From Walt Disney’s American animated musical film, The Lion King, to Pixar’s Shrek trilogy, animation has come a long way. Modern-day animations are continuing to break all boundaries, exceed limitations, and outperform themselves.
Nowadays, animations have become both a respected and accomplished art form, and the power to animate is now within almost anyone’s grasp.
For instance, Apple has been working double-time for the past couple of years and they’ve added some very useful and outstanding animation tools that you can use on an iPad to streamline animation workflows.
Some of the best animation apps for iPad currently on the market include RoughAnimator, Animatic (Inkboard), Moho, Adobe Animate and others. Though the best animation app for iPad is Callipeg by Enoben. It has a beautiful interface and offers useful tools for both beginners and professionals.
Let’s dig more into these apps. It will help you pick the one of your choice.
Callipeg is a fantastic platform to start creating animations because it is both useful and visually appealing. This animation tool has received plenty of positive reviews, comments, and support because it was like a dream kid on Kickstarter.
You can make frame-by-frame animations without any hassle using a wide array of iPad applications. With that said, though, the iPad community still wishes they had access to more “pro” apps.
There are several great things about Callipeg. For starters, it’s a functional and aesthetically pleasing application that has multiple timeline layers and custom brushes. It allows you to create almost any kind of animation you want on your iPad.
Furthermore, it has flexible payment options and timeline scrubbing capabilities, making it perfect for both professional and amateur animators. However, some of the controls and gestures are a bit hidden so you need to watch out for that.
2. Animation Desk (KDAN Mobile)
If you want to create a frame-by-frame animation masterpiece, then Animation Desk from KDAN Mobile is what you need in your life. In addition to the product’s mobile app, there’s a desktop version you can get from the Windows store.
If you’re a novice in the animation space who is just starting out, then this is a great tool for you because it’s incredibly beginner-friendly. It provides you with a fun and cool environment to draw out your animations.
You can even spice up your animations by adding sound effects and sharing these animations with friends and family on YouTube, Facebook, etc. It is not a hard app to understand how to use and should take you only about three to five hours to fully know your way around the software.
Another great thing about this tool is that you can use the free version to create almost any kind of animation you want without needing to upgrade to the paid version of the app. There’s also a 14-day (two-week) free trial run for the paid account, which allows you to get a glimpse of whether it has the features and tools you need.
The free version of the app is very useful and it includes a storyboard video tutorial, a set of brushes, beautiful stamps, text fonts, and so on. So, if you’re not making animations professionally, then this is what you need to create simple animations on your iPad.
People who use their iPads to make conventional animation content usually have heroes who go unnoticed. One of them is the maker of RoughAnimator, an animator known as Jacob Kafka, who created an application that you can use on a wide array of platforms.
RoughAnimator is an incredibly feature-rich iPad application for cel animation. However, unfortunately, there’s no free version of the software just yet, although most animators who have it seem to love everything about it.
With that said, this app is simple enough for novices and powerful enough for professional animators. It provides users with everything they’ll need to make traditional, frame-by-frame hand-drawn animations, anywhere they are.
The creator of this app made it with the intent of giving users the ability to create multiple frame-by-frame pieces and play them together like cartoons.
Creating cartoons the old-fashioned way with pencils and paper is not easy, but this app helps make the whole process a breeze. It’ll only take you a few minutes for you to produce a cartoon and have it playing.
Looom has completely reimagined what frame-by-frame animation means and has managed to make the whole creation process a lot more enjoyable. Despite not giving off a “professional” feel, Looom fits most of this list’s requirements.
This animation tool’s approach to producing animations is fast-paced and brash, giving users more of a fun experience rather than one of labor. Furthermore, it happens to be a steal considering you’re not going to pay much for a tool and a great experience all in one.
However, while this app will provide you with plenty of functionality, you are going to have to find all of that out yourself. There is no explanation video of how to start using the different tools and features within the application itself.
That being said, there aren’t too many downsides other than that. On the app’s main screen is where all the projects you’ve created will be displayed.
The application might feel a bit overwhelming in the beginning, especially when you don’t have instructions or a manual helping you, but with some trial and error, you will get the hang of things eventually.
5. Animatic (Inkboard)
Despite its limitations and simplicity, Animatic boasts of stable performance and a well-designed user interface. Even though you may not be able to use the program to create extensive animations, its simplicity helps make it easy for users to make short animations anywhere they are.
