55+ Best Animation Software: Online, 2D, 3D, and More

55+ Best Animation Software: Online, 2D, 3D, and More

Unleash your creative genius and bring your imagination to life with the power of animation! If you’ve ever dreamed of making characters dance across the screen, telling captivating stories, or creating stunning visual effects, you’re in for a treat. Animation software has revolutionized how we communicate, entertain, and engage with audiences of all ages.

According to recent research, video marketers claim that 66% of consumers prefer watching a video to reading about a product. 

Animated videos are everywhere. We use them for different purposes, from explainer videos for business to animated video greetings and everything in between. Yet to reach the desired results, putting quality over quantity has got to be your top priority.

But with so many online animation software solutions available, finding the perfect tool to meet your specific needs can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

But fret not! We’ve done the legwork for you and compiled a comprehensive list of the 55+ best animation software tools. So, whether you’re an aspiring filmmaker, a marketing guru, or a student eager to make a splash with your presentations, we are about to dive in together and turn your dreams into reality!


Top 55+ Animation Software: Suitable for Pros and Beginners

When it comes to video animation software, a plethora of options are available, catering to individuals with varying skill levels and preferences. From user-friendly programs designed for beginners to sophisticated tools equipped with advanced features, the market offers a diverse range of choices. However, it is important to note that certain animation software solutions may present a steep learning curve for novice users, while others may pose budgetary constraints.

Thus, it is crucial to assess your own proficiency and requirements before selecting the most suitable animation software. Beginners may find solace in intuitive platforms that prioritize ease of use, allowing them to grasp the fundamental concepts of animation quickly. On the other hand, experienced animators may seek software that offers a robust suite of tools, enabling them to delve into intricate details and push the boundaries of their creative endeavors.

With these tools, you can create 2D and 3D animation, stop motion animation, whiteboard animation, and more.  

Let’s see which one will be your favorite!


Online Animation Tools

One of the best things about online animation tools is that you don’t have to download these tools on your device to start working. All you need to do is upload your files to the editor and start editing your animated video. Here are some great online animation software solutions to make your job easier.


Renderforest cloud-based platform

  1. Renderforest

Operating system: Website


Renderforest shines as a remarkable cloud-based platform, offering many features to transform your creative ideas into visually stunning masterpieces. With its focus on ready-made templates, the software has hundreds of thousands of explainer animations, cartoon videos, and more! 

It opens up a world of possibilities, catering to a diverse range of needs, including tools for kinetic typography, product or service promotional videos, music visualizations, logo animation templates, wedding or travel slideshows, mobile app promotions, event invitations, corporate presentations, infographics, and lot more. 

What makes Renderforest truly remarkable is its accessibility. You can create videos in minutes, see how each scene looks in real-time, and render and export them in SD 360 quality with watermarks. If you want the final result to be without watermarks and in HD quality, you need to subscribe to one of the plans or pay for a one-time export. The platform also offers a text animation video maker for combining text with motion and a free cartoon maker—along with cartoon templates—for cartoon creations. For branding purposes, you can even make a 3D logo animation online free of charge.

As one of the best animation apps, Renderforest serves as an invaluable solution for both individuals and businesses alike. It caters to those seeking professional-grade results and broadcast quality without the burden of technical expertise required to build a product from scratch. By harnessing the power of Renderforest, users can confidently present their products or ideas with a polished and captivating touch, leaving a lasting impression on their audience.


Animatron web-based animation software

  1. Animatron

Operating system: Website


Animatron is a web-based animation software that empowers users to create and modify animated videos and interactive content with ease. Established in 2011 as a corporate spin-off from JetBrains, the company has garnered recognition for its innovative offerings. Central to Animatron’s capabilities is its HTML5 animation tool, which seamlessly displays created animations on various mobile and desktop web pages. 

Animatron also offers a collaborative environment, allowing teams to work seamlessly together on projects. By enabling real-time collaboration and providing tools for version control, Animatron enhances productivity and streamlines the creative workflow. Whether you’re working on a solo project or collaborating with a team spread across different locations, Animatron ensures a smooth and efficient production process.


Moovly cloud-based platform

  1. Moovly

Operating system: Website


With Moovly’s intuitive platform, users can seamlessly create captivating animated videos, engaging video presentations, dynamic animated infographics, and various other video content that incorporates a harmonious blend of animation and motion graphics.

Moovly’s cloud-based platform ensures accessibility and flexibility, allowing users to work on their projects anytime, anywhere, and from any device with an internet connection. This seamless integration enables a smooth and collaborative workflow, facilitating teamwork and enabling users to bring their collective ideas to fruition.


