Whether you are a beginner or an expert in the field of animation, a great animation software is what you need apart from the other programs and tools. 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. Here are some free alternative which are good enough to see you through the majority of animation projects you’ll undertake.
Top 2D Animation Software
OS: Mac, Windows, Linux
Pencil is a free open-source software that helps you create 2D animation effortlessly. It is easily the most versatile animation program in the 2D category and offers some of the stunning features all for no charges attached. 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)
Right up there with Pencil, Synfig is very similar in design but 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.
Synfig offers complete support for gradient routes that enables the animator to insert soft shading to his drawing effortlessly without the need of sketching the animation on each frame separately. It also offers a host of layers that includes gradients, transformations, fractal, geometric, etc. it is based on vector and bitmap technique.
Stykz has got a lot of use for anyone who likes to draft things out before getting down to fully-fledged artwork and animating. One particular neat feature is that it also integrates with Pivot, another node-based (and free animation tool).
Stykz is based on frames, hence you can work on each frame of your creation to finish it perfectly. The onionskin feature allows you to view what was in the earlier frame that helps you to tweak your present frame conveniently.
There are no hidden charges or any license needed to use Stykz in its complete potential.
Top 3D Animation Software
OS: Mac, Windows, Linux, FreeBSD
Blender is one of the most popular free animation programs that is used by many expert animators. Blender is fully featured, offering a complete range of modeling, surfacing, sculpting, painting, animation and rendering tools.
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.
OS: Mac, Windows
Bryce is not exactly a traditional animation software but rather works as a landscape generating a program which is hard to find in the genre. The quality of the suit is pretty good and the download is free of cost. You can add special effects like people, wildlife characters, sceneries and more to your drawing using the DAZ studio character component.
The free version of Bryce offers limited features; however the pro version offers unlimited functionalities.
OS: Mac, Windows
The professional version of DAZ is yours for signing up for a free account. The rendering engine is lightning fast, and the huge library of pre-created component content will have you creating in no time.
It comes with a wide range features that includes NVIDIA Iray that is fresh photoreal render tool with analogous items to help create life like renders such as HDR photo environment maps and a caustic sampler.
Overall, it is a wonderful 3D animation software that may require a steep learning curve. But is extremely helpful for those professional projects.
Not only is Clara free, but it’s the only web-based one we can think of that is fully functional (and it need no browser plugins to get it going).
It offers modeling features like, sub-object editing, wide range of mesh instruments, subdivision surfaces, operators, etc. once you are done with your animation development, Clara helps you to import your files into over 30 3D formats such as collada, Blender, Babylons, STL, FBX, STEP and many more in the league.