Animation tools for designers

Though almost every industry outside of food delivery and hand sanitizer manufacturing has suffered some hits due to COVID-19, most are now stabilizing and looking into the future, more precisely the post-coronavirus future. As the extremely high unemployment rates that accompanied the onset of COVID-related shut-downs and stay-at-home orders continues to shrink, job options continue to grow.  Whether you’re a veteran of the workplace structure, or a freelancer looking to pick up some more clients as the economy starts to stabilize, there are some animation tools that are must-haves for animators in the modern world. Here are 10 of our favourites.

  • Adobe Character Animator – It’s pretty much impossible to get yourself taken seriously in any creative endeavour in the digital space if you don’t have a firm understanding of the Adobe product that most closely matches your pursuits as an artist. Character Animator is extremely easy to use, and though new to the Adobe family, it’s possibilities are just as robust as with other Adobe products.
  • Synfig Studio – This product focuses on 2D animation, and though the baseline package is free, with upgrades it is a very professional-grade option for 2D animators. The software offers 50 layers and quick-hit options that allow you to turn your artwork into a live character in a few clicks.
  • Blender – Considered by many as the best free option on the market, Blender is a great tool for beginners and experts, alike. It allows for 3D modelling that rivals that of paid competitor programs, and animations can be scared on PC, Mac or Linux setups.
  • Animaker – Animaker is primarily a 2D program, but it offers a lot of template-style options for creating your animations and, though inexpensive, is used by many professionals for select projects related to simple-but-effective animations and transitions.
  • Tupi – This one is for the Mac operating system only, so if you’re not a Mac-head, feel free to skip. For those Mac enthusiasts, though, this free option for 2D animation is a go-to for many of your counterparts. It’s a great option for making animations that you plan to share across all social media outlets.
  • DigiCel FlipBook – FlipBook animation has been “cool” since childhood, and always adds a bit of a nostalgic feel to any sort of animated advertising. With DigiCell FlipBook, users can easily create flipbook style animations, as well as stop motion, and it runs on both PC and Mac platforms.
  • Stop Motion Studio – If the mention of stop motion got you excited in the previous bullet, Stop Motion Studio is an animation tool for you. Smooth, 4K videos are easy to create with this program, and even beginners can create commercial-worthy content with a decent enough smartphone camera. A great pick for aspiring TikTok influencers as well!
  • Cartoon Animator 4 – This program is a well-rounded option for 2D creatives who want to have a lot of options with what they make their characters do. It also has many templates that are professional quality, at best, and fantastic learning tools, at very worst.
  • Moho ProIf anime is your cup of tea, Moho Pro may very well become your new favourite way to make it. It offers many layers, allows for character creation or animation of a character you upload, and is available for Windows or Mac. Many who swear by Moho do so at the freehand capabilities, so if you’re a freehand artist looking to take your skills to the digital world, this could be a great option for you.
  • Pencil 2D – Another great option for the freehand-turned-digital artist is Pencil 2D. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity in the name… even though it is easy to use, this product is up to par with some more expensive options when it comes to making your freehand art come to lifein the digital world.

Stay Current

As does every part of the tech world, these programs will be upgraded regularly, new competitors will emerge, and the industry favourites will also change. Keep an eye on a current trends blog you can trust, and stay ahead of the rapid curve that is digital animation.

Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He is currently writing a book about scaling up business and his experience implementing lean methodology.