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Animation Software

Animation Software

July 16, 2007

There are a couple of programs that can be used to create cartoons. They range in complexity though, so let's talk about the specific programs in a bit more detail.

Toon Boom, Download Free Trial

Toon Boom is our favorite program, and is well known for its depth and quality of their technical support. It's a solid application that is made for animators, by animators. This makes it a perfect choice for creating original cartoons.

The depth of Toon Boom comes at a price, however. While the interface is clean it can appear daunting to a beginner. There is a set of Toon Boom tutorials that will help walk you through the interface and show you the ropes. I highly recommend using these instructive videos with the trial download to best determine if Toon Boom is right for you.

Toon Boom Studio is normally priced at $399.99, but more often than not there is a sale going on listing the program at a more reasonable $249.99.

Toon Boom Studio Express is a light-weight version of Toon Boom Studio, as reflected by its price of $99.99. Don't underestimate this slimmed down application though, Studio Express can drop the hammer when it needs to.


Adobe Flash has been around for a long time in one form or another. It has the benefit of being easy to use, but is missing some key toolsets that would truly benefit animators. That's why Flash does not currently get top billing from most animation studios.

It also doesn't help that Flash includes a hefty price tag of $699.

If you don't balk at that number then you'll find that Flash can provide a great interactive experience but is not ideal for cartoons. Use it if you must, but Toon Boom is a much better choice for making cartoons.

Other programs for 2D cartoon making include Mirage, TVPaint, and Plasic Animation Paper just to name a few. These programs are all good products and offer a non-vector graphic approach compared to Toon Boom Studio or Flash. Fundamentally the program a would-be creator chooses is not that significant although changing programs after committing to one is normally pretty painful in terms of unlearning and re-learning software techniques. So planning to use more than one program is not advised and making a good first choice and sticking with it is important. The greatest stumbling block to actually producing a cartoon is often software paralysis caused by spending all your time learning software usage and not spending any real time on learning the craft of cartoon making. The important distinction being that cartoon making is an artistic craft that is the same regardless of the chosen software tool. Any of the available tools will facilitate cartoon making but none of these tools is a substitute for developing your cartoon making skills. My advice is to pick a tool , stick with it, and practice your cartoon making craft and avoid the trap of becoming so focused on software that you lose sight of your real goal which is to produce cartoons for people to enjoy. If you look at a cartoon you like and wonder "what software did they use to make that?" you are asking the wrong question. The better question is "why do I like that cartoon, was it the story, the pacing, the characters, the presentation, what made that a great cartoon?"

Posted by JK at 7:02 PM Jul 17, 2007

Clearly I have more research to do. I will investigate each of those programs and append them to the list.

You are of course right about beginners needing to have a level of skill to make any cartoon application work. It's my hope to build on this program list simply to show them what they have to choose from. Perhaps a sampling of what each application can do is in order.

Posted by Will at 11:46 PM Jul 18, 2007

please i am a student of 19 years and i want to learn how to make cartoons so they can also move. I want to creat them and make like a movie. i want to do this because there are so many jobs in my country Ghana so i want to do something deffrent.thank you

Posted by Sintim Owusu Teddy at 12:49 PM May 27, 2008

@Sintim, welcome to the site. All of the cartoons here are created with a program called Toon Boom. There\'s a lot to learn, and I recommend starting at Toon Boom Tutorials to get yourself up and running quickly.

Posted by Will at 12:58 PM May 27, 2008

Hello friends thanks for this wed site. i graduated a year ago and since then i have never got i job to satify my interest. i developed the idear of cartoon movies a year before i graduated because i wanted to do some thing different. its today that iam beginning to see a light at the turnnel for me. I hope you will provide for me all the support i need to learn this programme and later buy my own. Mirriam from Uganda

Posted by akwir mirriam ojok at 8:20 AM Apr 15, 2009

I am a student of class 8th and I think so that I can draw well on computer as well on a drawing book. I don't want to become a person whose work is to draw cartoons and to entertain people as I want to become a I.A.S officer in my Life as I always came 1th in my class but my hobby is of drawing cartoons so I get the information from you that what is the software used the persons who used to draw cartoons and entertain people.THANK YOU

Posted by anshu at 6:14 AM Feb 18, 2011

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Calico Monkey discusses animation programs, cartoon software and the art of making your own cartoons. Occasionally I release a new cartoon that has inadvertently made somebody chuckle. Such an outburst is purely accidental, I assure you.

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