This post has three aims based around my latest YouTube video on creating 3D animations.
The first is to shows some FREE options for creating 2D animations on Linux, Windows and other operating system. Second is to ask the viewers if they have any other alternatives that I’ve missed (preferably ones with easy to use scripting / programming APIs). Finally to introduce a new programming library that I’m working on called PGZ Animation.
The best way to understand this is to watch the video below, then come back here to see some useful links for more information about the various tools.
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Free and Open Source 2D Animation Tools
In the video I look at three different tools.
LibreOffice Impress (and Draw) with Simple Screen Recorder
The first 2D animation tool I look at is LibreOffice Impress. This is not a full 2D animation program like the others that follow, but can be used for simple visual effects. It does not include export as an animation, but using other tools such as Simple Screen Recorder it is possible to capture animations for use in a video.
Unfortunately Impress does not include features required for more complex animations, such as a keyframes and custom animations, but it is quick and easy to use.
An example of this in use is my video series on Digital Electronics.
Synfig Studio is a real 2D animation tool with all the features you expect, such as keyframes and automatic tweens. It is however quite difficult to use. An example is that changing fonts etc. is much harder than LibreOffice.
An example of a video I’ve created using Synfig Studio is:
Blender is a very powerful 3D design and animation tool. It is a professional tool used to create some amazing models and animations. It does have a steep learning curve. There are lots of resources available for Blender, but not many feature the 2D animation aspect. I’ve created my own videos explaining the 2D animation mode.
- Introduction to Blender for 2D Animations
- Using the Blender Shader Editor
- Example of using Blender for the Mecanum Robot
If anyone has any alternatives then please let me know. I’m particularly interested in ways of creating animations using code which will allow for loops and variables.
The best way to let me know about alternatives is to leave a comment on my video on creating 2D animations. Alternatively you can contact me via other social media platforms.
My own alternative is called PGZ Aninmation, which stands for Pygame Zero Animation. It’s a Python library based around Pygame Zero. It allows you to create animations using simple code. The code is in Python based around the, easy to use, Pygame Zero. It includes special animation classes which I’ve created which make it trivial to create certain types of animations and tweens.
It’s in early development at the moment but the intention is to make it easy to create animations using simple code. In future it may even include a simple mark-up language, but that depends upon whether that is something that people would find useful.
One use for this is in creating animated electrical and electronic diagrams.