Adobe Animate is one of the most popular animation tools. It is a 2D animation software program that allows you to create animations, cartoons, and doodles for television shows, games, and more.
However, Adobe Animate is not for everyone. First of all, it is not free — you will have to buy a subscription plan (plans start at $20.99 in the United States, though prices can vary by region) to use Adobe Animate.
In addition, you may be frustrated with the lack of brushes, or perhaps you simply don’t like the layout of Adobe Animate.
Perhaps you run a professional studio and are looking for software with more features, which will help you gain a competitive advantage in the animation industry.
Regardless of why you are looking for an Adobe Animate alternative, this article is for you. Today, I will list the top 10 free and paid Adobe Animate alternatives.
Best Adobe Animate Alternatives
Krita is a great Adobe Animate alternative. In addition, Krita is free to use, unlike Adobe Animate — Krita is entirely open source.
To use Krita, you don’t need to sign up for a subscription. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use, and you can customize it by moving around dockers and panels to fit your workflow.
There are over 30 dockers. Dockers are panels that contain things like Brush Presets or the Color Pallete.
You can also switch between light and dark color themes to make your work more exciting or use some of the built in navigation keyboard shortcuts when working on a project to make your work easier.
For example, you can zoom in by using the + key and zoom out by using the – key. You can also mirror the view by pressing the M key (do this to make sure your work looks good even when flipped).
There are over 100 preloaded brushes in Krita, which you can use to create various effects. There are also a few types of erasers that you can use to undo brush effects.
When using brushes, you can use one of the three different types of brush stabilizers to make your creations look smoother and better. This is very helpful if you have a shaky hand or a glitchy mouse.
You can also use one of the nine brush engines to customize your brush actions, including the Smudge Engine and the Shape Engine.
In addition to brushes, there are various pencil styles you can use. There are also a few different inking styles, including Ink Precision, Ink Pen Rough, Ink Brush Rough, and more, which you can use to create black and white cartoons.
The markers are also helpful, as are the dry brush presets, the wet paint presets, and all the other available presets in Krita.
There are even watercolor presets that partially simulate watercolor texture, even though that is very hard to do (which is why they only partially simulate it). You can also blend colors that you have painted on your virtual canvas by using the blender presets.
You can also create vectors and add text to your creations using the vector and text tools. Simply select a word bubble template and then customize it by changing its shape.
Of course, you can also create your own brushes and texture packs, in addition to all the presets already loaded into the software.
Not only that, but you can use the Resource Manager to import brushes and texture packs that other users have added; if you create a great brush, consider sharing it with other users by adding it to the Resource Manager as well.
Krita has several productivity features to help you get more done, including the Assistant Tool (which comes with nine drawing assistants), PDS support, full color management, python scripting, and more.
There are also training resources that will help you learn how to use Krita properly, even if you don’t have a lot of prior animation experience.
You can download the latest version of Krita for free on this page. New versions are released often, and daily builds are released every night.
You can also download older versions in the Old Version Library.
For support, ask your question to other artists on the Krita Artists Forum. You can report a bug to Krita, but they don’t offer support, which is understandable as they have only free users.
OpenToonz is an open source software based on the Toonz software and customized by Studio Ghibli. If you are looking for a free 2D animation software alternative to Adobe Animate, consider using OpenToonz, which anyone can use free of charge.
Also, since OpenToonz is open source, you can modify the source code however you wish. You can even use it for commercial projects free of charge, including both professional and amateur productions.
Educators can use it to create school productions.
OpenToonz is compatible with both vector and raster images. It comes with a separate effects plugin that you can use to affect incident light and change picture styles.
A Japanese version is also available.
To use OpenToonz, you will need a Windows version 7 or higher (64 bit) or an OS X 10.9 or higher (64 bit). For both, you’ll need at least 4GB of RAM.
You can download OpenToonz and the effects plugin on Github.
3. Toon Boom
Toon Boom is a 2D animation software. According to the Toon Boom website, Toon Boom is used by companies such as Universal, Boulder Media, Fox, NBC, Cartoon Network, South Park Studios, and many other well known cartoon and media outlets.
Toon Boom has several products:
Harmony 20, which is a 2D animation software, comes in three different versions, which have different features for different needs:
- Harmony Essentials — starts at $25/month: This will give you the basic animation, drawing, and painting tools you need to create basic animations. It has vector drawing tools included.
- Harmony Advanced — starts at $63/month: Harmony Advanced is meant for freelancers and professional studios. It includes support for cut out style animation, bitmap drawing tools, 4k camera resolution, and more.
