Are you hunting for the best animation software to start your journey to scribbling success? We’ve listed the best free and paid options for you!

When taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill these days, we have a lot of options open to us. You can discover a whole host of courses, tutorials, and guides online covering just about anything you can think of. You could learn how to build a website on Skillshare, or check out some free video editing lessons on YouTube. There are equally as many software options as there are online learning resources. You can choose from an array of DAWs as a music producer, or find video editing software to suit all budgets and needs.

The thing is, searching through them all can be pretty time-consuming. If you’re a beginner animator, then you might not be too sure what it is you’re looking for. Secondly, you’re probably looking to try things out, and dip your toe. That means not spending a huge amount of money straight away.

To make your life easier, we’ve listed all the best animation software out there for you to try. This includes free, paid, and free trials, so you don’t have to make any huge commitments straight up. We know how scary that can be!

Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator is an Emmy Award-winning desktop application software product that combines real-time live motion-capture with a multi-track recording system to control layered 2D puppets drawn in Photoshop or Illustrator. By using a cam and microphone, you can animate your character (called puppets) in real-time using your own expressions.

You can enjoy a 7-day free trial, before paying £49.94 to access Character Animator as part of the Creative Cloud, so if it’s not for you, no worries!


Blender is an open-source video editing software that gives you total control over your animations. The tool offers advanced command line and programming features for rendering, modelling and creating 3D animations. It’s perfect for video games or animated videos. A flexible software, it is compatible with different operating systems, so you can use it on Linux, Windows and Mac. This software will still be great when you’re an advanced animator, but is also suitable for beginners.

Pencil 2D

Another open-source option, Pencil 2D (as the name might suggest) is a 2D animation software that can be used with a number of operating systems, including Windows and Mac. If you love traditional hand drawn animation, then this is the programme for you. Switch easily between raster and vector graphics, allowing you to work to your own flow. The software is also cross-platform, meaning you can pick up where you left off withy our projects, even on the go.

Pencil 2D is completely free as well, making it completely accessible for beginners.

Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate is a multimedia authoring and computer animation program. Animate is used to design vector graphics and animation for television series, online animation, websites, web applications, rich web applications, game development, commercials, and other interactive projects. Animate lets you bring cartoons and banner ads to life, so its perfect for digital marketing purposes. Create animated doodles and avatars. And add action to eLearning content and infographics. With Animate, you can quickly publish to multiple platforms in just about any format and reach viewers on any screen.

Grab Adobe Animate for £19.97 per month as part of Creative Cloud, or try a 7-day free trial first.

Synfig Studio

Sticking with the 2D animation, Synfig Studio is yet another open-source free software. The vector-based programme offers advanced tools that lets you create high quality animations incredibly quickly. There are over 50 layers and filters available to help you create complex animation. Synfig is a fantastic alternative to Adobe Animate, especially in terms of the price tag.