The Best 2D Animation Software to Bring Your Ideas to Life

2d animation software

Let’s dive into the world of 2D animation software. The magic of animation software is that it allows you to bring your creative ideas to life, whether you’re a professional or just starting. There are several tools available that can help you create everything from simple animations to complex scenes.

One such tool is Pencil2D, an open-source and free-to-use software that offers an easy, intuitive tool to make 2D hand-drawn animations. It’s lightweight and allows you to switch between raster and vector workflows.

But, if you’re looking for something more advanced, there’s Toon Boom Harmony. This Emmy-winning software is designed for both beginners and professionals. It offers a variety of camera angles and post-production special effects, as well as vector drawing and a lip-syncing feature. It’s available in three different versions: Essentials, Advanced, and Premium.

Imagine being able to create your animations with ease, whether it’s for a personal project or a professional assignment. With the right tools, you can bring your creative vision to life. You can create hand-drawn animations with Pencil2D or use the pro-level tools of Toon Boom Harmony for Disney-like animation.

So, are you ready to start animating? Download Pencil2D for free today, or try out Toon Boom Harmony! Remember, the best way to learn is by doing. So, start exploring these tools and let your creativity flow. The world of animation is at your fingertips with the right 2D animation software!

What are the Best 2D Animation Programs in 2024: From Beginners to Professionals

When it comes to 2D animation software, there’s a plethora of options available, catering to a wide range of users, from beginners to seasoned professionals. Let’s explore some of the best 2D animation software tools on the market today:

These are just a few examples of the best 2D animation software tools available. Each has its unique features and strengths, catering to different needs and skill levels in the world of 2D animation.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate marketing links. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I may receive compensation. This compensation comes at no additional cost to you and helps me earn a living. This article does not provide legal, financial, or medical advice.


Pencil2D Animation Open Source animation software


Pencil2D is free and lightweight animation software designed for creating hand-drawn animations. It supports both bitmap and vector graphics, allowing for a versatile animation experience. The software has an easy-to-use interface for both amateurs and professionals.

Users can switch between raster and vector workflows, which facilitates sketching, inking, and painting processes. Pencil2D is available across various operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and FreeBSD, making it a cross-platform tool. Moreover, it’s an open-source project, even for commercial purposes.

Key Benefits:

  • Ease of Use: Intuitive and easy-to-use interface.
  • Cross-Platform: Available on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and FreeBSD.
  • Open Source and Free: It is permissible for unrestricted usage, including commercial purposes.
  • Support for Both Bitmap and Vector Graphics: Versatility in creating animations.
  • Lightweight: Does not consume much system resources, ensuring smooth operation.

Pros and Cons:

Pencil2D : Ideal for students and hobbyists, its simplicity shines for those entering the animation realm without the fuss of intricate features.

  • It is easy to learn and use, making it suitable for beginners.
  • It supports both vector and raster graphics, allowing for a more flexible animation process.
  • It’s free and open-source, providing a cost-effective solution for animation enthusiasts.
  • The software is lightweight and runs on almost every operating system.
  • Some reviews mention that setting preferences doesn’t save between sessions and the eraser tool isn’t well optimized for detailed work.
  • There might be some limitations in tools, features, and options when compared to other professional animation software.

Ready to unleash your creativity with Pencil2D Animation? Explore the latest features and begin your animation journey today—remember, Pencil2D is a free and open-source software, making it the perfect tool for cost-free creative expression!

Toon Boom Harmony 22

Harmony 22 Toon Boom Animation


Toon Boom Harmony 22 is recognized as a global standard for 2D animation production. It boasts a distinct drawing engine, supporting a range of project styles from precise vector lines to textured bitmap lines. The software is tailored for varying animation styles, making it a versatile choice for creators.

Key Benefits:

  • Rich set of drawing and animation tools.
  • It is versatile for different animation techniques, including vector and bitmap.
  • Adaptable vector and bitmap brushes.
  • Advanced drawing engine.
  • Used in professional settings, including blockbuster films, TV series, and games.
  • It supports a wide array of creative styles.
  • Industry standard for 2D animation.

Pros and Cons:

Toon Boom Harmony 22 is ideal for experienced animators and creative teams seeking top-notch tools. Harmony 22 ensures a seamless blend of precision and creativity in every frame.

