Animation refers to the practice of creating moving images using different graphics. In the present age of electronic devices animations carry a lot of significance in projecting the right information; it is as well as a source of entertainment too.
There are thousands of jobs for the professionals adept in animation skills. Universities and colleges are awarding degrees related to animation.
The selection of such tools depends on your needs, price and purchase options provided by the vendor. To follow are some of the most loved animation software/tools that are used for animation:
Adobe Flash Professional
If you are looking for features-rich software that is used for making meaningful content then Adobe Flash is the answer. It is an animation industry favorite and works equally well for platforms such as smart phone, Tablets and TV. It presents an effective workflow environment and gives enhanced control of layers. The cost is though on the higher side, especially the up gradation costs. The plus point of using Flash is that it lets the animator integrate many sophisticated effects to the animation being created.
Toon Boom Animate
My personal favorite, this software is a good tool for creating Flash animation. It has some really cool features such as flexible rigging techniques, sync of Xsheet and Timeline, a variety of vector effects and ability to export to different formats such as SWF, FLV and Quicktime makes it a loved tool for animation. The use of cameras to create 3D environment in 2D software, adding drop shadows and tweening are some of the most enhanced features of Toon Boom. The environment it provides is very similar to traditional animation, hence, the animator enjoys it even more.
Anime Studio also known as Moho is an animation software that makes animation both fun and easy at the same time for beginners as well as animation professionals. The bone rigging, squash and stretch and drawing techniques are up to-date and easy to learn. The whole environment is user-friendly and has been successful in producing quality animations till date.
TV Paint animation is one of the leading software used for producing animation and drawing. An entire movie can be created using this software. Different drawing methodologies such as pencil color, water coloring and pen brush are modeled in this software.
Over the years TVP has produced some very beautiful animated movies that make a person marvel at the beautiful effects it can add to a hand-made drawing. Drawings are then animated using frames. It works both with Windows and Mac operating systems.
3D Studio Max
This 3D animation, modelling and rendering software can create worlds within it. There is no limit to the many tools it provides and the versatility that it lets the animator work with. Not only animators, but game designers, graphic artists and professionals from many other fields use this software for tasks like game designing, graphic designing, logo designing, interior design and the list goes on. The mapping and meshing allows artists to create true to life objects and things that once could only be imagined. Create lovely environments and animate them to make them look as good as real (sometimes even better). The software has been used in many movies, Harry Potter, Final Destination, Iron Man, A Cinderella Story (What? Yes! In some parts, of course) and a lot more!!!
Maya or “Illusion” is also a 3D graphic software used for creating 3D visuals, animations, interactive 3D applications and a lot more! Like 3Ds Max, Autodesk Maya gives user the freedom to create anything that he/she desires. Maya has truly been made for the increasing demands in today’s film and television requirements. Like 3Ds Max, Maya is also a bit technical and the user might need to learn it by taking a course or something (it all depends on the capability of the user, not strictly advised to all though). Lilo and Stitch, Spiderman, X-Men, Final Fantasy and dozens more are some of the greatest productions in which Maya was used.
Adobe After Effects
This 2D and 3D compositing software provides a great platform for animation. After Effects, as the name suggests allows the user to create awesome visual effects and motion graphics. It enhances the overall visual feel of what has already been produced. By using cameras, lights and other tools, one can make a 2 dimensional scene look 3 dimensional. So whether you want to give a spell-bounding or magical feel to your scene, After Effects is the right choice!
Some of the animation software that might not be very popular and loved, but still can provide the animator with some more options to work in are:
This software is used for combining bitmap and vector graphics, editing in real-time and is flexible for graphical style. The best thing about CreaToon is that it’s available for free. You will need an unlock software for using this program. It works on Windows operating system. Although, a bit stagnant in producing newer versions or enhancing the tool, CreaToon is still a software worth trying for those who want to explore animation tools!
Swish Max 4
The software is used to create amazing flash animations and contains hundreds of preset multimedia effects and ready-made components and vector shapes. You can save your creations in a number of formats such as EXE, video, flash or GIF animations. Moreover, it allows for powerful scripting language too. On top of that its price is relatively low as compared to other products of the same cadre.
With the popularity of 3D graphics on the rise, LightWave is a very helpful solution for developers to meet the market demand. The support for clip maps through different enhancements, camera rig types and flexible compositing through linear color space workflow is provided. Different data exchange enhancements and mind-boggling real-time and gaming tools justify the higher purchase and upgrading price.
This is a handy tool for beginners, hobbyists and photographers to apply 2D animations to their images. They can apply suitable background, facial movements and puppet motions to still pictures. It offers simple user interface and is very economical.
Although popular, but not added to the list are Soft Image, Cinema 4D, Blender, Celaction, The Tab, Toonz and some more. This does not mean that they are not loved!
There are a lot of tools for creating beautiful animations. Some work on 2D environments and others are focused at 3D. Some are available free of cost and some can cost thousands of dollars. At the end, you get what you pay for.