Animaker animated video creation tool

  1. Animaker

Operating system: Website


Animaker is an easy-to-use animated video creation tool. Create an account to begin your video and choose a template to customize. Be sure to watch the tutorials before starting to learn all of the features included with Animaker. When complete, download a video to your computer or directly to YouTube or Facebook. The free version of the tool allows animated videos up to 2 minutes in length and five exports per month. The tutorials reside on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable. You could always view them at home and bring them to class “on a stick” to share.


Powtoon web-based animation software

  1. Powtoon

Operating system: Website

Description: PowToon is a web-based animation software that allows users to create animated presentations by manipulating pre-created objects, imported images, provided music, and user-created voice-overs. Powtoon uses an Apache Flex engine to generate an XML file that can be played in the Powtoon online viewer, exported to YouTube, or downloaded as an MP4 file. PowToon is also available in the Google Chrome Store and has an application on Edmodo.com.


Mixamo web-based tool

  1. Mixamo

Operating system: Website


With this web-based tool you can create 3D animations without any prior knowledge. You can see animated characters moving instantly. Get high-quality animations that are automatically retargeted to your 3D character and ready to bring into your project. No need to reanimate a walk cycle for each character. Search the Store for the right animation and get instant feedback on timing. 


Wideo online editing tool

  1. Wideo

Operating system: Website

Description: Wideo is designed to help its users create, edit, and share videos very easily. With its user-friendly interface, you can bring your ideas to life in a matter of moments. Simply drag and drop elements or upload your own images; with just a few clicks, you’ll be animating your content.

Whether you’re a seasoned animator or a beginner taking your first steps into the world of video creation, Wideo provides a seamless and intuitive experience. The process is as simple as can be—just select the desired elements, arrange them as you please, and watch your creations come to life.


Visme visual online tool

  1. Visme

Operating system: Website


This is an online tool to create visual aids for your story. It can be used to create infographics, presentations, and other visual content in a time-saving manner. Whether you are looking for a cost-effective solution or seeking additional advanced features, Visme has something to offer. If you want to animate for free, the software has both free and paid versions.


MakeWebVideo online video animation maker

  1. MakeWebVideo

Operating system: Website


If you need a business video advertisement or a product video to promote your company, website, or an upcoming event – you’ve come to the right spot! This website has developed an online video animation maker that lets you make a professional video for your website and will help increase your business sales.


Vyond online animation tool

  1. Vyond

Operating system: Website


Vyond is an online tool that lets you create your own animated videos. Create your own characters, choose the one that fits your needs with the specific description. Audio is automatically lip-synced to the characters in real time, so it looks professional. This platform has a free trial available for 14 days.


Prezi web-based presentation software

  1. Prezi

Operating system: Website


The software stands as a dynamic and innovative animation software solution that revolutionizes how presentations are delivered. Unlike traditional slide-based approaches, Prezi takes storytelling to new heights by enabling users to create captivating and fluid visual narratives.

Concentrated on digital animations, Prezi offers a unique zooming canvas that allows presenters to seamlessly transition between different visual elements, creating a smooth and engaging flow of information.


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2D Animation Software

2D animation is one of the most popular animation styles. From captivating feature films to engaging advertisements, 2D animation has found its place in various industries, and its popularity continues to surge. 

In fact, the global 2D animation software market is predicted to grow at +10% CAGR through the years 2023 to 2030

The allure of 2D animation lies in its ability to blend creativity and nostalgia, evoking a sense of wonder and imagination. With the advent of advanced technology, 2D animation software has experienced a remarkable resurgence, offering artists a wide array of tools and techniques to bring their visions to life.

The main types of 2D animation software include but don’t limit to the following:

  • Traditional animation software
  • Vector-based animation software
  • Motion graphics software
  • Rigging and animation software

With each stroke and movement, 2D animation software is forging new frontiers in the art of storytelling, weaving tales that touch the hearts and minds of viewers. 

Let’s furtherly explore some key market players to help you create your next animated video for business or any other purpose.


Toon Boom animation and storyboarding software

  1. Toon Boom

Operating system: Website


Designed for traditional 2D animation, Toon Boom inspires artists and animators to bring their creative visions to life. Users can unleash their artistic talents through hand-drawn animation techniques, utilizing the software’s intuitive drawing tools, frame-by-frame animation capabilities, and onion-skinning functionality. These features allow precise control over each frame, ensuring smooth and fluid movements that breathe life into characters and objects.

Another powerful feature of Toon Boom is its robust rigging system. Artists can design and rig complex character structures, allowing for efficient and consistent animation. The software’s bone and deformation tools provide flexibility and control, enabling animators to achieve various movements and expressions.


