Animation software like Maya is expensive. Unfortunately, if you are an animation student or an enthusiast, these kinds of animation tools are simply out of your price range. The good news is, not all animation tools are pricey. There are a few software tools out there that you can use for your pet projects that cost next to nothing. Here is some of the Best free open source animation software that is currently available out there.
- 1 Stykz – Stick Animation Tool
- 2 Pencil – 2D Animation Tool
- 3 Synfig Studio – 2D Cartoon Tool
- 4 Plastic Animation Paper – Sketching Tool
- 5 Creatoon – 2D Cartoon Creator
- 6 Clara.io – Cloud-based Animation Software
- 7 DAZ Studio – with NVIDIA Iray
- 8 Aurora 3D Animation Maker – Animation Software
- 9 Bryce – Landscape Generating Software
- 10 Blender – A Professional Animation Tool
Stykz – Stick Animation Tool
Stykz shares a lot of similarities with the Pivot Stick Figure Animator except that it’s free and available in three operating systems such as Windows, Mac and Linux. You can create your first stick figure, edit and preview it with the help of Stykz. If you are a Pivot 2 or Pivot 3 user, your .stk files will work fine
with this software. On top of that, its Onionskin feature will help you edit your frames.
Pencil – 2D Animation Tool
Pencil is a 2D animation tool that’s free and open-source. The interface is simple but packed with tools normally included in similar but paid animation software. Pencil is suitable for creating bitmap and vector pictures but it also has multiple slabs support.
Additionally, the software also has its own tools that aid you in drawing the image before
starting the animation phase. Speaking of animation, you can add colors and
other attributes including sound, images and graphics.
Synfig Studio – 2D Cartoon Tool
Synfig Studio is another 2D animation software that shares a lot of similarities with Pencil. Users who tried it claimed that it’s easy to create a professional looking work with the included tools. Furthermore, the program interface are divided into four windows namely, tools, editing, navigator, and parameters.
You can create quality cartoon figures using vector and bitmap techniques once you learn the necessary skills. Animators don’t need to sketch every individual frame. Additionally, Synfig has a number of gradient tools that allows you insert soft shades to your drawing.
Plastic Animation Paper – Sketching Tool
The Plastic Animation Paper is simple but powerful software capable of converting your ideas into 2D animation. The program is suitable for experienced animators who want to create 2D images quickly. The feature simplifies your sketching process by allowing you to animate even just a few of your rough sketches.
Additionally, the program allows you to enhance your sketches by setting the frames, adding space, colors, music, plus other attributes. Plastic Animation is also capable of saving your drawing in various formats such as GIF, PNG, TGA, and many more. Furthermore, this software is available in all major platforms such as Windows, Mac OS X, and mobile devices like the iPad.
Creatoon – 2D Cartoon Creator
Creatoon is noted for its user-friendly features although; the interface seemed to look out-of date. On the other hand, the program allows you to create some very complicated drawings. The menus are easily accessible even if you cannot customize the program interface. You do have choice in selecting the format and run it at your desired frame rate.
Clara.io – Cloud-based Animation Software
Clara.io is an animation program that offers free 3D modelling and rendering. It’s completely web-based tool where you don’t need any plugins since all of it are all cloud-based. Its strength lies in ability to easily create polygon models and skeletal animation. In addition, you can import your files from several
animation programs like Blender or Collada.
In addition, Clara has a large community of more than 80,000 users who you can contact, consult, or just talk shop with. The program also allows you access to a ton of photorealistic materials which you can view and edit in most platforms and browsers.
DAZ Studio – with NVIDIA Iray
DAZ Studio is a free 3D animator software that is packed with a suite of tools that is suitable for both amateur and professionals. The software is powered by an engine that is fast and contains a big library loaded with pre-developed animation contents.
It’s most notable feature is the NVIDIA Iray which is a photoreal render tool. This helps you develop lifelike renders, realistic environmental maps, and other samplers. Additionally, NVIDIA includes a Drawstyle that allows you to preview a finished animation project using a Viewport.
Aurora 3D Animation Maker – Animation Software
The Aurora 3D Animation Maker is popular among Animators due to its capability of drawing animation effects in films. Additionally, you can also create your own special effects by using the program’s intuitive interface. The program also allows you to copyright your work by adding your own watermark or logo.
Bryce – Landscape Generating Software
Bryce is not for every animator since its only limited to creating landscapes. On the other hand, not many software programs are as capable as Bryce. It’s free to download and the interface is easy to use. The landscape generator program is packed with 3D animation and models you can experiment on. Additionally, the software allows you to add people, characters, and sceneries as well as other drawings as well. Other effects available include sky, fog, water, and clouds as well as rock and vegetation.
Unfortunately, you will need to buy the full Bryce version if you want access to all its features. For the moment, Bryce is available for download for Mac and Windows only.
Blender – A Professional Animation Tool
Blender is currently the best free 3D animation tool that out there, however, it may take you a while to learn all of its features. On the other hand, it’s the favorite animation tool of many students, professionals, and artists. Blender is constantly under development keeping up with the latest trends in animation. If
you want to use the best and free whiteboard animation software out there, you can’t go wrong with Blender.
Admittedly, the students will need some serious time to learn all of its functions but learning just half of it will let you create stunning animation projects. Blender is a cross-platform tool that provides lighting, modelling, animation, and post video conversion options. Moreover, the use of OpenGL provides smother performance. The Blender community can also help you with all your questions and problems with regards to animation and design.