Help with 2D animation, please...


Does anyone here know of a very simple, yet very good quality 2D animation program. Oh yeah, and it needs to be free.

Any help would be greatly appreciated… :smiley:


If all you’re looking for is something to composite your images into an animation than any compositing package will do. Heck, anything that renders animations and accepts sequenced images will do (like Quicktime Pro). I know there’s an open source compositing package out there, do a search for “open source compositing” or something.


check this out
tapptoons linetester

hope this helps


Thanks for the help. I’ll check out some compositing software… :slight_smile:


Good 2D animation program?

It’s called Plastic Animation Paper.

A brand new Shareware edition just released yesterday.

Enjoy! :slight_smile:


:rolleyes: :eek: :surprised

I was kinda hoping for a free program, but it looks fairly cheap. Thanks for the find! :smiley:


The small edition IS free!!

It’s only if you really like it and use it, you are asked to pay 30 euro (30 dollars) for it. That’s very cheap! And free is even more cheap!!!

It works perfectly - it’s NOT a demo!


Pap is the best your goping to get for free. I mean the software I used for my film is around 15000 USD, most serious classical animation programs are over 1000. PAP is really original and impressive. I only discovered it last week myself, funny it should now pop up here. Definitely going to try it out, I recommend you do too.

It looks better than toonboom and flash are, definitely more of a cassical animation program than those applications are.


I’m very impressed with PAP. Perhaps my main problem with 2D animation is that I’m very spoiled by computers. Not being able to see your animation as it’s progressing and being swamped in hundreds of pieces of paper drive me nuts. But just playing around with PAP it was quick and FUN. Perhaps thanks to this little app I can make 2D a more regular part of my work.


Not being able to see your animation progress. Heck thing I love about classical animatino is how quick and easy I can see it progress compared to 3D, overall both productions systems are pretty equal in length, but when drawing I can flip five drawings at once while doingmy rough, and have a line est for something like a line test in 4 minutes, without any time spent on rigging or anything like that either. I don’t include rendering in that as Cleanup and DIP add up to the time spent doing 3D rendering, often even longer.


Well flipping can let you see how your frames animate in relation to each other, but you can never know exactly what it looks like until it’s playing at the proper framerate.

Modeling and rigging is something you only have to do once for a character. Once you get past that you’re free to animate, see your results as they’ll actually be animated while you work and still be able to alter your animation without destroying previous work.

I can see your point though.


So ‘PAP’ stands for ‘Plastic Animation Paper’ right? :curious:




I’m just gonna hijack this thread for a while, since a have a similar question :slight_smile:

I’m also interested in 2D animation. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an animator for Disney. Now the recent animatrix short films have really gotten me excited.

Does anyone know which softwares or techniques are commonly used in the business to make 2D film? or any software good in this deparment for that matter. info? links?


I know a free 2d animation software. You need :

-And another plugin : 1001sheet.dlo



A decent source actually would be Februaries copy of DIGIT magazine, thecover story was a review of many classical animation packages.

Anyways heres my list of links and cooments on how I see the packages I know of. Cambridge Animation Systems package, one of the top in the industry very widely used. Module based this one has the abilities to work with 3D packages like maya and also output swf files. Its fully capable of feature quality production. This is the package I am most familiar with, being a moderator for their websoftware toonboom studio, and using USanimation for my film and such. This ones a little different than most other packages since the anmation is Purely vector, meaning everything you scan in will be converted to vector, but it also supports bringing in raster images for backgrounds andoverlays, that scanning will have to be done in a program like photoshop. Module based as well, with the best out of swf out of the highend packages because of its vector drawings, the sizes are much smaller and equal to the highqualityoutput except for things like tone a blur which cannot be done in flash. This is definitely one of the top and has been used on a few features as well. THey now have a lighter version I would checkout called ipegs, seems to do a lot for a lot less, though only outputting to flash. the highend package is widely used in Europe excluding the UK. This one is more pixelbased like CAS, but both have the ability to work in vector aswel though not as wel refined in that area as USanimation and requires a seperate module for that ability. as mentioned this one is also module based. Thats right Avid’s softimage is even in the market, not talking about XSI, but rather Toonz which I might add is actually liscnced by softimage not directly developed by them but rather a company called Digital Video. Toonz is there classical animatin package, very flexible and module based like the other highend packages, one advantage is the amazing support with softimage 3D packages for 3D integration. If you want to do things like treasure planet this and XSI would make a lethal combo. Another special feature is the availability of a 2D particle generator module, this one seems to be a great one to checkout. If your going to work in anime whether in Japan or Korea, or almost any carton on Fox’s Kids WB, then this is the package, very widely used over seas in japan, this one has quickly become known as the anime painter. Module based as well, this is capable of feature quality as can be seen in Princess mononoke which used this as its main package, Studio Ghible has since changed to Toonz and XSI because of their increasing 3D integration, but Retas also has some nice 3D compatibility with Studio max, using camera information and such. This one is 100% pixel, no vectors whatsoever, meaning you must work at the highest resolutions you know you will need. This ones well over 13 years old now and comes in two version basically for the tenth of the price of their best package, you lose the feature resolutions, but still capable of TV resolutions. This is one of the more midend packages, used a bit in TV and one of the few thats all in one rather than seperate modules. I don’t know a lot of the overall features for this one like whether its vector or pixel. CTP is growing popular nowadays, only capable of HDTV output this midend package is still module based a plus in my books this one supports the most formats that I know of, and can output flash and is pixelbased. This one has many different level packages available, capaple of telivision output and on the higher packages flash output as well. Only the top package include painting and colour capabilities, but it isn’t widely used for that. The main strength of this one is simple clean and easy to edit, which is why this one is probably the most used linetesting package out there, the line test version are all quite cheap and basically change in how many layers they support. Pixel based and capable of using either scanner or camera to capture all in one app, you can line test in mere second and control your lipsyncing right in the app. Also this one has a storyboard feature optimised for better handling of filming animatics of your storyboard. While many of the higend have some type of linetesting module, this one is flast clean and simple, the last two releases have ben quite stable as well, definitely a small cheapone to get for linetesting you won’t be sorry. Its production features are somewhat of a joke though.


