Pencil2D – Pencil Test Animation Software

I love animation.

I love traditional animation.

But how would you make such animation on the computer? Programs like Blender3D offer 3d animation, Flash and similar programs offer modern 2d animation. But I want traditional, draw-every-frame-by-hand animation. I’ve been using Photoshop for a long time, which is slow and cumbersome. But what should you use?

Enter Pencil, a free software program meant for animation tests. There are many other 2d animation software suites you can choose, most of which are vector-based and can take time to understand. But Pencil couldn’t be easier. As simple as Microsoft Paint, it adds a timeline, onion skinning, and layers on the bottom to let you create simple animations within minutes. I’ve been a fan of it for years.

The problem is, Pencil has been stuck in development, not receiving any updates since 2008. But I recently discovered “Pencil2D,” a fan-driven initiative to continue development. You see, Pencil is open-source software, code available to all, and these programmers are trying to use and build upon that foundation, with versions as recent as 2013.

Granted, having tested the most recent version, it barely makes any improvements. And bugs and missing features of the original software still persist, making it barely acceptable as true professional animation software. But it does the job, and if you need something simple to practice your animation skills, this is perfect. And that indie developer spirit is necessary for this project’s continuation, I encourage any hardcore programmers to contribute your attention.