For a considerably modest monthly cost, you can access more skinning options and repeated frame settings by getting Animatic Pro. However, it’s free to download and you can use an unpaid version of the app.
Both beginners and professionals alike can use this application to create hand-drawn animations. Advanced features are there for those who might want to subscribe to the paid version of the app. The app has many easy-to-use tools and is great at onion layering, but the app is actually very limited when it comes to both features and tools.
Furthermore, getting started with the app is a ridiculously quick process. You don’t need to sit through any tutorials, the controls are clear, and the whole process is quite simple.
When you start new animations, the app provides a blank canvas. When you are done scribbling your drawings, press the plus button function and the app will provide you with a new frame to fill.
Make small changes in each of your drawings and in no time you’ll have flip-book-style looping animations on your hands.
If you are in search of familiar desktop experiences when it comes to creating animations, Clip Studio Paint is the tool you need. It is basically like animating in Adobe Animate or Photoshop.
This animation software is a high-performing iPad app that offers users a wide array of features and tools.
Because it displays a lot of data on the main screen, some people may find it to be a bit overwhelming. However, before you turn your back on the app, there’s a free trial you can try out to see whether it’s an app that can be useful to you.
This app is software that’s highly acclaimed by comic style, manga, and anime artists all around the world. It has a wide variety of sophisticated features, reclusive brushes as well as other great tools designed to give artists an advantage.
Furthermore, this application also provides animation functionalities, with unique features like a customizable camera and onion-skin view.
Explore the best alternatives to Clip Studio Paint in this post.
Moho is a high-quality animation software for motion animated graphics and it has tools and features designed for 2D vector animation processes and several other animation effects. You can use this application to create graphics and animations on your iPad.
Moho allows you to manipulate items in layers within the in-built graphics editor and make storyboards. This animation tool has a considerably big library of characters and visual objects, has Unity engine integration, and provides realistic physics.
If you haven’t used your iPad to create animations before, go try out the official Moho application for a demo.
This web design and animation app for iPad designed by Adobe allows even novice animators to make vector animations and graphics using their tab in a professional way. It’s as easy to generate a finished picture as it is to draw one from scratch.
Some of the tools and features the app supports include, ActionScripts, 3D models, sound overlay, and integration with several other Adobe products. Once you export the content you can use it in games, online videos, and websites.
Products from Adobe are often considered by most artists the gold standard as far as creative applications are concerned, and for good reason. Adobe has been extremely versatile and well-supported which has allowed them to remain an industry leader.
However, the one major downside is that even though it has a feature-rich user interface, it’s generally hard to use and will take time to master. That being said, you can still use the app on your iPad to make movie animations, Flash games, animated GIFs, cartoons, and basically nearly any moving picture sequence you can think of.
This app is ideal for professionals, dedicated hobbyists, and beginners alike, and it’s also perfect for those who already know their way around Adobe Suite. These people will find it easy to understand how to use the interface and it won’t take them very long to learn all the controls.
Pencil2D is an open-source minimalistic program for creating simple 2D animations and graphics, and it’s one of the best free animation tools for Android, as well as iPad. This application allows you to animate characters and draw pixel images from anywhere without making the creative process hard.
Efficiently processing both raster and vector graphics and animations can help enhance both filters and effects. It also has helpful examples and tips to help novice animators get up to speed.
This minimalistic app is a fantastic alternative to a lot of the other expensive products out there. Furthermore, it’s a cross-platform product that has all the necessary features and tools you’ll need for animation.
All in all, if you’re a beginner searching for a free animation tool with a simple overall design, then you should strongly consider checking out Pencil2D. As an animation program, this app works very well, but it doesn’t have as many painting and drawing features as you’d typically find in other art-focused animation apps.
10. Anime Studio Pro
Anime Studio Pro is a perfect animation tool for making 2D animations and graphics, and it has a considerably vast library that has ready-made characters and elements. You can use this program to easily produce full-length and short films on your iPad.
Some of the clear benefits of using this animation software are it gives you the ability to change your backgrounds, allows for detailed highlighting, and so on. Anime Studio Pro has a modern user interface and is a convenient software that allows users to import items made using other apps.
Unfortunately, though, in normal mode, you can’t fully work with volumetric animations and graphics. However, you can upgrade it using the Unity 3D engine compatibility built by the manufacturers.
One of the new things that has been added to this application is Layer Referencing. Now users can duplicate layers while still retaining some connection to the originals. Additionally, now collaborators can also work simultaneously on projects while being able to easily update changes.
