In your search for quality animation software, you may have found that many of the programs cost a lot of money no matter it is 2D animation software or 3D animation editor. The good news is that you can choose free animation tools to make different animation types easily.
That is why we created a list of the best animation software on both Mac and Windows. Whether you are a professional editor or just a beginner to start making animation, you will find the tools listed below are easy to use without watermark and won't cost money to improve your skills.
The best part is you will find these free animation programs are also very useful for content creation on Mac and Windows. Besides, we have listed the pros and cons of each software. Keep reading!
Pro: You can create many layers once a time and sync audio for your animation.
Con: This one needs much time to learn, especially for beginners.
An open-source 2D animation software that works on Macs, Synfig Studio delivers multiple players while you are creating content. Whether you want to add geometric, filters, distortions, or transformations, it is all possible! And thanks to the high-end bone system, you can create cut-out videos using bitmap images!
The thoughtful part is there are two download versions on the homepage: the stable version and the development version. If you want to enjoy a stable and smooth animation editing experience, choose the stable one. However, the development package gives you access to the use of the latest features.
For a novice, you can learn Synfig from step by step guide in Wikipedia and video tutorials. Four languages are available including English, Russian, Dutch, and French for a video course.
You can free download its latest version 1.3.11. The upcoming version is 1.4.
It offers support for many layers within the animation.
The program’s bone system means that you can easily create animations with bitmap images or vector artwork.
It allows you to sync your creative work with any sound that you want. Has a full-featured audio editor.
Pro: Easy to start and make animation as the interface is user-friendly for many people.
Con: You need to set your preference every time to open it up, so it takes up some time
Pencil2D Animation is one of the simplest 2D hand-drawn tools available. It will work flawlessly on Mac computers. It is ideal for beginners, as the commands and interface are very easy to understand.
Whether you want to create a simple one, or you want something with many layers for videos on YouTube, you can use Pencil2D animation to get it done. Its timeline is easy to use at first glance. You can add and duplicate different frames on a different track.
The frequency of releasing the new version is very fast as Pencil2D is committed to bringing the lasted features to each user. The newest version is v0.6.4 (as of August 2019). Its user guide is informative with video tutorials, FAQs, and manual material.
Lightweight and minimalistic design that makes it very easy for beginners.
Features raster and vector workflows, with easy switching between them. You can paint and sketch as you want!
Will run on all platforms - Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Completely free and open source.
03 TupiTube - Free Animation Application for Mac Users
Difficulty Level: Middle
Pro: It supports vector illustrations. Besides, various formats are available.
Con: If you want to make 3D animation, it will fail. You can only make 2D effects.
A free software application for YouTube, Tupi will allow you to create 2D animations to your heart’s content. The tool was started by animators who wanted to create something that others could use.
It is an open-source tool, which means that users can make tweaks to the program if they have some interesting ideas. The program works on both Windows and Mac. You need to use Tupi and Papagayo to make lip-sync animation with different mouth shapes.
It also offers a solution for schools with related features including academic license, technical support, and ads-free, so many schools choose to use this one to teach kids how to make an animation video.
Support for vector illustrations. You can add rectangles, lines, polygons, and other shapes as you please. To fill areas, just use the paint bucket.
You can import raster images using this program.
You can export all your finished images into different file formats.
Support for tweeting positions, scale, shear, and rotations.
04 Blender - Need Some Time to Learn This Animation Tool
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Pro: Really powerful software that you can make for professional users.
Con: It is not easy to make image animation as it focuses on 3D.
Blender is an open-source 3D animation creation suite without a watermark. If you find that 2D is a little bit limiting, we think that you will be very happy with what this free program offers. You can take your projects to a whole new level when you can use this program on your Mac.
You can use Blender to make a video game, modeling, and high-quality animation. However, it involves a steep learning curve. Luckily, there are many tutorials to guide you through the journey. You can also ask for help in the Blender community that millions of talented people like you are there.
Creating renders is no problem with this program.
Modeling, such as sculpting, retopology, and creating curves is not an issue either.
VFX and animation features are better than any option on the market.
Pro: Ideal for designing simple 3D animations and models.
