Software for making animations

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This page lists software for making animations, describing the scope of the software, output formats, operating system compatibility, and pricing.

Stickman & Elemento

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A sceenshot of user interface
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $9.99, 30 days trial available (no watermarks)
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: FLV, SWF, PSD, MP4, AVI, PNG, WAV, Animation Data + SpriteSheet

Stickman & Elemento provides basic functionality for 2D animation creation. It has a relatively easy to understand user interface. Stickman & Elemento is available in a 30-day trial version that provides the same functionality as the paid version without applying any watermarks to the animation. The software is quite frequently updated with the new features. Alpha versions of Stickman & Elemento 5.7 are released as frequently as every week. The alpha versions of the software require Microsoft .NET Framework 4 to be installed. There is a extensive Wiki that provides information current development. There is also a YouTube channel containing many tutorials.

Alice

Approved for use in the Animation Competition

Please refer to this page.

Anim8tor

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A great example of program capabilities
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, JPG, BMP

Anim8tor is lightweight 3D animation software, with a limited set of tools for creating 3D graphics. The user interface may at first appear to be oversimplified and due to this it may not be evident how to more perform complicated actions on basic 3D objects. The homepage includes manuals, tutorials and a forum for an active online community.

AnimatorHD

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A preview of 3D stereoscopic picture in AnimatorHD
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: £56.83, demo with limitations available
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: BMP, TGA, TIFF, JPG, AVI

AnimatorHD is a program for making stop-motion animated films. The user captures a sequence of images and turns them into an animated film. The input can come from a variety of sources, including files (BMP, TGA, TIFF or JPG) and digital cameras. Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras are best supported and the RAW image files from these cameras can also be automatically imported and processed by the program. The full list of the supported input devices is available here. One of the key features of this program is that it allows users to perform 3D stereoscopic shooting. This is achieved by having multiple cameras to shoot an object from various positions or have one camera to shoot an object and then be moved using a stereoscopic stepper. Another advantage of this software is the ability to export the sequence into Adobe AfterEffects for applying visual effects. Overall, this is a solid piece of software that can be used for creating professional animation films and requires some considerable learning before it can be used to the full extent.

Anime Studio Debut

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Characters created in Animation Studio Debut and Content Library
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5+
  • Pricing: $49.99, 30 days trial available (no watermarks)
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: SWF, AVI, MOV

The creators of the software say "is the ideal solution for first-time animators". It offers an easy to use user interface, with a Beginner's Mode and Character Wizard that allow the creation cartoon characters without studying too much of the documentation. The animation of the characters is done using bone tools; the user places the bones on the object and the object is then animated using the position of the bones. There is a set of tools for creating vector graphics. For those interested in social networking there is a built-in utility that allows for an automatic upload to YouTube and Facebook.

Anime Studio Pro

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Anime Studio Pro screenshot performing lipsyncing operation
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5+
  • Pricing: $199.99
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: NTSC/PAL D1/DV Standard and Widescreen, iPhone, iPad, Droid, AVI, MOV, SWF

The Pro version of Anime Studio provides extended functionality to the Debut version. This version enables users to create and animate 3D objects. It also allows supports 3D stereoscopic animations that are fully compatible with YouTube 3D formats. The number of output formats is much larger than in the Debut version. Anime Studio Pro is an efficient animation tool that is more likely to appeal to more experienced animators. Both versions contain vast library of characters, sounds and scenery.

Art of Illusion

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Fish scene created and reendered in Art of Illusion
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4, Linux, all require Java 1.5+
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, HDR, QuickTime

Art of Illusion is as software that provides 3D modelling and animation capabilities. Firstly, it should be mentioned that being open source it is completely free. Secondly, it has got simple yet not that intuitive interface that may not immediately appeal to all of the beginners. There is an extensive manual in place focused on providing help to those new to the software. Tutorials are also available and explain the basic ways to create 3D models, such as human figures, and then animate the models. For those interested in programming there is a built in scripting language called Beanshell which is heavily based upon Java. It allows for efficient creation of repetitive objects such as grass or trees.

Blender

Approved for use in the Animation Competition
An example of Blender rendered scene
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+, Linux, FreeBSD 6.2 i386
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: TGA, JPG, PNG, OpenEXR, DPX, Cineon, Radiance HDR, Iris, SGI Movie, IFF, AVI and Quicktime GIF, TIFF, PSD, MOV (Windows and Mac OS X), 3D Studio, AC3D, COLLADA, FBX Export, DXF, Wavefront OBJ, DEC Object File Format, DirectX, Lightwave, MD2, Motion Capture, Nendo, OpenFlight, PLY, Pro Engineer, Radiosity, Raw Triangle, Softimage, STL, TrueSpace, VideoScape, VRML, VRML97, X3D Extensible 3D, xfig export

Blender is a professional application for 3D modelling and animation, including an impressive set of modelling tools ranging from standard mesh modelling to full multi-resolution sculpting. Python provides a scripting language used for modelling and animation. There is a vast variety of animation and rendering tools presented that will satisfy even the most demanding of animators. Built-in rendering tools such as a raytracer makes the rendering process fast and seamless. Years of successful development have led to a large Blender user community, providing tutorials and models. The uniqueness of this application is the fact that it is free whilst at the same time being quite popular among 3D designers. This guarantees the availability and quality of resources together with ongoing support.