Animate Bone Targets is another interesting new feature. Users can now easily switch between different target bones when dealing with animated bone targets.
11. Cinema 4D
This is a professional animation application that allows you to create realistic renders, animated graphics, and 3D objects. Cinema 4D has a considerably simple user interface that’s easy to use and understand for both beginners, hobbyists, and professionals alike.
This animation software supports basic drawing and painting capabilities, and polygonal and procedural modeling. The app also has a wide array of package modules, including character animation, object dynamic simulation, scene visualization, and more.
Like many professional animation tools, this application is available for Linux, Windows, and, of course, Mac. Not only can it run just fine on your iPad, but it can also properly run on most GPUs and CPUs manufactured in the past few years.
The Maxon App is where you’ll get software and installation updates. Maxon is a barebones application for managing software and licenses from the company, and you’ll need to manually download it.
Okay, the interface isn’t that hard to understand but it is a little complex for animation software. Modifier and selection functions are on the left side, viewpoint and menu settings are at the top, timeline and animation controls are down at the bottom of the screen, and manipulation, organization, and creation of items happen in the attribute and object manager panels.
This professional animation tool allows you to make cartoons on your iPad. It allows you to draw two-dimensional animations, some of which were used to make SpongeBob and Futurama.
This animation program allows users to transfer pictures by tracing, to make sketches, it has a wide variety of drawing effects and tools, and it contains a useful skeletal character animation capability.
It’s an open-source, free-to-use animation tool available on Mac and Windows devices and it has a wide array of professional and technical features and tools that can hold their own against what all the other top animation programs have to offer.
If you want to create animations on your iPad and you’re looking for a free platform to help you do this, then OpenToonz is for you. The fact that it’s loaded with interesting features is a huge reason why it’s one of the best products on the market.
The only major downside about this app is that it has a slightly complex overall layout and limited design and drawing options. However, when it comes to all-in-one animation programs, not many do it better than OpenToonz.
Also Read: Best SketchFab Alternatives
FlipaClip is an animation tool that is designed for kids who are budding creatives and artists. This a great tool to create animations, games, and cartoons, with a wide array of integrated tools and features aimed at fuelling kids’ imaginations and encouraging them to use their iPads to bring ideas to life.
On Apple devices, you can get the application on the app store. Click the big red button function to set up animations. It’ll ask you to verify your age, and parents or guardians can confirm this when setting the app up.
Unlike some of the options on this list, FlipaClip has a useful video introduction that helps guide the user on how the features and tools within the app work. They carefully go through all the features and tools to help you understand them and what you can make with them.
You can choose from 31 different backgrounds from various scenes. Furthermore, the program also allows you to pick canvas sizes depending on where you’ll want to post the graphics and animations.
You have the option of posting your content on Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, etc. You’ll also have access to painting and drawing tools like erasers, brushes, shapes, a ruler, and a text box. The video introduction will explain to you how to use each one.
If you have an iPad and you’re looking for software that will allow you to make animations on your tab, then Procreate is what you need to be looking at.
This animation tool is filled with easy-to-understand and use menus, expendable and customizable brush libraries, and powerful drawing and painting tools.
This program which is incredibly similar to real-life creative workstations has become a mainstay in the creative space, and for very good reason.
For starters, one of the best things about this app is its customizable brushes. You can go on the app and edit existing brushes, as well as create some of your own from scratch, which means you’ll have complete creative control over your strokes.
In addition to all that, you can also import third-party paint brushes via online sources.
15. Adobe Express
Designed for non-designers, Adobe Express is a welcoming and capable template-based graphic design tool that allows you to create great animations on your iPad.
If you already use Creative Cloud, then the operations and user interface might feel a little weird in the beginning and you may not be able to use it via your Creative Cloud application.
However, everything happens on screens these days and digital has slowly become the new default. With tools like these, even beginner animators can come up with some great graphics and animations on their iPads.
One of the greatest benefits of using this application is the fact that users can access their own Creative Cloud libraries and all the platform’s sharing and collaboration features.
Check Out: Procreate vs Clip Studio
Making cartoons and animations isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be, especially if you’ve got the help of a great animation tool by your side.
However, the most important thing is to get software that fits the level you’re at and has all the necessary drawing and design features you’ll need.
With that said, for me, the best animation tool on this list is Callipeg. Not only does this have a wide array of interesting iPad applications but it’s also very visually appealing.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.