Well flash is growing ever popular, and now we are even seeing cartoons animated for telivision in macromedias flash software. Here are a few programs aimed more for web, though a few like Flash itself, can actually be used for telivision quality production, but while being vector makes the resolution independent, I wopuld never try these on feature films YET. Flash is very well known as are its featurs so no in depth here, probably the most flexible all round, thuogh as an animator, its the most disorganised as its designed for interactive content with scripting, its acutally not designed for classical animation, thats just a bonus ability. toonboom studio V2 is toonbooms lowend web software. not to be confused with USanimation they share very litle in comon outside of the 3D camera which is definitely toonboom studio’s advantage in the market, having a rewal 3D camera built in, multiplane compex camera shots are easily done for web animations. Its drawing tools are quite nice, and the ap was definitely developed along with some classical animators, having lighttable options, an actualy animation disc you can rotate in the application so your not trying to turn that large tablet around. This has no support for scripting and use of symbols is very different and somewhat clunky, most toonboom studio users do not use this alone but along with Flash. MOHO is gaining fast popularity, having some really uniques features such a a particle generator and get this, IK bone animation system for 2D vector images. Now thats original. THis is not aimed at classical animators but more for those 3D guys wanting to do 2D flash IMO. This one isn’t really my cup of tea, but I’m keeping an eye on it. Creature house has one of the simplest and coolest vector illustration programs, I like it more than Illustrator myself, though its not designed for also doing page layouts and such. NOw they are working on Living Cels, not available yet, but taking advantage of their awesome vector tools and stroke effcts and such, this is one tool to keep an eye one. Already Expresssion 3 has swf output and some basic scripting abilities for buttons and such. Hopefully they release their own output format for animation as well that takes advantage of their strokes and realtime reflection map embossing. Both packages I recommend you keep an eye out for. Its still tryingto get the word out there, but IMO these guys are making something big and revolutionary.


Well in some apps you can actualy draw, though a serious animtor still uses his paper and pencils then scans in,now it seems one company is trying to change that. has designed a software, NOT for painting, it has no paint features whatsoever, this is strictly designed for DRAWING animatin and CLEANING it up. not vector, the program is failry simple to use, works strictly with a tablet unless you get there freeware which comes with both a tablet version and a mouse version, you cannot use both mouse and tablet in one version though. must be in one or the other. it has some cool features, I’l watch its progress, but for now, I"m sticking to pencil and paper

I’m sure there are a few other packages to check out.

Hope this informatin helps you guys out. If you want to know more about other classical animation tools like Discs, Desks, Paper pencils pegbars all that feel free to ask, I could try to make a list of those as well.


Well, with all this talk about PAP - I took it home and played around with for a few hours last night, and to be honest I came away very impressed. I think it’s really neat, and probably as close to a real lightbox as you could really come (within the limitations of a PC with a wacom).

So, does anyone know what features are unlocked when you register? I know that sound support is added, but I’m interested in the Zoom & Blue pencil features for example…

Perhaps these are reserved for the ‘professional’ versions…
Anyone know? Niels??


ps- great breakdown of what’s on offer Kai. Good stuff!


welll red pencil for layout is there, haven’t founf the blue pencil myself, sounds is not in the shareware, and as far as I know thats it, perhpas resolutions :confused:


Hi Steveblake and Kaiskai!

When you register the shareware version of PAP the register screen in the beginning will go away and you will get the abillity to import - and playback sound to your animation.

The blue pen is available in the “PAP:Broadcast” edition - as well as cutouts (very easy copy/paste-like function for small parts of drawings, cycles or complete animation), scaling/rotation, effective timing functionallity and much more.

The biggest edition (PAP:Film) has the same as PAP:Broadcast, but has higher resolutions.

Feel free to ask me more! I know PAP! :wink:


Feel free to ask me more! I know PAP!

Thanks Guys.

This great product has rekindled my enthusiasm for 2D - big time ! ! !

Just a quicky (for the moment). What’s the best method for cleanups with the shareware version?

Without the blue pencil. I’m thinking that maybe saving out the frames and then loading them back in as a sequence in the background, for tracing over.

Is that possible??

Um, also… on a technical note. I seem to have had no luck running shareware PAP at work. I think the problem is that we have widescreen monitors, at home my tiny monitor seems to ‘flick’ over to PAPs resolution and back. At work I just get an error… Any thoughts?

Many thanks!