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The Ultimate Independent Animator's App and Resource List 2019-2023 - Animation and Video Life

Image created with Cartoon Animator 4.
Being an independent animator is not like a studio animation job. There's so much more to do that is indirectly related to the actual task of animating. Over the years I've sought out many apps, tools, and services that can help me achieve that one single task, expressing myself through animation.

Below is my Ultimate Independent Animator's Resource List for 2019-2022. It started out as a list of free or low cost apps that could help you in every stage of producing either 2D or 3D animation, and then just kind of grew from there.

You may not have been looking for a Time Management App as much as you needed something to get you started in 3D animation but when those commissioned projects start coming in you'll have a head start on maximizing your time.

All the apps and services on this list had to meet two main criteria:

  1. They had to be useful and relevant to an Indy Animator/artist.
  2. The base app/service had to be US$200.00 or less.
    (In the case of a subscription service that's $200 or less annually).

The focus initially was on free apps only but, over the years, I've happily paid for tools and apps that really have made a difference to my workflow. However I capped it at US$200.00 because I felt that was a reasonable investment for a tight budget that wouldn't be too big of a decision to flip on.

Where the listing is an app I've included some brief specs so you can see without clicking if something is free, paid, Mac or Windows etc. Below is the key to my abbreviations which hopefully are easy enough to remember.

Price: F = Free | P = Paid (or Paid Options).

System: M = Mac | W = Windows | L = Linux | i = iOS | A = Android | B = Browser

App Type: C = Cloud App/Service | D = Desktop App | M = Mobile App

Codes are written in the same order as the above e.g.

Name of App/Service - Brief Description.
[ FP + MWLiAB + CDM ]

As you'll see the list is broken up into categories of related apps and services so you can narrow down more easily to those that you are interested in. Some of these links are affiliate links and are noted as such. Clicking on them helps keep this site free for you and supports me as an independent creator. 

Note: This list is a work in progress and is constantly being updated since it was initially posted. If you discover any of the links no longer work, or the apps are no longer available please leave a comment and let me know. If you know of an app you think should be on the list that meets the criteria of being either free or low cost, also leave a comment to let me know.

Let's begin...


If you like to think visually then these mind mapping tools can be as useful as a whiteboard for brainstorming ideas and linking them together through the use of flowcharts.
  • Freeplane - Flowchart mind mapping app.
    [ F + MWL + D ] 
  • Mind Map Free - Browser based flowchart mind mapping app.
    [ F + B + C ] 
  • XMind - Flowchart mind mapping app with more advanced features.
    [ P + MWiA + DM ] 
  • Scapple - Note taking and flowchart app. Partner App to Scrivener (see Script Writing section).
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Canva, Mind Maps - Canva has a bunch of free and premium design tools you may find useful. If you have a mind map you want to spruce up (perhaps for a studio pitch document) then Canva Mind Maps has all kind of great looking templates you can customize, or start from scratch.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • VUE - Open source mind mapping tool that also allows you to organize your maps into slide presentations.
    [ F + MWL + D ]

Script Writing

While you can write scripts in your favorite word processor, if you want to look a little more professional, there are script writing apps that automatically format your script to industry standards as you write, leaving you free to focus just on the writing.
  • KIT Scenarist - Completely free, open source screenwriting app for almost every platform. Mobile versions only have fees associated with them for additional cloud based services.
    [ FP + MWLiA + DM ]
  • Trelby - Basic script writing app. This may be all you need.
    [ F + WL + D ]
  • Fade In - As good, if not better, scriptwriting app than the industry standard Final Draft for a fraction of the cost.
    [ P + MWLiA + DM ]
  • CinemaVision Fountain Editor - Full featured script writing app that includes additional advanced features like outline trees and production reports.
    [ F + MWL + CD ]
  • Scrivener - Scrivener is a complete writing tool for all types of long form writing not just scriptwriting. Partner App to Scapple (see Brainstorming section).
    [ P + MWi + DM ]
  • Celtx - Celtx can be used to document and plan every aspect of your productions but the most basic service is focussed on script writing.
    [ P + B + C ]
  • Writer Duet - Similar cloud based script writing app to Celtix.
    [ P + BiA + CM ]


