Here is a list of best free open source animation software for Windows. These freeware come with an open source license, so you can download, study, and inspect their source codes. Through these software, you can make an animation by drawing and joining multiple frames in a synchronous manner. Most animation software can create 2D animations, but one of these can also create 3D animation.
The first step to make an animation is to create its individual frames. To make frames of animation, you get tools like Paint tool, Brush, Paint Bucket, Color Palette, Selection Tool, etc. along with a canvas. To convert frames to an animation, these software provide animation tools such as Timeline (to join frames in a synchronous manner), Add frame (to add empty frames), Add Key (to add keyframe), Play (to preview animation), Loop (to run animation in loop manner), FPS (Frame Per Second), etc.
Overall, these free open source animation software are pretty simple to use. After completion, these let you save the animation as Image Sequence or as animated video file (MP4, AVI, etc.).
My Favorite Open Source Animation Software For Windows:
Pencil 2D is my favorite software because it is an easy and intuitive software to make hand-drawn animations. Plus, it has all essential animation and frame drawing tools.
You can also check out lists of best free 2D Animation, 3D Animation, and Stick Figure Animation software for Windows.
Pencil 2D is a free open source animation software for Windows. Using this software, you can create an animation that you can also export as Movie (MP4, AVI, and GIF) and as Image sequence (PNG).
How to create animations in this open source software:
In order to make an animation, you first need to draw every frame of the animation. This software provides all essential tools to make frames of animation such as Tools panel (it has tools like Pencil, Paint Bucket, Brush, Pen, Eraser, etc.), Color Wheel (to select different shades of a color), Color Palette (it has some commonly used colors, but you can edit the palette like you want), etc.
To convert frames to an animation, you need to use the Timeline and dedicated Animation Menu. In the Timeline, you get three layers named as Bitmap Layer (its used to adjust imported images according to animation), Vector Layer (this layer lets you adjust manually drawn frames), and Camera Layer (to change the angle of viewing). In the Animation menu, you get tools which help you make animation like Add Frame (to add new blank frame), Duplicate Frame (to make a copy of previous frames), Next/Previous Frames (to jump between frames), Play (to run created animation), Loop (to run animation in a loop manner), FPS (to change speed of animation), etc.
If you want to know more about the process of animation making, please refer these video tutorials. Home Page Download Page
TupiTube Desk is a completely free open source animation software for Windows. It is a beautifully designed software using which, you can create a 2D animation. In this software, you can manually draw a whole frame of the animation from the scratch using standard tools like Pencil, Brush, Shapes, Internal fill, etc. The good thing about these tools is that you can change various properties of these tools for more accuracy. Along with drawing tools, you can use frame properties of this free animation software to merge various images or components to design a single frame. The other method to draw frames of an animation is by modifying imported images of different formats (PNG, BMP, JPG, and GIF).
Making animations is quite easy in this software. To do that, you can draw multiple frames and add each frame in a synchronous manner using the Timeline. From here, you can also change animation speed using FPS option. By default, many features are not available on the main interface but, by going to Windows menu, you can add Color Palette, Timeline, Brush properties, Exposure Sheet, etc. to the main interface.
After making an animation, you can export it as PNG, JPEG, and SVG Image Sequence. However, animations can also be exported in various Video formats (MP4, AVI, WEBM, and QuickTime). Home Page Download Page
OpenToonz is another free open source animation software for Windows. With the help of this software, you can easily create a 2D animation. In this software, you can find various dedicated sections to create or enhance a specific part of the animation. Besides various sections, you also get a tools panel on the interface that has tools like Brush, Fill Tool, Geometric Tool, RGB color Picker, etc. These help you manually draw a frame of the animation.
Let’s take a look at various available sections and how they help in making the animation:
- Drawing: In this section, you get a Style Editor menu through which, you can give a custom look to outlines of the manually drawn scene. From the style editor menu, you can select Textures, Vector Style, Raster Style, etc. effects for the outline.
- Animation: As its name implies, this section is used to create animation by joining individual frames. In it, you get an Xsheet which is quite similar to a timeline. Using this Xsheet, you can arrange all the frames and it also helps you quickly jump between individual frames. Besides this other important tools like Play (to play animation), Loop (to run animation in a loop manner), FPS (to change speed of animation), etc. tools are also available.
- Cleanup: It is used to adjust the properties of an animation such as View (Horizontal, Vertical), DPI, Resolution, Antialiasing, Sharpness, Brightness, Color, etc.
- Palette: This section is almost similar to the drawing section, but the main focus of this section is on the selection of colors.
After making the animation, you can save the animation as a local project file or export it as an MP4 video. Home Page Download Page
Pencil is a portable open source animation software for Windows. In this software, you can create 2D animations by joining the hand-drawn sketches or drawings.
Its interface is quite similar to any paint software that usually has a big canvas along with various tools panel on the sides of the interface. There are two main types of tools available in this software namely Drawing tools (Pen, Brush, Color Picker, Paint Bucket, Color Palette, etc.) and Animation Tools (Timeline, Add Key, Add bitmap layer, Vector Layer, Camera Layer, etc.).
- Drawing tools are mainly used to create freehand drawing or sketch to make an individual frame of the animation.
- The animation tools help you join the individual frames and layers together to create animation. Along with frames, you can also add sound to the animation and vary animation speed using Sound Layer and FPS options, respectively.
The overall process of creating a 2D animation is quite easy in it and its tools are also pretty simple to use.
After the completion of an animation, you can export it as Image Sequence, Movie (MP4), and as Flash/SWF file. Home Page Download Page
Blender is one more free open source animation software for Windows. It is quite a popular and advanced software which is used in Modeling, 3D animation, 2D animation, Simulation, VFX, Game Creation, Video Editing, Rendering, Scripting, etc. You can do a lot of things including animation with this, but it is not that easy in this software. So, I recommend you to refer these tutorials before you start creating animations.
In this software, you can find all the essential tools to make both 3D and 2D animations. Let’s take a look at various available animation tools:
- Automated walk-cycles along paths.
- Character animation pose editor.
- Non-Linear Animation (NLA) for independent movements.
- IK forward/inverse kinematics for fast poses.
- Envelope, skeleton and automatic skinning.
- Easy weight painting.
- Mirror functionality.
- Bone layers and colored groups for organization.
- B-spline interpolated bones.
After making an animation, you can export it in various formats like 3DS, FBX, PLY, X3D, STL, etc. Home Page Download Page