The Best Open Source Animation Software

December 27, 2017 Software, Tips
  1. Pencil

    OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
    When it comes to free and open-source 2D animation programs, Pencil is by far the most well-rounded and comes with a surprising number of features given that it comes with no charge. Although it looks simple from the clean interface, it is packed with all the main tools you’ll find in some of the Pencil’s paid counterparts. It supports both vector and bitmap images, multiple layers and has its own in-built illustration tools (so you can either import graphics or create them right there and then before animating them).

  2. Synfig Studios

    OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
    Right up there with Pencil, Synfig is very similar in design but arguably comes with a steeper learning curve; reason being, it throws in even more advanced features, and the results which can be achieved once you master them border on the professional level.

  3. Stykz

    OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
    Given the above two open-source suites which offer an impressive level functionality, why are we featuring a simple stickman animation tool?
    Simply put, Stykz has got a lot of use for anyone who likes to draft things out before getting down to fully-fledged artwork and animating. It’s completely free with no strings attached, works on any platform and can produce fluid .GIFs incredibly quickly (which will no doubt lead on to bigger things).
    One particularly neat feature is that it also integrates with Pivot, another node-based (and free) animation tool.
  4. CreaToon

    OS: Windows
    An entry-level animation program, CreaToon is cut-out based (all graphics are imported) that takes a lot of the headache out of creating cartoon-esque animation. While it isn’t quite as polished as some of the other names on this list, the real-time editing, auto in-frame filling and versatile file format support are real pulls.

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  5. Ajax Animator

    OS: Windows, Mac, iPad
    Not to be confused with the coding language, Ajax started life back in 2006 and was developed by a 6th grader as a replacement to Adobe’s expensive Flash MX. From such auspicious beginnings emerged a robust and fully functional animator that is well worth checking out despite its primitive look, especially if you’re an iPad user.
  6. Blender

    OS: Mac, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD
    If you’ve heard of Blender, that’s because it’s one of the most widely-used free animation softwares still in active development (even professional animators and video game developers turn to it from time to time). Although it may take some time for beginners to get to grips with, those who manage to put even half the features Blender offers to use will be able to produce very impressive results.
  7. Bryce

    OS: Mac, Windows
    Although it’s not strictly an animation suite, free terrain generation software (of decent quality) is hard to come by. Bryce has really stepped up to the plate in this department – as a terragen, it’s both as simple and as elaborate as you need it to be depending on the scale of your project and works seamlessly with most other modeling software.

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