When it comes to content creation, making your own animation for a particular model might be one of the most complex things to do. That’s why we don’t see many people working with this kind of content creation. However, if you want to learn more about this topic or even upgrade your knowledge, there are tons of different software that you can use to make animations. These tools range from simplistic, to animation apps which…well, you’ll need some time to learn.
Certain software may not be dedicated to just creating animations. But they also have the functionality to make amazing animations along with a bunch of other useful stuff. This is why we included them in this list. So, be sure to read the complete set of features a software provides to understand its usage.
Nonetheless, we’ve come to an idea to choose the perfect ones out of them, just so you can show off your skills and let your creative mind shine. That being said, these are the 13 best software for animation.
Blender is a free animation software that will up your animation skills in no time. Aside from its user-friendly interface, Blender comes with tons of options, making it suitable for both amateurs and professionals. The most amazing thing about this software is that it can be successfully implemented into video game creation! You can now craft your animations using various assets such as textures and lighting, which will make your work a tad prettier. I remember when we used to work with Blender at my school. Now, I’m sorry for not attending these classes!
Blender Software for Animation Features
- A complete 3D creation suite
- Non-Linear Animation
- Character animation pose editor
- Animation Rigging
- Shape keys and Motion paths
2. Autodesk Maya
Autodesk is a company that we can only admire. Really, these guys (and girls) make some of the greatest animation software out there. If you didn’t know, Maya may be Autodesk’s magnum opus in terms of quality and features when it comes to creating animation. Aside from simple animations, Maya lets you create whole 3D scenes, movies, and even games. Hell yeah, that sounds awesome! Furthermore, you’ll get all of the tools at your hand’s reach, making it simple and effective.
Maya Animation Features
- Dynamics and effects
- Ready-to-use graphs
- Cached Playback
- Native motion library plugin
- Geodesic voxel binding
3. Cinema 4D Studio
Who said you can have only 3 dimensions? Cinema 4D Studio is here to give you a feeling of immense satisfaction when modeling your stuff. Cinema 4D Studio is amazing for creating and animating human characters, as well as rigid bodies and advanced character animation. While not as simple as Blender, Cinema 4D Studio is still a badass software. Oh, and you can also try its free trial. Unfortunately, the whole package will cost you some cash, definitely more than a dime!
Cinema 4D Features
- Very easy to use animation toolset
- A huge community of animators
- A powerful timeline and dope sheet
- Procedural animation features
- Power slider and animation dots
4. Autodesk 3DS Max
Once again, we have an Autodesk software. This time, it’s no other than 3DS Max, an animation software that’s been giving me headaches since a young age. Despite me being old and beaten, Autodesk 3DS Max is a pretty powerful software that’s used primarily for modeling. However, you can also do some basic animations here, and it’s not that complex either. Its interface might not be for everyone since it’s not that user-friendly, but hey… this is a professional software, so it behaves like one! If you like to model everything that exists on the planet Earth and wider, it’s a wise decision to try this one.
3DS Max Features
- 3ds Max fluids
- Character animation and rigging tools
- Motion paths
- Particle flow effects
- Hundreds of animation plugins
A straightforward yet capable user interface is provided by Procreate’s Animation Assist for animators. Essential capabilities like onion skinning, immediate playback, and a visual timeline are included. With the aid of Animation Assist, it is possible to quickly modify and control both individual frames and the entire animation. In a variety of formats, show the world your dynamic art.
- Diverse range of digital brushes.
- Non-destructive layering system.
- Precise selection and editing.
- Creative blending options.
- Time-lapse Recording
6. Aurora 3D
Aurora 3D is a completely different animation tool from the ones we’ve mentioned before. It’s not used for any kind of modeling, but strictly for creating animations. That being said, Aurora 3D lets you produce some of the finest animations for your images or videos, and on top of that, you can add a watermark, just to gain some rights. Needless to say, it’s dead simple to use, so everyone can get used to its interface. The pre-built templates are also an attraction in Aurora 3D.
