Recommended animation software?

Jan 17, 2015

Hi all. 

I am facing the same dilemma I think many of you face. I'm a SME/instructional designer/instructor with no time and lots to do. Sound familiar?

I teach automotive technology, you know, with gears and boxes and bits that move, along with gadgets that use computers to do the same jobs for you. 

Standing in front of a classroom with a busted up box to show the bits moving inside works for some topics, but how do you demonstrate a laser beam that applies the brakes to avoid a collision? My classroom ain't big enough for that, nor is my insurance policy comprehensive enough. 

Hence my requirement for an animation program, that is E-A-S-Y to learn. No bells, no whistles, just something that I can use to add a visual meaning to my PPT presentations and insert into Storyline. 

My only other criteria other than being easy to use are:

  • It must be able to output mp4/wav files so I can use it in HTML5 output.
  • It must be cheap

Any ideas would be appreciated. Top runner at the moment is Anime Studio. Cheers.

16 Replies
Garry Hargreaves

Hi Steve, I faced the same issue. How do you deliver technical training to participants and in my case it was electricical and process control.

For 2D animation agree with Michael look at Edge animate. For 3D look at iclone6 (although iclone generates 3d assets you can use - not native html5)

All of these software option should come with heaffty education discounts



Steve McAneney

I just wanted to say thanks again for the input regarding animation software. After lots of investigating, I eventually ended up downloading Anime Studio Debut from Amazon for $15 US (can't complain about that!). Some of the other suggestions I tried:

  • Animatron - Super easy to learn, nice GUI but laggy, possibly due to me being in New Zealand. I guess creating animations is asking a lot from your internet connection (it's a cloud program). Also, I didn't like the idea of simply embedding animations in projects via an i-frame, I wanted to own and download the actual file. The pricing for this option was over-expensive in my opinion.
  • Aquafadas - I had trouble figuring out exactly what you get from their website, and there seems to be zero documentation, help, forums or tutorials. For a beginner like me, looking hard for basics like that didn't bode well for the future so I passed it by. It may be great, I wish they just spent a little more time telling people what they are selling. Might get a few more sales that way
  • Adobe Edge - Too expensive, and too difficult to learn.
  • Synfig - Great documentation, great idea, but more targeted at someone who already knows animation as it has quite a complex GUI (to my eye). I couldn't figure out any of the rendering formats either. I am a beginner, so all I understand is swf, mov, avi, HTML5 and the like, but Synfig renders to none of these formats so I think I'd need to convert the output files. Again, it looks great for someone who already knows animation.
  • Toonboom - Bit expensive at $250 US, and all the bells and whistles I don't need for nice Manga type animation (I only need to make simple, mechanical objects move). Not for me.
  • Anime Studio Deut - This was a know quantity for me as I downloaded a trial about 2-years ago and had a play then. There are many, many tutorials on the internet, it's so cheap, and I know will do everything I need. 

Hope this helps others with their choices.

Steve McAneney

That's crazy that you can do such amazing things with free software. My trouble is that when I get home from work, I'm already completely (mentally) shattered from overwork and can't stay awake long enough to learn any of these programs!! I wish someone would just plug a USB with tutorials into my brain and download the lot! Thanks.

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