The Best Animation Tools That Every Animation Artist Loves!
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.
Creatoon is a dead product, there’s no support and no new versions coming out ever.
You forgot a lot of good ones:
Anime Studio – http://http://anime.smithmicro.com
Blender (also free!) – http://www.blender.org
Celaction – http://www.celaction.com
The Tab – http://http://www.the-tab.com
Toonz – http://www.toonz.com
Hey, thanks for the response and also for sharing these wonderful animation tools. Basically, our purpose was to share the most commonly used and free of cost (most if not all) animation software. I liked your suggestions though, please read the article again 🙂
Only one of your suggestions was free. 🙂
Also, another commonly used software is
After Effects – http://www.adobe.com/products/aftereffects.html
Thanks for the suggestion, but I am afraid After Effects is a composite software, not specifically animation software…. 🙂
After Effects is used as the main animation software on many popular TV series. Also it is widely used on TV commercials.
It belongs on your list more than CrazyTalk and Swish Max.
That’s indeed true, After Effects does allow a lot more utilities than the tools you pointed out, but the focus here is on the tools dedicated to just animation. Hope you got my point…
Flash isn’t dedicated to just animation. 🙂
I think if you’re going to make an article called “Best animation tools” that “every animation artist loves” you should include the popular choices of animators.
Seriously, nobody uses Creatoon anymore, and the number of Lightwave users is decreasing daily. Swish Max and Crazytalk are toys, people don’t use them for real animation.
Why don’t you mention…
3DS Max – http://usa.autodesk.com/3ds-max
Maya – http://usa.autodesk.com/maya
Softimage – http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet/pc/index?id=13571168&siteID=123112
Cinema4D – http://www.maxon.net
They are all more popular than Lightwave.
Of course, you are right… but then it is one of major animation software used today, like I said, “Industry Favorite”, thanks a lot for the software suggested, I would love to add all of these to this article. Thanks once again 🙂
You’re welcome! Articles are always a good starting point, then more information is added from the comments. This is what’s great about the internet! 🙂
Best Animation Tools That “Every” Animation Artist Loves?
This is a subjective title, I hate Flash, its far more difficult to use than necessary.
No Maya or cinema 4D? I’ve seen these programs used far more than Lightwave!
you should have titled this: Best Animation Tools That I Love
Hey William, thanks for your comment, actually not all but the majority of animators start learning animation with Flash, the reason why I included it here was the same.
Also worth a mention Flipbook by Digicel- http://www.digicel.net/flipbook.htm
It’s inexpensive, has a fast learning curve, and is used by many pros and major studios and schools.
Yes, its good for beginners…
It is sad that you dont see a difference between Lightwave 3D ad 3dsMax and TVPaint is known as Aura – better check your sources next time
Hi Anon, thanks for your comment. The difference between Lightwave 3D and 3D Studio Max is very clear here. The usage and differences are clearly mentioned in this post along with the many advantages one sees while using 3D Studio Max instead of Lightwave 3D. As for TVPaint Animation and its “ancestors’ names”, yes I did not mention that in the post because Aura and Mirage were predecessors of TVPaint and today it is known as TVPaint Animation. I hope you did not confuse Moho (Anime Studio) with TVPaint.
ok,, well i just wanna know which 1 is better …crazy talk animator or anime studio ro
Thanks for commenting. Well, it depends on what purpose you are using it for. Anime Studio is more sophisticated than Crazy Talk. You can create amazing 2D animations with Anime Studio, add rigging etc to the characters and play around with a lot of options. Whereas in Crazy Talk you can play around with graphics that are already existing. Its fun though!
Hello Kiran,..i also want to buy either Anime or Crazytalk. I favour Anime cause it is more sophisticated. Is there any existing Graphics that you can buy for Anime? Or does Only Crazytalk has the extra graphics where you can wotk with?? Thanx in forehand 🙂
Hi Lenny, thanks for your comment. I am sure there must be a Graphics package that comes with Anime Studio. They always have extra resources to cope with spending extra time on creating your own from scratch.
Where´s Cinema 4D you sucker ?