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May 12, 2017

Best animation software

Could you be the next Pendleton Ward or JG Quintel?

By Joe Clark

Animation software is something that a lot of people want to try out but never get the courage to use. Fun cartoons are something we all watch and most people have an idea for one, the problem is that they don’t know where to start.

Platforms like YouTube and Vimeo have led to a huge influx in creative content being shared across the world and this shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. Platforms like Patreon have even led to people being able to make fully fledged careers out of their animating prowess.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Pendleton Ward or JG Quintel, then check out CBR’s list of the best animation software currently available and get started on your next creative journey.


Moho Pro

animation software

Moho Pro is the latest iteration of the recently re-branded anime studio. This new and inexpensive software is ideal for beginners and professionals alike. With its intuitive user interface and simple editing tools, you’ll be working on your very own Fantasia in no time.

One of the most interesting features of this newest version is a tool called Smart Wrap. Smart wrap allows you to create custom meshes that can be moulded and shaped to fit animations in a much more fluid way. This is ideal for those who find that the freehand draw tool is still clunky and would much rather add their own drawings that they’ve previously made, either by scanning or importing them into the software.

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Don’t think you have enough of your own content to start your own projects or just want to get to grips with the tool set? That’s fine, the Moho website has a range of pre-built assets to be used and modified by the community at will.

Moho Pro is available from $399.99


Autodesk Maya

animation software

Autodesk Maya is one of the better programmes available today, and is a top end piece of software used by professionals around the world. The programme is predominantly used for 3D animating and allows users to build an animate 3D models using polygons, subdivision, NURBS and sculpting, making it an incredibly versatile tool.

What separates Autodesk Maya from the competition is that the software can simulate more materials than any of its would be challenges. Do you want to make a rock monster? Sure thing. A wild animal with realistic fur? Of course. The programme is also capable of simulating fluids and muscles to a degree that competitors will struggle to match.

As the programme is at the high end of the professional 3D animation scale it’s definitely designed for seasoned veterans. The sheer amount of options and tools available can be off putting to newcomers who may be better starting out with something else.

Autodesk Maya is available from £3,700 for three years, with a 30 day free trial. Autodesk also offer the programme for free for three years to students.


Looking for the industry standard? Keep reading to learn more

Adobe Animate

animation software

Adobe Animate is one of the most widely used pieces of animation software in the world, and for almost two decades has been a gold standard for any developers looking to create their own version.

The software’s intuitive design allows users to pick it up and get animating in no time at all, and because it’s part of CC that means users will also gain access the an enormous library of fair use assets to be modified and used at will.

One of the more useful features is the ability to tag colours with a specific name. This eliminates the timely process of trying to remember exactly what shade of chartreuse you decided to use in your cartoon for the fifth time in a session.

Adobe Animate is available as part of the creative cloud from £74 a month.



animation software

Synfig may not be one of the most robust creation tools on the market but this free and opensource offer still has plenty of value. Synfig offers all of the basic features you would expect in any other leading platform, whether you want to create an animated short or just practice your technique.

Synfig is ideal for newcomers as a piece of animation software and the low barrier to entry only sweetens the deal. The active community is always on hand to offer a fix if you get stuck and the software has routine updates to keep you satisfied. If you don’t know where to begin with animation software then Synfig is a good bet.

Synfig is available for free download.


Cinema 4D

animation software

Cinema 4D from Maxon is another one of the more powerful programmes for 3D animating currently available. The software is used around the world by both beginners and professionals alike, and is surprisingly easy to use.

There are an abundance of features on offer with this product, whether you just want to upload and edit a simply figure or embark on a huge animated project for commercial purposes. Even with this cavalcade of tools at your fingertips, remarkably, the programme never feels overwhelming and you can learn just as little or as much as you want.

Whether you want to focus on one specific area of design or try to master it all, Cinema 4D has you covered.

Cinema 4D is available from £3,150

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