4 Best hand drawn animation software

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • When it comes to creating cartoons for different purposes, each professional has his own technique of making animation
  • Also, hand-drawn animation has great success amongst children, because animation tool for kids improve their creativity and inventiveness
  • This tool can be used by specialists in video design as by amateurs because we propose below software suitable for both levels
  • This post is integrated in our Video Editing Software Hub, so stay tuned to our new articles
best software for hand drawn animation

Hand-drawn animation gives you more freedom to express your artistic talent as you can basically do anything on a character. It thus goes without saying that the final animation looks crisper and usually has a more detailed than in 3D , despite the latter being more “real”. The results are especially wonderful if you deploy the best software for hand-drawn animation- of which you are not short of choices.

Now, the purpose of this write-up is to answer the question of what is the best software for hand-drawn animation because as I have explained, it’s the tool to help you accomplish whatever your creative instincts want.

Before venturing into our discussion, allow me to clarify something:

Hand-drawn animation is also known as cel or 2D animation. As a result, some of these software titles feature the terms 2D/animation prominently.

That said, some developers have adopted imaginative names for their programs and don’t even mention the said terms.

Which is the best software for hand-drawn animation?

As we often do, we have been researching about these software and finally settled on the best 4 programs to help you produce hand-drawn animation that turn heads. Have a look.

Hand drawn animation tools for PCs

Adobe Animate

When it comes to graphics design, few software developers are so much in the spotlight as Adobe. Of course, it seems that even the 2D animation genre has its own dedicated program in the form of Adobe Animate.

This incredible program breaks the barrier between what can be considered professional software and user products, bringing top-notch tools into a very intuitive interface.

2D animation and control have never been simple thanks to Adobe Animate, from your typical 2D flash video to minimalist anime and kid’s cartoons.

You can use Adobe Animate to design interactive animations for games, TV shows, and the web, and even bring cartoons and banner ads to life.

Even if you’re not a professional, you can still use it to create animated doodles and avatars, add action to eLearning content and infographics.

Once you’re done, you can use Adobe Animate to quickly publish to multiple platforms in just about any format, and reach viewers on any screen.

What does Adobe Animate bring?

  • Fluid Brushes
  • Onion Skinning
  • Infographics
  • Layer parenting

Download Adobe Animate free


Which is the best software for animation?

Krita is arguably the best free hand drawn animation software. Designed primarily to give artists the flexibility to create and deliver riveting animations, the software is a favorite of thousands (if not more) animators worldwide.

And it’s not just because it comes free: It’s principally due to it being infinitely better than many of even the commercial hand-drawn animation software out there.

It has a simple interface (akin to the legendary Adobe Flash ) to help you access and use its impressive assembly of innovative features.

I am referring to tools like the detailed timeline controls which come in handy when setting the speed of action.  This helps you present your ideas in a way that rhymes with your audience’s needs.

On the same note, Krita’s real-time animation playback controls allow you to easily review your animation as you fine-tune cartoons and overall play for the best impression.

Artists have also mentioned that this software’s onion-skin display is one of the best in the industry. You will thus effortlessly see several frames simultaneously so that you can make the right decisions as far as further creations or changes to drawings are concerned.

The program is in general filled to the brim with such features making it a top choice for both amateurs and professionals.

Download Krita Free

Toon Boom Harmony

drawing animation software

A top-notch professional animation software for hand artists, Toon Boom has all the features you need to draw characters that rival the epic Disney Mickey Mouse cartoons.

It’s such powerful that several mega advertising firms, film producers, and game developers won’t touch any other tool for their animations and storyboard processes.

Its most praised property is its rigging ability. The program comes with specialized tools to help users easily build simple or advanced rigs. Its master controllers further save your time when animating complex rigs.

The program’s advanced color palettes are similarly excellent and provide superb control over the texture and colors frames.

More excellence comes from the shift and trace feature. This tool (available in camera view) helps streamline your work reducing the time it takes to create frame-by-frame paperless animation.

Moreover, the accomplished onion skin view consolidates all your essential onion skinning tools neatly to help you focus better on the animation task at hand

Other greats are the easily modifiable deformers, the amazing interactivity, file export tools…the list is endless.

You can try it for 21 days before subscribing to your favored version.

Download Toon Boom Harmony trial now

Moho Debut 12(Anime Studio)

pencil animation software

According to the developer, Moho Debut has been used in several Oscar-nominated films and considering its quality, this should not come as a surprise.

The key in this program is its efficiency and speed: Moho Debut should be your first go-to option if you’re looking for a tool that enables you to bring ideas to life within minutes.

Formerly Anime Studio debut, the secret to this program’s rock star performance is the design which reduces the number of steps required to run a process.

The latest release is bound to work even faster thanks to the revamped layers panels and the added back end panel that allows quicker customization of color and brightness.

Also helping you produce results swiftly is the hundreds of thrilling ready-to-animate characters, backgrounds, props, and scenery from which you can speedily design using the built-in wizard.

That you can pin bones to alter, shift, or reshape assets flawlessly is exciting as well as convenient.

It’s an affordable software and offers

Overall, for its fans, this is absolutely the best software for hand-drawn animation especially for cutout animations and skeletal movements.

Final Word

The best software for hand-drawn animation should come with all the tools you need to draw, animate, and render whatever piece of art dabble in. And it should so smoothly.

We have discussed the top 4 so it’s now your time to pick the program you have loved. Do it and let the world savor your extraordinary artistic oomph!

FAQ: Learn more about hand-drawn animation software

  • How do you animate a hand-drawn picture?

If you have a hand-drawn animation the process of moving your cartoon with the help of different frames/pictures, that repeated and arranged together create a film.

  • What is the best animation software for beginners?

Adobe Animate is the best animation tool for beginners as it is one of the most interactive multimedia authoring software with a great variety of features, so you can use it to create animated doodles and avatars, add action to eLearning content and infographics.

  • What do animators use to draw?

There are many ways an artist use in the process of drawing, so one of the most popular is using a professional animation program.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published in December 2018 and was revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.