Open Source Software for animation makes it easy for animators of all skill levels to collaborate, learn, and produce stunning work. Whether you are an animator, designers, developer, or a gamer, open source offers tools to make your animation projects a reality.
OpenShading is an open source software with simple and useful workflow for professional artists, based on graphics pipeline, proper time management, versioning methods and agile development. Best Open Source Software for Animation
Synfig is an open source animation software that uses a “tweenless” animation system to speed up the animation process. It provides a combined front-end and back-end application to design and render animations, whether on the same computer or not. As a top animation software, Synfig studio relies on less resources and plugins to create high quality animations by offering popular effects such as simulating soft shading using curved gradients. This not only saves time, but reduces the effort an animator has to put in by adding shading in every frame. Similarly, as an open source application, Synfig provides two binary builds for animators that wish for more control, stability or the latest features. This free 2D animation software is compatible with Windows, Linux and Mac OS, and requires at least 2GB RAM or more, as well as, a Dual Core CPU at 2 GHZ or more. Following are some standout features of Synfig:
- Provides animators full control of designing and rendering artwork
- Apply real time effects in layers or groups of layers
- Provides a full bone system whereby animators can create cutout animations
- Powerful and advanced controls
- Time effective alternative to manual tweening
Blender is so good, so good to the level that people have been wondering how can it be open source and free? And the first one that comes to mind when talking about open source 3D modeling tools.
It is a fully-fledged 3D modeling and animation software that supports almost anything any animator can think of:
- Texture mapping.
- Raster graphics editing and creation.
- Rigging and skinning of objects.
- Fluid and smoke control systems already built-in.
- Particle simulation and control.
- Visual effects composition.
- Objects sculpting from defined materials.
- Rendering in different supported engines.
- Motion graphics capture and creation.
For rendering, Blender supports NVIDIA CUDA technology for NVIDIA graphics cards, and supports OpenCL rendering for Intel IRS and AMD graphics cards. Version 3.0 of the software is expected to land soon with tons of new improvement.
Blender was released back in 1994, making it one of the oldest open source software available in the world. It is licensed under the GPL license, and written in C, C++ and Python programming language.
It is a free animation software that helps design interactive vector and bitmap animations. It supports export to HTML5 Canvas, Flash/Adobe WebGL, SVG, and AIR. It has powerful toolset for animation that lets users create apps, multimedia content, and ads. It can be used to build game environments, integrate audio, and design start screens and interfaces. It has a simple frame-by-frame animation, and users can code right inside the projects. It features Asset Sculpting, Layer Control, Auto Lip-Sync, VR Authoring and Publishing. It saves Animate documents (FLAs and XFLs) incrementally. It comes with a quick auto-recovery mode. It helps to export images with the right resolution. It enhances asset warping. It optimizes text atlas outputs, generates multiple bitmaps and retains the audio effects when you split the audio, which is imported. This tool can also be used to create secure AMP-based ads and blend modes applied at the layer or frame level.
K-3D is an intuitive animation software which both new users and professionals will find easy to navigate and use. It is a completely free and one of the best 3d animation software that is released under the GNU public license, and is written completely in C++ keeping in mind that it can be used on multiple platforms. As a 3D animation and modelling application, K-3D is quite powerful while providing versatile and basic animation features. Not only can you use this free 3d modeling software on a Windows operating system, but K-3D is compatible with Mac OS, FreeBSD, Linux/GNU, and other platforms as well. K-3D isn’t only versatile but extremely flexible as it allows users to create complex workflows combining different animation models, mirroring different sides, or applying changes to the entire workflow and watch as all the changes are applied automatically. Following are some standout features of K-3D:
- Has many interactive tutorials and macros available
- Allows playback animation at any time during the modelling
- Provides many viewing angles that let you pan, tilt, zoom in or out
- Rendering is pretty powerful for K-3D
- Create 2D compositions instead of 3D animation
Originally named as the “Toonz” and initialized in 1993 as a proprietary software, this program became open source in 2016 and licensed under the BSD license. It was hence named “OpenToonz“.
You’ll find all the basic features in any 2D animation software available in OpenToonz as well; painting tools, frames manipulation, tweeing, motion capture and simulation support.
However, what makes OpenToonz special is a set of addons/plugins that can be installed to the program, such as Effects SDK which can employ deep machine learning to synthesize the effects of two images to produce a fusion image of them or even automatically add some effects according to your needs. And GTS which is a scanning tool that allows you to scan an image and control/copy its properties instantly.
Having the right tools to improve and enhance your digital animation workflow can make a huge difference in the quality and quantity of visuals you can create. As an open source digital painting app, Krita has a modern and easy to use interface that provides the necessary tools, effects, color management scheme, and more to control different factors while designing a sketch. Krita is an open source and free painting program that lets artists create 2D animations whether they are just starting out their careers or are professional animators. Following are some standout features of Krita:
- Open source & free
- Krita provides drawing assistants
- Onion skinning
- Provides animators and digital painters with more than 100 brushes to choose from
- Built-in vector tools
The following is list of open source software that can be used in the animation industry. This list is comprised of various software and tools, some of which are actual software applications (such as Maya), and some that are simply tools to be applied as off-the-shelf solutions for motion graphics and animation (such as Blender).