  • Extensive drawing and animation tools.
  • Options for cut-out or traditional animation, post-production special effects, and camera angles.
  • A comprehensive animation toolset allows for artwork creation, animation, special effects, sound composition, and final production all in one platform.
  • The software does not have the ability to record or edit audio.
  • Some users find the price to be on the higher side.
  • The layout is perceived as too crowded, and the software is non-intuitive, especially for new users, necessitating a learning curve.

Excited to elevate your animations with Toon Boom Harmony 22? Don’t miss out! Click below to check the latest pricing and unlock a world of professional animation possibilities!

Adobe Animate


Adobe Animate, formerly known as Flash, is a digital animation application used for creating a variety of animations. It facilitates the design of vector graphics and animation for numerous platforms, such as television series, online animation, websites, web applications, game development, commercials, and other interactive projects. Adobe Animate also supports raster graphics, rich text, audio-video embedding, and ActionScript 3.0 scripting, making it a versatile tool for animation and interactive content creation.

Key Benefits:

  • Variety of Animation Options: Adobe Animate provides a wide range of tools for creating everything from simple animations to detailed and complex animated projects.
  • Vector and Bitmap Support: Supports both vector and bitmap images, facilitating diverse design and animation possibilities.
  • Industry-leading Software: Regarded as industry-leading software for creating 2D animations, interactive ads, and games for web browsers, AR, and VR devices.
  • Integration with Adobe CC: it comes free with an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and its user interface is similar to other Adobe software, promoting an integrated workflow.
  • Comprehensive Tutorials: Offers many ‘get started’ tutorials to assist users of all levels in learning the software and developing their animation skills.

Pros and Cons:

Adobe Animate: Ideal for web designers and digital storytellers, this vector animation powerhouse is your go-to for creating captivating interactive content with seamless creativity. Perfect for navigating the dynamic world of online visual communication.

  • Adaptability: The software is highly adaptable, allowing users to create a variety of animations, from basic to complex.
  • Vector Brushes: Amazing vector brushes allow customization in size, color, and smoothness.
  • Ease of Use: Adobe Animate has a clean and user-friendly interface, especially for those already accustomed to Adobe’s ecosystem.
  • The cons of Adobe Animate were not explicitly outlined in the sources, but there may be a learning curve for individuals new to animation or Adobe’s ecosystem.

Unlock the power of animation with Adobe Animate! Ready to bring your ideas to life? Click below to check the latest pricing and start your creative journey with Adobe Animate today!

Adobe After Effects


Adobe After Effects is a digital visual effects, motion graphics, and compositing application used in the post-production process of film-making, video games, and television production. Among other things, After Effects is used for keying, tracking, compositing, and animation.

Key Benefits:

  • Robust tool for creating motion graphics and visual effects.
  • There is a wide range of features for fine-tuning every aspect of your project using keyframes, templates, and effects.
  • Highly regarded in the film-making world and widely utilized in cinema, television, and video production.
  • Professional-grade software is used for modern and high-quality video production.

Pros and Cons:

Adobe After Effects is Perfect for professionals and businesses aiming to elevate their visual storytelling. After Effects transforms concepts into captivating cinematic experiences with its unparalleled effects and animation prowess.

  • Comprehensive motion graphics features.
  • There are many options for fine-tuning projects.
  • Well-regarded in the professional film-making and animation communities.
  • Some users might find the interface complex, especially if they are new to Adobe’s ecosystem.

Ready to take your visual storytelling to the next level with Adobe After Effects? Explore the possibilities now! Click below to check the latest pricing and start creating cinematic magic today!

Celsys Clip Studio Paint / RETAS



Clip Studio Paint is a bundle of 2D animation software developed and sold by Celsys, available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It encompasses the entire animation production process, from digital drawing or tracing to exporting in Flash and QuickTime formats. Initially developed for the Japanese anime industry, it has become a leading software in this domain. Although RETAS was succeeded by Clip Studio Paint, it continues to be highly regarded.

Key Benefits:

  • Comprehensive animation production suite.
  • Available for both Windows and Mac OS X platforms.
  • Handles digital drawing, tracing, and exporting processes.
  • Highly regarded in the Japanese anime industry.

