5 Easy-to-Use Animation Apps and Effects for Beginners


Are your animation skills and experience lacking? Don’t fret. Bring your ideas to life with our five favorite easy-to-use animation apps.

Crazy production schedules, demanding clients, long render times—there are plenty of reasons to stress if you’re working in film and video. Fortunately, animation doesn’t have to be one of them.

In fact, animation can—and should—be relatively simple. And, while the ultimate goal should be to get to a place where you can create animation, visual effects, and motion graphics on your own, using a time-saving animation app like the ones featured below is a totally reasonable option, especially for novices or beginners.

1. Animaker

Animaker is pretty straightforward and surprisingly functional. It’s also easy to adopt, so you should be able to quickly dive into creating 2D and 2.5D videos—stuff like simple infographic videos, typography animations, whiteboard videos, etc.

While the options are basic, there are plenty of customizations and controls that can help your simple videos feel like they’ve been hand-designed by you or your company. Animaker does offer a free version, but for anyone looking to use the app regularly, it does eventually require an annual plan based on your usage types.

2. Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio (as its name suggests) is perfect for stop-motion animations. It’s easy to use for beginners, combining simple-to-control 4K stop-motion animations with other 2D styles and features.

The app works on computers, smartphones, and tablets (iPhone, iPad, Android), and you can even sync projects across multiple devices. It’s not as customizable as some other options, but if you’re looking to create some basic-yet-still-cool-looking stop-motion animations for your clients or friends, this app will do the trick. (Download Stop Motion Studio for iOS or Android.)

3. Harmony 21

With Toon Boom Harmony (a.k.a. Harmony 21) you can scan and clean up your rig animations, and bring hand-drawn art to life frame by frame. It also offers some of the most robust upsides, as it’s not limited to just simple designs and customizations.

With this computer-based app (Windows, Mac, or Linux), you’ll have plenty of runway to develop your skills as you find new and more challenging ways to express yourself creatively with 2D animation. Harmony 21 isn’t free, so you’ll need to select your package based on your functionality needs.

4. Synfig Studio

Perfect for beginners and pros alike, Synfig Studios has made waves in the animation industry with its free-to-use, open-source software.

Its functionality is a bit more flash-based than the standard frame-by-frame animation style found with some of the other options on this list. Additionally, Synfig Studio offers some of the most open-minded and creatively inspiring controls for editing vector artwork and characters, with over fifty layer types—filters, distortions, gradients, etc.

Also, did we mention that it’s free? Yup, it’s free. Why not give it a spin?

5. Adobe Character Animator

Relatively new to the Creative Cloud, Adobe Character Animator (like its name suggests) is based around character design.

This software represents some of the most future-focused animation controls on the market. It uses your camera and mic to detect your facial expressions and voice in order to animate your character’s performance, so to speak.

There are tons of features—automatic lip syncing, in-app templates, and puppet animation options like walk cycles, blinking, and even support for real-time animation and live-streaming. Plus, if you access Adobe Character Animator through a CC subscription, then you can sync your characters and designs with other programs in the cloud.

For more video editing and animation tips, tricks, and resources, check out these articles:

Cover image by Frame Stock Footage.


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