15 Best Animation Software for Beginners [Free & Paid]

15 Best Animation Software for Beginners [Free & Paid]
Mahnoor Sheikh

Written by:
Mahnoor Sheikh

Sep 06, 2021
animation software - header wide

Animated visuals are a lot more engaging than plain, static images. In fact, they generate the highest number of shares on social media compared to other forms of visual content.

Some of the best animation software in the market are Visme, Adobe Animate, Adobe Character Animator, Pencil2D, Biteable and Animaker.

In this guide for beginners, we’re going to explore these options and more to help you find the best animation software for your needs.

So, if you’re (seriously) interested in animation, you’ll need this guide.

Let’s get started.

 

15 Best Animation Software for 2021

Software #1: Visme

Software #2: Adobe Animate

Software #3: Adobe Character Animator

Software #4: Blender

Software #5: Crello

Software #6: Adobe Spark

Software #7: PosterMyWall

Software #8: PixTeller

Software #9: Animatron Studio

Software #10: Biteable

Software #11: Animaker

Software #12: Canva

Software #13: Easil

Software #14: Pencil2D

Software #15: Powtoon

 

Software #1: Visme

animation software - Visme-logo

Visme is a cloud-based, online design tool that lets anyone create animated social media images, infographics, presentations, ads, banners and other visuals.

It comes packed with animation and interactivity features to help you create eye-catching designs that do much more than just static images.

Visme’s animation software lets you access thousands of premade templates, a library of free stock photos and videos, customizable pre-animated characters, illustrations and gestures, and much more.

 

Features:

  • Friendly and intuitive drag-and-drop editor.
  • Thousands of animated templates in various categories.
  • Customizable pre-animated assets: Characters, illustrations and gestures.
  • Animation timeline feature to customize scenes and sync audio.
  • 14+ different types of animated charts, graphs and maps.
  • Advanced custom animation that can be applied to any object.
  • Interactive links, call-to-action buttons and hover effects.
animation software - Visme-editor
  • Searchable libraries of free stock photos, videos, icons and shapes.
  • Import your own images, videos and fonts.
  • Embed videos and other online content into your designs.
  • Team collaboration features: Share your projects.
  • Brand kit: Save your brand colors, fonts and logos for later use.
  • Insightful analytics: Access graphs and statistics for project views.
  • Offline animated download formats: GIF, MP4 video and HTML5.
  • Publish and share online: Use a link or generate an embed code.
animation software - visme illustration drag-and-drop

Pricing: Free plan with limited features. Paid plans start from $12/month per user.

Pros: All-in-one design tool packed with animation and interactivity features, great for both non-designers and designers, millions of free graphic assets inside the editor.

Cons: A variety of design and customizability options can lead to a slightly steep learning curve.

Ideal for: Marketers, corporate teams, teachers, trainers, personal use.

Ready to create your own animated designs?

  • Customize thousands of premade templates
  • Access animated characters, gestures and illustrations
  • Add interactive buttons, links and hover effects

Sign up. It's free.

 

Software #2: Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate is a new and improved version of Adobe Flash Professional. The software lets you create interactive vector graphics and 2D animations for videos, ads, games, television and more. You can animate characters, avatars, shapes and other assets using timeline controls.

Features:

  • Vector brushes with size, smoothness, pressure and velocity settings.
  • Intuitive timeline controls with advanced animation settings.
  • Virtual camera feature that lets you add pan, zoom and other effects.
  • Synchronize audio with your animations and create audio loops.
  • Typekit integration gives you access to premium web fonts.
  • Export in Flash, HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, SVG and more.

Pricing: Starts from $20.99/month.

Pros: Extensive export and sharing options to publish your animations in virtually any format for any platform.

Cons: Just like any other Adobe software, Animate has a steep learning curve, especially for beginners.

Ideal for: Game designers, YouTubers, cartoon makers.

 

Software #3: Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator is another one of Adobe’s animation software stack. But unlike Adobe Animate, Character Animator lets you use motion capture to create live animations of your 2D characters. For example, you can create a character in Illustrator or Photoshop, import it into Character Animator, set it up with tags and then animate it using your own facial movements using your webcam.

Features:

  • Real-time motion capture and automatic facial tracking.
  • Download characters from Creative Cloud Market.
  • Integration with Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Move the character’s limbs with your mouse.
  • Timeline panel for recording and editing scenes.