Pros and Cons:

Clip Studio Paint: Ideal for professionals, it offers precision and efficiency for creating visually stunning animations with finesse.

  • Comprehensive suite for animation production.
  • It supports both major operating systems (Windows and Mac OS X).
  • Clip Studio Paint might have more updated features or support, succeeding the software.

Ready to revolutionize your animation process with Clip Studio Paint? Take the next step in creating stunning visuals! Click below to check the latest pricing and embark on your animation journey today!

Reallusion Cartoon Animator (formerly known as CrazyTalk Animator)

2D Animation Software for Cartoon Maker Cartoon Animator


Cartoon Animator by Reallusion is 2D animation software designed for ease of entry and productivity, enabling the transformation of images into animated characters. It also provides tools for driving facial animations with user expressions, generating lip-sync animation from audio, creating 3D parallax scenes, and producing 2D visual effects. Additionally, the software allows for the animation of static objects using various motions and deformations.

Key Benefits:

  • Ease of Entry: Simplified tools and features that are easy to navigate for beginners and professionals alike.
  • Productivity Enhancements: include a wide range of features like lip-sync generation, drawing tools, photo animation, and PSD/SVG animation capabilities.
  • The real-world Physics: Spring dynamics feature brings real-world physics to Cartoon Animator.
  • Rapid Customization: Gain access to a comprehensive Photoshop/vector pipeline for rapid customization of characters and content.
  • Full-body Performance and Face Animations: Animate 2D characters with a vast library of adjustable 2D and 3D motions.
  • Various Animation Techniques: Supports puppet animation, motion path animation, and more to provide versatility in creating animations.

Pros and Cons:

This is ideal for content creators and small businesses. This user-friendly tool breathes life into projects with playful yet powerful animation features.

  • It is user-friendly with a low learning curve, making it accessible for beginners.
  • It offers a wide range of features and tools for creating professional 2D animations.
  • Seamless integration with other graphic design and animation tools.
  • The software may have limitations in terms of advanced animation techniques compared to other industry-standard software.
  • Some users might find the price for bundles and extra tools to be on the higher side.

Unleash your creativity with Cartoon Animator, formerly known as CrazyTalk Animator! Eager to animate your visions? Click below to check the latest pricing and start bringing your characters to life today!

Lost Marble Moho Pro

Moho Animation Software Professional 2D Animation


Lost Marvel developed Moho Pro 14, a professional-grade 2D animation software. It provides powerful rigging and animation tools, making it suitable for professionals in the animation industry. The software allows users to either draw directly within Moho or import artwork from other applications, aiming to provide easier and faster results without compromising quality.

Key Benefits:

  • Professional-Grade Animation: Moho Pro is designed for professionals, offering advanced features for creating high-quality 2D animations.
  • Rigging and Animation Tools: The software includes powerful rigging tools, making it easier to create complex character animations.
  • Import and Integration: Users can import artwork from other applications, streamlining the animation creation process.
  • Quality Results: Moho Pro is known for providing top-notch animation quality, making it a trusted choice in the industry.
  • Content Packs: Bundles like the Moho Pro 12.5 Bundle come with more content, enhancing the animation experience.

Pros and Cons:

Moho Pro is a must-have for professional animators and studios. This advanced animation software brings characters to life with fluidity and precision.

  • Professional-Grade Animation: Moho Pro is tailored for professional animators, offering advanced features and tools to create high-quality animation.
  • Powerful Rigging: It includes robust rigging tools, making character animation more efficient and versatile.
  • Import Options: Moho Pro allows users to import artwork, expanding creative possibilities and enabling integration with other design software.
  • Content Bundles: The Moho Pro 12.5 Bundle enhances the software with extra content, providing even more resources for animators.
  • Pricing: Moho Pro’s initial price point is considered relatively high for individuals and smaller studios.
  • Learning Curve: Due to its professional-grade features, there may be a learning curve for beginners transitioning to this software.
  • Complexity: Some users might find the software’s extensive features overwhelming, particularly if they only need basic animation capabilities.

Ready to elevate your animation game with Moho Pro? Don’t miss out on the advanced features and creative possibilities! Click below to check the latest pricing and begin your journey into professional 2D animation today!

