(Last Updated: September 20, 2022)

Animation is becoming more favorable when it comes to designing content. Are you looking for helpful tools to create animated games, films, or educational resources? Here are the 8 best 2D animation software (both free and paid) you should not miss out on.

8 best 2D animation software free and paid

So, what do you know about 2D animation? 2D or two-dimensional animation means creating objects and characters in a two-dimensional space, with width and height only. It’s widely used in movies, cartoons, advertisements, presentations, educational material, video games, and so on. And, to create such animated content, you need 2D animation software. They are tools greatly assisting your creative process. 

In this article, you will find out more about the best 8 suggested software that can make you design your animation content to the full potential.

4 Paid 2D Animation Software4 Free 2D Animation Software
Saola Animate
Adobe Animate
Moho Pro
Toon Boom Harmony 21
Synfig
Krita
OpenToonZ
Pencil2D

4 Best Paid Software

At the top of today’s list are 4 famous 2D animation software that needs purchasing. The table below shows a quick comparison among 4 of them in terms of supported system and pricing.

SoftwareSystem SupportedPricing
Saola AnimateWindows, macOS$79/perpetual license
30 days free trial
Adobe AnimateWindows, macOS$20.99/month (annual, paid monthly)
$31.49/month (monthly)
$239.88/year (annual, prepaid)
21 days free trial
Moho ProWindows, macOS$399.99/perpetual license
30 days free trial
Toon Boom Harmony 21Windows, macOSEssentials: $25.50/month ($209/year)
Advanced: $64.50/month ($500/year)
Premium: $117.50/month ($954/year)
21 days free trial

So, why should you consider buying software and installing them instead of using the free ones? Simply understanding, along with the price is the guarantee of quality and customer service. And, these apps can do more than what you might be seeking. You will also have no worries about copyright or maintenance issues. So, try finding out which of the following software suits your needs, and don’t hesitate to own one.

2D Animation Software #1: Saola Animate

Saola Animate is a powerful animation software created by Atomi Systems. It is perfect for creating HTML5 animations and interactive web content. And, it should be the first choice to consider due to its versatile functions and more affordable cost than the others.

Firstly, Saola Animate is a user-friendly animation editor that requires no coding skills to create HTML5 animations. Such content like responsive banners, animated e-cards, mini-web games, or interactive presentations is a piece of cake with Saola Animate.

saola animate software

Moreover, Saola Animate operates on a keyframe-based animation system. It allows you to create smooth, accurate animations quickly and easily. That is to say, keyframes define the starting and ending values for a property animation. Thanks to these different values, Saola Animate forms a smooth transformation of that property over time. 

Lastly, this tool offers presets and auto-keyframes that automatically generate keyframes when creating animations. These features make your work faster and easier.

Main Features: 

  • A wide range of customizable elements: DIVs, text, HTML widgets, images, audio files, videos, symbols, custom elements as well as a whole variety of shapes and freeforms.
  • A keyframe-based animation system to create beautiful animations.
  • A set of animation features such as Sprite sheets, motion paths, easing methods, morph animations, text animations, hand-drawn animations, and more.
  • Built-in events – actions, timeline triggers, timeline labels, and external script resources such as JavaScript, CSS, and HTML to create interactivity from basic to advanced levels.
  • Versatile effects like 3D transformations, drop, filter, clipping effects, as well as cut-out text effects.
  • A Responsive design to fit content to any device.

2D Animation Software #2: Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate is an excellent 2D animation software for interactive vector and raster animations. It allows you to create advanced content for your game, web, UI design, eLearning material, and dynamic infographics. Adobe products are widely famous for their versatile but complicated features. So is Adobe Animate. However, once getting used to it, you will be surprised about what it can do.

adobe animate 2d animation software

Source: Adobe Animate 

Main Features:

  • Adobe Fresco live brushes to create graphics, elements, and natural-looking strokes.
  • A convenient layering system in a parent-child hierarchy.
  • The lip-syncing feature and the audio controls.
  • A simple yet powerful timeline to edit frames, highlight letters, add key-frames, and so on.
  • Available integrations with other Adobe products like Typekit.
  • 360 VR animations included.

2D Animation Software #3: Moho Pro

This is a professional 2D animation software that will blow your mind with its amazing potential. Despite being more well-known with bitmap capabilities, it can still handle vector technology well. You will find it suitable for making brand anime and logos, cartoons, and films. However, this process will take quite a long time for you to learn and master it.

moho pro 2d animation software

Source: Moho Webinar

Main Features:

  • A wide variety of pre-production options, scenes, stock audio & video clips, as well as scatter brushes to save your time.
  • Timeline, Audio Recording & Sound Effects, Automatic Lip Synching. 
  • Advanced rigging system with features like Smart Bones, Intuitive Vitruvian bones, Forward and Inverse Kinematics, Copy-Paste Skeleton options, Pin Joints…
  • Frame-by-frame animation techniques let you change the character stage in every frame.
  • Freehand tools to auto-convert illustrations & sketches into editable vector drawings.

