2d animation

I was watching Last Exile, and I felt all inspired to create an animation combining 3d vehicles and scenery with 2d characters, etc.
I understand that a lot of work goes into 2d animation, but I have to get started somewhere, so I went on google to find an animation program. I was expecting it to be fairly reasonable to find a package with just several simple features (basic drawing tools, light table, importing video), but basically the only things I could find costed over $400. Either I’m looking in all the wrong places, or 2d animation software is REALLY EXPENSIVE!

Is anyone aware of any free or cheap (hopefully well under $100) 2d (bitmap, not vector) animating programs? I don’t need anything amazing, I just want to import and export images and video, draw, use a light table, maybe have different layers (or is this way too much to ask for?)

man, I wish Mirage was free…

Here’s a couple:



I have no idea what’s going on in those programs, but I’m pretty sure there what you want. The only thing I want to know is how you’re going to scan all those images?

Nobody scans images anymore for professional 2d, they just draw directly in the program.


Ever concidered getting an illegal copy? or is that something we don’t talk about here?

With a scanner perhaps?

O… you mean the amount of scans? Good point.

I highly doubt that. I’m not saying I know it for sure, but I do believe there’s still alot of work being done with pen(cil).

100% wrong im afraid. Spirited away was drawn on paper…

Yeah, I worked on a project that did that a while back and it takes a looooong time. We had an illustrator who did drawings like Sago - he sketched them on paper and scanned them. Then another guy used Adobe illustrator to auto-vectorize and color them and I was at the back of the queue to do everything else, which included 3d scene modelling in Blender, exporting to Renderman to do custom toon shader passes, writing basic shaders for the surfaces, adding alpha channels to the 2D animations and aligning them 'cos the bitmap conversion threw them off a bit in Photoshop, retiming the frames (including lip-synching) in Shake 'cos the illustrator didn’t have much time and only did keyframes instead of full motion animation, compositing the 2D animations onto the 3D render again in Shake, putting a Pixlet uncompressed movie out to ensure the quality into Final Cut Pro and doing some non-linear editing, adding multiple audio tracks etc. Then finally constructing a presentation to playback on a computer.

The timeframe we had was about 2 months so totally unrealistic and the result was naturally disappointing because the people at the top don’t seem to realise how long this stuff takes. But you learn a lot.

try googling “project dogwaffle” - there’s a free version with animation support (I think) but if it doesn’t support animation the full version is less than $50-60. It is incredibly powerful as well, with great looking oil paints etc. torrents might be your friend as well :wink:

Ok, I guess I “fired off the hip” a bit :slight_smile:

I should know better than to say "nobody … " or “everybody …” :smiley:

It’s probably more accurate to say that many 2d studios are working paperless, so there’s no reason to scan from paper if you don’t want to.


Check out “Plastic Animation Paper” or PAP for short.

Be my guest to talk about it. :wink:
Just don’t expect me to save you when you’ve got the CIA on your ass :cool:

@Captain Oblivion: I recently learned about Flipbook from www.animationmeat.com. I haven’t tried it myself but from what they say on the flipbook website it’s pretty good. The cheapest version is $99, but they have a demo available.


i’ve tried flipbook once in a studio once, and it’s easy and convinient to use. however I can’t try it home because i don’t currently have a video camera to capture images, instead, i only got an HP 2400 scanner. and i don’t know if my scanner’s TWAIN-compatible. can anyone tell me how am I gonna know if my scanner’s a TWAIN compatible device? and what with this “TWAIN” compatibility anyway? hehe forgive my ignorance on this. thanks.