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- OpenToonz is an animation program that is a free software version of Toonz, the animation software used by Studio Ghibli, amongst others.
- Synfig is a free and open-source, industrial-strength, vector-based 2D animation app designed for producing feature-film animations. It eliminates the need to create animations frame by frame. It is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- VirtualDub is a video capture/processing utility for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows platforms (98/ME/NT4/2000/XP/Vista/7), licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
The project seems to be no longer developed. Last version, 22.214.171.124491, released on October 27, 2013, can be still downloaded from SourceForge
- Pencil2D is an opensource animation/drawing software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux, based on old Pencil software. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics.
- The easiest-to-use home video editing software with special editing features lets you seamlessly stitch together video clips, music & text, apply effects and get a professional-looking home movie in minutes.
Wondershare Filmora vs Animation Desk opinions
- Adobe Animate, previously Adobe Flash Professional, is an authoring environment (IDE) that can produce interactive solutions for running inside web browsers or for the desktop.
- Enjoy the fun of video editing with Write-on Video Ultimate. Fast and easy – you can now create videos and scripts simultaneously with Write-on Video. Make stunning movies and photo slideshows right on your iPhone and iPad.
- Free video-editing and video-composition software in one, with the option of buying fx-packs.
- Enve is a free and open-source 2D animation app. It can create both vector and raster animations and even use sound and video files. It has been created with flexibility and expandability in mind.
- VideoPad is video editing & movie making software that lets you edit video & movies. VideoPad is a fully featured video editor for creating professional quality videos in minutes on PC/Mac. Over 50+ Visual Effects, transitions, audio library & more.
Showing 10 of 95 alternatives
POST UPDATED 08/19/19 -
One of the basic items you need to animate is an animation desk or a lightbox.
There are many different configurations of desks , some of which I have shown in the web album Animation Desks galleryin the sidebar links. You can peruse that album for ideas on how you might set up your own workspace.
There is also a PDF booklet that I have prepared called "Animation Student's Guide to Animation Desks"which may be downloaded by clicking on the link.
While it is possible to purchase or build a large professional studio-style desk such as this example of a Disney Studio desk ---
most of use don't have the space or the funds to purchase such a large desk for our home studio. (these desks are wonderful, but take up a lot of space and are very heavy to move).
A good , portable animation desk is the one made by Colin Johnson of Vancouver, BC , available through his web site AnimationDesks.com
This desk is very good value for the money as he includes the white plexiglass animation disc , and a backlight unit along with the desk itself.
Animator Frans Vischer animating on one of the Colin Johnson desks. This photo is from Duncan Studios in Pasadena, CA where Frans was animating on the film Mary Poppins Returns (2019)
There are similar portable table-top animation desks available from Lightfoot Animation, and ChromaColour U.K.
The ChromaColour portable animation deskis a little more lightweight and folds down flatter for storage, if that matters to you . Depending on where you live in the world the shipping from the U.K. may make this more expensive than the Colin Johnson Desk.
The Lightfoot portable lightboxesare much more expensive , but they do have a smaller "footprint" (only 24" x 24" compared to 36" x 24" on the Colin Johnson table and 30" x 24" for the ChromaColour table) , so if space is an issue you might want to consider one of the compact Lightfoot Easel Design Animation lightboxes :
A more compact , less expensive option would be to use a simple lightbox with a fixed animation pegbar (no rotating disc).
Lightfoot Animation sells the Artograph LightTracer II 12 Field lightbox (12" x 18") with an Acme peg bar pre-installed for about $119.00
Some online art dealers such as Dick Blick Arthave these Artograph LightTracer II lightboxes for less , so keep your eyes open . Dick Blick currently sells the 12" x 18" model for about $80.00 (compared to list price of $129.00) . Add a thin tape-down Acme peg bar from Amazon.comfor $7.00 and you'll have a functional animation lightbox.
Or you can use one of these thin LED Lightpads with a Stand -
A peg bar: https://www.amazon.com/MyLifeUNIT-Stainless-Fixing-Animation-Positioning/dp/B01M5BCBNM/
Get a stand for the lightpad to adjust it to a comfortable angle for drawing:
These sort of set ups with a simple lightbox or the lightpad on a stand will work, but the disadvantage is it doesn't fully rotate , so you can't turn your drawing to the most comfortable angle to draw from like you can with an animation disc. The disc mounted in a portable lightbox or in a drafting table is better.
(Colin Johnson sells this white plexiglass disc with peg bar for $85.00 + $18.00 shipping.
Lightfoot Animation sells a similar disc for $129.00 + shipping. )
Traditional Drafting Table adapted to Animation Table:
A step-up from a portable table-top animation desk would be to have a hole cut into a standard wooden drafting tableso you can mount an animation disc on it , with a backlight unit mounted underneath. What you would give up in terms of portability and compactness you would gain in flexibility and comfort. A drafting table can be adjusted in both height and the angle of the tabletop for the maximum in drawing comfort. You can adjust the table to whatever angle is best for you. If you have the space this is really the best option for a traditional animation set up.
