Which one is the best animation software for you?

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1

Decide what’s important for you

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2

Look at your wallet (or purse)

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3

Make a decision

OUR TOP TWO

RECOMMENDATIONS

CRAZYTALK ANIMATOR 3

For YouTubers or Animators who want to create a YouTube Series and create each episode 3X faster

MOHO 12

For Professional Animators looking for an easy to use software, or self-taught beginners who want to become professionals

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COMPARE

SOFTWARE

PRICES

(Click on each column to order list)

Software Payment Budget Trial
01Moho Pro 12 02One-Payment 07$399.99 30-days
02Moho Debut 12 02One-Payment 03$69.99 30-days
03CrazyTalk Animator 3 Standard 02One-Payment 02$69.00 15-days
04CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pro 02One-Payment 04$179.00 15-days
05CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pipeline 02One-Payment 06$299.00 15-days
06Toon Boom Essentials 02One-Payment 05$265.00 21-days
07Toon Boom Advanced 02One-Payment 08$685.00 21-days
08Toon Boom Premium 02One-Payment 09$1,385.00 21-days
09TVPaint Standard 02One-Payment 09$560.00 01Freemium
10TVPaint Pro 02One-Payment 09$1,400.00 01Freemium
12After Effects 03Monthly Plan 11$19.00 p/mo 077-days
11Adobe Animate 03Monthly Plan 12$19.00 p/mo 077-days
13Toon Boom Essentials 03Monthly Plan 10$16.00 p/mo 21-days
14Toon Boom Advanced 03Monthly Plan 13$41.00 p/mo 21-days
15Toon Boom Premium 03Monthly Plan 14$76.00 p/mo 21-days
16OpenToonz 01FREE 01FREE 01FREE
17Synfig 01FREE 01FREE 01FREE

NOTE: "Freemium" means that you have lifetime access but you have limited capabilities, such as NOT being able to save your files.

GENERAL FEATURES

(Click on each column to order list)

Software Drawing Required? Ease of Use Quality of Results Recommended for:
01Moho Pro 12 No Easy Awesome 01Professionals
02Moho Debut 12 No Easy Entertaining 02Enthusiasts
03CrazyTalk Animator 3 Standard No Easy Entertaining 03YouTubers
04CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pro No Easy Entertaining 03YouTubers
05CrazyTalk Animator 3 Pipeline No Easy Entertaining 03YouTubers
06Adobe Animate Yes Easy Entertaining 01Professionals
07After Effects No Fair Limited 02Enthusiasts
08Toon Boom Essentials No Fair Entertaining 02Enthusiasts
09Toon Boom Advanced No Hard Awesome 01Professionals
10Toon Boom Premium No Hard Awesome 01Professionals
11TVPaint Standard Yes Hard Awesome 01Professionals
12TVPaint Pro Yes Hard Awesome 01Professionals
13OpenToonz No Hard Awesome 01Professionals
14Synfig Yes Hard Limited 02Enthusiasts

DETAILED FEATURES

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PRICES

(Click on each column to order list)

Software Payment Budget Trial
01Maya Lite 02Monthly Plan 02$30.00 p/mo 30-days
02Maya 02Monthly Plan 03$185.00 p/mo 30-days
033DS Max 02Monthly Plan 04$185.00 p/mo 30-days
04Cinema 4D Prime 02One-Payment 05$999.00 42-days
05Cinema 4D Broadcast 02One-Payment 07$1,695.00 42-days
06Cinema 4D Visualize 02One-Payment 08$2,295.00 42-days
07Houdini 02One-Payment 06$1,495.00 30-days
08Blender 02FREE 01FREE FREE

GENERAL FEATURES

(Click on each column to order list)

Software Drawing Required? Ease of Use Recommended for: Quality of Results
01Maya Lite No Easy Awesome Professionals
02Maya No Easy Awesome Professionals
033DS Max No Fair Awesome Professionals
04Cinema 4D Prime No Easy Awesome Professionals
05Cinema 4D Broadcast No Easy Awesome Professionals
06Cinema 4D Visualize No Easy Awesome Professionals
07Houdini No Hard Awesome Professionals
08Blender No Fair Good Enthusiasts

CHECK EACH

SOFTWARE

Click on the software to get more info
Adobe Animate
Adobe After Effects
Toon Boom
Adobe After Effects
Adobe Animate
Toon Boom

CrazyTalk Animator 3

Three versions available:

  • Standard
  • Pro
  • Pipeline

This is considered by many of its users as the easiest 2D Animation Software to use, allowing users to instantly bring any image or character to life by using elastic motion effects, or one of the many motion templates available.

You can do quick animations using simple modern-style characters.

