Best Tools for Animators

In this topic, you will learn about, Best Tools for Animators.

Hand-drawn animation films may seem to belong to a bygone era, though Disney’s black-and-white 3-D hand-drawn/computer-animated short film, “Paperman,” released in 2012 suggests that traditional 2-D animation is every bit as expressive and effective as computer-generated 3-D animation. But technology is evolving fast and the field of animation, too, now relies on many software and tools. Computer software can now create both hand-drawn and computer-generated (CG) animation.

Animation today can be 2-D (classical hand-drawn) or 3-D (computer-generated). The animation software you need to learn may differ from the type of animation. Here is a list of Best Tools for Animators and software that are used extensively in the field of animation.

Adobe Illustrator

It is 2-D software for producing and editing vector graphics such as character design and creative design that may be used in designing for the web, brochures, business cards, and 2-D rendering.

Adobe Photoshop

This is a very popular and widely used graphics creation and editing software used widely in the industry in all sectors related to graphics (GFX) and design. This software is mainly used for image editing, retouching, digital painting, image morphing, video editing, and creative design, and for crafting textures for 3-D models.

Adobe Flash

This is a vector-based software mainly used for delivering high-impact, rich designs, animation, and application user interfaces (UI).

Adobe After Effects

This software is mostly used in the postproduction process of filmmaking and television production and is mainly used for creating motion graphics and visual effects. You can use this software to animate, alter, and composite media in 2-D and 3-D space with various built-in tools. It allows you to add various effects like fire, explosions, and noise.

Autodesk Maya

This comprehensive 3-D animation software can be used for 3-D computer animation, modeling, simulation, rendering, and compositing to generate interactive 3-D applications, including video games, animated films, TV series, or visual effects. It has next-generation display technology, accelerated modeling workflows, and new tools for handling complex data.

Autodesk 3ds Max

This 3-D computer graphics software can be used for 3-D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing by games, film, and motion graphics artists.

Autodesk Mudbox

This is a digital painting and digital sculpting software that can create highly realistic 3-D characters, engaging environments, detailed props, and compelling concept designs.

Autodesk Motion Builder

It is yet another 3-D character animation software from Autodesk that can be used for virtual production and to control and refine data.

Eyeon Fusion

Also known as “Fusion,” this image compositing software program is primarily used to generate visual effects and digital compositing for film, HD, and commercials.

Foundry Nuke
This digital compositing software is node-based and mainly used for film and television postproduction. It has a wide range of flexible and easy to use tools.


Houdini is a flexible 3-D animation software package renowned for its highquality graphics pipeline. It can provide all key areas of 3-D production such as modeling, character, rendering, compositing, lighting, and animation.

Sound Forge
It is an audio editing software by Sony Creative Software that can be used to cover all aspects of audio editing and mastering.

Keep in mind that a tool is only as good as the skills of the craftsperson using it. A sound knowledge of some or most of these combined with your creativity and artistic talent may help you achieve success in the field of animation. You should aim to learn the craft of animation at your animation college. The software can become secondary if you’re already proficient with the principles of animation. The animation tools may change from studio to studio, but you may be able to animate regardless if you get your basics right.

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