Aurora 3D Features
- Key-frame animations
- Particle effects
- 3D manipulator
- Animation templates and Graphic library
- Shape switch and Quick styles
Bryce is a great software for generating your custom landscapes, but it’s also packed with tons of animations. Aside from building landscapes and terrains, Bryce lets you implement some cool animations to make your work more complex and worthy. If you manage to slip in some people and wildlife in your scenery, you’ll be able to admire your work while you drink some beer. Have I forgotten to say that Bryce is free? Oh, yes! However, there is a pro version that offers some advanced functionalities, but this one is great for beginners.
Bryce Animation Software Features
- Light and Sky Lab for perfect animations
- Particle emitter
- Beginner friendly interface
- Super-lightweight compared to others
- Realistics animations
8. DAZ Studio
DAZ Studio looks rather simple on the first look. But, don’t let that look deceive you since this software can do some SERIOUS work for you. Including NVIDIA Iray, a technology used to create photorealistic animations, DAZ Studio is a serious contender for the best-ever animation software on our list. Not only that, but we have advanced options for lighting, material, reflections, etc. If the steep learning curve doesn’t bother you, you should be good to go. You may also join an animation course.
DAZ Studio Features
- A complete professional animator
- Suitable for advanced amination making
- Free animation tool
- Very easy to use
- All basic animation features
9. Adobe After Effects
In addition to Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe After Effects animation is the de facto method for producing visual effects and managing motion graphics. The application may be used by both beginners and experts to create animated figures and sophisticated movements and integrate them with other software products. Despite being a top choice for 3D and 2D animation on both Windows and MacOS, the platform isn’t the ideal option for frame-by-frame animation.
Adobe After Effects Features
- Motion Tracking
- Keyframe Animation
- Particle Effects
- 3D Camera Tracker
Modo is a rather minimalistic software that packs just enough tools to get the job done. Depending on your needs, Modo should suit you if you aren’t a demanding user. It features sculpting, painting, and modeling 3D models, which is just what we need here. Another great thing is that a big emphasis is put on the model and animation itself, leaving the other interface on both the left and right sides. With its minimalistic interface, Modo is still a great software. You can create good-looking animations with it.
Modo Animation Tool Features
- A great set of animation tools
- Faster processing speeds
- Power translators
- V-Ray interactive lighting
- Hundreds of add-ons to choose from
If you don’t want to download anything and just use a software for animating stuff from the internet, you should opt for an option like Clara.io. While it sounds like a cheap game, it surely isn’t a game and if it was, it wouldn’t be cheap. This is a cloud-based software that gives you the possibility to do some rendering, modeling, and animation for FREE. You’ll be surprised to see how many photorealistic materials and features are there; it’s mind-boggling for a platform like this one! You should definitely check it out.
- Powerful animation modeling tools
- VRay cloud-based rendering
- Scripting plugins and REST API
- Collaboration tools
- An easy to use animation interface
12. Autodesk MotionBuilder
Okay now, time for another Autodesk software before we put a closure to our list. Of course, we are talking about their amazing MotionBuilder software. MotionBuilder works with virtual production and it’s simply awesome when it comes to capturing, editing, and reproducing simple and complex character animations. While the interface might not be very simple, you can’t say there aren’t enough features. In fact, the software has everything you need for generating animations. But, you’ll get only 30 days of free trial after which you’ll have to buy the full license.
- Real-time 3D engine
- Motion capture editing
- Compatibility with other 3D applications
- Pre-built moves
- Works seamlessly on Linux
13. Toon Boom Harmony
Toon Boom Harmony is used by professionals to create shows like Family Guy, SpongeBob SquarePants, and many more. This 2D animation program may be used to clean up and use hand-drawn animations, as well as rig and frame-by-frame animation.
With Toon Boom Harmony, you can create animations from the very first sketches to the final polished rendering. During the process, you may control character muscles and the way air interacts with textured surfaces, etc. When you want to study the fundamentals of animation, Toon Boom Harmony is just fantastic.
Toon Boom Harmony Features
- Efficient animation sequencing.
- Robust digital drawing capabilities.
- Advanced character rigging system.
- Powerful effects and compositing tools.
- Accurate synchronization of character lip movements.