Best Apps For 2d Animation

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2D animation is a very fun and exciting way to create animations for your business or for personal use. This article will give you some of the best apps for 2d animation.

Paint Tool Sai

Paint Tool Sai is one of the most popular 2D animation software on the market today because it is simple to use and has a lot of features that make it easy to create high quality artwork. Paint Tool Sai also has a large community of users that share tips, tutorials and other resources with each other so you can learn more about how to use the application or get help if you need it.

Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony is another popular 2D animation software application that allows users to create high quality animations without having any prior experience with animation software. This program also comes with an extensive library of tutorials and training materials so that you can learn from scratch or advance your skills as an animator over time by exploring new techniques in your work!

best 2d animation apps for ipad

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Animation Apps for iPad in 2022


The power of animation in the palm of your hands. These are the best iPad animation apps of 2021.

Since Apple released the iPad Pro, the App Store has filled up with new tools you can utilize in your animation workflow. So we thought it’d be fun to put together a simple guide to get you acquainted with the best cel animation tools for your frame-by-frame animations.


In this article, we’re going to run through some of our favorite applications for the iPad. However, these are just our favorites and in no way a complete list. If you’ve got an app that works well for you, share it on social and tag us!

Let’s get to it!

Essential Cel Animation Features

We had a handful of things we believed were necessary for the cel animation apps to include to make it a feasible option for animating. These features include:

  1. Tools that utilized a stylus/pencil
  2. A Timeline with Playback
  3. Onion Skinning

If you’ve never heard of the term onion skinning, it’s simply a feature that allows you to see transparent versions of the frames before and after your current frame while you animate. It’s an essential feature for animation.

Because a lot of ‘animation’ apps in the App Store don’t include one of the three features above, we omitted them from our list of cel animation apps.

Our Favorite Cel Animation Apps for iPad Pro

The moment you’ve been waiting for… Here’s a short list of our favorite cel animation apps for the iPad Pro.


Animation Desk ipad app review-Kdan Mobile.png
Just a snippet of the tools you can use in Animation Desk.


  • Storyboard playback
  • The ability to roll animations
  • Layers
  • Onion-skinning
  • Video import
  • Storyboarding and storyboard export
  • Turn your storyboard into a video
  • Export as a GIF, video, or Photoshop file (PSD).


  • Limited brushes available

Animation Desk is a powerful app, and it’s got plenty of features to help you create your frame by frame masterpiece. Not only does it have a mobile version of the software, but you can also download it from the Windows Store for your desktop. You can download a free version of Animation desk, buy it straight from the App Store for $19.99, or enroll in Kdans Creativity 365 subscription.


Callipeg ipad animation app review.png


  • Multiple Timeline Layers
  • Custom Brushes
  • Clean and functional User Interface
  • Flexible payment options
  • Timeline scrubbing
  • Pressure sensitivity
  • Snappy Performance
  • Easy color-fill option
  • Easy traditional preview function with gestures (two-fingers up or down)


  • Some of the gestures and controls are kind of hidden
  • Inconsistent drawing experience at times

If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing and functional app to start creating your animations, Callipeg delivers. Being a dream child launched through Kickstarter, this app has had a significant amount of feedback and backing. As you can see, there are multiple iPad apps allowing you to create frame-by frame animations but the community wanted more “pro” apps for their iPad.

Dig into a full review from kdsketch and get a feel for the app and it’s features!


Roughanimator review- ipad animation app.png
RoughAnimator on the App Store


  • A healthy amount of videos resources
  • Timeline Scrubbing
  • Layers
  • Importing Audio and Video
  • Custom Brushes
  • Support for styluses other than the Apple Pencil
  • Pressure Sensitivity
  • The ability to “Roll” animations
  • Can make a repeatable cycle


  • Some users have complained about the audio workflow

There seems to be an unsung hero among artists using the iPad for traditional style animation. RoughAnimator was developed by an animator, Jacob Kafka, and is available on many different operating systems. It’s probably the most feature-rich cel animation app for the iPad. The app costs $4.99 on the App Store, so there isn’t a free version to try out, but it seems to be scratching an itch for most animators.

If you wanna get a quick run down check out this video by Ben Marriot!


Clip studio-ipad animation app review.png


  • Feature-Rich
  • Free Trial
  • Multiple Layers
  • Multiple Brushes
  • User Interface feels familiar to desktop
  • Flexible workspace arrangement
  • Draw in vector
  • Multiple platforms supported
  • Can save to Photoshop file format


  • Non-Pro is limited to 24 fps
  • Not many iPad tutorials (Mostly Desktop version)

Looking for something that feels familiar to your desktop experience? Something similar to animating in Adobe Animate or Photoshop? Clip Studio Paint is a robust solution for your iPad offering a ton of tools and options. One of the downsides is a part of its strengths, there is a lot on the screen and it can be daunting. But, we suggest checking it out since there is a free trial option!

Here are some basics for navigating Clip Studio Paint



  • Very simple user interface
  • Super fun to use
  • Has support for multiple layers
  • Easy to make quick animations
  • Innovative design and workflow
  • Can record your animations while creating


  • Only allows for 24 frames of animation

Reimagining what it means to animate frame by frame, Looom has taken on traditional animation workflows and made it… fun? We almost didn’t add this app in because it doesn’t feel “professional”, but it actually meets all of the criteria needed for this list. Looom brings a whacky and fast-paced experience to animation that feels more like play than it does work. For $9.99 this app feels like a bargain since you’re getting an experience and a tool all in one.

Take a look at how it works!


Animatic app by inkboard- iPad Animation.png
Onion Skinning inside of Anamatic


  • Can download and use for free
  • Clean User Interface
  • Can export as a Photoshop file


  • Can’t pick colors outside of preset choices
  • No option for layers
  • Doesn’t support Apple Pencil pressure sensitivity

Animatic is a simple and somewhat limited option, but has a very clean UI and runs solid. You won’t be running to this app to make long animations, but its simplicity helps you create quick animations on the spot with out a fuss. There is an option to upgrade to Animatic Pro for a monthly fee that unlocks better onion skinning options and repeatable frames.

A Great Cel Animation Resource?

One of our favorite books, The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams, takes a deep dive into traditional animation techniques. Williams gives a great look at the pre-production process, how you can properly set-up your scenes, and breaks down the principles of animation.

Walk cycle refernce for a dog and cat.jpg
Just a small look at the glory within…

Hopefully you’ve found this article to be helpful. If you want to learn more about the principles of animation check out Animation Bootcamp here on School of Motion. The course is a deep-dive into the principles of what it takes to create life-like movements.

However, Illustration skills are a crucial skill for effectively creating cel animation. Illustration for Motion is a dynamic course built to build your drawing skills rapidly!

In Illustration for Motion, you’ll be empowered to create your own illustrated works, gaining valuable knowledge and insights from one of the top talents in the industry, Sarah Beth Morgan.

We can’t wait to see the animations you create with these apps!


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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