Con: It has an old-fashioned interface. Also, the built-render (RenderMan) feature is difficult to use by beginners.
K-3D is an animation and 3D modeling software. You can download this tool for free on your Mac. Besides, you can also install and run it on your Windows and Linux systems. If you look at the design, you will find that the software is quite old. But don’t judge a book by its cover. Why so? It is because K-3D is one of the strongest and most versatile tools for 3D artists with many options.
For example, K-3D offers extremely systematic and methodological workflows. You can easily adjust the properties of the features in real-time and get instant results. It has a node-oriented visualization pipeline to enjoy more freedom. That means you can create animation using a variety of combinations.
One of the best things about K-3D is that it has three subdivisions of animation. You can work on your model on one side while showing the other side in a mirrored form. Then, experience the final result combined together. And in case you need to make the changes to the end results, you can simply work on the first subdivision and savor automatic changes to the results.
K-3D has an advanced redo and undo mechanism to ensure you can go back or move forward to make corrections or amendments without limits. Additionally, the tool is developed keeping in mind all the industrial standards. For instance, it has complete support and integration of native RenderMan™ to its user interface. This is an excellent feature because most free animation software for Mac requires third-party render plugins.
Pro: Advanced tools with numerous animation options and online training material.
Con: Not suitable for beginners.
If you love 2D animation, then you’ll surely love Krita. It is entirely free software available on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Also, it offers a full platform for drawing and frame-by-frame animation.
The number one reason for adoring Krita is its brush library. There are more than 100 professional brushes to give you a wide range of effects. Moreover, the strokes are pretty amazing and similar to Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator.
Another great thing about Krita is the brush stabilization feature designed for shaky hands. You can add a stabilizer to your chosen brush to smoothen its flow. Besides, there’s a special Dynamic Brush tool to make animation more fun. At the same time, you can also customize your brushes through different brush engines, including filter engines, color smudge engines, and many more.
Apart from the basic brush options, the preloaded vector tools are next to admire. These tools help you make great comic panels. All you need to do is choose and drag the word bubble template on your canvas. Then, make changes with the anchor point to make new shapes. At the same time, you can also add text to your animation by using the text tool.
Last but not least, there’s a wrap-around mode to create seamless patterns and textures. That means the image or drawing makes its own references along the x-axis and y-axis. This gives you the freedom to continue painting and enjoy updates to your animation instantly.
Selection and transformation tools.
Proper group, filter, vector, and file layer management.
Complete color management for extraordinary results.
Drawing assistant to help you with straight lines and vanishing points.
Part 2 Best Free Animation Software for Windows
Below is free animation software on Windows. Keep reading.
Anireel is a simple yet powerful Video Creativity tool used to make 2D animated explainer videos. Developed by Wondershare, one of the most popular Windows software and tool developers, Anireel uses rich, ready-to-use, and diverse assets to help one effortlessly make animated videos.
There are tons of drag and drop characters, actions, props, text, and audio assets.
Easy Text-to-Speech conversion via deep studying technology.
Pro: You can make game animation for fun. It also supports GPU accelerated real-time rendering.
Con: It has a high demand for the device, but owns a steep learning curve.
Daz 3d is a powerful and completely free 3D creation tool that will let you create the short videos that you want. Whether you are using this for business or pleasure, you will find the program is very easy to understand. Within a day, you will be completely used to its interface.
3D effects are the core focus of DAZ Studio. You can build a model, render, and pose animation within the skin texture level. It has a high requirement for the device. For Windows 64 bits, its recommended RAM is 3G.
Options for 3D morphing, animation, and rendering.
GPU accelerated real-time rendering, which delivers the best results.
Interactive tutorials to help you become a better 3D artist.
Pro: The recently updated version is the best one. Ray-traced preview is a great function to help us make animation.
Con: The interface looks complicated, but it gets easy to know after you are familiar with it.
A completely free program that you can download and install on all Windows computers and tablets, Terragen is the ideal program for you to create the 3D animations and environments that you want. If you want a photo-realistic CG environment, using Terragen is the best way to do it!
Releasing imagination instantly, Terragen Creative is the one tool you'd like to consider. You can use it to make beautiful scenery.
