Top 8 2D Animation Software To Create Killer Motion Graphic Videos Now

The power of video rules over every sphere of life.

Videos tend to engage, entertain and inform people in a better way than long pieces of text.

According to Wyzowl, 84% of consumers claim that they have bought a product or service after watching its video.

So, be it for marketing purposes or just for fun, videos have a greater hold on the audience today than before.

The same rule applies to video animation.

Animation is a method in which objects or characters are manipulated in such a way that they appear moving.

It includes a series of illustrations or images shown in rapid succession giving an illusion of movement.

Whether it’s a video game or a Disney movie, there was always something fascinating about watching characters & objects moving as if in real life.

In the current digital age, video animation can do a lot more than just entertain children.

It’s become an impactful tool for visual communication and offers an entirely fresh medium for expression and creativity.

It’s predicted that in the future, more than 80% of the traffic will be driven by videos, thus making internet video production a fruitful endeavor. 

Using animation software, even an amateur artist will be able to create interesting 2D/3D animations, stop-motion, motion graphics, etc. 

Ranging from movies like The Lion King to the modern Netflix anthologies like Love, Death, and Robots, animated films have grabbed a place in our society. 

Having animation skills can be quite lucrative whether you’re working in an advertising agency, production house, or have a YouTube channel of your own.

Animations add more creativity and fun to videos while compelling the viewers to take action.

In this guide, we walk you through the top 8 2D animation software to produce stunning animations or explainer videos.

History of Animation

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Animation is the art of capturing a series of static images that can be drawings or photographs and moving them in succession to show real-world movement. 

If you wonder, when was animation first invented?

The concept of sequential art dates back to thousands of years where it was initially made in the form of cave paintings.

However, it was first conceptualized in 1833 with Simon von Stampfer’s phenakistoscope

During the 1900s, artists began experimenting with animation.

But it was only when Walt Disney revolutionized it with its flagship cartoon called Steamboat Willie which became quite popular during that time. 

By the 1930s, the power of animation caught the attention of other studios as well with Warner Brothers launching Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies.  

Finally in 1995, the first CGI film ‘Toy Story’ was released.

Looking at the wide history of animation, it’s obvious that animation is quite appealing to both kids as well as adults as it solves a number of purposes today.

Bringing life to lifeless characters is what attracts children. 

The greatest strength of animation lies in the fact that it appeals to a variety of audiences at once.

Through animation, storytelling becomes easier and complex subjects are conveyed in a more simplified manner and it especially works for businesses.

Types of Animation


Let’s take a look at the main types of animation which can be used to create a more attractive and compelling brand image for the viewers.  

Traditional animation

 Traditional animation or hand-drawn animation is an old technique in which each frame is drawn by hand.

This style of animation was widely used until the introduction of computer animation.

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2D animation

 It simply means producing an illusion of movement in a two-dimensional space.

The images and animations are created using software on a computer.

Some of the best examples of 2D animation are Charlotte’s Web and Aladdin.

2D animation is also used for creating explainer videos for the promotion of a brand and other business purposes.

Image Source Freepik

3D animation

Also called CGI or Computer Generated Imagery, 3D animation uses a three-dimensional environment and chroma-key technology to create images.

It adds depth to 2D animation and makes it look more realistic.

Image Source Freepik

Motion graphics

Motion graphics are used to present text in a visually appealing manner.

It is widely used for marketing purposes. In motion graphics, text and images are animated to give an illusion of movement. 

Few examples of motion graphics are – title change in films and transition between slides of PPT. 

Stop-motion animation 

This kind of animation is created by combining a series of photographs or illustrations to generate the effect of motion.

The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline are some of the films where stop motion animation is used.

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Advantages of Using Animation for Business


Animation education audience through entertainment.

 Creative animations are perfect for communicating with the viewers.

 The use of vibrant colors and themes in animation has the potential to influence the customer’s buying decision.

