Free Animation Tools

Animation is Easy With These Free Web Apps

man wearing headphones looking at a laptop

 John Howard / Getty Images

Don't have a video camera or editing software? Not to worry. With an Internet connection and a little bit of time, you can be on your way to making professional looking animated videos.

There are just about as many reasons to make animated videos as there are websites for making them. Animated video is a great way to let someone know you care, to share a laugh, or to improve the look and feel of a website. Animation can also be used to enhance a business's advertising strategy, to attract buyers to product listings, and to attract students' attention in the classroom. Here's a list of online video animation tools to get you started.​

Dvolver

What We Like

  • Fun, colorful, cartoon-based interface.

  • Include chat, texting, and picture-sending.

  • Easy to use.

  • No download required.

What We Don't Like

  • Can be difficult for young users.

Dvolver is a fun and simple way to get acquainted with the world of online animation. Dvolver is completely free, and lets you send your completed animations to friends and family via email.

Set the scene for your animation by choosing from pre-programmed backgrounds and skies, and then select a plot. Next, choose characters, add dialogue and music, and voila! Your animated movie is complete. The style of Dvolver Moviemaker's characters, music, and backgrounds often generate quirky and hilarious animations.

JibJab

What We Like

  • Creating and sending ecards is fun and easy.

  • Easy to use, with customizable content to use as starting points.

  • Responsive customer service.

What We Don't Like

  • Users should be careful to read subscription terms, which include autorenewal and billing.

  • Some content not for sensitive audiences.

JibJab first gained popularity for its animated political satires and has since become a booming website. JibJab creates its own original content and allows you to add and animate the faces of your choice to its photos and videos. There are a limited amount of free, customizable videos on JibJab, but for a dollar a month, you can send unlimited photo and videos.

There are JibJab cards and videos for birthdays, special occasions, and for fun. Once you choose a photo or video, you can feature the faces of your family and friends by uploading photos from your computer or Facebook. You can share your JibJab animations and cards using Facebook, Twitter, email, or a blog.

JibJab also has an exciting iPad app for children called JibJab Jr. This app lets you feature the name and face of your child in exciting digital picture books, increasing the attention and interactivity of the reading experience.

Voki

What We Like

  • Fun vocal avatars for kids.

  • Ideal for class projects and presentations.

  • Free lesson plans to help teachers use Voki in the classroom.

  • Excellent tool for students who shy away from oral assignments and public speaking.

What We Don't Like

  • Takes some practice to learn.

  • Premium version (paid) available only to teachers, school administrators, and other education professionals.

Voki specializes in the creation of speaking avatars that allow you to give personalized expression to a digital context. Although Voki is a great addition to any web page, it's advertised as an educational tool for students and teachers alike. Voki is free to use, but there is a yearly subscription fee to access the full selection of educational features.

Whether creating a talking animal or an avatar of yourself, Voki characters are highly customizable. After you create your character, Voki gives you four different options for adding personalized voice using the telephone, text-to-speech software, your computer's built-in microphone, or uploading an audio file.

Voki Classroom allows teachers to manage assignments and lesson plans involving Voki characters, and gives each student a Voki login to complete assignments. In addition, the Voki website provides teachers with free access to hundreds of lesson plans that use Voki software as a tool for teaching and learning.