- Harmony Premium — starts at $115/month: This has the most features and is meant for professional studios, schools, businesses, and others who want all of the best features.
A free trial is available for all plans. Always check out the Harmony landing page for updated pricing information, and keep in mind that if you pay monthly, it will cost more than if you pay yearly.
Harmony comes with an advanced brush engine, 2D/3D integration, defined color palettes, deformers for more texture, traditional paperless animation, special effects, and more.
The next product is Storyboard Pro 20. Storyboard Pro 20 is designed for animators who want to tell a story, including videographers, educators, storytellers, and more.
Storyboard Pro 20 has useful features such as drawing, scripting, animatic creation, story flows, 3D support, camera and sound editing, audio effects, and more.
Storyboard starts at $41/month (annual billing), but you can try it out for free first. Check out the Storyboard Pro 20 pricing page for updated pricing information.
The last Toon Boom product I will be covering is Producer. Producer 20 is a project management tool for studios who want to be more efficient.
You can track your tasks, assets, scenes, team members, and more using Producer 20. Plans start at $495/month for up to 10 users (check the Producer 20 pricing page for updated pricing information).
In addition to those three software products, Toon Boom offers the following services to schools, studios, and freelance animators:
- Consulting services to help you improve and optimize your projects
- Rigging services for those who don’t have the resources to create production rigs themselves
- Curriculum development for educators
- Training for animators (depending on availability)
- An education center for students, teachers, and institutions
- A learning center with courses on how to use Harmony 20 and Storyboard Pro 20 and improve your skills.
Toon Boom is more expensive than Adobe Animate.
However, if you are a professional animator or run a professional studio or educational institution and need professional, advanced tools that are simply not available on Adobe Animate, Toon Boom is for you. You might find Adobe Animate a bit underwhelming for your needs.
TVPaint Animation was originally released in 1991. At that time, it only worked on Amiga operating systems — most people reading this probably don’t know or remember what Amiga computers were.
However, later versions included support for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Android (the operating systems that are common today).
To use TVPaint Animation, you will have to pay a one time fee for a full license. It is more expensive than Adobe Animate, but the quality of the drawing and the lines is generally better.
It has Bitmap drawing tools instead of Adobe Animate’s vector drawing tools; it also works on more operating systems. Adobe Animate does not work on Android, so if you need to create professional animations on an Android device, consider TVPaint.
TVPaint has several features. Its 2D animation software, based on bitmap technology, allows you to traditionally animate natural rendings.
It comes with the ability to set up your own shortcuts, as well as animate on paper and scan the paper to create digital animation. You can import videos easily and make use of the other awesome tools available in the software.
You can also create storyboards for storytelling and use video input for stop motion.
TVPaint is not as easy to use as Adobe Animate. There is a bit of a learning curve involved, though professional and educational training can be arranged.
The TVPaint Animation 11.0 Standard Edition costs €500, while the Professional Edition costs €1250. Educational and Upgrade licenses have other prices, so check the TVPaint pricing page for updated pricing information.
Synfig Studio is a great free alternative to Adobe Animate. It is a 2D animation software that can be used on Macs, Windows, and Linux computers.
Synfig is an open source software. While the sources are available on Github, the actual software can be downloaded for free from the Synfig Studio website homepage.
There are two versions you can download: the stable version and the beta version. The beta version will have some new features that are being tested and have not yet been released on the stable version, but you may find it buggy.
You need to have at least a Windows 7 or a Mac OS x 10.8 or higher, though you only need 2GB of RAM for Synfig Studio to work. If you have a Linux computer, you must have a Linux distro released in 2012 or later.
Although Synfig draws differently than Adobe Animate, it has some great features, such as:
- Over 50 layers
- Vector tweening (transform a vector into another shape)
- Use bitmap images to create cutout animation
Synfig even comes with video courses that teach you how to use Synfig Studios to create beautiful animations. The video tutorials are available in English, Russian, German, and French.
When you download Synfig Studio, you will be prompted to enter what you think is a “fair price.” However, you can download it for free by simply entering “0.”
Enve is another open source 2D animation software that is a great alternative to Adobe Animate if you are looking for something free. Animators can use Enve to create both vector and raster animations, as well as video and audio files.
Enve is available for both Windows and Linux, and you can download it here. Full documentation is provided, and although Enve is free to use, you can always support it by donating via PayPal or Patreon.
Cacani is a 2D animation software that has been around for four years. It stands for Computer Assisted Cel Animation.
Its vector drawing system comes with tools and features such as smoothing modes, curve drawing tools, and a resolution independent canvas.
