Top 10 Animation Software for Beginners in 2023

Creating visual animations can feel like pure magic.

Animation is a combination of art and technology that mesmerizes viewers and generates engagement.

If you’re new to animation, choosing the right animation tools is crucial for success.

With so many software options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs.

To help you save time and effort, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 animation software for beginners.

If you’re younger and just starting out you can also check out our best animation software for kids article.

Take a look and see which one is the right fit for you.

1. Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator is a versatile design and creative toolset suitable for animators of all skill levels.

With its intuitive interface and comprehensive features, Adobe Character Animator is an ideal software choice for beginners.

Creating real-time animations with physical movements is fast and straightforward.

Simply import the animation character (also called a Puppet) into the program, plug in your microphone and webcam, and begin animating.

Adobe Character Animator automatically detects and captures your voice and facial expressions, allowing you to animate the Puppet quickly.

You can then apply additional functions to make the character perform various gestures, hold objects, walk, and more.

Salient Features

  • The software automatically animates eyes, mouth, and other facial features, and syncs lip movement.
  • It offers a wide range of options, including blinking, breathing, and various behaviors.
  • You can bring characters from the Creative Cloud Market to use in your animations.
  • It seamlessly integrates with other Adobe tools, such as Illustrator and Photoshop.
  • The software supports live streaming of real-time animation for added convenience.
                                       Pros                                         Cons
Compatible with both Windows and Mac.Limited functions and features for experienced professionals.
Comes with a free trial period.Difficulty in using multiple scenes feature.
User-friendly interface and convenient to use. 

2. Stop Motion Studio

Stop motion animation is a different type of video animation that has a very specific look.

Stop Motion Studio is a popular animation tool among teachers who use it to introduce the basics of animation to young students.

Although it’s an ideal animation software for beginners, this software has powerful features that many professionals use.

Its simple interface and versatile features make Stop Motion Studio a widely adopted animation software that’s both powerful and affordable.

It’s available on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, and users can even access the same project from different devices, including iPad, iPhone, tablet, and desktop.

With Stop Motion Studio, you can easily manage photo shoots and video recordings by allowing the software to control the camera and its settings.

You can then import videos and photos into the software timeline and incorporate 2D drawings to create top-rated animations.

You can find more stop motion software options here.

Salient Features

  • This is an affordable and easy-to-use animation software that is available on multiple OS platforms.
  • It includes popular animation features such as the magic eraser, sound effects, and paint tools.
  • There is also a background library and a green screen option.
  • The editing features are super easy to use, including the ability to view frame-by-frame.
  • You can control the camera settings automatically or manually, including the white balance, ISO, focus, exposure, and more.
                                       Pros                                       Cons
Simplifies stop-motion animation for beginners.Not ideal for serious animation projects.
Compatible with all major OS platforms.You’ll have to switch to a more advanced tool once a certain level of proficiency in animation is reached.
Makes animated content creation easy and affordable. 

3. Cartoon Animator 4

Cartoon Animator 4 is a simple 2D animation software with a remarkable user interface and a multitude of features that will certainly leave an impression on you.

Whether you’re a hobbyist, a beginner, or a professional, this tool is perfectly suited for your needs.

With Cartoon Animator 4, you can produce entertaining and educational videos, as well as high-quality business presentations or marketing materials.

The software’s greatest advantage is its capability to create your own 2D characters. Additionally, you can easily import characters as PSD templates.

Even if drawing isn’t your forte, Cartoon Animator 4 boasts an extensive database of characters to select from.

Cartoon Animator 4 is a versatile software that caters to all skill levels, providing both basic and advanced features and functions. Want to learn 2D animation? Look no further than Cartoon Animator 4.

Salient Features

  • Access a vast library of 2D characters and motion templates.
  • Enjoy essential features such as facial recognition, audio lip-syncing, and bone rigging, among others.
  • Utilize all popular video formats, including 4K resolution, to produce high-quality content.
  • Capture life-like facial motion from any angle with ease.
  • Create 360-degree head-turning, head-driven body movements, and 3D talking head effortlessly.
                                     Pros                                   Cons
User interface, features, and functions make creating animation incredibly easy.Lack of drawing tools inside the program.
Automatic lip-syncing with voiceover audio.Known for its steep learning curve.
Affordable animation software with special discounts for educators. 

4. Moho (Anime Studio)

Moho Animation Software is a robust and powerful tool with a plethora of features.

There are two versions of this software, both of which are suitable for beginners and amateurs.

For those just starting with animation, Moho Debut is the perfect starting point.

With its simple interface and basic animation functions, Moho Debut is an ideal choice for novice users.

In fact, educators use Moho Debut to teach basic animation to children.

On the other hand, Moho Pro is a more advanced tool that offers a range of professional-grade features and functions.