For advanced tools, you can choose FBX to make animation quickly. The featured image gallery on its homepage will give you a deep understanding of the final outcome you can achieve with Terragen.
Ray-traced preview. Without watermark after exporting
Photo-realistic clouds and ozone simulation
Rendering is twice as fast as the previous version of the program.
Adding terrain, objects, and shader to your final product is very easy with the intuitive interface.
Pro: Anim8or supports 3D modeler and TrueType fonts to meet advanced needs.
Con: Beginners will find it difficult to learn.
Anim8or is a free 3D modeling program that will let you create the unique work that you want. It is a personal project from an animator, but the program does get regular updates and troubleshooting.
It is not going to give you the same features as something like Studio Max or Maya, but you will get the basics. Beginners who are getting into animations will love this program.
Anim8or is a great tool to step into 3D animation ff you think other software is too different to start. In some way, it means you need to give up some advanced features. But all in all, it's still recommended for you.
A full 3D modeler that allows you to create spheres, cylinders, platonic solids, and any other objects that you want.
Features support for TrueType fonts.
Easy to create 3D scenes and output them as video files or images.
Pro: It is an open-source 3D modeling package. The good thing is the handy infinite Undo/Redo operation.
Con: Some advanced features are missing like drawing.
Seamless3d, an open-source 3D modeling software that you can download, is among the best animation worktables if you want to create specialized images, animated videos, or 3D characters.
It supports FFmpeg video format, so you can use AVI, MP4, and more. Besides, the forum is not active compared with before, but you still can find answers from many tutorials.
It comes with infinite undo and redo options for complete flexibility to correct mistakes.
It allows for partitioned and seamless texture mapping for YouTube videos.
Has a specialized tree view interface.
06 OpenToonz - Support Plug in to Make Animation Freely
Difficulty Level: Middle
Pro: It is open-source software, so you can change the code freely.
Con: The plug-in effects are limited.
This animation program is made for beginners on Windows. It is among the best 2D animation software in the market. You can use plug-in effects to change image style, add lights, and distort details. It supports Windows 7/8/10 only for 64 bit.
You can add provisional colors to make your animation more colorful.
Smooth correction without frame losing.
Compatible with black-and-white, colored, or without binarization scanning.
7 Stykz - Simple to Use Animation Program for Beginners
Difficulty Level: Easy
Pro: It is the best stick figure animation if you want to make this kind of video.
Con: The UI is not modern to use and needs time to adapt to using it.
Stykz is completely free to use and without a watermark. If you have used Pivot StickFigure Animator, then you will find Stykz is similar to it, but you can import the previous .stk files to animate it again. You can use it to make animation smooth frame by frame.
With its frame-based feature, Stykz is easy to customize each frame. You can change previous and current frames to get what you want. You can download it to have a try considering its easy-to-use features.
There is some animes file on this website, so you can have a reference.
Edit animation in the software without using another editing window.
You can share the final work with others including information.
Part 3 FAQ about Animation Software for Windows and Mac
01 Are Macs good for animation?
To be frank, Mac is a better choice to make animation if you want to have a smooth animation experience. For example, screen resolution is a crucial factor to make excellent animation. The good is Mac's screen will never let you disappointed.
02 What is the best animation software for Mac?
The best animation software on mac includes Synfig Studio, Pencil2D Animation, Tupi, Blender, and more. Mentioned are free-to-use. Maya is also worth considering animation software if you are a professional user. Maya offers a 1-month free trial. After it is ended, the paid plans are month, 1-year, and 3-year.
03 Can you animate in Photoshop?
Yes, you can make basic animation in Photoshop. However, it only supports frame-based animation making. In this case, you need to use other professional software to make animation. But, you still can use Photoshop to meet your needs if you are a beginner.
With any of these free animation maker programs on Mac and Windows, you will have an easy time creating your next 2D or 3D video. Ensure you choose the program that has the features and compatibility that you desire. Then it is up to your creative mind to come up with stunning animations! If you want to make animation easily, you can also find inspiration through classical animated cartoon types with examples.
Shanoon Cox is a writer and a lover of all things video.
Follow @Shanoon Cox
Thank you for your comment. We will review it within few days.