All you really need to storyboard is pencil and paper but a storyboarding app is like having unlimited paper, and you never run out of room. It'll also help make your storyboards more understandable if you need to show them to others in your team. Some apps even allow you to make storyboard animatics with audio.
  • Plot - Browser based intuitive storyboarding. Draw or import your boards directly into the app. Even makes it easy to write and edit your script independent of the storyboard. Easy team features.
    [ P + B + C ]
  • Storyboarder - Ideal for both sketching storyboards directly into the app or importing images. Can also create animatics of your storyboards.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Springboard - Although this is quite an old app it has features comparable to more expensive storyboarding software at just a fraction of the price. Draw directly into the app, import images, create animatics with camera movement and sound.
    [ P + W + D ]

2D Graphics Editors

This section primarily lists applications used for drawing and editing 2D images however some of these tools can also be used for 2D animation. Those apps will also appear in the 2D Animation Section.
  • LunaPic - Free, browser based, image processing app with many filters and animations that can be applied with one click. Links to a lot of online services for easy image sharing too.
    [ F + MWLB + CDM ]
  • Krita - Raster based graphics editor designed specifically with artists/illustrators in mind. Includes support for .PSD files.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • MediBang Paint - Raster based graphics editor for digital painting and comic creation.
    [ F + MWiA + DM ] 
  • Autodesk SketchBook - Raster based graphics editor targeted at designers and other creatives.
    [ F +MWiA + DM ]
  • Photopea - Raster/cloud based graphics editor with support for .PSD files. Free with ads or paid options to remove them.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • Clip Studio Paint (Pro) - Like Krita Clip Studio Paint was designed for artists, specifically those creating comics, and graphic novels. Also includes tools for hand drawn animation.
    [ P + MW = DM ]
  • Inkscape - Vector based graphics editor. Can export to .SVG and transparent PNG images.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Boxy SVG - Vector based graphics editor. .SVG native file format, and it can export to transparent PNG images.
    [ P + MWL + CDM ]
  • PhotoScape - Photoscape is actually an entire suite of free graphics tools. Whilst its actual photo editor is fairly basic many of its other tools are extremely useful, from batch editing to quickly combining multiple images into one large image.
    [ FP + MW + D ]
  • Affinity Photo - Raster Based Photo editor on the level of Photoshop without the price.
    [ P + MWi + DM ]
  • Affinity Designer - Vector based graphics editor almost on the level of Adobe Illustrator but again without the price tag.
    [ P + MWi + DM ]

2D Animation

Whether it's traditional, hand drawn animation, Puppet rigged character animation, motion graphics, or 3D animation there's an app here that should suit your needs.
  • Pencil2D Animator - Specifically intended for more traditional hand drawn raster based animation, Pencil 2D also has vector tools primarily intended to 'ink' your sketches.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Animation Paper - Another app for hand drawn cel style animation. This app is in development and is currently free in its pre-release form.
    [ F + WML + D ]
  • CACANi - 2D auto tweening clean up tool. This is a fairly advanced software app for those looking to make really high quality, professional hand drawn, cel based animation (or are just particular about smooth tweening).
    [ P + W + D ]
  • TupiTube Desk - Hand drawn, vector based animation. There is a mobile version of this app targeted at kids that is very different to the desktop app which has tools like Xsheets, used by traditional animators.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Enve - A relative new comer to the 2D Vector animation scene but certainly looks promising if animating with vector images is your interest. The download website is sparse on documentation but you can get a good overview complete with demo videos on the Libre Arts Website.
    [ F + WL + D ]
  • Krita - Although mainly a digital illustration app, tools for creating hand drawn 2D animation were recently added to the software.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Clip Studio Paint (Pro) - Similarly like Krita Clip Studio Paint also includes tools for hand drawn 2D animation.
    [ P + MW = DM ]
  • Reallusion Cartoon Animator - Primarily an animation composition tool, you'll need graphics software to create content to be animated inside Cartoon Animator. Alternatively you can buy characters, backgrounds, and props ready made from Reallusion's extensive marketplace.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Moho Debut - Vector/Raster based animation app. Includes a fairly well featured set of vector drawing tools for creating your own characters and other graphics or take advantage of content packs that can be purchased from an extensive marketplace.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Koolmoves - Flash/HTML5 based animation. Koolmoves is more than just an animation tool, it can be used to create Flash/HTML5 apps.
    [ P + W + D ]
  • Synfig Studio - Is best described as similar to Moho in its approach to creating 2D animation. It's very capable software that is being used by its developers on some very advanced projects.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • OpenToonz -  Started life as a full custom developed 2D animation tool for a professional animation studio. It has since been made more user friendly and is capable of very high quality 2D animation.
    [ F + MW + D ]
  • Blender - Blender is a powerful animation studio best known for creating 3D graphics but, since the release of Blender 2.8 it now includes very powerful tools for creating 2D hand drawn animation, as well as 2D motion graphics, and 2D bone rigged characters.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Spine -  If your interest is more in animation for games then this dedicated 2D game animation app may be a good place to start.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Spriter 2 -  Similar to Spine this dedicated 2D game animation app makes creating in game 2D character and prop animations much simpler.
    [ P + MWL + D ]
  • Piskel - Another app like Spine and Spriter except this one is free and open source. Browser and desktop versions.
    [ F + MWLB + CD ]
  • ToonBoom Harmony Essentials - Entry level version of this industry standard tool, an annual subscription easily makes this list.
    [ P + MW + D ]