The interesting feature of this software is that it offers a powerful 2D bone rig editor, and with your characters ready for animation you have two ways to move them easily:

  1. Using Motion Clips (presets for animated movements)
  2. Manually use the 2D Motion Key Editor and move your character as you normally would on any other software

And for the animation of the facial expressions, you also have two very practical ways to do this:

  1. Face Puppet Tool: An advanced face system that allows you to record different emotions of your character super fast, that includes face tilts and head turns.
  2. Face Key Editor: A powerful manual face system that lets you animate the face of your character as you normally would on any other software, but with simplified controls.

This is truly the software recommended for YouTubers, or people who want to get quick results.

An if you are looking for advanced animation like drawing frame by frame, then this software is not recommended, you only want to use CrazyTalk Animator 3 if you are interested in animating 3 times faster (the case for YouTubers who need to create each episode a week).

Standard - $69.00
Pro - $179.00
Pipeline - $299.00

Learn More about CTA3:

OFFICIAL SITE

Buy CrazyTalk Animator 3 and get $97 Course for FREE
Reallusion - CrazyTalk Animator 3 Official Website

Learn More about CTA3

CrazyTalk Animator 3 Tutorials
Video Gallery

Basic Training

Complete Course - Create an Animated Series for Youtube (You can get it for FREE)

POSSIBILITIES

DEMO REEL

CTA3 Trailer

Success Sucks!

Moho 12 (Anime Studio)

Two versions available:

  • Moho Debut 12
  • Moho Pro 12

This is our favorite software for advanced character animation and for frame-by-frame. It’s recommended for people looking for an easy to use software that is powerful at the same time.

The perfect software for beginners, self-taught animators or professionals looking for an easy to use software.

In the Pro version, you can do awesome traditional animation (frame-by-frame).

The biggest feature is the smart bone enhancements and bone targets; you can achieve very complex character rigs that can really give the illusion of traditional animation.

So, for a fraction of what other professional 2D Animation software costs, you can enjoy a lot of the same features offered by its competitors:

  • Different brush styles
  • Frame by Frame Animation
  • Multiple Layers and Drawings
  • Cut Out Animation (Awesome Bones System with IK)
  • Particle Systems

Another advantage is that you don’t need a high end computer hardware to be able to run the software, but as always, it all depends on your project requirements.

All in all, Moho is a very powerful software (especially the Pro version), with a lot of tutorials on their website.

But, they don’t cover the essentials for beginners, so that’s why we offer a FREE animation course where you can learn the basics on cut out/puppet animation.

Now. For the really advanced and veteran, Moho doesn’t offer a Node Workflow, but if you don’t care about that, are happy working with layers (like I am), and you have a tight budget, consider Moho 12 the best alternative for advanced character animation.

Moho Debut 12 - $69.99
Moho Pro 12 - $399.99

Learn More about Moho 12:

OFFICIAL SITE

Moho Pro Free Trial

Basic Training

Moho Video Tutorials

COMPLETE COURSE

2D Animation in Moho from Basic to Advanced

POSSIBILITIES

Moho 12 Trailer

Anime Studio Trailer

Animated Short

Adobe Animate (Flash)

This one is probably the most popular 2d animation software that is vector based.

It has a 360 rotatable canvas that you can use to improve your angles and strokes, and it’s compatible with Wacom.

Another awesome feature is the powerful and easy 3D Environment. You can control 3D cameras, and set very complex scenes.

Oh, and different to After Effects, you can scale your drawings to any resolution without losing any quality (because it’s vector-based, not pixel-based)

All in all, it’s a very intuitive software for 2D Animation. Recommended for funny sketches.

PRICE $29.99/MO or $239/YR

Learn More about Adobe Animate:

Official Website

Adobe Animate Official Website

Learn More

What is Adobe Animate? Basic Tutorials
Lynda - Flash Professional Tutorials
Adobe Training and Certification

Recommended Course:

Bloop Animation - Flash Animation Course

POSSIBILITIES

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TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects is a very popular software in the market. Lots of tutorials.

It’s mostly used for motion graphics and visual effects, and not so much in character animation...

But! We wanted to include it in this list because, thanks to a lot of plug ins, you can achieve decent cut out character animation.

Even though you can’t do traditional animation (no frame-by-frame feature, no onion skin) you can use the puppet tool and plug ins (like Duik) to rig characters, and you can also import 3D elements to your animation.

Another awesome feature is the powerful and easy 3D Environment. You can control 3D cameras, and set very complex scenes.

As for the requirements, almost any computer out there can handle after effects.

But remember, it all depends on how much processing your project needs.

And, before we finish with this one, there is another thing to consider: The integration with other adobe products, like Photoshop or Illustrator.

That’s got to be a powerful feature, right?

