5 Open Source 2D Animation Software to Use

An animation software is a special program that’s used to design a moving animation out of the objects required. Traditional painting/drawing software (Like Inkscape) do not support creating animation, as they are used just to make the objects or paint them, but they do not have some necessary capabilities to create a moving animation out of those objects/images/photos, such as tweeing, rotoscoping, motion capture, VFX & simulation support.

If you are someone who’s interested in creating 2D animation, whether as a hobby or part of your job, then you would be glad to know that there are many open source 2D animation software to use.

Open Source 2D Animation Software

Synfig

Synfig is one of the most famous open source 2D animation software out there. It’s licensed under the GPL license and works on all the three major operating systems (Window, macOS and Linux). Written in C++.

Among Synfig features we can see vector tweeing, which would save the animator a lot of time and work on switching the movements/motion between sequential frames, support of up to +50 layers objects, a bones system to simulate the human motion and control the body’s parts movements accordingly, and many other features. Synfig uses its own .SIF/SIFZ/SIFGformats for the data files it produces, and supports rendering the output in AVI, MPEG, GIF, Flash and many other formats. It also supports importing Inkscape’s SVG files so that you can use them in your work. Synfig supports gradients, shadows and real-time effects.

Synfig provides a lot of documents about how to use the software on their official website. In addition to that, a complete video course is available to explain all the details of the program.

OpenToonz

Originally named as the “Toonz” program and initialized in 1993 as a proprietary software, this program became open source in 2016 and licensed under the BSD license. It was hence named “OpenToonz“.

You’ll find all the basic features in any 2D animation software available in OpenToonz as well; painting tools, frames manipulation, tweeing, motion capture and simulation support. However, what makes OpenToonz special is a set of addons/plugins that can be installed to the program, such as Effects SDK which can employ deep machine learning to synthesize the effects of two images to produce a fusion image of them or even automatically add some effects according to your needs, or GTS which is a scanning tool that allows you to scan an image and control/copy its properties instantly, finally there’s a plugin called “Kumoworks” which allows you easily to create clouds in various shapes.

Unfortunately, one of the cons of OpenToonz is that it does not provide binaries for Linux distributions, but just for Windows and macOS. You can, however, build the binaries yourself from the source code and expect it to work on Linux.

TubiTube Desk

TubiTube Desk doesn’t focus on being a professional 2D animation program, but instead, it’s targeting children, hobbyists and amateurs. Its user interface is quite simple, and the program itself only offers the basic features of any 2D animation program, such as the painting/drawing tools, support for importing vector/image files in many formats from other programs, support for rendering the output work in AVI, MPEG and SWF, and manual tweeing, scaling, rotation and opacity.

The program is released under the GPL license, and can be downloaded along its source code from SourceForge. It works on Windows, macOS and Linux.

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