3D Sculpting Editors

3D animation requires 3D characters and props. If you want to make these yourself then these tools are just what you need.
  • Design Doll - Not your traditional 3D sculpting app, Design Doll is intended as a fully featured reference tool for artist/illustrators/comic artists etc. Create and pose character models in complete scenes to use as a reference for your art.
    [ FP + W + D ]
  • Zbrush Core Mini - From the makers of Zbrush, Core Mini is their free, entry level 3D sculpting app. It's a great place to start, particularly if you eventually want to use the full Zbrush app.
    [ F + MW + D ]
  • Hexagon - From the makers of Daz3D, Hexagon is the perfect partner to their free 3D animation software. Easy to learn for those just starting out.
    [ F + MW + D ]
  • Silo - Standalone 3D modelling app that's compatible with many industry standard 3D modelling apps.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Wings 3D - Open source 3D mesh modelling app.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • K-3D - 3D Modeling and Animation app. Completely Free and Open source.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Blender - Blender is far more than just a 3D modelling tool but you can begin there and gradually discover what makes it such a powerful animation studio.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Bforartists - Bforartists is an offshoot version of Blender that does everything Blender does but with a nicer user interface geared toward ease of use for artists. Projects are interchangeable since it's essentially Blender. However if you found Blender too complex this may be your way in.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • - Fully featured, cloud based, 3D modeling tool. Basic version is free and only limited by storage and usage limitations on your final models.
    [ FP + MWLiAB + C ]
  • Reallusion's Character Creator - A little different from other tools on this list, Character Creator is specifically for creating 3D Bipedal/Human characters relatively quickly simply by adjusting all kinds of settings and utilising existing content packs. Characters can be exported to many leading 3D animation apps.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Make Human - Similar concept to Reallusion's Character Creator, an open source tool designed to create human 3D characters quickly simply by adjusting settings. Characters can be exported to Blender and other 3D apps.
    [F + MWL + D]
  • VRoid Studio - Again a similar concept to Reallusion's character creator except specializing in Anime Characters. Has some interesting tools that allow you to edit textures and more right within the app. VRoid Mobile App is worth a look too.
    [ F + WMiOSA + DM ]
  • Meshroom - Create 3D meshes and renders of your real world sets from photos. Free and Open source. Moviola has an excellent video to get you started.
    [ F + MWL + D ]

3D Animation

If you're a fan of Pixar's 3D style, you want to get into pre-visualization, or live action 3D animation and visual effects these tools may be a good place to get started.
  • Muvizu - Muvizu animations tend to have a very specific style but they're loads of fun to make and a good place to start with 3D animation that isn't too complex to learn.
  • [ FP + W + D ]
  • Blender - Blender is a powerful animation studio that can pretty much cover all your 3D graphic modelling and animation and then some. If you're at all interested in 3D animation Blender is a great place to start.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Bforartists - Bforartists is an offshoot version of Blender that does everything Blender does but with a nicer user interface geared toward ease of use for artists. Projects are interchangeable since it's essentially Blender. However if you found Blender too complex this may be your way in.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • Daz 3D - Daz3D is much like Blender in that it's a complete 3D animation solution. Behind it is a store filled with thousands of 3D content that you can purchase for your own animations if sculpting your own content is not your strong point.
    [ F + MW + D ] 
  • iClone 8 - Similar to Daz3D but packed with time saving features to speed up your workflow. iClone also has a rich content market to draw upon.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Unity - So much more than an animation environment, Unity is used in all kinds of 3D projects. Get started with the full app for free.
    [ FP + MW + D ]