Bryce

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Bryce rendered winter scene
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Pricing: free for non-commercial use
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, BMP, QuickTime, RealMovie

Bryce is an application aimed at creation of 3D landscapes. The selling point is its simple but at the same time very functional interface. It is possible to start creating terrains minutes after watching a couple of tutorials. It contains a large library of landscape elements such as fog, sky, trees and rocks. Bryce provides easy to understand animation features. Nonetheless, being originally 3D landscape creation software, there is not a great deal of animation functionality. If it is necessary to glue together a series of scenes or join the video with an audio soundtrack, external applications are needed. Since the application has has a Pro version, there is a community of professional 3D designers which guarantees the availability of Bryce specific materials. There is also a forum for beginners.

Carrara

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A scene created in Carrara
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Pricing: $149.95 standard, $549.95 pro
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, JPG, PNG, QuickTime

Carrara comes from the same company as Bryce, namely DAZ 3D. It provides more sophisticated 3D modelling capabilities than Bryce. It is not particularly targeted at landscape creation and therefore allows for greater flexibility in the way it can be used. It has more advanced animation features and overall is more suited to professional animators.

Cheetah 3D

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A great render from Cheetah 3D
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.5+
  • Pricing : $149
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: 3DMF, 3DS, DXF, FBX, H, OBJ, MTL, SIA, STL, JAS, HDR, EXP, ICNS, QuickTime

Cheetah 3D is a Mac OS X specific 3D modelling, rendering and animation application. It is suited for both beginners and advanced users due to its intuitive interface and long list of features. There is a demo version available.

Cinema 4D

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A screenshot of Cinema 4D Studio
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5.8+
  • Pricing: £566.10 Prime, £1052.10 Broadcast, £1304.14 Visualize, £2429.10 Studio
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, BMP, B3D, DPX, IFF, JPG, OpenEXR, PSD, PICT, PNG, HDR, RLA, RPF, TGA, QuickTime

Cinema 4D is an extensive suite for professional 3D modelling and animation. Each piece of software is aimed at achieving a particular function. Cinema 4D Prime is a 3D modelling tool. Cinema 4D Broadcast is mainly used for animation of 3D objects using an inbuilt set of animation features. Cinema 4D Visualize is aimed at effective visualization of the 3D designs for presentation to prospective clients. Cinema 4D Studio is the flagship suite that combines all of the above applications and can essentially be used for anything connected with 3D modelling and animation.

CrazyTalk Animator

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Character library and user interface of CrazyTalk Animator
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $49.95 standard, $179.95 pro
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: WMV, AVI, iWidget, popVideo, WAV, JPG, BMP, TGA, PNG, GIF, FLV

CrazyTalk Animator is an easy to use 2D animation software, intending to make the animation process as easy and intuitive as possible. The tools available allow animations to be created minutes after importing pictures. It is very likely to appeal to those looking for solution that would allow for simple 2D animations to be created in the shortest period of time.

CreaToon

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
CreaToon 3.0 user interface
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, BMP, JPG, PNG, TGA, SWF

CreaToon is 2D "cut-out" animation software. It has a simple interface that provides basic set of tools with limited keyframe animation functionality. All of the objects to be animated must be created externally, then imported.

Dragon Stop Motion

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Dragon Stop Motion user interface
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4.11+
  • Pricing: $275
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: TIFF, BMP, PNG, TGA, JPG, QuickTime

Dragon Stop Motion is a professional software for creating stop-motion animations. It has close integration with popular DSLR cameras so the camera settings are directly controlled from the application. It is also possible to import already pre-recorded image sequences.

Flash

Approved for use in the Animation Competition


Please refer to this page.

FrameByFrame

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A screenshot of FrameByFrame
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.5+
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: QuickTime, JPG, PNG, TGA, TIFF

FrameByFrame is probably the best choice of software if all you need is to create a stop-motion animation with just a couple of clicks. It records pictures from any device that is connected to your Mac and is able to take pictures. It then glues them together and produces an animated film. It provides an extremely easy to understand user interface together with minimum number of settings.


Frames

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Frames interface
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+, Linux
  • Pricing: $54.95
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, DV, GIF, MOV, SWF, BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG

Frames is designed to teach schoolkids how to create stop-motion animations. Apart from obvious benefits of being cross-platform application, it has an interface that was designed specifically for kids to use. It is simple yet is able to provide a reasonable set of tools for taking pictures, putting animations together and adding soundtracks.