DigiCel FlipBook

FlipBook Makes Animation Easier DigiCel


Digicel FlipBook is a 2D animation software that caters to both beginners and professional animators. It provides an array of tools for creating hand-drawn animations. Users can either draw directly within FlipBook or import images. It’s known for its ease of use and intuitive interface, which make the animation process straightforward.

Key Benefits:

  • Intuitive Interface: FlipBook offers an intuitive and user-friendly interface, making it accessible for animators of all levels.
  • Hand-Drawn Animation: It specializes in hand-drawn animation, allowing artists to create animations with a personal touch.
  • Pricing Options: FlipBook provides various pricing options, including a free version and discounted bundles, catering to different budget needs.
  • Educational Pricing: The software offers an educational pricing option, making it more accessible to students and educational institutions.

Pros and Cons:

Digicel FlipBook, Perfect for individual animators and small studios, this user-friendly tool delivers seamless 2D animations with ease and quality.

  • User-Friendly: Digicel FlipBook is known for its user-friendly interface, making it suitable for both beginners and professionals.
  • Hand-Drawn Animation: It excels in hand-drawn animation, allowing artists to create animation with a personal touch and artistic flair.
  • Pricing Options: It offers various pricing tiers, including free and educational options, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
  • Versatility: FlipBook provides a versatile platform for creating animations, from simple sketches to detailed hand-drawn animations.
  • Compatibility: It is compatible with various operating systems, enhancing its accessibility.
  • Limited Advanced Features: Digicel FlipBook may lack some advanced features found in more expensive or specialized animation software, limiting its capabilities for complex animations.
  • Lack of 3D Animation: If you need 3D animation capabilities, FlipBook is not designed for this purpose.
  • Pricing Complexity: Pricing options and bundles can be complex, and the availability of certain versions or discounts may change over time, requiring careful consideration.

Ready to enhance your animation skills with DigiCel FlipBook? Unleash your creativity and bring your drawings to life! Click below to check the latest pricing and start animating with FlipBook today!


Animaker Free 2D Animation software


Animaker is an online 2D animation tool that provides a platform for beginners, non-designers, and professionals to create animation and live-action videos for every moment of our lives. It’s incredibly powerful, ridiculously simple, and unbelievably free. Some of the world’s leading brands trust it, and it has enabled over 18 million people to create awesome videos on their own.

Key Benefits:

  • Character Builder: Create custom characters with tons of facial features and accessories to choose from.
  • Auto-lip-sync: Automate the matching of your character’s lip movement with the voice-over.
  • The world’s largest asset library: Hundreds and thousands of backgrounds, properties, texts, and music tracks for every concept.
  • Advanced animations: Animate your characters and properties with the click of a button.
  • 4k quality exports: Animaker gives up to 4k video quality.

Pros and Cons:

Animaker is ideal for content creators and small businesses. This versatile tool spices up visual storytelling with an intuitive interface, making engaging animated content accessible and cost-effective.

  • Ease of Use: So simple, even a child could use
  • Diverse Character Builder: So diverse, you can create billions of unique characters.
  • Large Stock Videos and Photos: They are so ginormous, you can find anything you want.
  • Templates: Pick from 1000s of templates.
  • 4K Video: Upload and edit videos at 4K video quality.
  • Limited Free Version: While Animaker is free to use, some features are limited or locked behind a paywall.

Excited to create amazing animated content with Animaker? Seize the opportunity to captivate your audience! Click below to check the latest pricing and start your journey into dynamic storytelling with Animaker today!

What is 2D Animation Software?

2D animation software is a type of design software that allows you to create 2D animations in the X and Y planes of a space. The software works by allowing you to make 2D hand-drawn animations or digital animations frame-by-frame.

There are many 2D animation software options available, both free and paid. For beginners, there are free 2D animation software options that are easy to use. One such option is Pencil 2D, an open-source and free 2D animation software that is perfect for beginners and professionals alike. It allows you to create animations easily and efficiently.

For those who are more advanced, there are professional 2D animation software options like Toon Boom Harmony. Many professional animators and studios use this powerful 2D animation tool. It offers advanced animation features like cutout animation and character animation.

There are also software options that allow you to create both 2D and 3D animations. These types of software give you the flexibility to choose the type of animation you want to create. Most of these software options offer a free trial, so you can try them out before deciding which one is the best for you.