A cool feature that will help you save time is the Assisted Painting System, which allows you to paint one frame and transfer the color information from that frame to the rest of the animation sequence (or only certain frames in the sequence).
Cacani will also generate in between frames based on key frames, saving you even more time. You can choose how many in between frames you want the software to automatically generate, and you can use the Timing Panel to adjust the timing and spacing.
Of course, you may not always be satisfied with the results of the automatically generated in between frames. That is what the Feature Point Tool and Bone Tool are for, as they allow you to customize those results.
Some cool new features present in the 2.0 version of Cacani include the Re-match Stroke Order feature, which allows you to correct stroke matching problems in between frames, and the Join Strokes feature, which allows you to join strokes together.
You can also assign custom shortcuts using the intuitive interface.
Here are some other awesome Cacani features:
- Color separation layers
- Audio layers
- Image layers
- Video layers
- Raster layers
- Rasterize image layers
- Vectorize layers
Although Cacani has a free trial available, it is not free. Instead, you will have to buy a license key.
However, it gives you a few options. For example, a 30-day license key is only $20, while a 365-day license key is $180.
While the 30-day plan costs around the same much as Adobe Animate, the 365-day plan is considerably cheaper, and you can buy a new license every year.
Also, Cacani offers you the option of buying a permanent license that never expires, which Adobe Animate does not. This license costs $499.
All of these prices are for those buying personal licenses. If you would like to buy a team license, which will allow you to use the same license key to use Cacani on multiple computers, it will cost an additional $399 for 365 days or $799 for a perpetual license.
Pricing is always subject to change, so check the Cacani store for updated pricing information.
Animeeffects.org is available in both English and Japanese. It is a 2D keyframe animation tool that provides animation keys such as free form deformation, image changing, moving, rotating, and scaling.
You can import the following file types to create animations in the Anime Effects software:
Anime Effects works on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh computers. You will need a Windows 7 or higher (64 bit), a Mac OS X 10.9 or higher (64 bit), or a Linux OpenGL4.0 CoreProfile version or a later version to use Anime Effects.
Unlike Adobe Animate, Anime Effects is entirely free to use. It is distributed under the GPLv3 license and can be downloaded from Github for free, without any restrictions on usage.
9. Wick Editor
The Wick Editor software is a tool for creating simple games and animations. However, unlike Adobe Animate, it is free to use and is open source.
Another awesome advantage of the Wick Editor is that it has a web version, which allows you to create animations on the web, in addition to the downloadable software.
Adobe Animate requires you to download the software on a Windows or Mac, and so do most animation programs (though some can be used on Linux computers as well).
If you have a Chromebook, for example, or a notebook that runs on another operating system, you are out of luck — you can’t download Adobe Animate and many other programs. This is where the Wick Editor comes into play.
The latest version of the Wick Editor includes awesome features like a new outliner tool. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use, but there are several tutorials available on the Wick Editor website if you are confused.
The downloadable version is currently in beta (prerelease) mode, and it is available for free on Github. If you want the stable version, use the web version.
For support, you can contact Wick Editor by email, or you can join the community forum where you can interact with other users and animators.
If you would like to support the Wick Editor, you can do so on Patreon or on Github.
The Wick Editor is truly a great alternative to Adobe Animate if you are looking to create simple animations on the web, without downloading any software.
TupiTube is a free and open source animation software developed by MaeFloresta, a startup that two Colombians entrepreneurs started in Cali. If you are looking for a 2D alternative to Adobe Animate that children, teens, and complete beginners can use, download TupiTube.
TupiTube is not for complex animations. Instead, it is for simple animations that even children and teens can make.
It supports basic tools for vector illustration; it has a paint bucket tool, a pen tool, a pencil tool, and other cool tools that kids will love. There is support for basic tweening, and you can import bitmap images.
In addition to being available for Windows and Linux, it is available as an Android app.
TupiTube can be used by complete beginners or people interested in animation but don’t know how to start. If you want to create fun animations on your Android phone, consider getting TupiTube.
TupiTube is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese (Brazilian).
Wrapping It Up: What Is The Best Adobe Animate Alternative?
Toon Boom Harmony 20 is the best Adobe Animate alternative, though it can be expensive and is better suited for studios and professional animators.
If you are looking to create professional animations on Android, TVPaint is the best alternative.
For kids, TupiTube is the best alternative to Adobe Animate.
If you are an amateur animator who is looking to create serious animations for free, Krita is the best alternative, though it may take some time getting used to if you are used to working with Adobe Animate.