AI Text, Image, and Animation Tools

  • Rytr (Affiliate Link) - Primarily an AI writing assistant similar to ChatGPT. Use it to help craft your next script, Video Title, Blog post, SEO, Keywords. Basically anything to do with words it can assist you with. Rytr's browser extension can help you write on other websites too.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • (Affiliate Link) - Arguably one of the best text to image generators after Midjourney, Leonardo is a collection of AI image generation tools that are easy to use including, training your own models, real-time image generation, real-time canvas, texture generation, and more. Their free account gives you 150 tokens per day and is great for casual use. Premium accounts unlock more features. All accounts give you full commercial license of your images. 
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • PromeAI (Affiliate Link) - Similar service to Leonardo but with a number of unique tools and geared toward specific uses like, character design, architecture, Landscapes, and Product Design. I particularly like the Sketch Rendering tool that can digitally colour your sketches.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • - EverArt is similar to Prome and Leonardo except its entire focus is on allowing you to train your own models in any style you choose just by submitting a collection of 15-20 images. The interface is very simple but the image quality is outstanding. 
    [ P + B + C ]
  • Midjourney - One of the Original text to image generators and widely regarded as the best. Unfortunately built on a discord server User Interface, though they have been working on a web app version.
  • DALL-E - The original text to image generator has now been incorporated into Chat GPT. You can also access it completely free through Bing CoPilot.
    [ F + B + C ]

Motion Capture

  • Plask - Free browser based app that can extract full body motion capture data from a video or webcam recording. Use the included animation app to refine the motion then export into one of several formats for use in other 3D applications.
    [ F + MWLB + C ]

Computer Generated Voices (Text to Speech etc.)

  • Replica Studios - Text to Speech, human, AI voice actors for games, film and the metaverse. Get 30 minutes of free voice credit when you sign up. Some of the most realistic AI voices out there based on real human speech patterns and voices. Includes plugins for some popular development apps.
    [ FP + MW + D ]
  • Text to Speech (Affiliate Link) - Like Replica Studios but a cloud based app. Definitely comparable to Replica Studios in terms of being extremely human sounding. Start for free with 10 minutes of TTS Speech.
    [ FP + B + C ] 
  • Eleven Labs - Arguably, Eleven Labs is now the best at realistic Text to Speech. The free plan has a good range of voices and the ability to create custom voices. Very affordable low end paid plans too.
    [ FP + B + C ]


Audio can sometimes be a bit of an afterthought for visual artists and animators but music and sound effects can really add a level of professionalism to what might otherwise be a silent film.
  • Papagayo - Technically not an audio tool, what it does is help you calculate character lip syncing for specific recorded audio. It's output can be directly imported into Moho or Blender but it's still a very useful guide for other animation applications too.
    [ F + MW + D ]
  • Papagayo NG - An enhanced version of Papagayo with support for more languages and phoneme sets.
    [ F + WL + D ]
  • Audacity - The must have app for all your sound editing needs, Audacity is actually a lot more powerful than you think. You may not even need to consider any other audio editor.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • VoiceMod - Quite possibly one of the best voice changing apps around. It's free to use but the paid option will give you access to wider variety of voice change styles. Changes your voice in real time so is great for using during live streams etc.
    [ FP + MW + D ]
  • Voxal Voice Changer - Powerful, real-time voice changing software. Modify, change and disguise your voice in any application or game that uses a microphone.
    [ FP + W + D ]
  • Clownfish Voice Changer - Real-time voice changing software.
    [ F + W + D ]
  • MorphVOX Pro - change your voice online and in-game. Take your voice-changing to a new level with superior voice-learning technology, background cancellation, and sound quality.
    [ FP + W + D ]
  • Free Sound - Not really an app, more of the 'go to' sound library of independent creators everywhere. While all the sound effects are free be sure to check the licenses so that you don't inadvertently use something commercially that was intended for personal use only.
    [ F + B + C ]
  • Sound Effects Lab - Sound Library Resource. As well as general sound effects this library includes sounds specific to Japan if that's something you need.
    [ F + B + C ]
  • YouTube Music & Sound Library  - Sound library resource. If you have a channel on YouTube and want to steer clear of audio copyright strikes, this library of free music and sound effects is your safest bet.
    [ F + B + C ]
  • LMMS - Let's Make Music Sequencer. Compose your own music using audio samples and instrument presets.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • MuseScore3 - Composing Sheet music to send to your musical department may be more your style. MuseScore is a fully featured sheet music composition software with midi input and more.
    [ F + MWL + D ]