Moho 2D animation software

  1. Moho (Animion Software)

Operating system: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X


Moho is a proprietary vector-based 2D animation software for animators. Moho has two different versions: Moho Debut and Moho Pro. The first one doesn’t have all the functions that the Pro version has, plus the Debut version is a bit more restricted in terms of possible length and image size. 

The features include drawing tools, smart bones, Photoshop files import, quad meshes, full 3D space and camera, lip-sync tools, and more. 

Moho’s standout feature lies in its exceptional ease of use, allowing users to effortlessly create reusable 2D rigs while maintaining a high level of control. This unique combination makes it an ideal choice for various applications, including TV shows, web series, and even video game animation.


Synfig Studio 2D vector graphics animation program

  1. Synfig Studio

Operating system: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows


Synfig Studio is a feature-rich, open-source computer animation program that operates on a timeline-based, 2D vector graphics framework. 

What sets Synfig Studio apart is its unique architecture, consisting of both a front-end and back-end application. This distinctive setup allows users to create animations seamlessly in the intuitive front-end interface. Later, they can render their creations in the back end, even on a separate computer, without needing a graphical display connection.

As an open-source software, Synfig Studio is freely available, granting access to its comprehensive suite of animation tools and features without any cost. Yet, it requires certain levels of professionalism to bring your ideas to life.


Adobe Animate computer animation program

  1. Adobe Animate

Operating system: Windows, OS X


Developed by Adobe Systems, Adobe Animate is one of the best animation software and multimedia authoring programs available today. If you aim to create captivating vector graphics and animations, Animate is the ideal tool to bring your vision to life. 

The versatility of Adobe Animate extends across various platforms and mediums. Once you’ve crafted your animations, you can seamlessly incorporate them into websites, online videos, rich internet applications, video games, and television programs. This broad range of applications allows you to showcase your creations to a wide and diverse audience.

Additionally, the software supports rich text and raster graphics, offering flexibility and creative freedom in your designs.


Pencil 2D free 2D animation software

  1. Pencil 2D

Operating system: Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows


Pencil 2D is an open-source and free animation software for creating digital animations. You can easily produce simple 2D drawings and graphics, and create a hand-drawn animation by using the bitmap/vector drawing interface of the application. It started as a simple “pencil test” at first and developed into professional animation software.


Toonz 2D animation software

  1. OpenToonz

Operating system: Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows


OpenToonz, an esteemed open-source 2D animation software, offers a wide array of creative tools and features. As part of the same family, Toonz Premium is a professional-grade product providing advanced capabilities for animation production.

OpenToonz’s open-source nature fosters a collaborative and supportive community, driving ongoing development and innovation. Artists and developers can contribute to the software’s improvement, ensuring that it remains up-to-date and relevant in the ever-evolving field of animation.


Digicel 2D animation software

  1. DigiCel FlipBook

Operating system: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X


DigiCel FlipBook embraces the essence of the traditional animation process. Inspired by the likes of Toon Boom Harmony and TVPaint, FlipBook aims to replicate the traditional hand-drawn animation experience. As such, it does not support skeletal animation, focusing on individual frame creation and onion skinning for inbetweening.

By emphasizing frame-by-frame creation and onion skinning, FlipBook allows animators to craft each individual frame with precision and care meticulously. This approach offers full control over the animation process, lending a traditional touch to the final product.


Retas Studio 2D animation software

  1. Retas Studio

Operating system: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS


RETAS (Revolutionary Engineering Total Animation System) is an exceptional 2D animation software bundle created and distributed by Celsys. Available for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X, RETAS offers a comprehensive solution for the entire animation production process.

Notably, RETAS has earned a prominent position in Japan’s anime industry, being regarded as a leader in the field. Its robust features, reliability, and advanced capabilities have made it a preferred choice among professionals in the Japanese animation community.


Animation Paper software

  1. Animation Paper

Operating system: Linux, Windows, macOS


Animation Paper, developed by Krogh Mortensen Animation, is an exceptional software package designed specifically for hand-drawn 2D animation. With its intuitive interface and innovative features, Animation Paper revolutionizes the animation workflow, allowing animators to draw directly on the screen without the need for traditional line tests.

This free animation program caters to beginners, providing a user-friendly platform to explore the art of animation. It offers a seamless and intuitive drawing experience, empowering aspiring animators to unleash their creativity and bring their ideas to life.


CelAction professional 2D animation software

  1. CelAction 2D

Operating system: Windows


CelAction2D is a professional 2D animation software specialized in films, TV series, and commercials. Using vector graphics and bitmaps, character models and their movements can be edited. Over 60 effects and many audio samples are available in order to make scenes more dynamic. The animation will be previewed in low resolution but can be rendered out in any resolution you wish up to 4K. The program has no drawing tools, so your sketches or photos have to be imported from different software (such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or Flash).


