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Animators toolbox for 2D and audio

Most of you know about Gimp, Inkscape and of course Blender. However animation also touches the area of 2D and of course sound design. I compiled a list of applications here for you ranging from 2D to audio. This also includes the growing amount of online web applications, which recently reach a professional level such as Audiotool.

I hope you find it useful.

Old stars:

  • Gimp Bitmap:  Bitmap Drawing  Win/Linux/Mac  Website
  • MyPaint Bitmap:  Bitmap Drawing  Win/Linux/Mac  Website
  • Inkscape:  Vector Drawing  Win/Linux/Mac  Website
  • Blender 3D:  Authoring  Win/Linux/Mac  Website
  • Audacity:  Simple Audio Editor  Win/Linux/Mac  Website


Pencil:  Traditional 2d cell based animation  Win/Mac  Website


Synfig:  2D Vector animation with tweening and specialFX  Mac/Win/Linux  Website


Ardour:  Audio recording editing mixing  Mac/Linux  Website


AudioTool:  Audio editing specialFX mixing  Online  Website
Comment: Extremely powerful and feature rich


Soundcloud:  Sound Databse  Online  Website


Aviart Audio Editor:  Audio editing mixing  Online  Website
Comment: Connected to many online audio databanks


Aviart Music Creator:  Basic beat music designer  Online  Website


  • Hubberthus

    There's also Rosegarden ( sequencer for linux.

  • nikolardo

    Pencil is also available for linux.  Also worth mentioning, it doesn't tween - every frame has to be drawn out (though bitmap and vector images can be imported).
    Pencil is fantastic for storyboarding.Also I'll ad LMMS into the bunch, as far as music creation goes (Linux, Windows).

  • Anonymous

    I bet you are going to have tons of "you forgot this and that" kind of comments :) But as for 2D animation, you probably want checking out Tupi which is KToon's fork that does have tweening. It's not as powerful as Synfig, but someone might find it useful.

    • Seba

      Thanks for the info, I'll check Tupi out. The most annoying thing in Syngif for me is the Gimp-style floating windows.. arggghh

      • Anonymous

        The Synfig folks *kinda* have plans to rework the UI, but they really are shorthanded and overworked.

        • Zslevi

          Or the fact that you can't view the keyframes for different channels symultaneously. Or the glacially slow viewport redraw.

          • Anonymous

            They used to have hardware acceleration in works. Dunno what ever happened to that branch.

  • Michaellaspinas21

    thanks for sharing

  • Guest

    "AudioTool: Audio editing specialFX mixing"

    This is not really a audio editing ... it's more a groovebox system for music creation

  • Tadd Mener

    Nice listing. Like projoudine said, you'll probably hav ea lot of "you forgot X, Y and Z!" which, honestly, if good. I love it when other people share what they use.

    Also, It's not "Aviart" it's "Aviary" .. just thought I'd point that out.

  • Wat

    do gimp and inkscape run nativelt on osx or do they still require x11? this is the thing that annoys me most about them at the moment

    • PAt

      don't know about inkscape but gimp still needs x11.  and i agree that that is annoys me too. 

    • Anonymous

      Mitch (GTK+/GIMP developer) patched GTK+ heavily to really behave on Mac few weeks ago. Chances are that GIMP and Inkscape are going to be first class citizens on Mac soon :)

      • claas kuhnen

        I hope so because so far I ignored Gimp Inkscape on OS X because of that.

  • ccherrett

    We have been working hard on Open Octave Midi:

    See it being used with blender at the blender conference to score a short for the competition:


  • Jonathan Roth

    Thanks, I think someone mentioned Synfig before, but I appreciate the reminder. Any excuse to ditch Adobe is appreciated, and It's nice to see Linux as an increasingly viable creative alternative to Windows/Mac. 

  • Mike

    I haven't used it much, but UJam looked promising recently. It promised the ability to simply hum or whistle a tune and it can convert it to full instruments, add sounds to match, etc.

    It was being promoted by Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams.

  • Blengineer

    isn't Aviart supposed to be "Aviary" ?

  • Rembrandt

    Wish Pencil had Mypaint style brush engine but thanks some of these links are really useful.