Pricing: Included in the Creative Cloud All-Apps Plan that costs $39.99/month.

Pros: Easy to replicate real-life movements and expressions with facial tracking. Plenty of import and export options.

Cons: This software is available as part of the all apps pack, not as a standalone product. Also, you need to have a webcam and microphone to use the motion capture feature.

Ideal for: Bloggers, marketers, entertainers, educators.

 

Software #4: Blender

Blender is an open-source video editing software that lets you have total control over your animations. The tool offers advanced command line and programming features for rendering, modeling and creating 3D animations. It works across different operating systems, so you can use it on Linux, Windows and Mac.

Features:

  • Powerful rendering, modeling and sculpting tools.
  • Advanced animation and rigging tools.
  • Draw and edit in 3D mode.
  • Video editing and VFX, including motion tracking, masking and compositing.
  • Powerful and realistic simulation tools.
  • Extensive Python API for scripting and customization.
  • Customizable user interface, window layout and shortcuts.

Pricing: Free.

Pros: It doesn’t cost anything to use Blender. Also, advanced animation and rendering tools make it fit for both beginners and expert users.

Cons: Blender has a very steep learning curve as it’s packed with so many features. Beginners will be overwhelmed and might need to spend hours on tutorials before getting it right.

Ideal for: Animators, engineers, scientists, artists, students.

 

Software #5: Crello

animation software - crello-logo

More than just your basic animation software, Crello features an extensive library of animated templates and thousands of pre-animated objects and characters. The tool lets you create animated ads, square videos and even Facebook covers with no design skills.

You can also combine videos and animated GIFs with your images, such as a moving background, to create short and eye-catching video posts for social media.

Features:

  • Thousands of animated templates to use and customize.
  • Access to over 140 million stock photos.
  • Library of videos and animations to use in designs.
  • Upload your own fonts, graphics and animations.
  • Download in MP4 video format.
  • Share your animated video directly to social media.
crello-animation software - editor

Pricing: Free plan with limited features. Pro plan starts from $7.99/month with free trial.

Pros: Create animated video artworks in various formats; stories, presentations, social media. Has a mobile app to create designs on the go.

Cons: Only download in MP4 format. Need to use Crello GIF maker or third-party tools to convert your video to a GIF.

Ideal for: Marketers, small business owners, freelancers.

 

Software #6: Adobe Spark

animation software - Adobe-Spark-logo

If you’re looking for a very basic animation software to create video posts for social media, Adobe Spark can help you do that right from your phone.

Use the Adobe Spark Post iOS app to create short videos with animated text and photos by choosing a template, and customizing it using one of the few animation styles available. As of now, you can only access the animation feature on mobile, not on the desktop app.

Features:

  • Access customizable templates in various formats.
  • Sync your designs across multiple devices.
  • Create animated posts on the go with the iOS app.
  • Thousands of free images and icons.
  • Download as an MP4 video or share online.
animation software - Adobe-Spark-editor

Pricing: Free.

Pros: Create animated social media posts on the go with the iOS mobile app. Simple, easy-to-use interface. Sign in with your Adobe account.

Cons: Lack of advanced animation features. Animations only available in the iOS app, not in Android or Web version.

Ideal for: Freelancers, marketers, bloggers.

 

Software #7: PosterMyWall

animation software - postermywall-logo

This animation software is straightforward and incredibly easy to use. You don’t even need to sign up to start editing a template. PosterMyWall lets you design promotional posters, graphics and videos using a large library of templates and stock videos.

What makes PosterMyWall stand out among other tools is that it lets you download your designs as high-quality videos, including 4K and Full HD. You can also send them off for printing if you’re living in the US.

Features:

  • Large collection of animated video templates.
  • Thousands of stock videos to use in your designs.
  • Bulk printing for your designs on various materials.
  • Download your videos in 4K and Full HD quality.
  • Save as high-quality MP4 and GIF files.
  • Share your designs with a link or embed online.
animation software - postermywall-editor

Pricing: Free plan with paid downloads and prints. Premium plans start from $29.95/quarter.

Pros: Create animated videos in high quality; 4K and Full HD. Start editing a template in your browser without signing up.

Cons: Pay to download in the free plan. Limited animation features.

Ideal for: Individuals, businesses.

decorate your designs with geometric shapes with visme

 

Software #8: PixTeller

animation software - pixteller-logo

PixTeller’s animation software is great for both business and personal use. It’s a good alternative for a full-featured video editing tool if you’re looking for something more basic.

