How to Make 2D Animations: Beginner to Expert

How to Make 2D Animations: Learning 2D animation is a great skill whether you are working for a company or trying to build your own personal brand. Animated contents are engaging and just simply nice to look at.

Plus, creating an animation from scratch is immensely fun. You can let your creativity soar and produce something you are proud of. However, where do you even begin learning animations? Glad you asked.

This article will give you a complete guide on how to make 2D animations. We will cover basic animations concepts and what even is 2D animation. Also, there are short reviews for animation software you can use too. 

Explaining 2D animation

2D animations are the old form of animations where the character on the screen only has width and height. They are restricted in a 2D space, unlike the more advanced 3D animations we see nowadays.

Animation on the other hand is basically bringing scenes and imagery to life. This is done by having fast-moving frames to create a sense of movement and life. Animators use many different tools for animations and some will even start the animation process by hand-drawing it.

There are different types of animations as well. As mentioned above, some of them are, 2D, 3D, hand-drawn. Others are stop motion animation and vector graphics.

Since this article is for 2D animations. There is a process for creating any animation as well.

Also Read: How to Make a Cartoon Video?

A Typical 2D Animation Process

To make sure your animated video or film is as good as you want it to be, there are some steps you need to take. The process is there to ensure you create a cohesive and polished story.

1. What is The Story

Every animation should have a story. Before you begin to animate, you need to hash out the story that you want to tell. Who are your characters, who is the protagonist, antagonist? And also, what is it they want – the usual storytelling concepts should be there.

2. The Script

After you are done with establishing a story, you will need an actual script. The script is there to know what the characters will be saying. Writing the script is also a good way to tell if there is an issue with the story, are there any loopholes or pacing problems.

3. The Visual Style

Decide on a visual style of your animation. How do you want the color palette to be? This part is super fun since it lets you try different things. 

4. Storyboard

A storyboard comes next. This will be to convey a bird’s eye view of how the animation will play out. This part is quite important. A good storyboard should always ensure it gives a clear picture of how the final product might look like. 

5. A Rough Animatic

This process comes after the animatic and ties in the concept of art and storyboard together to show us a rough cut of the film itself.

6. Assets

Assets are things like the character designs, the background of the animation and everything thing you would need to make the actual animation come to fruition.

7. Animating

Then comes the animating section. This will easily take up most of the time. This is where the concept and the actual animation come to life. You will need to use animation software to create the animations and make all the pieces come together to form a complete movie.

8. The Details – Textures and Lighting

While animating, you will need to be mindful of other things such as the lighting and textures. Good lighting in the animation will truly make the scene come to life.

9. Editing

Editing is done to iron out the whole movie and polish it up for the final presentation.

10. Music and Sound Effects

Without music and sound effects the overall animation will look bland. Adding music and sound effects to your animation at this stage makes it more enjoyable to watch.

11. Final Rendition

Now you can enjoy the final output of your creation and enjoy the movie in its entirety.

Top 3 Animation software for 2D Animation

There are many tools you can use to start 2D animations. Here are some popular ones you can start with.Honestly, at the end of the day, you will need to learn this software if you actually want to know how to make 2D animations. You can watch tutorials and how-to videos to get a better understanding of this software. 


Opentoonz is free software you can use if you are just starting to learn how to make 2D animations. There are different features like GTS scanning, the option to add lighting and distortion and more.

You can also use a plug in to make automatic animation effects. Overall, for free software it gets the job done. 


Another free software that is great for beginners and some professional work. Pick from a whopping 50 layers of animation, to create multiple layered animations easily.

You can add sound and narration to your animations too with the option of syncing them to the characters.

Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boom Harmony is for professionals who want to make killer high-quality 2 animations. There are a ton of tools like bitmap drawing and composition tools you can use.

You will need to put some effort to master the tools though. you can watch online tutorials and start exploring the software to start getting a hang of it.


Making a 2D animation you are proud of will take perseverance and patience. You can start with learning tutorials online and start making basic scenes and characters. When asking how to make 2D animations, there really is no better way to get on hands-on with it. There are full online courses you can take on different sites as well that will help the learning process even further.