PRICE $29.99/MO or $239/YR

LEARN MORE ABOUT ADOBE AFTER AFFECTS:

AE OFICIAL PAGE:

After Effects Official Page

AE FREE BASIC TRAINING:

Video Copilot Basic Training

CHARACTER ANIMATION COURSES:

Save Time in Character Animation in After Effects
2D Animation With No Drawing Skills in After Effects
Adobe Training Classes & Certifications

POSSIBILITIES

ARCHER

Archer’s characters are created in Adobe Illustrator, and then rigged inside After Effects.

Pipelines

This animation was created with the integration of Adobe Animate (Flash Pro) and After Effects

Toon Boom Harmony

Toom boom harmony is considered the Crème de la Crème of 2D animation software.

Used by major animation studios such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, etc.

It supports the 4 principal animation techniques:

  • Traditional frame-by-frame animation
  • Puppet or Cut-Out Animation (Rigged characters)
  • Rotoscoping
  • And Stop-Motion

In the latest version, you can import 3D elements for your projects.

It sounds like the promised land right?

Well, let me tell you, is not that simple. This is for the big budget and those who can learn very quick, because the software can be a bit complicated to use.

You can get the (very) limited Essential Version, for $16 USD a month; but you will be limited to just 1 layer per drawing, so your animation process is more tedious.

The Advanced version for $41 a month doesn’t let you use inverse kinematics, which is essential for Rigged characters.

And the Premium Version, the one recommended for professionals, costs $76 a month.

You need to spend some time to learn how to use it well, and you also need some computer power to run it perfectly.

For a complete list of what you can or can’t do with each version of Toon Boom Harmony, (and also to compare prices) check this link: Toon Boom Harmony Pricing

Price: $16/MO, $41/MO, $76/MO

Learn More about Toon Boom:

OFFICIAL SITE

Toon Boom Official Website

Training

Toon Boom Certification

Recommended course

Bloop Animation - Toon Boom Animation Course

POSSIBILITIES

Sponge Bob

Family Guy

TVPaint

This one has 2 versions:

  • Standard
  • Pro

This French software is like a very complex and powerful Photoshop in which you can do animation using a wide variety of brushes and painting styles.

This is the one recommended for animators who love traditional, old school animation, the one used in many studios and big companies.

This bitmap based software lets you animate natural renderings like:

  • Gouache
  • Watercolor
  • Oil painting
  • Crayon
  • Pen

TVPaint doesn’t impose a specific workflow, and artists are free to mix animation on paper with digital animation.

Standard - $560.00
Pro - $1,399.00

Learn More about TVPaint:

Official website

TVPaint Website

Learn more

YouTube Tutorial

Recommended Course

Bloop Animation - TVPaint Animation Course

POSSIBILITIES

FREAK of the week

OpenToonz

This one is a FREE software.

Yep, you read that right. You need $0 bucks to get it. (Hopefully you won’t be in debt, because you won’t be able to afford $0 dollars)

Don’t let the “price” fool you, this is an excellent tool, it supports a lot of 2d animation features like cut-out animation.

How Excellent? Well, for one, you can rig characters and animate using bones.

OpenToonz is based on the software “Toonz”, developed by Digital Video S.p.A. in Italy, customized by Studio Ghibli to create their work for many years.

It’s compatibility with both raster and vector images makes it a very powerful software.

When your pockets are empty, this is the best choice.

Learn more about OpenToonz:

Official Website

OpenToonz Official Website

Basic Tutorials

Tutorial - Opentoonz : Character Rigging : Part 1
Tutorial - Opentoonz : Character Rigging : Part 2

POSSIBILITIES

Opentoonz reel

Synfig

This is a FREE animation software with the disadvantage of having limited interface capabilities, like for example, it doesn’t offer Inverse Kinematics, or any other time-saving bones feature.

To use Synfig, you need to at least have some experience working with 2D Animation because it can be a bit complicated to use.

The software is not very intuitive, and there are not many tutorials on the web, but hey! It’s FREE and you can give it a shot.

And all in all, you can get very decent-looking projects, but it will take longer to animate them.

It is an excellent choice if your pockets are empty, but you will have to dive deep into the documentation to get familiar with the software.

Price: $0.00 FREE! (Wohoo!)

Learn More about Synfig:

OFFICIAL SITE

Synfig Official Site

Basic Training

Official YouTube Channel

POSSIBILITIES

Synfig Animation

Autodesk Maya

This one is a biggie.

Maya is probably the industry’s standard in 3D Modeling and Animation.

If you got the budget, and are into 3D Animation, then Maya is the one to go with.

They offer the lite version at $30 USD/mo, or the pro version at $185 USD/mo

This is a very powerful software where you can do amazing work, from 3D cartoon animations, to real-looking characters. You can create characters for games and a lot of other cool stuff.

Its major feature is probably the wide range of textures and materials, including fluid, cloth, hair and muscle.

The interface is not super intuitive, and you really have to spend some time to learn the basics, but hey, once you manage to master the program, you can be unstoppable.