You can create short animated videos in PixTeller by setting frame-by-frame motions, and then editing the attributes of each frame, such as colors, rotation, opacity and more.

Features:

  • Hundreds of pre-animated templates to customize.
  • Customize a frame by frame timeline.
  • Unique text effects to make your animations pop.
  • 100,000+ shapes to add to your animated videos.
  • Share the URL of your video to specific people.
  • Download in MP4 video and GIF formats.
animation software - pixteller-editor

Pricing: Paid plan with animation features starts from $12/month.

Pros: Create animated posts and banners by editing a frame by frame timeline.

Cons: Lack of advanced animation features. Option to download as MP4 or GIF only available in the paid plan.

Ideal for: Marketers, freelancers, bloggers.

 

Software #9: Animatron Studio

animation software - animatron-logo

This a great option if you’re looking for a feature-rich animation software. Animatron Studio offers a huge gallery of pre-animated elements and templates to help you create explainer videos, HTML5 banners, ads and more.

The customizability options are near endless—you can even customize the expressions of the characters. If you’re looking for a less robust version, you can also check out Animatron Lite.

Features:

  • Thousands of pre-animated objects, characters and more.
  • Extensive customizability options.
  • Import, place and edit your own graphics.
  • Built-in voiceover features to add narration.
  • Real-time collaboration and comments.
  • Export to HTML5, MP4, SVG and GIF formats.
  • Share online with a link or use an embed code.
animation software - animatron-editor

Pricing: Free plan with limited features. Paid plans start from $15/month.

Pros: Advanced customization options for all pre-animated characters and objects. Download your designs in several popular formats.

Cons: Interface can be glitchy, no free stock videos available inside the software.

Ideal for: Marketers, corporate teams, educators, freelancers.

 

Software #10: Biteable

animation software - Biteable-logo

If you want to create bite-sized, animated videos like promos, ads and social media videos, Biteable is a good option. It lets you share and download animated videos by editing one of their premade templates.

You can also look through thousands of stock footage clips and scenes to put together an entirely customized video. Biteable also lets you share your project with teammates with its collaboration features.

Features:

  • Browse hundreds of professional video templates.
  • Access thousands of stock footage clips and animations.
  • Add audio tracks using a huge library or upload your own.
  • Share your video project with other team members.
  • Publish your video on Biteable with privacy controls.
  • Download your designs in Full HD MP4 video format.
  • Share directly to social media, or use a link or embed code.
animation software - Biteable-editor

Pricing: Free plan with limited features. Paid plans start from $15/month.

Pros: Make all kinds of marketing videos, including explainers and demos. Access thousands of stock footage clips to create something unique.

Cons: You can only download in MP4 video format. No download option in the free plan.

Ideal for: Marketers, trainers, educators.

 

Software #11: Animaker

animation software - animaker-logo

Animaker is ideal for businesses and educators who want to create interactive presentations and videos. This animation software comes with a large library of templates and pre-animated elements, including illustrations, characters and gestures.

Features:

  • Large collection of animated templates and assets.
  • Six unique video styles to edit and remix.
  • Pro-level animation features like Curve, Camera In and Out.
  • 200+ music tracks and sound effects to add to your videos.
  • Enterprise and team management features.
  • Upload directly to YouTube and Facebook or share URL.
  • Download in MP4 video and GIF formats.
animation software - animaker-editor

Pricing: Free plan with limited features. Paid plans start from $12/month.

Pros: Create animated videos for all kinds of business or personal uses. A variety of video styles, including several for whiteboard videos.

Cons: No download option in the free plan. Only good for creating videos, not animated images.

Ideal for: Marketers, presenters, freelancers.

 

Software #12: Canva

animation software - Canva

Canva is a popular online design tool that has recently introduced a few basic animation features. It lets you download your graphic designs as a GIF or video by choosing one of the six animation styles available in the app.

Features:

  • Thousands of editable templates in various categories.
  • Millions of free and paid photos, icons and other assets.
  • Six different animation styles to choose from.
  • Invite team members and share your brand elements.
  • Organize your designs into folders.
  • Download your animated designs in GIF and MP4 video formats.
animation software - Canva-editor

Pricing: Starts from $9.95/month per user.

Pros: Pay-per-use graphic assets. Good for adding basic animation to images.

