In the vibrant world of gaming, 2D animation has a special place. It forms the backbone of many fan-favorite games, including classics like Metroid and Castlevania. So, whether you’re an aspiring animator, a game designer, or just a curious enthusiast, understanding the best 2D animation software for games is crucial. From free options for beginners to top-tier paid programs for professionals, here’s what 2023 has to offer.
Free 2D Animation Software for Games
Debuting in 2005, Synfig remains a top choice for beginners. This software allows for both front-end and back-end design – a rare feature in free software. With Synfig, you can design the appearance level without being constrained to the code behind the scenes.
TupiTube primarily targets the younger demographic, making it a great starting point for budding animators. Despite its casual vibe, TupiTube packs an impressive punch of features. It’s versatile, easy to download, and compatible across different platforms.
Pencil2D is another excellent choice for beginners. Its interface is simple and intuitive, removing any intimidation factors for new users. Despite being lightweight, Pencil2D offers a comprehensive animation experience, including excellent cross-platform capability.
Opentoonz comes with a range of in-house effects to enhance your animations. It allows for extensive code editing, enabling you to fully customize your creations. However, the software could be challenging for those not familiar with code manipulation.
PowToon is a web-based software that offers a unique animation experience. It’s commonly used by businesses to add a creative spin on their presentations. With PowToon, you can easily move around scenery, props, and characters.
2D Animation Training School
Animaker follows a storyboard approach, allowing you to animate characters or props within a scene. With big names like Google and Verizon using Animaker, it’s a testament to the software’s capabilities. It’s an ideal choice for creating web ads and is incredibly beginner-friendly.
Plastic Animation Paper
This software heavily focuses on pencil drawing, making it a go-to for traditional artists. Plastic Animation Paper offers quick and easy use, coupled with clear resolution. It gives your drawings a new dimension, taking them to the next level.
Pencil breathes life into your drawings. It allows you to insert different image layers to your drawing and integrates sound and different cartoon features. If you love pencil drawing or just want to play around with animation, Pencil is a great choice.
Adobe Flash was once the king of animation software. Despite Adobe pulling its support by the end of 2020, it remains a classic choice for many enthusiasts. However, for those starting their animation journey, it’s recommended to try newer and more updated software.
Krita is an artist-friendly software created by a team of passionate artists. It allows you to create beautiful paintings, drawings, and animation scenes. In 2019, TechRadar voted Krita as one of the best animation applications.
Premium 2D Animation Software for Games
Moho is a comprehensive 2D animation program that delivers professional-looking results. It’s ideal for animators looking to perfect their craft. However, the price can be steep for first-time animators, so consider your budget before investing.
Crazy Talk Animator 3
Crazy Talk Animator 3 offers an animation experience requiring minimal effort. The company even markets it as ‘low effort’ software. It’s perfect for those who want to dive into animation without complications. A 4th version is currently in development.
Toon Boom Harmony
Toon Boom Harmony balances user-friendly UI with advanced animation potential. It offers detailed painting and drawing, 2D/3D integration, and pipeline integration. However, some users may find the learning curve a bit steep.
CelAction2D offers a unique animation experience. It’s easy to use and is often used in creating TV and movie spots. Despite the high price, its extensive features make it a worthy investment.
Stop Motion Studio
Stop Motion Studio enables you to create terrific stop action movies. It’s compatible across Apple devices and is easy to download. For the price and features it offers, it’s highly recommended.
FlipBook is an excellent software for beginners. It teaches you simple animation while you create. Disney Animator Andreas Deja praised FlipBook for its user-friendly interface and its benefits for pencil animation.
Toonz Premium is a professional software that aims to bridge the gap between paper animation and current animation trends. It includes an auto-correcting feature to ensure your drawings are up-to-date. Fun fact – it was used for the show Futurama!
DP Animation Maker
DP Animation Maker is simpler compared to others on this list. It allows you to animate any 2D image, bringing it to life. It has an easy-to-use interface and similar features to photo editing programs.
Spriter is perfect for game animation. It uses modular animation, which is animation built out of individual sprites. This feature makes animation easier and saves you time.
RETAS! is a Japanese software known for creating and animating anime. It’s highly regarded in Japan as the gold standard in animation programs. The possibilities with RETAS! are endless, making it an excellent choice for advanced animators.
The world of 2D animation software for games in 2023 is vast and varied. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, there’s a program out there to suit your needs. Happy animating!