Studio Production/Live Broadcasting

You may not need the ability to live broadcast or control a multi-camera studio in real time but if you want to show your fans some of the behind the scenes production, or just create a killer tutorial for how you animated something, these apps can be a real time saver.
  • OBS - Record from multiple webcams, cameras, your computer monitor, overlay graphics and more for live streaming or record direct to a video file for editing later.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • OBS Live Stream Elements - Companion add on to OBS that gives you additional tools when live streaming to give viewers a better experience.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • RecordCast - If OBS looks too complex and you just want something simple to record your screen so you can make a behind the scenes tutorial RecordCast may be just the app.
    [ F + B + C ]

Post Production VFXs

Adobe's After Effects is the most well known post VFX tool. Both Hit Film and DaVinci Resolve video editors (see next category) include some pretty impressive VFX tools built in but if you want something that can work alongside your preferred video editor here are some stand alone post production VFX tools.
  • Natron - add all kinds of post production effects to video and animation. Natron uses easy to understand Node editing graphs that make it easy to apply multiple VFX and animations to your projects.
    [ F + MWL + D ]

Video Editing

No matter what you're using to create your animation you need something to join it all together, add scene transitions, titles and other post production graphics. Learning video editing is almost as important as learning how to animate.
  • TimeBolt (Affiliate Link) - If you're making a lot of training and screen record videos of your work in progress and need to remove all the awkward pauses fast (or turn them into sped up footage) TimeBolt is an editor designed for this exact purpose.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Descript (Affiliate Link) - Using powerful AI features, The all-in-one audio and video editor that makes editing as easy as a word doc. Upload media or record directly in Descript to instantly transcribe your file into text, then tweak the text to directly edit your media clips. Edit out filler words and silent gaps with a single click. The only tool you need to write, record, transcribe, edit, collaborate, and share your videos and podcasts.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • Kdenlive | Libre Video Editor - Fully featured video editor with a relatively easy learning curve. Can import many video formats directly into your project.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • OpenShot Video Editor - Video editor with quite a few advanced features. May be the only video editor you'll ever need.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • VSDC Video Editor - Fairly full featured video editor. You'll also find a few other useful free tools at this site.
    [ F + W + D ]
  • VideoProc Vlogger - Fairly impressive video editor that could easily be a paid app. Targeted at Vloggers and other independent creatives who don't need an overblown feature packed professional editing suite but still want professional results from an easy to learn tool.
    [ F + MW + D ]
  • Shotcut Video Editor - Another fully featured video editor. Does things a little differently to some editors on this list but once you're familiar with where things are it has some extremely powerful tools.
    [ F + MWL + D ]
  • WeVideo - If you're looking for a cloud based editor so you can work from any computer WeVideo is fully featured with very affordable plans.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • Veed - Cloud based video editor, designed to be simple and intuitive, without the learning curve.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • Movavi Video Suite - Features a range of different video tools including a video editor that supports a wide range of file types without the need to convert them first.
    [ P + MW + D ]
  • Filmora Video Editor - Full featured video editor. Versions and pricing to suit your creativity level with the full, lifetime license still being under budget for this list.
    [FP + MW + D ]
  • Hit Film Express - Full featured video editor with some fairly unique post production VFX tools that can elevate your work to the next level. Purchase add on packs for more features.
    [ F + MW + D ]
  • DaVinci Resolve - More than a video editor DaVinci Resolve includes tools for editing, visual effects, motion graphics, color correction and audio post production, all in a single application! (and that's just the free version).
    [ FP + MWL + D ]


Want to get feedback on your animation without uploading to sites like Youtube? Screen testing is one way to find out how your production is being received by people who aren't as close to its creation as you are.
  • Screenlight - Free for 1 User, Screenlight is a secure place to post your finished film so you can screen test it with anyone you wish to invite to view it.
    [ FP + B + C ] 
  • TypeForm - Create a survey to research your market or gauge interest in your project.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • Survey Monkey - Just like TypeForm, anytime you need to do any kind of market research or just get feedback.
    [ FP + B + C ]
  • Telegram - Not really a feedback app as such, Telegram is basically a completely free and open source instant messaging system (much like Microsoft's Messenger app). However if you're working in a team or have a community of people on the app, Telegram has no size limits on your media and chats so you could share your work for instant feedback from your community.
    [ F + MWLiAB + CDM ]

