Pencil helps you bring out your inner animator

screenshot of Pencil

Pencil is a free open-source animation program. Not aimed at professionals, it allows just about anybody to create old-school 2-dimensional animation. Working with layers, it supports both bitmapped and vector drawings. Using virtual "onion skins", you create one image, and then use that to create your next one by displaying a semi-transparent rendering of your first image, just the way the great classic animators used to painstakingly create all the old pre-computer cartoons. You can draw your images within Pencil, or you can import drawings from other apps, or even scan them in from your real-world drawings.

The camera layer lets you move the viewer's point-of-view around your drawings. There's also some support for a sound layer, so you can add voices or music to your creation.

When you're all done with your masterpiece, you can save your animation to the default XML format, or as a series of PNG images. You can also save it as a Flash movie, or as a QuickTime file (Mac only).

Pencil is available for Linux, Mac, and Windows users.

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