Luckily, there are a lot of tutorials out there to get you going.

This one is on the V.I.P. category... you need to be able to afford $185 USD a month, and, as most 3D software, you need a High End Computer to handle all the heavy processing.

So, expensive software for an expensive machine. Yep, like I said, reserved for the V.I.P.

However, if you keep the texture to the minimum, you can make it work with limited hardware.

But that would be just like spending your savings to buy a Rolex to impress rich people, when you can’t afford your bills.

So, keep in mind your budget. If you have it, then, this is the choice. If not, keep looking.

Lite - $30 per month
Pro - $185 per month

Learn More about Maya:

OFFICIAL SITE

Maya Lite Version:
Maya Pro Version:
Maya Overview

Basic Training

Maya Knowledge Network
3D Tutorials from beginners to advanced
Maya Tutorials from CreativeBloq
Maya Tutorials from Digital Tutors

Recommended course

Bloop Animation - Maya Animation Course

POSSIBILITIES

Witcher 2

Rango

Autodesk 3ds Max

3ds max is almost the same as Maya.

It has a little more intuitive interface but remains in the hard category.

This software is mainly used for architecture projects, and not so much when you want to do character animation.

If your goal is to do character animation, then stick with Maya.

If you want to model cars, design engineering tools, architectural models, then stick with 3ds Max.

Anyway, the truth is that: you can achieve almost the same results in either one. It’s a matter of taste. Just consider your needs.

Price: $185/MO

Learn More About 3DS Max:

Official site

Subscribe to 3DS Max
3Ds Max Overview

Training and tutorials

3Ds Max Tutorials
3Ds Max Training
3Ds Max Ultimate Collection of Tutorials

POSSIBILITIES

3ds Max is more commonly used in Movies, here is a small list of movies that used 3ds max
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Avatar
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Speed
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Cinema 4d

This is probably the 3D solution to motion graphics by excellence.

Its integration with After Effects has given this software a lot of popularity.

What about Character animation? Can you get awesome stuff done with it? You can bet your bottom dollar on it.

Cinema 4D is one of the more intuitive 3D modeling and animation software out there, and you can find lot of tutorials.

The cons come when you have to rely on third party software, plug ins and scripts to improve your animation quality.

Another thing to consider is that It doesn’t come with a very powerful render engine, so you have to work with plugins to reach the results you are looking for.

And guess what... yep, this one is also for the V.I.P.

The licenses for Cinema 4D are:

  • Prime - $999 USD
  • Broadcast - $1,695 USD
  • Visualize - $2,295 USD

All in all, it’s a very powerful software that needs a powerful computer.

Cinema 4D is a very intuitive software and it’s easier to learn than most of its competitors.

Price: $185/MO

Learn More about Cinema 4D:

OFFICIAL SITE

Cinema 4D Overview

Basic Training

Cinema 4D Tutorials from Digital Tutors
5 Training Sites for Cinema 4D
Plug ins and Training for Cinema 4D
Learn Cinema 4D in one day tutorial

POSSIBILITIES

The Polar Express

Houdini

This one is an excellent 3D animation software, however, its limitations come when we talk about its features. The environment is somewhat limited.

On the good side, it has a powerful render engine called Mantra, which can deliver high quality images.

The Nodes system makes it very powerful, but it can be quite difficult to understand at first glance.

So you will need to spend some time learning the basics. And even some more if you want to get to the advanced stuff.

There are not many tutorials out there, so you have to start with the software documentation. Yeah, I know... boring.

PRICE: $1,495 USD

Learn More about Houdini:

Official Website

Overview

Training

Master Classes
Learning Materials
Houdini Fundamentals Course
Introduction To FX Using Houdini

POSSIBILITIES

Big Hero 6

Blender

This one is the good news for the No-Budget people interested in 3d. It’s FREE. Wahoo!

Not only is it FREE, but it is also very powerful.

You can create animated movies, video games, 3D Printing models, and all the content that you create is totally yours (That means you can create a model and sell it!)

It has an outstanding performance in 3D Design, modeling and animation.

Ok... sounds like heaven. Where is the catch?

Well, it can be pretty daunting for someone who has never worked with a 3D software before.

So unless you have some experience in 3D modeling or animation, you will have to do some groundwork to get familiar with the software.

There are quite a few courses and tutorials on the web, so you don’t have to worry about that.

As for the requirements, well, they are pretty much the same as any other 3D Software.

The real advantage is that it’s powerful and it’s FREE.

PRICE: $0.00 (FREE! WOHOO!)

Learn More about Blender:

Official Site

Blender Oficial Website

Training

Blender 3D Design Course
Blender Training and Tutorials
Blender Basics Course
Blender Course

Recommended course

Bloop Animation - Blender Animation Course

POSSIBILITIES

Sintel

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