Maefloresta animation software company

  1. Maefloresta

Operating system: Unix-like, Windows, macOS


Maefloresta is a Colombian startup providing products and services to create animated content. Their main product is TupiTube, a simple animation software that kids and teenagers use to create animations. It was developed by two young Colombians to encourage young people throughout Latin America to animate. 

TupiTube is free and open-source software, compatible with phones, tablets, and PCs. It offers features like basic tools for vector illustration, support for tweening of positions and colors, a library panel to organize files, and different formats for exporting. The goal is to reach a professional level for more advanced users eventually.


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3D Animation Software

Unlike 2D animation, which is flat, 3D animation is the art of placing objects and characters in a 3-dimensional space and giving them a more realistic feel. Check out our list of the best 3D animation software and learn how to make 3D animation with some free resources.


Autodesk 3ds Max 3D animation software

  1. Autodesk 3ds Max

Operating system: Windows 7 or later

Description: Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio, then 3D Studio Max is a professional 3D animation software for making 3D animations, models, games, and images. It’s developed and produced by Autodesk Media and Entertainment. It has modeling capabilities and a flexible plugin architecture and can be used on the Microsoft Windows platform.

It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios, and architectural visualization studios. Autodesk is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization. For its modeling and animation tools, the latest version of 3ds Max also features shaders (such as ambient occlusion and subsurface scattering), dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, a customizable intuitive interface, new icons, and its own scripting language.


Cinema 4D animation and 3D modeling software

  1. Maxon Cinema 4D

Operating system: AmigaOS, MacOS, Microsoft Windows

Description: CINEMA 4D is a 3D modeling, animation, motion graphics, and rendering application developed by MAXON Computer GmbH in Germany. It is one of the best animation software available, and is capable of procedural and polygonal/SubD modeling, animating, lighting, texturing, rendering, visual effects, video editing and compositing, and common features found in 3D modeling applications. Four variants are currently available from MAXON: a core CINEMA 4D ‘Prime’ application, a ‘Broadcast’ version with additional motion-graphics features, ‘Visualize’ which adds functions for architectural design, and ‘Studio’, which includes all modules.

Initially, CINEMA 4D was developed for Amiga computers in the early 1990s, and the first three versions of the program were available exclusively for that platform. With v4, however, MAXON began to develop CINEMA 4D for Windows and Macintosh computers as well, citing the wish to reach a wider audience and the growing instability of the Amiga market following Commodore’s bankruptcy.


Houdini 3D animation software

  1. Houdini

Operating system: Windows, MacOS, Linux

Description: Houdini is one of the best animation software, and was developed by Side Effects Software based in Toronto. Side Effects adapted Houdini from the PRISMS suite of procedural generation software tools. Its exclusive attention to procedural generation distinguishes it from other 3D animation software open-source solutions.

Houdini is an advanced motion graphics tool, and has been used in various feature animation productions, including Disney’s feature films Frozen and Zootopia; the Blue Sky Studios film Rio, and DNA Productions’ Ant Bully.

Side Effects also publishes a partially limited version called Houdini Apprentice, which is free of charge for non-commercial use.


Poser 3D rendering software

  1. Poser

Operating system: Windows, OS X

Description: Poser is a 3D computer graphics program optimized for modeling human figures. The program has gained popularity due to allowing beginners to produce basic animations and digital images and the extensive availability of third-party digital models. Poser is a 3D rendering software package for the posing, animating, and rendering of 3D polymesh human and animal figures. Akin to a virtual photography studio, Poser allows users to load figures, props, lighting, and cameras for still and animated renderings.

Using a subset of the Alias object (OBJ) file format and a text-based markup for content files, Poser comes with a large library of pre-rigged human, animal, robotic, and cartoon figures. The package includes poses, hairpieces, props, textures, hand gestures, and facial expressions. As Poser itself does not allow for the original modeling of objects, a large community market of artists emerged, creating and selling Poser content using third-party software like Modo, ZBrush, Blender, or Autodesk 3ds Max.


iClone real-time 3D animation program

  1. iClone

Operating system: Windows

Description: iClone is a real-time 3D animation and rendering software program that enables users to make 3D animated films. Real-time playback is enabled by using a 3D video game engine for instant on-screen rendering.

Other functionality includes full facial and skeletal animation of human and animal figures, lip-syncing, import of standard 3D file types including FBX, a timeline for editing and merging motions, a scripting language (Lua) for character interaction, application of standard motion-capture files, the ability to control an animated scene in the same manner as playing a video game, and the import of models from Google 3D Warehouse, among many other features that make animation easy. iClone is also notable for offering users royalty-free usage of all content that they create with the software, even when using Reallusion’s own assets library.