While it may be pricier than Moho Debut, Moho Pro can still be used by beginners and hobbyists to create a wide range of 2D vector animations.

The start-of-the-art animation technology and advanced functions in Moho Pro justify the higher cost.

Salient Features

  • Utilize advanced bone rigging to add complex movements to your animations.
  • Enjoy compatibility with both Windows and Mac, as well as multilingual support.
  • Take advantage of layered PSD support and smart wraps for vectors and images.
  • Use the auto freeze tool and advanced masking options to streamline your workflow.
  • Add a variety of effects such as additive stagger, elastic, bounce, and an extensive list of keyframe options.
  • Access a rich content library featuring props, characters, and backgrounds to enhance your animations.
                                          Pros                                      Cons
Plenty of guides and tutorials are available for both Debut and Pro versions.You need to buy the Pro version to access advanced animation features.
Supports PSD file imports and advanced integration with Photoshop.Even beginners need Moho Pro to use certain must-have animation features.
The Moho Pro version is feature-rich and versatile. 

5. Pencil2D

If you’re passionate about drawing and looking to venture into animation, Pencil2D is the perfect tool for you.

This open-source software allows for the creation of 2D animations using simple vector drawings.

You have the option to utilize both vector and raster graphics, and the software allows for easy switching between these two graphic types.

Pencil2D is highly versatile and compatible with Linux, Mac, Free BSD, and Windows.

Unlike other animation software, Pencil2D is incredibly lightweight, making it accessible on any device at any time.

As a bonus, users have full access to additional features and the source code, giving them, even more, control and flexibility.

Salient Features

  • Utilize an easy-to-use vector drawing tool to create your animations.
  • Export your finished product in multiple formats, including WEBM, AVI, MP4, GIF, and more.
  • Use the versatile keyframes and timeline to duplicate, add, or subtract frames as needed.
  • Customize the toolbar to your liking, making the software even more user-friendly.
  • Take advantage of the included light effects, distortion, and other useful functions to enhance your animations.
                                       Pros                                    Cons
Pencil2D is free-to-use animation software.Lacks advanced animation features.
Minimalistic 2D animation editor with an easy-to-use interface.Not ideal for people who don’t know drawing basics.
Ideal for cartoon making and basic animation.  

6. Blender

Blender is a popular animation software that is free to use and perfect for beginners.

If you’ve already mastered 2D creations with Pencil2D and are ready to delve into 3D animation, then Blender is the ideal tool for you.

With its programming features, you can create a wide variety of 3D models, renders, video games, and animations.

Blender is a multi-platform animation tool that can be used on Linux, Mac, and Windows Operating Systems.

Its many features and functions make it easy for users to create quick 3D models, and the user interface is both intuitive and beginner-friendly.

Because it’s open-source software, many users contribute to its development, making Blender a feature-rich option for both beginners and professionals alike.

Salient Features

  • Possesses advanced 3D rigging and animation tools for superior results.
  • Leverage powerful sculpting, modeling, and rendering tools to bring your designs to life.
  • Tailor shortcuts, layouts, and the user interface to suit your preferences.
  • Access advanced VFX and video editing functions for a professional touch.
  • Customize and automate workflows with Python API for greater efficiency.
                                        Pros                                     Cons
Extensive documentation helps beginners learn fast.Steep learning curve.
Blender is powerful and ever-growing which means once you master the basics, you don’t need to take up another 3D animation software for advanced learning.Too many features and functions that beginners don’t need.
A wide variety of functions, presets, and plug-ins in Blender will meet your requirements, whatever they are.  

7. Animaker

As more and more tools and digital assets make the transition to the cloud, it’s becoming increasingly advantageous to begin your animation journey with online software.

Animaker is a prime example of such a tool, offering robust functionality comparable to traditional animation software.

With various plans available to suit your specific needs, Animaker even offers a free plan with a wealth of features, styles, and assets perfect for beginners looking to explore their curiosity.

Users can create six distinct types of animated content using Animaker, including typography animations, whiteboard videos, handicraft content, animated infographics, 2D animated videos, and even 2.5D animated videos.

Salient Features

  • Create both vertical and horizontal animated content with ease.
  • Access an expansive library of thousands of animated assets.
  • Showcase your work as either animated presentations or videos.
  • Utilize advanced effects such as entry and exit effects, transitions, camera in/out, curve, multimove, and more.
  • Take advantage of multiple audio features, including voice recording and text-to-speech capabilities.
                                      Pros                                      Cons
Multiple plans to suit your level of experience. Free plan available for beginners.Requires reliable internet connectivity.
Comes with the world’s largest animation library.Limited features and functions in the free plan.
It’s an online software, which is a huge plus. 

8. Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony is a versatile animation software that caters to users of all levels, from major studios to beginners on a budget.

