2D Animation Resources:
The Complete List 
If you came here looking to find a list of the best 2D animation tools, then you came to the right place.
This is a list of the best 2D animation tools that I have pulled together. Hope you’ll find something here that is useful.
If you’ve got a suggestion for a tool, you can submit it here.
- After Effects
- Corsair K55 RGB
- Daz Studio
- Duik Bassel
- Ease and Wizz
- Free Music Archive
- Genovation KB170L
- Joysticks n’ Sliders
- Motion v2
- Pencil 2D
- School of Motion
- Stop Motion Studio
- Toon Boom Harmony
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects is the industry standard to create, composite, and stylize 2D footage layers in 3D space.
Note : Adobe After Effects is not included in any of the Creative Cloud All Apps plan (it has to be purchased individually).
Asana is a project management tool to organize and plan workflows, projects, and team communication. With features like deadlines, priorities, and visualization, Asana is an effective tool to work through multiple stages of a project more easily. Best of all, it’s free up till the team hit 15 members.
$5 – $29 track
AudioJungle is market to buy the pre-made audio tracks. You can download the track (for free) with a AudioJungle overlay. Pay only when you’ve decided.
Behance is a place to share and discover the work from creative across industries. With its genre-specific filters, you can easily navigate through thousands of artworks by the most influential artists in their fields.
Social signal features like appreciate (likes) and views make it much easier to spot which artwork is in the highlight – which means more visible inspiration for you!
BQ_HeadRig is an After Effect plugin used for creating head controllers for characters. This tool allows you to build head rigs with several key features:
- Create a 4-axis head turn rig (left/right/up/down)
- Isolate L/R or U/D for precision tweaking
- Swap animated head rigs in one click
Corsair K55 RGB
A keyboard which, when paired with its Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software, could be a 110 keys macro keyboard. Corsair K55 RGB could be a treat for animators and video editors with a knack for macro key shortcuts. Check out this video for a better explanation about macro keys on Corsair keyboards.
As a user-powered font library, Dafont has an insanely wide range of unique fonts. The Dafont forum is also available if you want to ask questions and suggestions about which font to use for your project.
- Fonts available :170,000+
- Searchable : Yes, with filters.
- Font Categories : Public Domain, Free, Free for Personal Use, Donationware, and Shareware.
3D Modeling and Animation Software
Daz Studio is a 3D figure customization, posing and animation tool that allows you to create digital art using virtual people, animals, props, vehicles, accessories and environments. Compared to Maya, many have stated that Daz Studio has a clunkier and less intuitive UI.
Dribbble is the community where designers share, connect, and get hired. Images, gif, and video. Dribbble showcases an active community of creative and design professionals – a goldmine for inspiration seekers.
Duik is more like a tool set. Compared to other rigging tools, Duik has more ready-to-use scripts that can help you design and animate your characters faster. Here’s an example of Duik Bassel in action.
Ease and Wizz
The After Effects plugin to add flavour to the traditional Easy Ease (F9). Create new ways of moving layers with a set of expressions. Have a look at their intro video to learn the secret sauce. (H/T @reygular)
$89 – $179 mo
Filestage is another video review tool. It allow multiple collaborators to comments on specific location on specific frame.
Disclaimer: I’ve used Filestage for 2 years now as I got grandfather into the old pricing. That aside, I also like the white background instead of looking like a hacker all the time.
Fiverr is a platform where freelancers can sell their services to employers from all over the world, starting from $5 per gig. Fiverr attracts to low-budget employers – which makes it a great place for brushing your skills for smaller projects to kickstart your online freelancing career. Fiverr charges a 20% commission fees.
$19 – $49 mo
Frame.io is a video review tool. It allow multiple collaborators to comments on specific location on specific frame. It saves you and your clients from going back and forth, and keep the comments organized.
I use Filestage as I got grandfather into the old rates – but the most important features are the same as Frame.io.
Freepik is a library of free visual assets in various formats such as .psd (Photoshop), .ai (Illustrator), icons, and stock photos. With more than 1 million free content, you won’t have to worry about running out of asset to choose from.
- Illustration Library
- Searchable with filters
- 1m+ Illustrations available
Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive offers a huge selection of curated tracks from various genres. You can also download clips without having to register. Everything available on the site is free, but you have the option to ‘tip’ artists via PayPal.
Songs Available : 5,000+
Sign in : No
Searchable : Yes
License : Creative Common
Genovation KB170L is a premium programmable keyboard for those who want simple macro set up without overriding other keys’ functionality. It has 66 dedicated macro keys which you can program individually to speed up your video editing or animation process.
Humaaaans, as the name implies, is a design library to mix-&-match illustrations of people. You can customise their positions, clothing, colours, and hairstyle. You can add scenes and use the power of libraries to make it your own. You can also add scenes and make it your own.
Free icon library
As of writing this, there are more than 230 free icon packs available for download, ranging from animals related icons to gaming icons. The icon packs consist of three styles: colored icons, glyph icons, and outlines.
- Icon Packs Available : 230+
- Searchable : Yes, with 25 categories and 3 filters.
