I've been messing around with Pencil2D to create simple, keyframe animations, and although it works nicely, I can see how if you have an animation which is a combination of lots of independent animations (as I'm sure most animations are!) then you'd have difficulty creating that in software as simple as Pencil2D. I don't know how professional animators handle this, but I would have thought that it would make sense to create each of the independent animations separately, and then be able to import them in to the main animation and position each one freely and set their own frame rates.

I was wondering what software is available (preferably free, but trialware would be OK) that would allow you to combine several independent animations, whilst still in their original, vector format, onto a single canvas that then forms the final animation (which will be a standard video that can be uploaded to online video services)? I don't think that a standard video compositor would work because I want to be able to zoom in and out of my animations while retaining fidelity, but I'm happy to be proven wrong!

I'm working in Windows, but have access to Linux if needs be.


  • If I understand correctly you're looking for video compositing software. I'm not familiar with any free ones, so I can only point you too Google. In the commercial segment Adobe After Effects is a popular option. – Saaru Lindestøkke Apr 7 '14 at 14:46
  • @BartArondson hmmm, maybe, but I'd be concerned that with a video compositor, I wouldn't be able to work with the original vector-based animation files and thus wouldn't have the flexibility in zooming in and out that I'd have if I were working with the original vector graphics rather than an already rendered video. – Amr Bekhit Apr 7 '14 at 14:51
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    I was not aware that these were vector graphics, sorry. Could you please add this requirement to your question? I know that After Effects can scale vector based files by continuously rasterizing them at the desired resolution. I'm not sure about other compositors. – Saaru Lindestøkke Apr 7 '14 at 14:57
  • I do believe you're describing Adobe Flash (or other animation tools that are linear/timeline based like Flash) – DA01 Apr 7 '14 at 20:18

Are you outputting video or an animated SVG/CSS/HTML?

After Effects is the way to go if outputting video. It is the perfect tool for bringing in multiple files (including vector formats) and combining them. It has it's own vector toolset and also works well with Illustrator, importing vectors from there. Not sure the compatibility with Pencil2D, but if you can output to a standard format like .EPS, you should be in luck.

If you want the final result to be an animated SVG/CSS/HTML, try Adobe Edge Animate. It is modeled after AE, but intended for vector based web animations.

  • Thanks, I've started playing with After Effects, and it certainly seems to do what i want. – Amr Bekhit Apr 12 '14 at 20:43

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