10 Best Animation Software for Mac (Free and Paid)
Animation has come a long way since the creation of the world’s first animation movie in 1908. Nowadays, it is used for movies, marketing, advertising, gaming, and a myriad of other purposes. Similarly, the market is flooded with numerous animation software for Mac – the preferred device for animation. Each app caters to a different type of animation and a different segment of animators. Choosing the proper animation software can therefore become confusing.
In this article, we have compiled a list of the best and free animation apps to help you in your animation journey.
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Top 10 Animation Software for Mac –
1. Canva for Mac
Compatibility: macOS 10.14 and above | Pricing: Basic version: Free, Pro version: $12.99 per month or $119.99 per year | Difficulty level: Easy
Canva for Mac is extremely simple and among the best free animation apps. Use their extensive collection of templates, stickers, and GIFs to animate, or make your own designs and animate them in a few clicks. The easy drag-and-drop interface simplifies the process. Even newbies can start their journey easily with Canva. This is the best animation software for Mac so far.
Easy to use UI
Free version available with limited features
Available anywhere on the go
Requires an internet connection
2. Adobe Animate
Compatibility: macOS 10.12 (64 bit) or version 10.13 (64 bit) | Pricing: Animate, as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC), is priced at $20. 99/month. | Difficulty level: Intermediate
No creative software list can be complete without Adobe’s product. When it comes to animation software, Adobe has Animate. It lets users create frame-by-frame animation with vector graphics using shapes, patterns, curves, etc. These can be used in games, apps, videos, TV shows, and online. It gives you ample features to help you with different types of animation projects which makes it one of the best animation programs.
Powerful animation tools
Multi-platform publishing support
Adobe customer support
Costly compared to other options on this list.
Can consume a lot of your Mac’s memory
Steep learning curve
3. Pencil 2D
Compatibility: macOS 10.12 or higher | Pricing: Pencil 2D is free and open-source. | Difficulty level: Easy
Pencil 2D is among Mac’s finest free animation software for 2D animation – perfect for those entering this field solely focusing on 2D animation. Switching between workflows on the straightforward interface is easy. You can save your animations as bitmap or vector drawings. The app gets frequent incremental updates and has tremendous community support.
Simple user interface
Great community support
Limited options compared to other tools
Limited to 2D animations
Compatibility: macOS 10.13 all versions and above | Price: Free | Difficulty level: Pro
Like Pencil 2D, Blender is a free animation app for Mac. The open-source software supports 2D and 3D animation creation. It supports the entire animation workflow, from modeling to video editing. Its path-tracer engine offers ultra-realistic rendering. Its strong community base provides sufficient support to new users.
Supports the entire 3D pipeline
Open-source and free
Versatile and powerful
UI may seem difficult for new users.
5. Autodesk Maya
Compatibility: Apple macOS 10.13.x and above | Pricing: Free trial | Paid version: $1785 per year | Difficulty level: Pro
Autodesk Maya, a powerful animation software for Mac. It has even been used in movies like Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. Its several features let you create characters, motion graphics, backgrounds, etc. It is among the best apps for rendering, simulation, and animation. As it is designed for experienced users, it is recommended for those well-familiar with animation software.
Complete animation tool used by professionals
Can be used even for VR.
Great for animation, simulation, rendering, and motion graphics.
Uses memory intensively.
6. Daz 3D Studio
Compatibility: macOS 10.7 and above. | Pricing: Free | Difficulty level: Medium
Daz 3D Studio is a feature-rich, free animation software for Mac for creating stunning, realistic character production, 3D animation, modeling, and rendering. It provides GPU-accelerated real-time rendering to give natural, photo-realistic results. Its large product library and interactive tutorials make it one of the easiest-to-learn animation apps for Mac.
Easy learning curve.
Free to use.
Customer support is not very good
Many glitches are present in the app
7. Toon Boom Harmony
Pricing: Price: $25.50 -$117.50 per month | Free trial available | Compatibility: macOS 10.13.6 and higher | Difficulty level: Intermediate
Harmony is a professional 2D animation software for Mac for creating animations easily with several drawing and animation tools. It supports color control, recoloring, HD to 8K rendering, vector drawing, and bitmap support. It offers plenty of control over your designs. Harmony has been used in creating The Simpsons series and several other animated TV shows.
Cost-effective and offers a free trial
8. Cinema 4D
Pricing: Price: $999/year | Trial: Free for 14 days | Compatibility: macOS 10.14.6 and above. 10.15.7 is the recommended version for smooth operation. | Difficulty level: Easy
Cinema 4D is a long-standing, popular tool among Mac users. It helps create complex 3D animations, motion graphics, and illustrations. Although it is professional software, even students can master it easily thanks to its easy-to-understand user interface. The app developers have also provided numerous tutorials and quick tips to help newbies.
Easy to use
Support from developers and community
Excellent rendering engine
Limited features in the free version
9. LightWave 3D
Pricing : LightWave 3D will cost you $995.00. There is also a 30-day free trial. | Compatibility: macOS 10.12 and above | Difficulty level: Pro
LightWave 3D is a fully-fledged animation software for creating animations, motion graphics, product designs, etc. It has been used in films, TV shows, and video game development. It combines a state-of-the-art renderer with powerful animation and graphics designing tools.
Powerful, professional animation tool
Can be used for various animation tasks
OpenGL support for real-time visual feedback
Can seem complex to new users
Pricing : Synfig is free and open-source. | Compatibility: macOS 10.8 or above | Difficulty level: Pro
Synfig is an advanced 2D animation tool and one of the best animation software for Mac for 2D animation. Its numerous features include the ability to create animations with Bitmap images, multiuser support for group projects, filters, distortion, and transformations.
Free to use
Great community support
Steep learning curve
FAQs on Animation Software for Mac
1. What is the best animation software for Mac?
This choice will vary from person to person, depending upon their needs, familiarity, and preferences. Based on our research, the ones discussed in this article are the top ten animation programs suited for this purpose. Many others may be more suited to your requirements and level of comfort.
Adobe Animate is a good software to begin your animation journey. However, if you are already experienced, you can upskill with Autodesk Maya and create complex 3D animations.
2. Is a Mac good for animation?
Mac is a good choice compared to Windows devices when it comes to animation. The seamless integrity and ecosystem of the hardware and software make Mac a powerful and preferred device for animation.
3. Do Macs have animation software?
Mac does not have an inbuilt animation software per se. But, you can create simple animations with the inbuilt Keynote app.
4. What is the best 2D animation software for Mac?
This choice will vary from person to person. However, we would recommend Pencil 2D and Blender for 2D animation.
Choosing the right animation program seems like a difficult job. But, if you know what you want, the task becomes relatively easy. These are some cutting-edge animation programs compatible with Mac, as per our research.
Canva and Adobe Animate are the leading apps for lightweight animation tasks, in our opinion. If you want to do heavy-duty work, Autodesk Maya and Lightwave 3D are your best bet.
Which app is the best animation software for Mac, according to you? Is there any other app you are using for animating on your Mac? Let us know.