Free Computer Animation Programs

Designer focusing on his work on the computer.
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Want to try before you buy, or looking for something simple but functional with no strings attached? Here's a list of various animation software packages available for download, and reviews of several applications. Some are entirely free, some are shareware, some are free with limited functions (with more available after paying), and some are free trials that either expire after time or come with certain critical options disabled.

2D Animation Software

Software: Adobe AfterEffects
Publisher: Adobe
License: Free Trial
Comments: Motion graphics and visual effects for film and media.

Software: Animator-9 3.6
Publisher: Key Technology
License: Free
Comments: Make animated GIFs from your digital camera.

Software: Animator-DV (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: AnimatorHD
License: Free Trial
Comments: Stop-motion animation on your computer.

Software: Anime Studio Pro 5 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: MySmithMicro
License: Free Trial
Comments: Studio-style animation program.

Software: AniS 1.0
Publisher: Tom Whittaker
License: Free
Comments: Simple image manipulation for the web.

Software: Beneton Movie GIF (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: Beneton Software
License: Free
Comments: Basic GIF animation software.

Software: Cylekx 2.9 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: Cylekx
License: Free
Comments: Graphics and animation program.

Software: DigiCel Flipbook 6 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: DigiCel, Inc.
License: Free Trial
Comments: Industry standard studio animation program.

Software: Flash Effect Site Builder (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: (Warning: website not safe for work)
License: Free Trial
Comments: More of a website builder, but still uses Flash animation.

Software: Flash Media Show (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: SourceTec Software
License: Free (Standard Edition)
Comments: Flash slideshow builder and exporter.

Software: FotoMorph (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: Digital Photo Software
License: Free
Comments: Image morphing and animation software.

Software: GifSplitter 2 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: XoYo Software
License: Free
Comments: Simple GIF animation and splitting program.

Software: Jumpwel
Publisher: Phildes
License: Free
Comments: Basic object manipulator for use in HTML; uses Java applets.

Software: KoolMoves 7.0 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: KoolMoves
License: Free Trial
Comments: Alternative Flash animation program.

Software: Adobe Flash
Publisher: Adobe
License: Free Trial
Comments: The leading name in 2D vector animation.

Software: Macromedia Director
Publisher: Macromedia
License: Free Trial
Comments: Create interactive ShockWave content.

Software: Sqirlz Lite 1.1d
Publisher: xiberpix
License: Free
Comments: Animated image distorter that exports in AVI format.

Software: Sqirlz Morph 2.1 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: xiberpix
License: Free
Comments: Animated image morpher and blender. Capable of outputting in Flash format.

Software: The TAB Manga (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: The TAB
License: Free Trial
Comments: Children's animation program.

Software: Toon Boom Animate (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: Toon Boom
License: Free Trial
Comments: Industry-leading professional studio animation program.

Software: Ulead GIF Animator 5 (Read a Review from!)
Publisher: Corel
License: Free Trial
Comments: Full-featured GIF animation software.

3D Animation Software

Software: 3D Studio Max 7.0
Publisher: Discreet
License: Free Trial
Comments: Version 7.0 of the award-winning 3D modeling and animation software package. Also comes with trials of Character Studio and Mental Ray.

Software: Cyberdelia (Read a Review from!)
License: Free
Comments: 3D Animation with support for exporting into Macromedia Shockwave.

Software: FreeCAD 8.0
License: Free
Comments: Bit of a beginner's 3D CAD and simulation program.

Software: Gmax
Publisher: Discreet
License: Free
Comments: Oh, man. It's every gamer's dream: a free 3D program that lets you make your own modifications, customizations, and models for Gmax-ready video games. Based on 3D Studio Max.

Software: Maya 6.5
Publisher: Alias WaveFront
License: Free Trial
Comments: The latest version of an industry leader in 3D modeling and animation.

Software: Serif 3D Plus
Publisher: Serif
License: Free
Comments: Allows animated shapes and landscapes.

Software: Special Effects 3.2
Publisher: Mathematically Beautiful ScreenSavers
License: Free
Comments: Very limited range of pre-set animations controlled by user preferences.

Software: Touch Art Sampler 017
Publisher: Derivative
License: Free
Comments: More of a VJ/synthesizer studio than anything else, but still lets you play with animations. Looks rather fun.

Software: TrueSpace 3.2
Publisher: Caligari
License: Free
Comments: Full 3D rendering and output. Seems completely free, though you have to register to get an unlock code on the website. Cross-compatible with many programs.