 An engaging whiteboard animated video increases the engagement thereby driving more traffic to the website.

 Animation works extremely well in conveying thoughts, ideas, and emotions effectively.

 Your video is more likely to get shared by the viewers if it is smartly animated. This makes it reach a wider audience.

Top 8 2D Animation Software to Use in 2023


The market for both 2D and 3D animation software is quite diverse.

While looking for 2D animation software, you will come across many options ranging from high-end software used to make award-winning animations to simpler ones used by hobbyists and newbies.

 This compilation will provide you with the top 8 2D animation software along with their features, compatibility & pricing so that you can make a better decision.

#1 Synfig Studio

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Synfig Studio works best for animation enthusiasts who are looking for open-source 2D animation software.

It is an easy-to-use tool designed for creating vector graphics and timeline-based animated videos.

 Synfig offers two versions – Stable & Development which can be downloaded for free.

The Development version provides few experimental features for you to try before you switch to the Stable version.

 Beginners can access its free tutorials online to learn how to use the software.

  • Offers above 50 layers for creating simple or advanced animation. Choose from different layer types – gradients, geometric, filters, distortions, fractals, transformations, etc.
  • You can transform any image with a vector shape into another
  • Create cutout animation using the bone system
  • Facilitates linking of parameters of layers with mathematical expressions
  • You can add voiceover or other sound files to your animations.

 Compatible with: Windows, OSX & Linux.

 Website link –

#2 Pencil 2D


A lightweight, easy-to-use, and intuitive hand-drawn animation tool, Pencil 2D is ideal for creating 2D animations. You can sketch, ink and paint whenever using this software. Pencil 2D is highly customizable and is widely used for commercial purposes.

 Pencil 2D is completely open-source and free. The website offers a number of tutorials in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

 Take a look at the features:

  • You can seamlessly switch between vector and raster workflows
  • Review your work by using rolling or flipping techniques
  • Supports TIFF (Tagged Image File Format)
  • Offers a wide range of features like sound scrubbing, pixel re-colouring, pixel tracker, camera overlay system, template presets, etc
  • Allows importing of images as new layers of specific frames.

 Compatible with: Windows, Linux & OSX.

 Website link:

#3 Toon Boom Harmony

One of the leading 2D animation software, Toon Boom Harmony is an apt platform for creating stunning 2D animations.

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It is packed with a variety of tools and features that helps you do everything from creating artwork, animation to adding special effects and sound to it.

 Toon Boom Harmony is offered in three different packages namely Essentials, Advanced, and Premium which suits students, freelancers, and professional animators respectively.

All the versions have free as well as paid plans which vary in features and tools.

Take a look at the features:

  • Offers 2D & 3D integration
  • Stabilizer facilitates drawing of smoother lines
  • Supports vector & bitmap drawings
  • You can easily create cut-out animation
  • Offers pipeline integration to facilitate seamless animation
  • Offers 3, 4 & 5-point curved perspective guides
  • Defined colour palettes and paint options
  • Offers a variety of special effects and compositing
  • The software lets you import PSD and PSB files, PDF, Illustrator, bitmaps and media files.

Compatible with: Windows, macOS.

 Website link:

 #4 OpenToonz

OpenToonz works well for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

It is an open-source tool that allows its users to modify its source code freely.

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The software is loaded with numerous features and tools to allow you to create interesting 2D animations. 

Take a look at the features:

  • The software is compatible with 4 types of scanning
  • Allows you to change picture styles easily
  • You can use anti-aliased lines
  • Supports both raster and vector images
  • Compatible with TWAIN standards
  • Offers synthesizing of effects with the Graphic User Interface (GUI) using the node tree
  • Allows you to use more effects with plug-ins
  • You can easily paint with provisional colour.

Compatible with: Windows, macOS.

Website link:

#5 Animaker

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Animaker is widely used by both professionals and amateurs for creating 2D animations.

The software has a plethora of icons, animated characters, maps, charts, etc to help you use in the animated videos. 