Aladdin 4D animation software

  1. Aladdin 4D

Operating system: AmigaOS, Mac OS X, iPad, Linux, AROS, MorphOS, Windows

Description: Aladdin4D is a computer program for modeling and rendering three-dimensional graphics and animations, currently running on AmigaOS and Mac OS X platforms. A-Eon Technology Ltd owns the rights and develops current and future versions of Aladdin4D for AmigaOS, MorphOS & AROS. All other platforms including OS X, iOS, Windows & Linux are developed by DiscreetFX. Nova Design added many modern features and made it easier to create animated videos with the software. It was one of the first 3D animation software on any platform to employ volumetrics, which were primarily used to create volumetric gas. However, unlike the majority of Amiga 3D programs, it used scanline rendering instead of the more photo-realistic ray-tracing technique. Scanline rendering is similar to the rendering technique used in most Pixar movies. 


Autodesk Maya 3D animation software

  1. Autodesk Maya

Operating system: Windows 7 or later OS X 10.8 or later RHEL/CentOS 6.2 or later


Maya is an application used to generate 3D assets for use in film, television, game development, and architecture. The software is also one of the best animation software for character animation and is used by major studios around the world. It was initially released for the IRIX operating system. However, this support was discontinued in August 2006.

Users who are students, teachers (or veterans or unemployed in USA markets) can download a full educational version from the Autodesk Education community for free. The versions available at the community are only licensed for non-commercial use (once activated with the product license) and some products create watermarks on output renders. The software comes with a full 36-month license. Once it expires, users can log into the community to request a new 36 months license and download the latest Autodesk product.


Blender 3D computer graphics software

  1. Blender

Operating system: Windows, Mac OS, Linux

Description: Blender is professional and free animation software. Its 3D computer graphics software toolset is used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications, and video games. Blender’s features include UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing, compositing, motion graphics, and character animation. It further features an integrated game engine that makes animation easy.


Cascadeur 3D computer graphics software

  1. Cascadeur

Operating system: Windows, Linux

Description: Cascadeur is a professional 3D graphics software for physics-based action animation. The software offers a wealth of tools you can use to achieve the most realistic look for your animation. The software comes with editable mockups and tools to create an animation from scratch. The AI tools help to adjust the timing and trajectories so that users can concentrate on the animation process. Cascadeur is compatible with other animation software, such as Maya, Unity, Autodesk 3DS Max, Cinema4D, and others.


Lightwave 3D software package

  1. LightWave 3D

Operating system: AmigaOS, Windows, macOS

Description: LightWave is a software package used for rendering 3D images, both animated and static. It includes a fast rendering engine that supports such advanced features as realistic reflection, radiosity, caustics, and 999 render nodes. The 3D modeling component supports both polygon modeling and subdivision surfaces. The animation component has features such as reverse and forward kinematics for character animation, particle systems, and dynamics. Programmers can expand LightWave’s capabilities using an included SDK, which offers Python, LScript (a proprietary scripting language) scripting, and C language interfaces.


Autodesk MotionBuilder professional 3D character animation software

  1. Autodesk MotionBuilder

Operating system: Windows, Linux

Description: MotionBuilder is a professional 3D character animation software produced by Autodesk. It is used for virtual production, motion capture, character animation, and traditional keyframe animation. It was originally named Filmbox when it was first created by Canadian company Kaydara, later acquired by Alias and renamed MotionBuilder. Alias, in turn, was acquired by Autodesk.

It is primarily used in film, games, television production, as well as other multimedia projects. Mainstream examples include Assassin’s Creed, Killzone 2, and Avatar.

At SIGGRAPH 2012, Autodesk announced a partnership with Weta Digital and Lightstorm Entertainment to develop the next generation of technology.


Daz 3D software company

  1. Daz 3D

Operating system: Windows

Description: Daz Productions, Inc., commonly known as Daz 3D, is a 3D content and software company specializing in providing rigged 3D human models, associated accessory content, and software to the prosumer market. It was originally part of Zygote Media Group, a general-purpose, application-agnostic 3D content broker, and split off as “Digital Art Zone” in 2000 to focus on supplying content for the Poser market.

After acquiring other modeling tools, DAZ 3D created their own 3D posing/animation package, DAZ Studio, while still continuing to make the content compatible with Poser for several years. DAZ 3D also sells third-party applications usable with their products.


Bryce animation software

  1. Bryce

Operating system: Windows, macOS

Description: Bryce, an impressive 3D modeling, rendering, and animation program, is renowned for its specialization in crafting breathtaking fractal landscapes. Drawing inspiration from the awe-inspiring beauty of Bryce Canyon, known for its rugged and striking scenery, the software replicates and simulates these captivating landscapes with remarkable precision.

