What software do you guys recommend for 2D animation, cartoon like, on the Mac.

Please suggest something that do not requires a PhD in astrophysics to be able to use. If free, better.

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    I have a degree in Mathmatics and Astrophysics, and I haven't found many animation tools I've been able to use. – Rich Bradshaw Mar 30 '10 at 13:04

Check out ToonBoom. They make some great 2D animation products for the Mac.


Synfig is an open source vector animation application. All animation applications will have a learning curve though.


Check out what is possible to achieve in keynote



It's an old question, but I've already been in a quest for 2D animation solutions for Mac, so let me share my findings:

  • Adobe Flash is an extremely complete tool. The amount of options and tools may seem overwhelming at first, but really, it took me less than a day to do a pretty decent animation. I say that if you are planning to work on more complex projects overtime, then Flash will most likely serve you well in the long run. It can be fairly expensive, however.
  • Toon Boom is actually pretty similar to Flash. I honestly couldn't stand the interface of the tool. It does seem to be used by several professionals, so it is definitely worth checking it out. I also have the impression that it has very good support for drawing tablets.
  • Anime Studio emphasizes vector animation. Its bone features are very neat and the program in general is very easy to pick up and understand right away. You can technically work on frame-by-frame animations too, but it is a huge burden. The Mac version I used (9.5) seems to have problems exporting movies with audio. I think it is good for learning, but not for larger projects.
  • Synfig Studio no comment. It seemed neat, but also very heavy (for some reason) on my mac.
  • Pencil2D has a very simplistic interface (which is nice). Good for frame-by-frame traditional animation. Still under heavy development. Fairly buggy. Can't work with files that are too large. Problems exporting movies on Mac.

At the end, I concluded that Flash was my best choice. Very complete, lots of userbase and good support. It is a good idea if you're planning to work on larger projects in the future.

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