5 best 2D animation software [2020 Guide]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • 2D animations have gained a lot of popularity and are being used in a wide range of projects.
  • If you're in need of such a tool, look no further. Here are the best options on the market.
  • For other similar programs, take a look at our Animation Software Guides.
  • Use your creativity wisely and explore our Video Hub to see new ways in which you can bring your ideas to life.
2D animation software

As you already know, 2D animation software allows you to create two-dimensional movement in your videos. Your animated characters can move up and down, left, and right.

Unlike 3D animation software, you won’t be able to move your characters towards or away from the viewer.

You can unleash your imagination and build interesting and funny characters, storyboards, and more. You can then use your creations in presentations, advertisements, or simply add them to your website.

So, if you already have a bunch of ideas about your upcoming animation video, but haven’t yet found the right tool to get to work, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’ll list the best 2D animation tools that you can install on your Windows PC to create amazing animations.

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Which software is used for 2D animation?

Adobe Animate (Editor's Choice)

Let us introduce you to our top choice for creating stunning 2D animations.

It is our most recommended option because of the large number of options available, the constant updates that bring new features, and the Modern Timeline for a hassle-free experience.

Considering there are multiple platforms available today which you can use to reach your audience we are happy to report that Adobe Animate can export your work into modern HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, or SVG.

It includes an option to add certain actions without having to actually code.

The final work that you can create using Adobe Animate stands out from others because you can achieve high-quality results through frame-by-frame animation that lets you create more expressive characters. The motion will seem more lifelike.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Excellent vector brushes in all sorts of styles for being able to create a large variety of characters
  • Intuitive layout, so that even the common user can easily get used to it
  • Make your work visible on desktop, mobile, and even TV by using one or more of the export options available
  • Creative Cloud membership allows access to all latest features and fixes as well as other software you might find useful
  • If you find using it a bit difficult or the interface is new there are documentation available and tutorials
Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate

Breathe life into your characters with 2D powered effects by Animate.
$20.99/mo Visit website

Adobe Character Animator

Part of the powerful Adobe Creative Suite, the Character Animator is one piece of software you wouldn’t want to miss if you’re looking to create show-stopping 2D animations.

This unique program uses your expressions and movements to animate characters in real-time. This means that using your webcam and microphone, you can pretty much turn anything into an animated character in seconds.

Seamless integration with other Adobe apps like Premiere Pro and After Effects guarantees professional-looking results with little effort. You can even choose to start your project with built-in character templates to speed up your workflow even more.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Animate characters based upon your expressions (from syncing lips to tracking eyes)
  • Built-in character templates to kick-start your project
  • Scene cameras for dynamic (wide, close-up, and zoom) shots
  • Keyframes to adjust timing and motion in your animations
  • Sync audio to your animation
  • Seamless integration with other Adobe apps
Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator

Create spectacular 2D animations in a heartbeat with real-time Adobe-powered AI rendering!
Free trial Visit website

Autodesk Sketchbook

The Sketchbook is unparalleled when it comes to digital drawing, driving every creative process naturally and effortlessly from idea to fully finished artwork.

But there’s more to this software than drawing tools – Autodesk Sketchbook also brings a handful of competitive animation tools to the table such as keyframes and a timeline, helping you to really breathe life into your characters.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Turn your webcam into a scanner to instantly move your projects from paper to the digital environment
  • Cross-platform compatibility to create art whenever, wherever across all your devices
  • Animation toolkit to bring your concepts to life
  • Extensive drawing toolkit (customizable brushes, pencils, inks and more)
  • 16-sector Radial Symmetry and Predictive Stroke for smooth lines and shapes
  • Supports various file formats including JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and PSD
Autodesk Sketchbook

Autodesk Sketchbook

If you can think it, the Sketchbook can make it happen. Draw, edit, animate, and amaze with your creations!

Autocad LT (Autodesk)

Interface of AutoCAD

Master 2D geometry with AutoCAD LT. Owned by famous Autodesk, this powerful CAD software serves best for creating precise 2D drawings and documentation.

For this purpose, you will enjoy a comprehensive set of design, editing, and annotation tools, all packed in an easy to use and intuitive user interface crafted to help you work easier and faster.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Smart dimensioning tools to automatically create the desired dimensions of selected objects
  • Format content (text, columns, boundaries, blocks, leader lines, and styles)
  • Different layouts and layout viewports to display different design elements
  • Cloud storage connectivity
  • Easy selection and object preview to remove multiple objects simultaneously

Get Autocad LT now

PowToon

powtoon 2d animation software

PowToon is an interesting 2D animation software developed for business use. Yes, you read that right, if you own a small business or a website and you want to stand out in the crowd, this tool will help you achieve that.

You can create animations directly in your browser, no download is required. Simply select the type of animation that you want to use and follow the onscreen instructions.

The user interface is very intuitive and you’ll quickly learn how to use the tool without even watching dedicated tutorials.

Choose your characters, props, and scene, drag and drop them into the PowToon editor, and select the animation you want to apply. Presto! You have a free animated video for your website.

 Get PowToon now


These are five of the best 2D animation software that you can use on your Windows computer.

As you can see, each of these tools focuses on a specific task: some are perfect for business animations, while others have been developed for game animation.

We hope that you find this list useful. If you already used some of the programs listed above, tell us more about your experience in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2020 and has been since revamped and updated in July 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.