The roots of the original Bryce software lie in the exploration of fractal geometry to generate realistic computer images of mountain ranges and coastlines. By harnessing the power of fractals, Bryce enables artists and designers to create stunningly realistic and immersive environments that evoke the majesty of nature


Modo animation software

  1. Modo

Operating system: Windows, Linux, macOS

Description: Modo (stylized as MODO, originally modo) is a polygon and subdivision surface modeling, sculpting, 3D painting, animation, and rendering package developed by Luxology, LLC, which is now merged with and known as Foundry. The program incorporates features such as n-gons and edge weighting and runs on Microsoft Windows, Linux, and macOS platforms. 

Modo’s workflow differs from many other notable 3D applications. It is often viewed as the fastest modelling app on the market that has a well-developed interoperability with other applications (CAD and 3D). 

Modo was used in the production of feature films such as Stealth, Ant Bully, Iron Man, and Wall*E.


K-3D 3D modelling and animation software

  1. K-3D

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux, Free BSD

Description: K-3D is a free 3D animation software solution with modeling capabilities. It features a plug-in-oriented procedural engine for all of its content. K-3D supports polygonal modeling, and it includes basic tools for NURBS, patches, curves, and animation. Despite its name, it is not a KDE application; it uses the GTK+ toolkit via gtkmm. 

K-3D features procedural and parametric workflows. Properties can be adjusted interactively and results appear immediately. The node-based visualization pipeline allows more possibilities than traditional modifier stacks or histories. Selection flows from one modifier to the next. Standards form the foundation on which K-3D builds – including native RenderMan support that integrates tightly with the K-3D user interface. K-3D supports a node-based visualization pipeline, thus allowing the connection of multiple bodies. Work on one side of a model, show the other side mirrored, and see the end result welded together as a subdivision surface in real time. Go back, modify the beginning of a workflow, and watch as changes propagate automatically to the end.


Anim8or 3D modeling and animation program

  1. Anim8or

Operating system: Windows

Description: Anim8or is a freeware OpenGL-based 3D and character animation program by R. Steven Glanville, a software engineer at NVidia. It is a compact program with several tools which would normally be expected in high-end, paid software.

Users have the flexibility to customize the interface theme, including the option to switch to a dark gray background color mode. This feature enhances visibility, ensuring that the designed models or characters are easily discernible on the viewport window screen. Moreover, Anim8or offers anti-aliasing capabilities in the 3D view, provided you have a capable graphics chip. This anti-aliasing functionality grants users fine control over the thickness of lines within their models. By smoothing out jagged edges and enhancing the overall visual quality, anti-aliasing contributes to the creation of polished and refined models.


MovieStorm real-time 3D animation app

  1. MovieStorm

Operating system: Windows, macOS

Description: Moviestorm is a real-time 3D animation software published by Moviestorm Ltd. The motion graphics software is available to and used by people of all age groups and appeals to those with a diverse range of backgrounds and interests, from amateur and professional filmmakers, through to businesses and education, as well as people just looking to simply tell stories or create messages to share using video. Moviestorm enables the user to create animated movies using machinima technology. It takes the user from the initial concept to finished, distributed movies. Sets and characters can be created and customized, and scenes can be filmed using multiple cameras.

Moviestorm is being used predominantly in education by students of film and media studies as a means to develop their skills and expand their portfolio, as well as a collaborative cross-curricular creative tool in education sectors from elementary to high school.


Messiah Studio 3D animation and rendering application

  1. Messiah Studio

Operating system: Windows 2000 and later

Description:  Messiah Studio is a 3D animation and rendering application developed by PMG Worldwide. It runs on the Win32 and Win64 platforms. It is marketed to run on Mac OS X and Linux via Wine. Messiah’s fourth version, Messiah Studio was released in April 2009, and version 5.5b as Messiah Animate was released in November 2006. Messiah Studio6 was released in April 2013.


Hash Animation: Master 3D character animation application

  1. Hash Animation: Master

Operating system: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X

Description: Hash Animation: Master is a 3D character animation application offered by Hash, Inc. that includes tools for modeling, rigging, animation, texturing, lighting, and rendering. Although this software was developed for and is targeted towards independent artists, with a workflow optimized to enable one artist to create a rendered animated piece from start to finish, the workflow also presents economic advantages for larger workgroups.

The software uses a proprietary spline mesh technology to perform modeling and animation, and it is different in this sense from polygon mesh or NURBS-based programs. The system used is called patch-based modeling. It uses multiple intersecting splines to create surfaces called patches. Patches present efficiency in that one patch can describe a complex curved surface that would require many facets to approximate in flat polygons.