With its intuitive plans and features, even novices can unleash their creativity with ease.

With Toon Boom Harmony, you can create both 2D and 3D animations, as well as combine the two.

Additionally, the software boasts an impressive array of effects that can be applied to hand-drawn characters for added flair.

This software offers classic animation features that are perfect for beginners, such as drawing, rigging, and animating digital art and characters.

Furthermore, it also provides advanced functions that are sure to satisfy professional animators.

Salient Features

  • Comes with advanced painting tools, palettes, and bitmap/vector drawing features.
  • Convert 2D characters to 3D elements with ease.
  • Enjoy multiplatform compatibility, as the software works with both Mac and Windows Operating Systems.
  • Import and integrate a variety of file types, including audio, bitmaps, PDFs, PSB, and PSD files.
  • Take advantage of frame-by-frame animation capabilities, along with a host of other features and functions.
                                    Pros                                     Cons
Supports several types of animation styles.Feature-rich which may result in minor software glitches sometimes.
Helps create beautiful animation in just a few clicks.Premium plans are expensive.
Comes with a simple, easy-to-use interface. 

9. DigiCel FlipBook

For those with a fondness for traditional frame-by-frame animation, DigiCel FlipBook is the perfect tool to bring their visions to life.

This simple yet powerful 2D animation software boasts a user-friendly interface and intuitive animation features that are easy to learn and implement.

With a wide range of brushes at your disposal, you can create dynamic and engaging animations with ease.

Additionally, the software allows you to work on up to 1,500 frames at a time, giving you ample space to experiment and refine your creations.

While the software does not come with a pre-existing character library or backgrounds, this actually serves to encourage users to create their own unique characters manually.

This can be accomplished by scanning paper drawings, drawing directly into the software, or using Wacom or similar devices.

Salient Features

  • Offers a variety of painting options and transition effects to enhance your animations.
  • Supports lip-syncing for more realistic and engaging character animations.
  • Includes a range of essential 2D animation features and special effects, such as dissolve, blur, rotate, zoom, and pan.
  • Enables users to work on multiple frames simultaneously, increasing efficiency and productivity.
  • Effortlessly import and export drawings into the software for a streamlined animation workflow.
                                        Pros                                     Cons
A fine balance between easy-to-learn and powerful 2D animation features.Doesn’t support advanced animation.
Ability to import drawings directly from a scanner.DigiCel FlipBook is a learning software. Hence, animation created using the free version contains a watermark.
Lightweight and seamless work environment. 

10. Synfig Studio

Synfig Studio is a highly efficient open-source software used for creating 2D vector animations.

Its affordability makes it an attractive option for beginners, including those as young as 15 years old.

The software offers vector tweening and simplifies the animation development process through digital tweening.

With the use of layers and filters, one can create artwork and animations in a matter of minutes.

Moreover, Synfig Studio has plugin capabilities, enabling the user to incorporate lip-syncing into their animation.

Additionally, there is a wealth of resources available for learning the software, including tutorials, online courses, and a large user community.

Salient Features

  • With the tool’s easy conversion feature, manual vector tweening is unnecessary as one vector shape can be transformed into another effortlessly.
  • Over 50 layer and filter effects, such as transformations, distortions, and gradients, make it possible to create complex 2D animations.
  • Creating advanced 2D characters with complex deformations and bone systems is achievable through the software’s animation capabilities.
  • The tool supports multiple platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Mac, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
  • Lottie animation exportation is easy with this software, providing greater flexibility in using the created animations across different platforms.
Powerful and affordable.The range of features is limited.
Plugin capability which enhances the software’s animation capabilities.Suffers from technical glitches.
Large community to support your learning effort. 

How to Choose Animation Software If You’re a Beginner?

It is essential to take into account the following factors when choosing animation software from our list.

a. Ask yourself what you want to learn and create and what your ultimate goal is. Focusing on your immediate goal of mastering 2D animation will help you choose the appropriate software.

b. Ensure that the animation software you choose contains basic features such as preloaded templates, audio editing functions, drawing tools, and reliable import/export capabilities.

c. Price is a significant factor to consider when making your decision. Our list contains tools with varying prices, from free to expensive. Your budget and learning objectives will ultimately determine which software you choose.

d. The amount of time you want to dedicate to learning animation is also an important consideration, as some animation tools have a steep learning curve.

e. Finally, it’s important to evaluate the support system of any animation software you’re considering. For beginners, researching the availability of guides, tutorials, and tech support is essential.

Final Thoughts

These 10 animation software are listed in no particular order, and we are confident that at least one will meet your requirements.

Furthermore, all the products in the list offer free or trial versions. To determine which animation software is ideal for you, you can prepare a list of priority features and utilize the preceding section.

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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.

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