipeline for flexibility
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Powerful with procedural and parametric workflows

The Choice: Take your Intent and Skills into Consideration

Those are our 8 best free animation software out there. Which one is the best for you is still up in the air. They all have different functionalities. Some have similarities in capabilities and features; some are in leagues of their own. Take one that you feel is best for your company or professional needs.

Better still, we suggest that you pick out several that you think fits your current requirements and skill level then try them out. The good thing is that they are all free so you can have a real go if you have the time for each. 

If you want a digital hand-drawn animation software, you can try out Pencil2D and Plastic Animation Paper. If quick and easy animation graphics for presentations is more like it for you, you can try out PowToon or Animaker. As for powerful simulations and realistic graphics, Blender may be the best one out there for you.

Also, many free animation software has vibrant user communities with helpful tutorials. You can download the platforms for free and you can also learn to use them for free via no-cost tutorials over the internet. 

It is good to note that you can use animation software in tandem with other graphic design tools like Adobe Photoshop CC.  There are also free ones such as GIMP. Also, there are other also web-based graphic design tools such as Pixlr and Inkscape

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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