Task Lists/Time Management

If you want to time manage your animation projects better by making lists, or are collaborating with a team and need to delegate tasks, a Task/Time Management tool may come in handy.
  • Taskade - Task list tool that includes many team features and inbuilt video conferencing.
    [ FP + MWiAB + CDM ]
  • Get It Done - Task listing app with some team management features.
    [ FP + iAB + CM ]
  • Week Plan - More than a task list, week plan is based on ideas from the book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" and can help you plan not just your projects but your whole life.
    [ P + iAB + CM ]
  • My Hours - Keep track of you or your team's hours worked, schedule etc.
    [ FP - iAB - CM ]
  • - Integrated CRM, project management, time tracking and billing for freelancers, consultants and teams.
    [ FP - B - C ]
  • Trello - Trello lets you manage your projects through the creation of Boards that can include task lists, team functions and more to help you stay organized.
    [ FP + iAB + CM ]
  • Milanote - Similar to Trello, manage projects through the creation of different types of boards that can be simple task lists or links to external research etc. Includes a web clipping app.
    [ FP +MWiAB + CDM ]
  • Google Calendar/Tasks - Google calendar includes task and project management along with some team collaboration tools as well.
    [ F + B + C ]
  • Hubspot - This is a fully featured Free CRM tool that integrates with many apps and tools you may be using already. It may not be relevant but, if you're running a service based business on the side to fund your projects, this could get you organised. 


Got a more ambitious project that could benefit from external funding or maybe you just want to get paid so you can spend more time bringing your animated movies to your fans.
  • Patreon - Probably the best way to build a financially invested community around your work. Better suited to an ongoing creative practice than one off investor funding.
  • Kickstarter - Ideal for larger, one off projects such as a short film.
  • GoFundMe - Great for projects large or small, works best if you have a large group of friends or a strong social media presence.
  • Ko-fi - An alternative to Patreon. Better for funding an ongoing creative practice.
  • Gumroad - Want to sell your movie as a digital download or sell any digital content as a download. Build a store on Gumroad.
  • PayPal - You can do so much with a PayPal account including setting up a page to accept funding donations for your projects. (If you felt this list was useful I have a page where you can support my creativity - or just see what such a page looks like).


Wondering where you can get your movie seen online. Youtube is probably the most obvious but there are alternatives that may be better suited to your production or just something you can try as well.
  • YouTube - You can make a full time living distributing your work on YouTube via your own YouTube channel. Or you can just host your video there as 'unlisted' ready to embed elsewhere.
  • Vimeo - A great alternative to YouTube if you plan to post your video to a website etc. and don't want all YouTube's inplayer advertising. Free to start with a basic plan.
  • Facebook - If you have a large audience on Facebook why not upload your video directly there.
  • Instagram - Maybe your audience is here? There's also Instagram TV if you're fine with shooting vertical video.
  • Twitter - Post your video directly to Twitter.
  • Adio - Adio's basic video hosting plan is completely free and ad free as well. A great option if you want to embed videos in your website. The also have many other tools to assist with hosting your videos with them.
  • CoPromote - Free cross promotion tool that may get your video seen in more places.
  • Art Station - Essentially a hub for artists working in in all aspects of graphics and 2D/3D animation, build a portfolio site, sell your digital art, courses and more in the marketplace.
  • Your Dedicated Website - Want your video to get all the attention. Build a website for it and drive traffic to that website. Add links to your merch, donation page etc. Basically you control the space and what people see alongside your video.
  • Your Email List - The way to keep in contact with your 1000 true fans is through your email list. Why? Because you control it. Don't have an email list? Start for free with MailChimp.

