Best cartoon making software for PC [2021 Guide]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
Affiliate Disclosure
Share this article:

  • In this list you fill find both free and paid software to create your own cartoon
  • If you want to get your skills to the next level, you might be interested in our list of best 3D animation software
  • If you want to learn more, check our other animation guides made by expert editors
cartoon making software
The best software you need is a VPN!
A VPN tool is a must-have on every device with an internet connection and here's what it does for you:

  • Keeps you away from hackers and attacks
  • Hides your IP address
  • Lets you access geo-restricted content
    (movies, websites)
  • Defends you from data collecting and monitoring
  • Allows you to safely access your resources when traveling

Benefit now from the deal of the month
83% discount!

Watching cartoons is a guilty pleasure for many adults. But what if you took this interest to the next level and installed a cartoon making software on your Windows PC?

You can use it to unleash your imagination and relive childhood memories. Moreover, if you’re a parent, you can then watch your creations together with your kids.

In this article, we’re going to list the best tools that you can use to make your own cartoons.

Here are the best cartoon making software for PC

Adobe Animate CC (Editor's Choice)

Adobe Animate CC is a powerful animation tool that you can use to create a variety of animated content, including cartoons, ads, games, and other interactive content.

You can then export your creations and publish them on dedicated platforms, such as HTML5 Canvas, WebGL, or Snap SVG.

The software offers a bevy of animation tools that will help you create impressive cartoons. Also, since this is an Adobe product, there are various Adobe tools built-in into the software that will come in very handy during the creation process.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Adobe Stocks integration (allows you to access millions of high-quality photos and vector graphics)
  • Modify the path of a stroke after it’s been drawn
  • Scale your drawings to any resolution without losing image quality
  • Quickly create complex animations with adjacent frames and different colors
  • Supports 4K+ video export with custom resolutions for the latest Ultra HD and Hi-DPI displays
Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate

Bring your favorite cartoon characters to life with Animate.
$20.99/mo Visit website

If you need a 4k monitor to view your high-res video exports, check out this awesome line-up.

For more information on what you can do with Adobe Animate CC, check out the video below:

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects

This the second cartoon making software from Adobe that we added to this list. Indeed, this company offers users quite a few useful tools to create 2D animation.

After Effects is a complex and powerful animation software that you can use to design professional graphics and visual effects.  If you’re not planning to create intricate animations, you can also use this tool to create cartoons.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • You can use your webcam and own facial expressions to animate your characters
  • The tool is part of Creative Cloud, allowing you to access and share all your creatives across your apps and devices
  • Design interactive animations with a simple frame-by-frame process
  • Simplified tools for rigging and modifying animated characters

If you want to see After Effects in action, check out this page and launch the video.

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects

Enhance your cartoon making skills with the industry-standard motion graphics and visual effects software.
$20.99/mo Visit website

Download Adobe After Effects free

If you’re interested in other animation software, check out our wide collection of guides.

Photoshop timeline


Photoshop is a very versatile tool that also allows you to create cartoons by joining frame by frame. To do this, you can use the Timeline panel to create animation frames.

If you haven’t used this feature before, you can check out Adobe’s support pages where you can find the steps to follow to create stunning animations.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Animate layer content in the timeline by setting keyframes in the Timeline panel (move the current-time indicator to a different time/frame, modify the position, opacity, or style)
  • Automatically add a series of frames between two existing frames creating the illusion of movement or progress
  • Create a hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation (painting each and every frame on a blank video layer lets you polish every tiny detail)
Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Unleash your cartoonizer creativity with the world’s best imaging and graphic design software.
$20.99/mo Visit website

Download Adobe Photoshop here

For more information on how to create a frame animation in Photoshop, check out the video below:


renderforest animation software screenshot

Renderforest animation is an online platform that works like software. You can use it to create different animations for different purposes.

You can create small cartoons and explainer animations as well as whiteboard animations.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Wide variety of templates to get you started
  • You can also add your own images, videos, and sounds to the template
  • Interactive guidelines (an assistant and the right comments from the developers will be right beside you to help)
  • Create whiteboard animations and 3D animations

Get Renderforest now


Animaker - animation software and cartoon maker

This tool helps you create studio-quality cartoon video using nice backgrounds, thousands of animated characters with built-in activities and expressions, loads of properties, a huge database of sound effects, music, and tons of features.

Let’s quickly look at its key features:

  • Cartoon Character Maker
  • Character Movements Pack with motion presets and adjustable speed
  • Cartoon Background Pack (over 130 elements)
  • Photo to Character over 140 Animates and 55 samples of cartoon characters

Animaker is an animation studio on the cloud that you can use for free with a limited video length and exports per month. Upgrade plans are available at an affordable price.

Editor's pick
animated cartoon character
  • Largest Animation Library including characters, properties, icons, charts and maps
  • unique video styles
  • stunning visuals

If you’re looking for a powerful and reliable tool to create amazing cartoons, we’re sure that you’ll find the right one among the tools listed above.

Haven’t decided which one to download? Go through the list of features and get your hands on the software that best suits your needs.

Do share your choice with us via the comments section below

FAQ: Learn more about cartoon making software

  • What is the best free animation software for beginners?

Animaker will help you make a high-quality cartoon with plenty of characters to choose from, nice backgrounds and an easy to use dashboard.

  • How can I create my own cartoon?

To create your own cartoon you will need a good animation maker software, no complex drawing skills are required.

  • What is the best animation software to use?

Adobe After Effects is one of the best and widely used software to create good-looking and high-quality cartoons.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in October 2017 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.