“What animation software should I use?” is one of the most-asked questions we receive, followed only by “What animation software did -insert person or film here- use?” It makes sense to want the best tools for the job ahead, especially when that job is as difficult as animation! Here’s the answer, finally, to that age old question.
The best animation software is…
the one you will actually use.
“Bah!” I hear the cries come from across the internet. “That answer does not give me a link to a particular download!” That’s true, it doesn’t. Because the download isn’t the important thing.
The truth is, a great animator can do great animation with any software.
Some software you may not like, and if you do not like it you will absolutely be less likely to use it. It could be the most efficient bit of programming every crafted by human hands, but if you hate it, you won’t want to use it.
Conversely, some software may be a buggy mess, but it will fit you like a glove. I tell you sincerely: If you find a tool that works for you, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of it. The important thing is that it works for YOU.
Example: I hate Adobe Flash. I used Flash for a decade, and hated 95% of the time working with it. It fought me every step of the way, and I will never recommend it to anyone. Couple that with the now forced-rental of Adobe’s Cloud and just thinking about how far its fallen from the Macromedia days makes my eye twitch. However there are animators who swear by it, and will never move to a dedicated animation program. Good for them! They should definitely keep using Flash if that’s what they feel is best for them. (I, on the other hand, consider moving to Toon Boom Harmony one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.)
The simple truth is you have to use whatever tools will best allow you to animate. That’s the ultimate goal, don’t forget. You may want beautiful rendering and lovely arcs, but the core of animation is not the movement or the final visual style. The best animation begins and ends with you the animator.
Remember that some of the greatest animation ever done was in the 1930s and 40s, long before there was such a thing as software! While the Blackwing pencils those animators used are nice, it was never the tool that allowed them to produce incredible work. The tools only assist the animator. So use whatever tools you feel most comfortable with.
How do you tell what tools you feel most comfortable with? You try them all out! You explore, and discover. Check out these 5 tips, including using different mediums! See what works for you, and see what doesn’t. Always remember this: Who cares what anyone else thinks about your choice if it’s a perfect fit for you?
Still not sure what to do next? We’ll be putting together a comprehensive set of articles on different animation software in the future, which will hopefully help you find the just-right program to fit you as an artist. In the meantime, don’t sit around twiddling your thumbs! Try programs, most have trial versions! Put together a A flip book is a stack of slightly changing pictures. When the pages are turned rapidly an illusion of motion or morphin... More or two and work on your principals! Whatever you do while you search for the tools that suit you best, make sure you are doing animation as you go. If you do you’ll quickly find that tools don’t really matter that much – it’s what you can do with them that counts.