Image Libraries and Stores/Marketplaces

What if you're a better animator than artist, or you just want to try out someone else's artistic style in your productions? These libraries are a good source of content.
  • Vector Characters - Free library of downloadable 2D characters that you can use for any project commercial or otherwise. These characters are high quality and well worth the effort to create character rigs for.
  • Graphic Mama - When free 2D Vector Characters isn't enough, you can also buy them in many different formats and bundles in this store.
  • Nicu's Clip Art Collection - an extensive library of fairly simple 2D vector graphics under a range of categories. All public domain and free to use without restriction.
  • Cartoon Solutions - An extensive store featuring high quality 2D characters and scenes in a variety of formats.
  • Sketchfab - Show off, share, buy and sell 3D models.
  • Vectortoons - 2D vector graphics and character store covering a wide range. Has an entire free section that can be used for commercial projects.
  • CraftPix - A little left of center, maybe you want to create 2D video game animations. Here's a store where you can purchase game assets for your project. Free content available too.
  • Garry Pye Creations - Props'n'Stuff - After Reallusion's own Marketplace and Content Store, Garry Pye's Creations should be your very next stop (or maybe your first stop?). High Quality characters, props, backgrounds, and even voices from Garry and his hand picked collection of 'other artists'.
  • Icons8 - Primarily a content library site of Icons, Illustrations, photos, and music, Icons8 also includes a number of free design tools that may be useful including a background remover, Vector creator, Photo creator, Realistic face generator, and Smart upscaler.
  • UnDraw - Open source vector illustrations (SVG) library. Very suited to business and infographic illustrations. Coloring can be changed 'on the fly'. Can be used in commercial projects.
  • DrawKit - Vector Illustrations again suited to business and infographic style projects. Commercial use allowed.
  • Free Illustrations - Vector Illustration library with links to many other free libraries and tools as well. Infographic style. Free to use for Commercial projects.

Health, Well Being, and Education

Sometimes you get so caught up in your work that you forget none of it happens, or it all comes to a halt, if you fall ill or just don't take the time to recharge. These sites are for when you need some time out or 'you' time.
  • The Creative Independent - A resources of guides, interviews, and articles from Independent creators from a wide variety of fields. Produced by the same people who made Kickstarter, sometimes it's good to know you're not alone.
  • 2DAnimation101 - Quite possibly some of the best and most useful courses for artists and animators online. Many you can sign up to completely for free. Rejuvenate your art by learning something new.
  • Moviola - A growing library of over 3000 videos teaching all aspects of film making. Watch for free. Well worth exploring.

That's my list. I hope you found at least one or two useful links. If so, tell me in the comments below what you found useful and why.

Is there something I didn't include that you feel should be on the list? Let me know in the comments and I'll review your suggestion and add it in if I feel it fits the criteria. With your help this can truly become the Ultimate Independent Animator's Resource List.


  1. Work up today with the intention to animate something for myself. So f inding this in my inbox was the perfect distraction. I even spent some money with a purchase of Scrivener - its a complete writing tool for all types of long form writing not just scriptwriting. I looked at this software a while back for writing projects from the book on my research I need to write to the animation scripts I have in my head that I'm often just discussing with myself.

    I grabbed the link to this valuable list and put in MS Notebook for the future. I literally almost clicked on everylink---even played around with MindMap for spell.

    Thanks for taking the time for putting this together.

    I might suggest you have a peek at this Time Management service app---its called, My Hours. I have a free sub right now testing it out, and so far I am really enjoying it and will probably do the $7 a month for a subscription. Making a living wearing several different hats has demanded that I find a software that will help me manage both my time and projects across all the hats I wear. this is the link if you think it could be a resource for this list.

    Again, great post, great find today.

    1. I'm glad you took the time to look through the list and found something worthwhile. Scrivener is something I planned to buy as well but had forgotten about until I started putting this list together. I keep finding other apps dedicated to script writing only, which is what I would use Scrivener mostly for as well.

      I looked at 'My Hours' and have now added it into the list under the Task List/Time Management heading. Seems like a really good app.

      I plan to keep this 'Ultimate List' updated and have made it easily accessible directly from this site's menu - just click 'App & Resource List' in the menu.

      I also added another app to the 2D animation section called CACANi which assist in the automatic tweening of 2D hand drawn animation (which I know isn't something you're specifically interested in but it's new since you first saw the list).

  2. Just added TypeForm and Survey Monkey to the Feedback section since surveys are a good way to market research the viability of a project before you go all in on something with no interest.

  3. Just added DaVinci Resolve to the Video Editor section. Thanks to Dexter Lopez @ItsMeTrickster on Twitter. Great suggestion. I hadn't heard of it but it looks an amazing for a free desktop app.

  4. Thank you for the excellent list! Very useful. I've bookmarked this page so that I can refer to it in the future.

  5. David, Great list. I thought of a site that has an incredible amount of FREE training in the Film/TV production arena. Some are Interviews, tutorials. equipment, etc. Look at

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. Looks like an incredible resource for free education about film making. Definitely worth exploring. I'll add it to my list.


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