7 Animation Software Applications FOR FREE

The best free animation software


The list we’ve outlined here includes any animation solution with an available free offering. It should be noted that this does not include products that are only free on a temporary basis, such as limited trial versions for new users. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investments.


1. KeyShot


KeyShot is a fast and user-friendly 3D rendering software with animation capabilities. This tool allows users to go from a simple model to a stunning visual in minutes. KeyShot is a completely free animation software.

KeyShot has a number of features to support animation and 3D rendering, including but not limited to:


2D animation and 3D animation


HDRI lighting that allows you to light and adjust your scene as needed


Camera control that enables users to simulate real-world camera behavior


Dynamic texture mapping to simulate the real-world appearance of a landscape


Focused caustics to ensure objects are properly lighted


What users like
“It's fast and most of the results come [out] pretty good. And today they can do animation and VR in KeyShot, [which] makes the software even more powerful than ever.” 
— Keyshot review by a user in higher education

What users dislike
“The animation configuration could be easier and also give more options of possible movements.” 
— Keyshot review by Julia C.
Recommendations to others considering the product
“Try it, it is very easy. I do like the animation tool, which you can [use to] make an animation rendering very easy and quick.” 
— Keyshot review by Chen W. 

2. K-3D


K-3D is an animation and 3D modeling software. It combines plugins with a visualization pipeline architecture to make it a powerful and flexible tool for artists. This free animation software allows users to create unique combinations in their work.

K-3D offers a number of features to make an artist’s work as easy as possible:


An advanced undo/redo function


Properties that can be adjusted interactively


A node-based visualization pipeline


What users like
“This is the tool with the features, speed and stability for you.” 
— K-3D review by a user in graphic design

What users dislike
The same K-3D reviewer said, “Great program all around, only complaint, just wish it had some sort of quick getting started guide, considering that's my only complaint, always have this installed on my comp.”

3. PowToon


This free animation software is intended for making short videos and presentations. Users can upload their own content or choose from PowToon’s library of royalty-free content. Animators can customize the existing templates to ensure they fit their needs.

PowToon offers paid options, but its free plan offers the following features:


Standard video resolution


Access to some of PowToon’s video content library


The ability to create videos up to three minutes long


Export to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and more


The choice of aspect ratios and sizes


What users like
“I think that what I mostly like is that creating an animation with PowToon is ridiculously easy. First, I get to pick out one from many templates. After a template is selected, I like that it’s even easier to add moving characters to every slide I have for the animation.” 
— PowToon review by Esmeralda D.

What users dislike
“I don’t really like that PowToon characters are really simplistic; if they were a bit more complex, this would also be a great tool for making quality animations.” 
— PowToon review by Alicia Sarah V.
Recommendations to others considering the product
“This tool provides a lots of attractive templates, which helps users to design their slides and making their presentation better. So, this tool helps me a lot and I recommend this tool for people who usually deal with presentations.” 
— PowToon review by Raj M.

4. Pencil2D


This 2D animation software allows users to create more traditional, hand-drawn scenes. This is accomplished using bitmap and vector graphics. Not only is Pencil2D free, but it is an open-source animation software.

Pencil2D offers a number of features to make animation easy, including but not limited to:


A lightweight and easy design interface


The ability to seamlessly switch between raster and vector files


Cross-platform functionality to facilitate operation on Mac, Windows and Linux


What users like
“I enjoy how easy it is to understand this right off the bat. I was able to start animating immediately! Another extreme plus is the ability to use layers.” 
— Pencil2D review by Sara C.

What users dislike
“You'll have to redo your setting preferences because the program resets to default whenever you open it up. This is especially true for if you want to use the pen tool, or if you want to use different colors to connote different parts of your animation.” 
— Pencil2D review by Sabrina B.
Recommendations to others considering the product
“Recommended 100 percent for the general public and people who want an efficient app.” 
— Pencil2D review by Grey P.

5. Blender


Blender is a free and open-source animation software that also has capabilities for 3D modeling, game creation, motion tracking and more. This tool enables artists to turn stills into 3D animation. Blender also offers a fast rigging tool that allows users to turn 3D models into animated characters.

The following animation features are included in Blender:


Automated walk-cycles along paths


An editor for character animation poses


Non-linear animation for independent character movements


Mirror functionality


What users like
“Blender is a free animation software, but do not let that deter you from trying it. It is a really powerful software that I use to make 3D designs. Another thing that I like about Blender is that you can easily import outside objects like textures and animations. The lighting and shadow functions also look really professional.” 
— Blender review by Beth A.

What users dislike
“Image-based animation becomes difficult to perform. For me personally, I tried to get an image hand created and perform animation. It kept getting difficult to animate the image.” 
— Blender review by Ankit A.

6. Plastic Animation Paper


Plastic Animation is the free and original version of Animation Paper. This option is a great animation software for beginners, as the product offers tutorials on how to use the software. The tutorials in this free 2D animation tool allow users to work at their own speed.

Plastic Animation Paper offers tutorials on many of its features, including but not limited to:


Basic drawing tools


The ability to organize a workflow with a setup and marking menus


Layering


How to do a walk cycle, which includes timing with clones, a light table and working in passes


Zooming and rotating a sheet



7. OpenToonz


This free (and open-source) animation software enables users to produce 2D animation. Thanks to its open-source nature, developers can modify this free animation software to fit their needs.

Using OpenToonz, users have the ability to:


Produce affected incident light


Change picture styles


Create wavy distortion


Scan four different types of images within the product — black and white, colored or with or without binarization


 

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