    • Anonymous

      You do know that there is an animation fork of MyPaint, don't you? :)

      • Jude Jackson

        I'd love to see some builds of that on Graphicall, but I've only been able to find source for Ubuntu.

  • Pawe? Cis?o

    Nice collection. By the way, it's Aviary, not "Aviart"

  • kABHIr

    I guess we missed out LMMS audio tool

  • Terencedesu

    For a different kind of music tool, musescore (linux & I believe windows) allows you to create a musical score with a variety of instruments, but will also export .ogg files of the music (for you composer types out there)

  • Tek5828

    What about LMMS (linux multimedia studio).

    because I have a PC, i use LMMS instead of ardour as ardour isnt pc capable yet. either way lmms is great.

  • Bettflasche
  • Mohamed Almonajed

    God bless the Open Source community!

  • Mohamed Almonajed

    By the way I really encourage you fellas to try out this piece of art!! Alchemy 

  • Eonamchrealm

    2D animators stop searching, the legendary PAP 4 software is for free!!! yes, they released it for free, only drawbacks only windows and no support except from the forums, start animating with a professional tool.

  • Matt

    Synfig is actually very powerful, though it really needs some additional developers to help out the very small team that keeps plugging away at improvements.  I primarily used Synfig - with some assistance from Inkscape, Blender and Audacity - to make this contest entry in 2 days last Christmas:  

  • Anonymous

    this is an open source animation pipeline i saw a while ago on wipup also there's this distro that i've never used but it's made for animators

  • Lawrence D’Oliveiro

    Just want to add another vote for the usefulness of Inkscape as a 2D design tool. The fact that its file format is SVG, which is an application of XML, is another plus. For example, I have used it to design menus for DVD-Video discs, including placement of buttons, which I was able to feed through a custom script as part of the workflow for building the actual menus and authoring the disc.

  • Neonblue120

    Check out Project Rome.

  • Macpainter

    Synfig on Mac: I spent a few hours now reading threads, downloading codes, installing things but did not get Synfig to run. We have to face the plain truth Synfig is NOT REALLY available for mac unless you are very familiar with programming, using the terminal and know lots of things about your mac, that an average user like me does not. Sitting here kind of frustrated :-(
    Didn't check the rest of the list but thanks for the links, it's a great collection anyway.

    • Anonymous

      There is a dmg of 0.63.02 for mac

  • Gavin Ball

    Cherrybrush is pretty sweet and fairly sophisticated for illustration and Animation.  It was made by Dr. Petter (sculptris)

  • Macpainter

    Just a reminder to all "you forgot this or that" comments: Blender, GIMP and Inkscape are big open source heroes and the original list is all CROSS PLATFORM software. No use to post windows-only applications here - there are other places to do this.

    • Rory Michael O'Sullivan

      I disagree. Sculptris was a windows only application for a long time that you had to run through wine on other OSs. It was still of a great interest to the blender community. There's nothing wrong with pointing out open source projects that are not cross platform, though it would be nice to mention that when they're being linked to to avoid confusion.

      • Jude Jackson

        Or for that matter, closed-source programs that are free, cheap, or otherwise fill a relevant gap.

    • Eonmachrealm

      1) I told you all  the were drawbacks right? unfortunately PAP is offered for free to windows users, I don´t know about MAC users. Why not share this here? As you said, Blender, GIMP, Inkscape -and you forgot many others  :P -  are OS heroes BUT do not offer drawn animation functions to that level, 
      2) Can you tell another place to do this?
      3) I don´t care, I already shared

    • 8-bit

      Although you're correct the top list apps are cross-platform, why try to impose rules if you're not the OP? I use OSX and Win7; however, i'm very interested in hearing what else is out there, even if it's linux only, an OS i'm not currently using. But as mentioned below, it would be helpful to note if it's exclusive to a certain OS. Hopefull those sharing apps that are not cross-platform will cause someone else to remember a similiar app that works on another OS. You might just get lucky and find out about a MAC only app that you didn't know existed, which enhances your workflow :-)

    • Bart Veldhuizen

      @a32d9c96ed1a2849cb05d213414490da:disqus No-one said you can't post platform specific tools here.

  • Davidbishopn

    Audacity is another good audio recorder and editor, very stable, and cross-platform.

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