2D Animation Software #4: Toon Boom Harmony 21

It’s a 2D vector animation software that is favorable in many industries. Its use cases can be in film production, TV shows, video games, animated web graphics, and more. Harmony 21 blends bitmap raster and vector technologies to push further the boundaries of what you can create. As a professional tool, it might take you considerable amounts of time and effort to master it. But it’s totally worth it when you look at the huge potential that the advanced toolset will grant you.

toon boom interface

Source: Toon Boom Animation

Main Features:

  • Combination of advanced rigging, traditional frame-by-frame, and cut-out animation.
  • Great art tools with a powerful brush engine, predefined color pallets, and the assisted painting workflow.
  • Rich compositing tools.
  • 3D space integration included.

4 Best Free Software

If you just get to know about animation creation, the 4 free 2D animation software below will be great options you can consider. You can freely experience the basics, as well as still create lively and appealing content. Let’s find out what those 4 software are.

SoftwareSystem Supported
SynfigWindows, macOS, Linux
KritaWindows, macOS, Linux
OpenToonZWindows, macOS
Pencil2DWindows, macOS, Linux

2D Animation Software #5: Synfig

Synfig is an open-source free 2D animation software for beginners. It has a huge potential for both front-end and back-end design. This means that you can work on the actual look, not just the code, and create and render the work later. Synfig can be used to create animated films or other kinds of videos such as cartoons and marketing initiatives. 

synfig interface

Main Features:

  • A wide variety of layer types, ranging from geometry, fractals, gradients, filters, distortions, transformations, and more.
  • The bone system, the automatic frame calculation, and the onion-skinning.
  • Capability of adding soundtracks like narration and music.
  • High levels of sync precision and simplicity.
  • Vector graphics specialized to create both simple and complex animated objects.

2D Animation Software #6: Krita

This is one of the greatest free 2D vector animation software you should consider. It allows you to create amazing comics, textures, patterns, and more. The clean and intuitive UI is very suitable for a productive workflow. Moreover, it’s fully customizable to fit any of your needs. Its potential can be totally comparable with paid software like Adobe Animate.

krita free 2d animation software

Source: Krita

Main Features:

  • Awesome sketching and painting tools.
  • 9 different brush engines with more than 100 professional brushes.
  • An optimal layering system.
  • Frame-by-frame, vector, and raster animations, assisted with an onion-skinning feature and a touch-screen support. 
  • Audio-import options, effects and various filters.

2D Animation Software #7: OpenToonZ

OpenToonZ is another free open-source 2D animation software. It is actually the free version of the Toonz program that has been used for many big projects and studios, like Studio Ghibli. It provides you with a range of powerful tools to make various animation styles. OpenToonZ can be especially useful if you want to rely on classic hand-drawn line-art, and merge it with the modern aspect of animation. Besides being a vector-based animation software, it does support raster graphics with advanced bitmap tools.

opentoon interface

Source: OpenToonZ

Main Features:

  • Dynamic palettes, 4 types of scanning options, smart settings, AI-based effects, and so on.
  • Anti-aliasing features to refurbish sloppy lines.
  • The onion skinning feature to achieve smoother results.
  • The Graphic User Interface (GUI) via the node tree to synthesize effects.
  • Compatibility with TWAIN (Technology Without an Interesting Name) standards.

2D Animation Software #8: Pencil2D

The final suggestion in today’s list is Pencil2D. This software is simple for beginners. It is easy to use and lightweight, which allows you to sketch ink and paint on the go. With a friendly user interface and minimal design, Pencil2D lets users quickly figure out all its features. Also, you can find a wide range of video tutorials helping you start using the software more efficiently. 

pencil2D interface

Main Features: 

  • Flipping or rolling techniques to review work.
  • Hand-drawn tools such as pencil, pen, and brush for those who want to create 2D hand-drawn animations.
  • Support for TIFF format (Tagged Image File Format).
  • Ease of use with layers, keyframes in the Timeline pane, also toolbars, and panes. 

Final Words

To conclude, adding animation to your content will definitely attract others’ attention. Therefore, let’s compare and consider which of the 8 2D animation software suits your needs the most. No matter whether they are paid or free tools, they will undoubtedly become a great helper for you in the designing and editing process. 

Wanna know more informative articles about tools and software for creators? Follow our Blog and get in touch with us through our Community to keep yourself updated. 

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See Also

Top 6 Animation Software for Beginners 

Top 5 Awesome Web Animation Tools