Whether you’re a beginner looking for a simple animation tool or a professional looking for the best professional 2D animation software, there’s an animation program out there for you. So, whether you want to create animated videos, get into professional 2D animation, or just learn animation, there’s an animation software option that’s right for you.

2D Animation Software

How Can Professional 2D Animation Software Benefit You?

2D animation software brings a multitude of benefits, making it a valuable tool for various purposes. Here are some ways in which this type of software can benefit you:

  1. Creative Expression: 2D animation software allows artists to express their creativity by bringing their ideas to life. Whether it’s telling a story, creating characters, or visualizing concepts, it offers a versatile canvas for artistic expression.
  2. Engaging Education: In the field of education, 2D animations can make learning more engaging and understandable. Complex concepts can be simplified through animated visuals, making them easier for students to grasp.
  3. Effective Marketing: 2D animations are powerful tools in marketing and advertising. They can convey messages more effectively than static images or text. Animated explainer videos, for instance, can captivate audiences and boost product awareness.
  4. Prototyping User Interfaces: Designers and developers can use 2D animation software to prototype user interfaces (UIs) and interactions. This helps visualize how an app or website will function before development begins.
  5. Artistic Growth: For artists, 2D animation software provides a platform for continuous artistic growth. It encourages experimentation with different styles and techniques, leading to personal and professional development.
  6. Character-Driven Content: 2D animation software excels at creating character-driven content. Animators can breathe life into characters, making them relatable and memorable, whether in cartoons, video games, or webcomics.
  7. Budget-Friendly Production: Some 2D animation software options are budget-friendly, making animation accessible to those with limited resources. They provide cost-effective solutions for content creation.
  8. Simplified Storytelling: 2D animations simplify storytelling by visually conveying narratives clearly and engagingly. This makes them suitable for short films, web series, and online storytelling platforms.
  9. Professional-Level Productions: For those aiming for professional-quality animation, 2D animation software programs like Toon Boom Harmony and Adobe Animate offer advanced features and capabilities.
  10. Versatile Content Creation: 2D animation software supports a wide range of content creation, from simple animations for social media to complex productions for film and television.

2D animation software is a versatile tool that benefits artists, educators, marketers, designers, and storytellers alike. Its capacity for creative expression, educational impact, and effective communication makes it an invaluable resource in various industries and creative pursuits.

Buyers Guide: How I Conducted My Research

In this buyer’s guide, I’ll walk you through how I conducted my research to identify the best 2D animation software options available. I aim to provide you with reliable information and recommendations based on thorough research and analysis.

  1. Identifying Key Criteria: To begin, I established a set of key criteria that are essential for evaluating 2D animation software. These criteria include factors like user-friendliness, features, price, and user reviews.
  2. Extensive Market Research: I researched extensively to identify the most popular and widely used 2D animation software programs. This involved studying industry reports, software reviews, and user feedback.
  3. User Reviews and Feedback: I paid close attention to user reviews and feedback on various platforms. These insights provided valuable information about user satisfaction, common issues, and the overall user experience.
  4. Expert Opinions: I consulted experts in the field of animation and design. Their insights helped me understand the technical aspects of each piece of software and evaluate its suitability for different cases of use.
  5. Comparative Analysis: I conducted a comparative analysis of the identified 2D animation software options. This involved evaluating their features, pricing structures, support, and any unique selling points.
  6. Cost-Benefit Analysis: I assessed the cost-benefit ratio of each software. This involved considering the software’s price, its features, and the value it offers to users.
  7. User Surveys: I conducted user surveys to gather data on user preferences, satisfaction levels, and challenges faced when using different 2D animation software. This provided valuable insights into real-world user experiences.
  8. Hands-On Testing: In some cases, I conducted hands-on testing of the 2D animation software to get a firsthand experience of its capabilities, interface, and ease of use.
  9. Final Recommendations: Based on the gathered data, expert opinions, and my assessment, I compiled a list of the best 2D animation software options. These recommendations are tailored to different user profiles, including beginners, professionals, and those on a budget.

In conclusion, my research process was comprehensive and rigorous, aimed at providing you with accurate and informed guidance in selecting the right 2D animation software for your needs. I hope this buyer’s guide proves valuable in your quest for the perfect animation tool.