Helium Frog

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, BMP, JPG, TIFF, GIF, PNG

Helium Frog is a stop-motion animation making software. It has a set of basic features for making animations out of images captured by external DirectX image capturing devices. Apart from basic features of capturing images and gluing them together it has a few advanced features such as frame averaging, onion skinning, lip-syncing, time-lapsing and chroma keying.

iKit Movie

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $49.99
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: MP4, WMV

iKit Movie is stop-motion animation making software targeted at children audience. It offers basic functionality, namely an ability to put capture images, glue them and add a soundtrack on top. What is notable is the large library of sounds that comes with the application.

iStopMotion

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.5.8+
  • Pricing: £66.00
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: 3G, Windows Media, FLC, iPod, Apple TV, iPhone, QuickTime, AVI, DV, MPEG

iStopMotion provides advanced stop-motion animation making features. This is find everything from time lapsing and chroma keying to advanced picture editing capabilities and extensive camera support. The set of features is impressive.

Kinemac

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
3D text created in Kinemac
  • Operating System: Mac OS X 10.4.9+
  • Pricing: $299
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: QuickTime, BMP, GIF, PNG, JPG, TIFF

Kinemac is an animator application used mostly for creating short clips with 3D effects. It has an inbuilt set of basic geometric objects (e.g., cube, sphere, pyramid) whose sizes can be tweaked to achieve the desired results. It is capable of creating 3D text fonts and importing 3DS and OBJ objects. It is then possible to apply the texture to either created or imported objects and consequently animate them.

Kool Moves

Approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $49.99
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: SWF, HTML5, SVG, BMP, JPG, PNG

Kool Moves is a powerful tool that can be used for fast creation of Flash animations, 3D effects and websites. It has basic and advanced modes, so that less experienced users can use the program to full extent. There is a large set of tutorials and lessons available as well as a wizard creation mode that is able to provide sufficient support to beginners.

Maya 3D

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A screenshot of Autodesk Maya 2012 Beta 2 x64
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.6.5+, Linux
  • Pricing: $3495
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: mayaAscii, mayaBinary, MEL, Autodesk FBX, aliasWire (Autodesk AliasStudio), IGES, DXF, OBJ, VRML2, MOV (ascii motion), GE2, RTG, OpenFlight, VRML2, mental ray, RIB, Open Inventor2, Maya IFF, Maya IFF 16, AVI, Apple QuickTime, GIF, Softimage PIC, Wavefront RLA, BMP, TIFF, TIFF16, SGI, SGI16, Alias PIX, JPEG, EPS, Cineon, Quantel, Targa, DDS, PSD, PNG, QuickDraw, MacPaint, HDR, OpenEXR, MAP, Sony PlayStation TIM, Dassault Picture, PPM, mental ray formats (CT, ST, NT, MT, ZT, TT, BIT, CTH), PostScript, EPS, SWF, Swfit3D, Adobe Illustrator, SVG.

Maya is probably the best in class application with the widest set of features possible. It is used by most of professional 3D animation and game developing studios.

Monkey Jam

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI

Monkey Jam is a basic software for creating stop-frame animations. It takes captured images and sequences them together, with a soundtrack if desired. It has a simple interface suitable for beginners.

Pencil

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Pencil user interface
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.3.9+, Linux
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: PNG, JPG, QuickTime, SWF

Pencil is a 2D animation software that creates animations that are based on drawings. Application essentially mimics the process of creating a real life pencil animation using variations of digital drawing tools such as coloured pencils, brushes and erasers.

Poser

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
Character render created in Poser
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Pricing: $249
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: RIB, 3DS, 3DMF, DXF, HAnim, Lightwave, OBJ, WRL, BMP, Flash Pix, JPG, PICT, PSD, PNG, TGA, TIFF, AVI, MOV, SWF

Poser is a 3D modelling and animation software aimed at creation of animated human characters, including clothing, accessories, setting, etc. The characters can be animated, and also lip-sync to an audio track.

Sam Animation

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A detailed description of Sam Animation user interface
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Pricing: $30
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: 3G, Apple TV, AVI, DV, FLC, BMP, TGA, JPG, iPhone, iPod, MPEG-4, QuickTime, PCT

SAM Animation is aimed at kids, and combines basic stop-frame functionality with an intuitive user interface.

Scratch

Approved for use in the Animation Competition


Please see this page.

Serif DrawPlus

Approved for use in the Animation Competition
A fragment of animation created in DrawPlus X4
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: £81.69
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: SWF, QuickTime, STV, AVI, WMV, GIF, CAD, CAM

DrawPlus is a tool for creating paintings and digital graphics. It is mainly aimed at simple web graphics creation such as banners and logos. In addition to basic functionality of a graphic editor it has an extensive library of inbuilt graphical elements such as flags, shapes and animals. It works mostly in 2D, though 3D object creation is possible, and allows for creation of both stop-motion and keyframe animation films.