Aside from the typical 4-sided patches common in many spline modeling environments, Animation: Master can also create 3 and 5-sided patches that enable mesh topologies not possible in other applications.


Crazy Talk animation software

  1. CrazyTalk

Operating system: Windows XP and later OS X 10.6 and later

Description: CrazyTalk is Reallusion’s brand name for its 3D animation software. The product series includes CrazyTalk, a 3D facial animation software tool, and CrazyTalk, a face and a body 3D animation suite.

CrazyTalk, the 3D facial animation software, is a real-time animation software that enables users to make 3D animated cartoons. It is a facial animation tool that uses voice and text to vividly animate facial images. It has an auto motion engine that allows animators to use the intensity of their voice to drive their animations in real time. 

CrazyTalk is developed and marketed by Reallusion, a company that has a software and digital content development base in Taiwan with offices and training centers in the U.S. and Germany.


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KeyShot real-time 3D rendering software

  1. KeyShot

Operating system: Windows, OS X

Description: KeyShot is a real-time 3D rendering software. It aims to deliver results instantly, reducing the time it takes to load and create shots. KeyShot allows users to elevate visuals creating a lifelike animation. It offers features such as CPU rendering, HDRI lighting, physical lighting, denoise, camera control, KeyShot cloud, etc.

KeyShot was introduced by Luxion, which specializes in advanced 3D rendering, animation, and lighting technology. Luxion developed KeyShot based on scientific research on material representation and global illumination.


Toontastic 3D creative storytelling software

  1. Toontastic 3D

Operating system: Windows, macOS

Description: Toontastic 3D is a creative storytelling tool available for tablets, phones, and Chromebooks. It works both for iOS and Android. Toontastic allows you to draw, animate, and narrate your own animated cartoons. You can choose from existing characters, draw your own, or add your face to characters. 

The app doesn’t require a login or password and works offline. Exporting and downloading your files is easy and free. Because of its interactive and simple interface, Toontastic has gained popularity among kids and students.


Recommended Reading


Other Animation Software

There are also some other animation tools that we think you should know about.

Wondershare FilmoraPro software

  1. Wondershare FilmoraPro

Operating system: Microsoft Windows (64-bit), Mac OS X 10.13 or later

Description: Wondershare FilmoraPro is a powerful and straightforward video editor for all levels, from middle to advanced. Its flexible keyframing, advanced tools, smoothing effects, and motion blur will help you create a high-quality animation video. And the auto color correction and audio mixer will upscale your 2D animation video to a new level. If you are looking for greater productivity, better control, and more ways to customize your animation video, FilmoraPro is the right choice.


Adobe After Effects digital application

  1. Adobe After Effects

Operating system: Microsoft Windows, macOS

Description: Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effect, motion graphics, and compositing application developed by Adobe Systems and used in the post-production process of filmmaking, video editing, and television production. Among other things, After Effects can be used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation. It also functions as a very basic non-linear editor, audio editor, media transcoder and is one of the best animation software for motion graphics lovers.


Pivot Animator freeware application

  1. Pivot Animator

Operating system: Windows

Description: Pivot Animator (formerly Pivot Stickfigure Animator and usually shortened to Pivot) is a freeware application that allows users to create stick-figure and sprite animations and save them in the animated GIF format for use on web pages and the AVI format (in Pivot Animator 3 and later).

Pivot provides a simple, easy-to-use interface with a few features. It uses fixed-length ‘sticks’ to ensure size consistency during the animation.


Microsoft PowerPoint presentation program

  1. Microsoft PowerPoint

Operating system: Microsoft Windows  

Description: Microsoft PowerPoint is a presentation program currently developed by Microsoft, for use on both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh operating systems. PowerPoint, initially named “Presenter”, was created by Forethought Inc. Microsoft’s version of PowerPoint was officially launched on May 22, 1990, as a part of the Microsoft Office suite. PowerPoint is useful for helping develop the slide-based presentation format and is currently one of the most commonly used slide-based presentation programs available. Microsoft has also released the PowerPoint mobile application for Apple and Android mobile operating systems.


Unity cross-platform game engine

  1. Unity

Operating system: Linux, macOS, Windows

Description: Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, which is primarily used to develop video games and simulations for computers, consoles, and mobile devices.

Unity is marketed to be an all-purpose engine, and as a result, supports both 2D and 3D graphics, drag and drop functionality, and scripting through its 3 custom languages. The engine targets the following APIs: Direct3D and Vulkan on Windows and Xbox 360; OpenGL on Mac, Linux, and Windows; OpenGL ES on Android and iOS; and proprietary APIs on video game consoles.