The Alvin Pavilionwooden drafting table , offered in a range of sizes from 24x36 to 31x42 , is a good basic drawing table. These tables are available from DraftingSteals.comor other art suppliers.
If you have the proper tools to make a precisioncut 16 1/2" holein the table top then you could cut the hole yourself , or hire a local woodworker who has the proper tools to make the cut for you .
You may have a friend or family member who has the proper tools to do this. Be very careful when cutting the hole. The hole must be perfectly round with smooth sanded edges so the disc will turn smoothly.
Besides being able to fine-tune the height and angle of the drafting table it also gives you more space to pin up notes, model sheets, and X-sheets , especially if you use an extension panel as shown below. (the extension panel may also be used on the Colin Johnson desk to add space to clip on an X-sheet to the right or left side of the table.)
(click any image to view it larger)
(notice most of the artists have a corkboard on the
wall in front of their desks to pin up model sheets and
If you have the extra space an over-size table top gives even more space to pin up your model sheets and other notes as shown below:
You will also find it useful to surround your drawing space with a folding table, shelves ("scene stackers") and/ or some sort of side-table unit to have a place to stack your drawings , blank paper, pencils, and other supplies, to keep them organized and close at hand.
Notice the tall scene-stackerto the right of this animator's work space. The drawings from various scenes can be kept organized in a shelving unit such as the one shown below:
This Winsor-Newton artist's tabouret shown below makes a good compact side-table unit for an animation desk. Paper can be stored in the lower shelves, while the interior drawers can be used to store pencils, erasers, peg hole reinforcements , and other supplies.
Here is another view of a typical animation scene stacker unit filled with animation drawings bound between chipboard panels and rubber-banded around the outside to protect the drawings and keep everything neatly organized. Below is a shorter scene stacker unit:
Anyone looking for ready-made Scene Stackers (for 12 field animation paper) take a look at these cube stackers available from various stores such as Target or Ikea -
The one linked to above is 15" x 15" , which is big enough for 12 field paper (12.5" x 10.5") , not quite big enough for 16 field paper (16.5" x 13.5" ) . Most people use 12 field paper so that's no big deal. But if you wanted to use 16 field you'll need to find slightly wider shelves.
These type of shelf units (also from Target) are wider and you could add multiple shelves to it:
Scene stackers might not be the most glamorous item on your equipment list , but you'll be surprised how handy these shelves are for storing and keeping track of your animation drawings.
This economical file crate scene stacker could be further sub-divided into individual shelving compartments using sturdy cardboard or lightweight masonite panels held in place with wire or glued in place.
Animation Desks: The Whole Truth & Nothing But..
The other day i needed to purchase an animation desk w/disk that was portable. I ended up finding one by Lightfoot Ltd.
During my search for a suitable desk, i was wandering: Is there a renowned maker of the animation desk, a specialist so to speak. Or are the majority custom built or limited designs?
Not very interesting... but thought that it's worth asking as these desks usually ask for a fair few of my hard earned spondoolahs (ok, maybe not hard[I][/I] earned :D ) and it's worth getting the most reliable for the price (if there is a single such desk).
Anyone use (or used) Lightfoot built desks?
Desk portable animation
Bring joy to your children's lives with this easy to use animation development application that allows you to create short movies for them to enjoy
What's new in Animation Desk 126.96.36.199:
- New Features :
- The app now supports Russian!
- Some frequently used features are included in the right-click menu (the context menu)
Some people like to draw animated cartoon characters, others like creating videos, but for the few who prefer to design video animations, Animation Desk is a good tool to get started. It's simple, welcoming and has some useful features.
Easy-to-learn animation tool, even for kids
When creating a new project, you can appoint a background picture, enter the desired length (number of frames) and tell the app how smooth you want the video to be (frames-per-second). Depending on the specified settings, you can create animations up to 100 seconds long.
Each brush can be customized in opacity and size, and drawing mistakes can be fixed with an undo button which, unlike other graphics editing tools, has no limit to how many steps can be taken. The application can create animations that support both the standard 4:3 and 16:9 screen sizes.
Animation in just a few steps
"Onion Skinning" allows you to see adjacent frames overlay for easy drawing, while the powerful frame manager permits duplicating, moving or deleting frames for a smoother experience when dealing with projects that require the same body.
Whether you are a three-year-old or a graphic designer, the program's interface provides useful tools. One example is choosing a picture as a background, or just leaving it blank, or picking which brush to use when drawing. The brush panel is simple, containing the basic pen, pencil, marker and spray-paint brushes in addition to the color-fill and eraser.
Projects are automatically saved and can later be visited for further editing and, in case you create an account on the developer's website, you can use cloud storage for better safekeeping of your projects. To share your projects, the application gives the option of exporting animations in MP4 and GIF formats.
A friendly and intuitive drawing tool
Animation Desk has many of the tools needed by any aspiring cartoonist and can be a good starting point for your first animated shorts. Draw and publish to your heart's content while mastering the art of animation.
Create animationsCreate cartoonsDesign animationsAnimatorAnimationCartoonCreate
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