It is a cloud-based animation tool that offers pre-built templates and characters for producing entertaining animations.

Besides, it can also be used for creating animations for presentations, corporate projects, freelance projects, and the like. 

Take a look at the features:

  • Upload & edit videos in 4K resolution
  • Use from over 1000 templates to make your animations more creative
  • Allows you to add voiceover to your characters
  • Choose from millions of stock photos and videos
  • Offers a wide range of royalty-free sound tracks and sound effects
  • You can collaborate with your team members
  • You can import themes, logos, images, videos and create your own personal library
  • Allows you to share your finished videos to around 100 social media platforms
  • It also lets you export your video as a GIF.

Compatible with: cloud-based

Website link:

#6 Krita 

Krita is a free and open-source animation tool primarily designed for 2D animation and digital painting. You can customize your workflow using this software. Krita is developed by artists who want animators to use affordable tools.

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Krita features an intuitive interface with adjustable dockers and panels that can be moved as per your workflow.

Since it’s an open-source platform, it allows its users to modify its source code and make changes to it. It also provides training material for new users to learn the tool fast.

Take a look at the features:

  • Offers over 100 brushes providing different effects. You can customize the brushes with the brush engines.
  • Smoothen your brush using a stabilizer
  • There are built-in vector tools for creating comic panels
  • You can import text and brush packs from other animators
  • Lets you highlight the drawing part
  • The Wrap-around mode allows creating of patterns and textures
  • Offers group, filter, vector as well as file layers
  • Customizable onion-skinning
  • You can incorporate the software into current colour management pipeline
  • Offers an Assistant Tool to help you draw the perfect shape.

Compatible with: Windows, MacOS, Linux.

Website link:

#7 CelAction2D

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CelAction2D is a powerful animation software widely used in the TV, film, and advertising industry. It has been a preferred choice for professional animators and studios as it represents top-quality production.

Using this software, you can easily handle complex projects with much ease. CelAction2D uses vectors and bitmaps to rig character models into a skeleton, and this facilitates changing of animation whenever needed.

Take a look at the features:

  • The Rig features allows you to import assets from any software and animate them quickly
  • There are floating & dockable panels as well as a user-defined workspace
  • The software allows the separation of drawing from the animation
  • Customize your own shortcut keys
  • Create your own palette using over 16 million colours
  • Allows conversion of vector shapes into deformable objects.

Compatible with: Windows 7, 8 & 10

Website link:

#8 DigiCel FlipBook

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FlipBook is one of the simplest 2D animation software you will ever come across.

However, it’s still robust and fast enough as any other animation software.

One of its main features is that it enables the user to make changes while a scene loops and views the change the next time it loops. 

You can download the free trial version of this software or check out the pricing plans if you wish to use it for a longer period of time.

FlipBook also offers free technical support to its users to make their animating experience more engaging. 

Take a look at the features:

  • Easily converts PDF files to HTML flipping books
  • You can customize your toolbar
  • Click on the picture icon and shoot your pencil test drawing
  • Allows inserting & deleting of frames
  • Add up to three soundtracks
  • Lets you import backgrounds, movies, overlays and cels
  • Offers tools like Pan, Zoom, Rotate, Dissolve & Blur
  • Allows exporting of final animations as AVI or QuickTime files
  • Easily add soundtracks to your videos
  • You can determine the total number of frames for painting using the number keys.

Compatible with: Windows & macOS.

Website link –



Creating a 2D animation is not that difficult if you have the right software with you.

All you need is a script and a storyboard to begin animating stunning videos.

There are numerous 2D animation software available. However, you can choose the one as per your requirements, budget, and timeline.

If you’re just starting out, here are our top 10 video animation software for beginners.

We hope that the above-mentioned list of top 8 2D animation software will help you pick the one for you.

Some of the best options are Synfig Studio, Pencil2D, CelAction2D, Toon Boom Harmony, and Animaker.

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Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.