Unity is the default software development kit (SDK) for Nintendo’s Wii U video game console platform, with a free copy included by Nintendo with each Wii U developer license. Unity Technologies calls this bundling of a third-party SDK an “industry first”.


Stop Motion animation software

  1. Stop Motion Studio

Operating system: macOS, Windows

Description: Stop Motion Studio helps to create stop-action movies. It was created by Cateater LLC, a South Carolina-based development studio. Features include 4K Ultra HD, frame-by-frame editing, overlay mode, built-in movies gallery, and sound effects. It supports digital cameras and allows the use of a second device as a remote camera. Stop Motion Studio is available on various devices, including iPhone, iPad, macOS, as well as Android, and Windows. It has been honored with numerous awards and is one of the best software for creating stop-motion animations.


Krita professional free and open source painting program

  1. Krita

Operating system: Unix-like system, Windows, OS X

Description: Krita stands as a remarkable animation software and painting program that caters to both professionals and enthusiasts. Created by artists with a passion for making art tools accessible to all, Krita offers a powerful and free platform for unleashing your creative potential.

With Krita, artists can explore a multitude of artistic endeavors. Whether you’re creating concept art, texture and matte paintings, illustrations, or even comics, this versatile software provides the tools and features needed to bring your ideas to life.


Stykz freeware

  1. Stykz

Operating system: Linux, Windows, OS X

Description: Stykz is one of those free animation programs that have no hidden costs, license, or permission required to use Stykz to its fullest. This makes Stykz one of the best free animation software available on the market.

If you’ve ever used Pivot StickFigure Animator, you’ll feel right at home working with Stykz. Stykz is the first multi-platform stick figure animation program in the world (as far as we know), so you’ll be able to use Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux* to create, edit and preview your animations. (*Linux is in internal beta but will be available soon.)


Adobe Character Animator software

  1. Adobe Character Animator

Operating system: Linux, Windows, OS X

Description: Adobe Character Animator is desktop application software that combines live motion capture with a multi-track recording system to control layered 2D puppets drawn in Photoshop or Illustrator. It can be used to produce both live and non-live animation.

Adobe Character Animator imports layered Photoshop & Illustrator documents into puppets that have behaviors applied to them. The puppets are then placed into a scene, which can be viewed in the Scene panel and Timeline panel. Rigging is set up in the Puppet panel, though basic rigging is fully automatic based on specific layer names like Right Eyebrow and Smile. The final output of a scene can be exported to a sequence of PNG files and a WAV file, or any video format supported by Adobe Media Encoder. Live output can be sent to other applications running on the same machine via the Syphon protocol (Mac only) or Adobe Mercury Transmit on both Mac and Windows. Scenes can also be dropped directly into After Effects and Premiere Pro, using Dynamic Link to avoid rendering.


Clip Studio Paint software

  1. Clip Studio Paint

Operating system: Windows, macOS


Clip Studio Paint is an illustration/manga/animation production software. Its high-performing rendering engine makes it possible to draw with natural and realistic brush strokes and multi-core CPU support handles high resolution and multiple layers. Since its launch in 2012, more than 3 million people worldwide have used this software.

The software is widely used in the professional field as well, including many manga artists and animation studios. Not only the software itself, but Celsys also provides various services for its users, including CLIP STUDIO ASSETS for downloading materials and CLIP STUDIO TIPS for tutorials and drawing techniques. Currently, the software is supported in 7 different languages. A free version is available to try on PC and iPad.


Dragonframe stop-motion animation software

  1. Dragonframe

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux

Description: Dragonframe is one of the best animation software for stop-motion videos. It allows you to do feature-level, performance-based animation in any format. The software permits users to manipulate the camera and the scene and then combine the frames into a stop-motion video. A 30-day free trial is available.

Dragonframe was developed by brothers Jamie and Dyami Caliri when they were working on a commercial called “The Dragon.” Later, they formed DZED Systems LLC to develop Dragon Stop Motion for the public. Dragonframe has since been used to create Disney’s Frankenweenie, Laika’s Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman, as well as the holochess scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.


The Bottom Line

As you can see, in the realm of animation software, the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and skills. So, there is no one answer to which is the best animation software. 

With the extensive list of animation tools provided, you have a wealth of options to explore and find the perfect fit for your creative journey. Whether you’re delving into 2D or 3D animation, these software options offer the tools and features necessary to craft captivating animations and explainer videos.

As you embark on your animation-making endeavors, don’t forget to consider Renderforest as a comprehensive solution that encompasses a vast array of tools and resources to elevate your creations. From animation to beyond, Renderforest provides a platform to unleash your creativity and bring your ideas to life.

Take the leap, explore the possibilities, and create the most compelling animations with the help of Renderforest. Start your animation journey today!

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