Cons: Only six non-customizable animation styles available. No ability to share or embed your animated designs. No animation features in the free plan.

Ideal for: Marketers, bloggers and small business owners.

Ready to create your own animated designs?

  • Customize thousands of premade templates
  • Access animated characters, gestures and illustrations
  • Add interactive buttons, links and hover effects

Sign up. It's free.

 

Software #13: Easil

animation software - Easil-logo

Easil is another web-based design tool that also supports GIF downloads. However, the only way to make an animated GIF in Easil is by duplicating an image frame several times and making edits to each frame.

Features:

  • Thousands of editable templates in various categories.
  • Brand kit feature to save your brand colors, colors and logos.
  • Creative text effects like drop shadow and masks.
  • Resize templates and designs for social media or print.
  • Create color schemes with the color palette generator.
  • Team and sub-team sharing features.
  • Download animated GIFs.
animation software - Easil-editor

Pricing: Starts from $7.50/month per user.

Pros: Plenty of features for team sharing and enhancing your visual brand.

Cons: The only way to create an animated GIF is to duplicate an image several times and make changes to each “frame”. No GIF download option available in the free plan.

Ideal for: Brand managers, marketers, bloggers.

 

Software #14: Pencil2D

Pencil2D is an open-source animation software that lets you create 2D animated characters using vector drawing tools and traditional animation workflows. It works on all the popular platforms, including Windows, MacOS and Linux.

Features:

  • Simplified user interface that’s easy to use for beginners.
  • Customizable toolbar to fit your own creative process.
  • Layers panel for bitmap, sound, camera and vector layers.
  • Timeline and keyframes to add, subtract and duplicate frames.
  • Versatile drawing tools to help you create vector drawings.
  • Various export formats; GIF, MP4, AVI, WEBM and more.

Pricing: Free.

Pros: It’s free to use and cross-platform, so it can work on any operating system. Simple and minimalistic editor to help you create traditional, hand-drawn animations.

Cons: Pencil2D is great for simple drawings, but lacks advanced animation and character building tools. It’s not ideal for complex or modern-style animations.

Ideal for: Digital artists, cartoon makers, game designers, basic animators.

 

Software #15: Powtoon

Powtoon is an online animation software that lets you create fun, interactive videos with animated characters and premade graphic assets. It’s a great tool for making video presentations, explainer videos and whiteboard animations.

Features:

  • Dozens of premade templates spread across five categories.
  • Thousands of built-in graphics, animated characters and more.
  • Advanced animation controls and character customization.
  • Choose from built-in audio, record audio or upload audio files.
  • Screen and webcam recording to create tutorials and video presentations.
  • Import and edit Photoshop and PowerPoint files.
  • Download in various formats or share directly to social media.

Pricing: Limited free plan. Paid plans start from $19/month.

Pros: Easy to use tool for beginners. Plenty of built-in graphic assets. Advanced character customization.

Cons: Limited options for built-in music. Advanced features and removing the watermark are locked for free users. Working on heavy projects can slow down Powtoon’s editor.

Ideal for: Marketers, presenters, educators, trainers.

 

Bonus: Twine

animation software - twine

Twine is a freelance marketplace where freelancers are connected to paid projects and ongoing work. They specialize in the creative and digital sectors and have a global community of over 350,000 freelancers, including over 4,000 animators.

It's free to post a job ad; you only pay when you hire once you've hired an animator for your project. All animators are vetted before they're allowed onto the platform to ensure they only have people of the highest quality.

 

What is the Best Animation Software?

Choosing the best animation software can be confusing, especially if you’re a beginner and you’re looking for an easy, affordable option that scales with your needs.

For beginners who want to create animated content for marketing and internal communication purposes, we recommend Visme.

With Visme, you can create animated GIFs, marketing videos, explainers, animated charts and graphs, interactive documents with live data and more.

The best part? You don’t need to be a designer or animation expert to use Visme — the drag-and-drop editor works in your browser and makes animation a breeze!

If you’re ready to create animated and interactive content of your own, sign up for a free Visme account and test it out for yourself.

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    About the Author

    Mahnoor Sheikh is the content marketing manager at Visme. She has years of experience in content strategy and execution, SEO copywriting and graphic design. She is also the founder of MASH Content and is passionate about tea, kittens and traveling with her husband. Get in touch with her on LinkedIn.

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