Shapeshifter

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: any with Flash installed
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: GIF

Shapeshifter is a web-based application that allows users to create simple animations. It has a very limited set of tools which will only suffice for getting introduced to the most basic principles of computer animation.

Softimage

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A fragment of animation created in Autodesk Softimage and Autodesk Flame
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $2995
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: PIC, BMP, PPM, TGA, JPEG, FBX, OBJ, XSI

Softimage is a professional-level character modelling and animation tool.

Stop Motion Animator

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI

This software is for creating stop motion animation films. It provides a minimum set of tools that suffices for capturing the frames from an imaging device, combining them and producing a film in AVI format. It has a somewhat confusing interface that may not appeal to the beginners.

Stop Motion Pro

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $70
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: BMP, TGA, TIF, JPG, TGA, AVI, WMV, MOV, FLV

This is a professional application used to produce some quite famous stop motion animation movies, such as Wallace & Gromit.

Story Board Pro

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: TAB, CSV, SLK, DBF, DIF, WK1, BAS, MER, HTM, USR, XML, XLS

Story Board Pro is a planning tool for creating animations. It is possible to import images, audio and video files and then add a detailed description to each element of the shot, namely duration, notes, order, etc.

Story Board Pro (ToonBoom)

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A screenshot of user interface of Story Board Pro by ToonBoom
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.5+
  • Pricing: $899.99
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: MOV, SWF, JPG, TGA, PSD, EDL, AAF, XML, PDF, CSV

Story Board Pro is an application with a mix of 2D animation and storyboarding capabilities. It has an extensive toolset for drawing and creating animations. It is also possible to import images directly into the program. Each image in the sequence may then be provided with a set of notes. It is a professional application used by multimedia studios to create content.

SWiSH Max

Approved for use in the Animation Competition
SWiSH Max
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: $149.95
  • Home Page: link
  • Output formats: SWF, AVI (movie), PNG, GIF (animated), EXE.

Advanced Flash creation tool for the graphic artist or web professional. Advanced drawing tools, scripting, Flash video. Includes components and vector graphic clipart. Everything you need for a dynamic Flash animation.

Synfig Studio

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
User interface of Synfig Studio
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+, Linux
  • Pricing: free
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: BMP, DV, MPG, GIF, JPEG, LIBAV, Open-EXR, PNG, PPM, YUV420P, MNG

Synfig Studio is an open-source project created to provide enthusiasts and companies with a free alternative to expensive tools used for 2D animation. It used for producing high-quality animation films and benefits from an extensive toolset and an active online community.

Take5

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A screenshot of Take5
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: 300 €
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: AVI, MP4

Take5 is a simple to use application used for creating stop motion animations. It has a very limited number of settings together with a relatively basic interface. It is therefore recommended to make an extensive use of trial version first before committing to a purchase.

The TAB

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition
A screenshot of The TAB with the animation being edited
  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7, Mac OS X 10.4+
  • Pricing: $350
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: SWF, QuickTime, AVI

The TAB is 2D animation software. The features include a set of tools for drawing, advanced compositing tools, some basic lip-syncing as well as customizable interface.

Zu3D

Not approved for use in the Animation Competition


  • Operating System: Windows XP/Vista/7
  • Pricing: £29.99
  • Home page: link
  • Output formats: JPG, PNG, WMV, AVI, FLV

Zu3D is an application designed for kids to start experimenting with stop motion animation. It has an appropriate interface but is not limited in terms of features and goes beyond the simplest image capturing and combining capabilities. The website also contains an informative tutorial that introduces a user to the features of the program.

Authors

  • gravatar Artjoms [usereditorPHRhYmxlIGNsYXNzPSJ0d3BvcHVwIj48dHI+PHRkIGNsYXNzPSJ0d3BvcHVwLWVudHJ5dGl0bGUiPkdyb3Vwczo8L3RkPjx0ZD51c2VyPGJyIC8+ZWRpdG9yPGJyIC8+PC90ZD48L3RyPjwvdGFibGU+] ·
  • gravatar Chris [userbureaucrateditorsysopPHRhYmxlIGNsYXNzPSJ0d3BvcHVwIj48dHI+PHRkIGNsYXNzPSJ0d3BvcHVwLWVudHJ5dGl0bGUiPkdyb3Vwczo8L3RkPjx0ZD51c2VyPGJyIC8+YnVyZWF1Y3JhdDxiciAvPmVkaXRvcjxiciAvPnN5c29wPGJyIC8+PC90ZD48L3RyPjwvdGFibGU+] ·
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