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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


  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. "AudioTool: Audio editing specialFX mixing"

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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. 

  7. 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.

  8. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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:  

  12. Lawrence D’Oliveiro on

    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.

  13. 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.

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

  15. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    • 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 :-)

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