The Best Free / Open Source Animation Software

For the most part, animation is not an expensive craft to pursue but it does come with some fairly pricey overheads when you’re first getting started out.

If you’re in animation school, chances are you’ve got access to all of the equipment and software you could possibly need. But if you’re interested in kitting out your home setup with animation software, the price tag can quickly rack up. Luckily, there are some free alternatives which are good enough to see you through the majority of animation projects you’ll undertake.

Presenting…

The Best Free / Open Source Animation Software: 2D Animation

Pencil

OS: Mac, Windows, Linux

Pencil animator

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). Pencil also exports to .FLV, which is something of a bonus.

Synfig Studios

OS: Mac, Windows, Linux

Synfig

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.

Stykz

OS: Mac, Windows, Linux

Stykz

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.

CreaToon

OS: Windows

CreaToon

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.

Ajax Animator

OS: Windows, Mac, iPad

ajax animator

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.

The Best Free / Open Source Animation Software: 3D Animation

Blender

OS: Mac, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD

Blender_Version_2.570

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.

Bryce

OS: Mac, Windows

Bryce

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.

Incidentally, Bryce is developed by DAZ 3D, who are also responsible for:

DAZ Studio

OS: Mac, Windows

DAZ 3D

This fantastic modeling and animation software wasn’t always free, but as of 2012, the professional version of DAZ is yours simply for signing up for a free registration account. The rendering engine is lightning fast, and the huge library of pre-created component content will have you creating in no time.

Clara.io

OS: Browser-based

Clara.io

Not only is Clara free, but it’s the only web-based one we can think of that is fully functional (and you don’t need any browser plugins to get it going). Not only does it feature a good system for polygonal modeling and skeletal/keyframe animation, but due to its 80,000+ user base there’s a strong community feel and plenty of people with which to chat shop.

Know of any great free or open source animation software/tools which we’re missing? Do help the animation community out by leaving your suggestions in the comments below.

The Best Free / Open Source Animation Software by

Comments

comments

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002549163040 Artefacto Mediático

    (y)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • River Wizard

    You missed the best there is: Unreal Engine 4.10

    • Leor

      How does that animate, like After Effects, Synfig, Flash Pro, Tupi, 3D Max, Blender?
      Unreal is only for games.

      • River Wizard

        No, no, no! Unreal is not just for games. It is the best of the game engines – hands down. But with it and either Photoshop (for real power) or Gimp one can do amazing art. If one’s focus is 3D, Blender is excellent, but I would still move everything done in it over to Unreal. The programming tool (Blueprint) in Unreal is hard to beat, but on top of it being powerful, the Unreal tutorials are excellent and intelligently arranged to minimize learning curve.

        It animates very much like Blender but with more elegance and more production options. The tutorials are far better than Blender. There are places where Blender should be a pre production tool. It has more range as far as modelling.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002394090866 Gaurav Harit

    Nice list :)

  • Musket

    I would like to see Mb / Kb amounts on these if anyone can suggest / verify them, would be very helpful for space saving

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002785830552 Константин Горбунов

    Cool

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002785830552 Константин Горбунов

    Cool

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002785830552 Константин Горбунов

    Cool

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • raj

    which software is learn quickly

  • raj

    and effecivily

  • godless

    Just a note; CreaToon does not work on my Win 7 PC. I get an error nagging for a disc, and it then closes. Upon visiting the original site (and translating it since it’s in Japanese), it seems its been taken over by some sort of hair removal product. I’d be leery of this software. :)

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002785830552 Константин Горбунов

    Cool

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002785830552 Константин Горбунов

    Cool

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • nouha queen

    oh that is very helpful

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • MrHobbit999

    dam that 3d animation so hot i blew ma load in 3 minutes flat.
    Broke a fucking window with dat nut.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007970443322 Hanna Kessler

    Blender is good. Pivot is dangerous, it comes with Trojan horses. NEVER DOWNLOAD PIVOT/STYKZ! The other stuff I haven’t used at all, but looks interesting.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004080520035 Rachana Desai

    very nice collection….
    #GameYan

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000440910655 Shashvat Nathani

    This would help me a lot thx