Vector-based Creative Software
$14.99 – $33.99 mo
Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based creative tool to draw and modify assets for your animations. Illustrator is not the only vector based software out there, but as a part of the Adobe suite, it’s easier to use together with other tools such as Adobe After Effects.
Joysticks 'n Sliders
Joysticks ‘n Sliders is a pose-based rigging system for After Effects. It tackles repetitive and pain-staking tasks out of character animations. For characters animation, Joysticks ‘n Sliders can be used to create repetitive motion like a person walking or a bird flapping its wings.
LearnSquared promises you with courses taught by leading artists in their fields. Don’t miss out legendary Jorge R motion design course. There are 9 different learning fields available:
- 2D art
- 3D art
- Graphic Design
In addition to the courses, you can also explore the published works of LearnSquared’s students, which could a source of inspiration for you. There is also a scheduled livestream on Twitch if you’re into real-time participation.
3D Modeling and Animation Software
Maya is a professional-grade 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software that allows users to write scripts on their own. This feature enhances Maya’s functionality beyond what would be possible with the built-in tools. Needless to say, the learning curve for this tool is quite steep.
Moho Pro, formerly known as Anime Studio, is 2d animation software designed for professionals looking for an alternative when creating quality animations with the additional tool for frame-by-frame animation. The Moho Debut is a low-cost version of the software and for beginner animators.
- Enhanced freehand drawing tools.
- Beizer handles for more design control and optimized for animation.
- Smart warp feature to customize meshes to bend, twist and animate assets.
- Realistic motion blur.
- Animation for multiple layers at the same time.
Their new version comprises a suite of over 20 new tools and hundreds of controls to automate repetitive tasks. Check out the screenshot below. (H/T @reygular)
Note : Motion v2 is only compatible with After Effects CS5 – CC 2018. Older versions of After Effects are not recommended.
$12 – $20 mo
Mural is a visually oriented collaboration and team working platform oriented for creative teams with a plethora of ideas to discuss. Its cloud-based concept makes remote collaboration, brainstorming, and idea synthesizing much easier.
Overlord is an After Effects plugin that creates a communication channel between Adobe Illustrator and After Effects. Transfer shapes as you need them, while animating, without the need for file organization, importing, converting to shape layers or redrawing. (H/T @reygular)
Note : Overlord is compatible with After Effects and Illustrator after CC2014.
Beginner-friendly Animation Tool
Pencil 2D is a free and open-source animation design software for beginners. This software can introduce you to the ropes of 2D animation. Its minimalist user interface has all the essential tools for beginners.
Raster Image Editing and Creation Software
$14.99 – $33.99 mo
Adobe photoshop is the “go-to” app to create and edit images in multiple layers. Great for visual manipulation. It’s part of Adobe Creative Cloud subscription plan.
$59 – $199 track
PremiumBeat is houses top-class royalty-free music clips. What I like is the purchase of a song comes with loops as well as the full version.
There are a wide selection of both classical and modern audio tracks. Their licensing is also very generous: purchase the license once and you can use it for an unlimited number of projects.
Songs Available : 10,000
Sign in : Yes.
Searchable : Yes, with filters.
License : Royalty free
What makes Rubber Hose 2 different from other animation rigging tools is its “rubbery” feature. It basically allows you to assign pins which can be used as an animation axes. Adjust the hose characteristics to fit the character, scene or action –all in the middle of animating. The freedom to change a bend’s direction or roundness or the hose length is all yours.
School of Motion
$0 – $997
School of Motion provides design and animation courses to walk you through various styles of visual design. The courses will cost you $0-$997 depending on the mastery level and extensiveness of the course.
They have a great Youtube channel, podcast and blog – one of the best in the industry.
Stop Motion Studio
Stop Motion Studio is, as the name implies, an animation software oriented for stop-motion animation. The DSLR support feature allows you to use your cameras in conjunction with the software.
- Onionskin: View previous frames on a transparent overlay.
- Chroma key and audio recording: narrate and add voice effects to your videos.
- DSLR camera support for creating perfect 1080p recordings.
Toon Boom Harmony
2D and 3D Combination; Built-in cut out tools
Toon Boom Harmony has a bitmap and vector tools for creating art, 3D imported models for hybrid production and an option to create multiplane scenes with Z-depth.
- Advanced color palettes and painting tools.
- 2D and 3D Integration.
- Cut-out animation tools.
Notable Features: Multi-platform; In-App Tutorials
Upwork is a melting pot for twelve million digital freelancers and five million employers as of writing this guide. The jobs are spread out across 12 fields and hundreds of sub-fields. Upwork charges 5% – 20% of commission fees so make sure to factor that into your budget.
Vimeo is a video hosting platform. The clean layout and ad-free design is well-loved in the video community.
In 2017, they launched a video review tool. So far, their feature hasn’t been able to match other video review tool like Frame.io or Filestage.
Vector-based cloud freeware
Vectr is a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. You can create 2D vector graphics available both as a web app (preferably Chrome). It has the core features you’d hope and is versatile enough for day-to-day design tasks.
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