Whether you’re producing a title card for your new company, or just looking to wow your co-workers with a dazzling presentation on the dangers of hydraulic fracking, a little animation is never a bad idea. Things are more interesting when there’s a little flare involved, right?
Lucky for you, a handful of programs are out there to help you create your own animations. From branding to marketing to entertaining, their purposes are endless, and extremely customizable for whatever it is you’re going for.
Check out these five animation tools to help you get started.
1. Apple Motion
Functions: Titling, motion graphics
Apple Motion, a downloadable graphics app for Mac OS X, is ideal for creating simple titling animations for your business or independent projects. The updated versions include more complex features like 3D-compositing, vector painting and motion tracking.
We threw together a simple animation of our own (above) using the text and “sparkle” features. Emphasis here on simple — it’s about as bare-boned as you can get (please feel free to make fun of the quality in the comments below). But it did only take a few minutes, and if you spend more time toying around with the various features and customizing your animated logos, the results can be pretty worthwhile.
Adobe After Effects is typically used for high-end motion graphics and post-production video effects. But don’t let its complex features intimidate you — you can also use the program on a smaller scale for basic 2D animations. Similar to Apple Motion, you can choose from a handful of default animations and drag them into an easy-to-use edit space. Again, it’s a great way to create quick animations for content series or titles.
3. Go! Animate
Functions: Animated shorts, character and background template varieties
Price: $25 per month for business plan
Go! Animate is an online application you can use to make customized video animations — for work presentations, school lessons or just after-work side projects. The website offers 50 template cartoon characters (with 150 different poses) to choose from, as well as 20 backgrounds, 20 music tracks and 200 props. You can use the program’s template voices for your characters or customize them even further by recording your own.
Functions: 3D-animated videos
Price: $50 per month for professional plan
Xtranormal operates similarly to Go! Animate, only here the animations are 3D. You can choose between 500 characters (with 80 gestures), 200 background sets and 20 languages and direct up to 12 characters per “scene.”
Functions: Animated shorts, product promotion
An up-and-coming program (it’s still in its beta phase), Wideo is a free platform for creating basic animations. You can choose a template, as well as pictures from your personal library, and customize them into short informational videos. The company says its main purpose is to help businesses create simple animated commercials.