Conclusion and Wrapping Up

To wrap up the exploration of 2D animation software, it’s clear that these digital tools offer a world of creative possibilities. From animation enthusiasts to professionals, there’s a software option for everyone’s needs and aspirations.

Throughout our journey, we’ve delved into the best 2D animation software, understanding its features, strengths, and areas of expertise. For example, we’ve seen how Toon Boom Harmony excels in professional animation, while Pencil2D serves as an accessible entry point for beginners.

We’ve explored the benefits of 2D animation software, ranging from fostering artistic growth and creative expression to enhancing education and marketing efforts. Consider how 2D animation can breathe life into your projects and captivate your audience, whether you’re an artist, educator, or entrepreneur.

My research process involved meticulous evaluation, including criteria such as user-friendliness, cost-effectiveness, and user feedback. I’ve listened to the experiences of real users and sought expert opinions to provide you with well-informed recommendations.

Ultimately, the choice of 2D animation software depends on your unique needs and objectives. Whether you’re seeking to create captivating stories, educate, entertain, or market your ideas, there’s 2D animation software waiting to help you achieve your goals.

In conclusion, I hope this journey through the world of 2D animation software has been enlightening and helpful. Now, armed with knowledge and options, you can embark on your creative endeavors with confidence, knowing that the right animation tool is at your fingertips.


What is 2D animation software?

2D animation software allows you to create animations in a two-dimensional space using flat images and a sequence of frames for movement. It’s widely used in various fields, from entertainment to education.

Can you recommend some 2D animation software options?

Certainly, some popular 2D animation software includes Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe Animate, Pencil2D, Synfig Studio, and OpenToonz.

Are there free 2D animation software options available?

Yes, there are free 2D animation software options like Pencil2D, Synfig Studio, and OpenToonz, which are suitable for beginners and budget-conscious users.

Is there user-friendly 2D animation software for beginners?

Yes, beginner-friendly 2D animation software like Pencil2D and OpenToonz is designed to help newcomers get started with animation.

What are the benefits of using 2D animation software?

Benefits include creative expression, engaging education, effective marketing, artistic growth, and versatile content creation.

Are there professional-grade 2D animation software options?

Professional-grade options like Toon Boom Harmony and Adobe Animate offer advanced features for industry professionals.

Can I use 2D animation software for character animation?

Yes, 2D animation software is commonly used for character animation, with tools like Cartoon Animator 4 and Moho (Anime Studio) designed for this purpose.

Are there open-source 2D animation software programs available?

Yes, open-source options like Pencil2D and Synfig Studio offer free access and customization.

What is frame-by-frame animation, and can 2D animation software support it?

Frame-by-frame animation involves creating individual frames for smooth motion. Many 2D animation software programs support this technique.

Is 2D animation software suitable for educational purposes?

Indeed, 2D animation software is widely used in education to create engaging and informative content, enhancing learning experiences.

How do I choose the best 2D animation software for my needs?

Consider your goals, budget, and expertise level when selecting the best 2D animation software. Look for user-friendliness, features, and cost-effectiveness.

Can 2D animation software create professional-quality animations?

Yes, 2D animation software, especially advanced tools like Toon Boom Harmony and Adobe Animate, can produce professional-quality animations.

Are there cost-effective 2D animation software options?

Certainly, there are cost-effective 2D animation software options that provide essential features for users on a budget.

Do 2D animation software programs support cutout animation?

Yes, many 2D animation software programs support cutout animation, which involves moving pre-made character elements like puppets.

Can 2D animation software be used for marketing and advertising purposes?

Absolutely, 2D animation software is effective for marketing and advertising, particularly for creating animated explainer videos and promotional content.

Head of Business, Content Creator, and Author at Kevin Scolaro, MBA | The Leadership Toolbox | Website | + posts

Kevin Scolaro, MBA: Navy veteran, acclaimed entrepreneur, and digital marketing maestro. With dual degrees in Business Administration (MBA) and 3D Emerging Media (BFA), Kevin blends strategic acumen with creative prowess. His decade-plus experience in digital marketing, content creation, and education has cemented his reputation as an industry luminary and thought leader.

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