I'm looking for an animation software which has native support for creating and manipulating mathematical objects, such as parabolas, and algebraic curves. At the same time I want to be able to use animation tools such as "onion skin".

I know Wolfram Mathematica can handle mathematical plots very precisely, but creating a serious 10-minutes animation project there seems difficult. On the other hand, Adobe Animate CC is pretty convenient for making standard stuff like faces/bodies/background, but lacks (as far as I know) the ability to create precise parabolas and such.

My question is: Is there an animation software that does well on both aspects? If not, should I just do the mathematical things on Mathematica, and export them to Animate CC?

Thank you!

2 Answers 2


Depends on your needs. First let me point out that a bezier that has both tangent touching the same point is a parabola in many configurations. And making mathematical functions in adobes applications is not impossible by fitting bezier curves (see my script jooGraphFunction for exact code).

Second you can do pretty complex animations in mathematica, just do this in sections. Although you may prefer to use geogebra instead.

Personally i would use a more capable animation software than either mathematica or adobe animate (AA). Most likely i would choose maya but even blender can be better than either AA or mathematica. While they are 3D suites, they can for obvious reasons do even 2D. More importantly they have node based geometry generation available that allow you to do much more than something like AA. Up and including fucntions for points which will result in algebraic curves or surfaces support.


Image 1: Animation done in maya that i had laying around on imgur. About 5 minutes of work.

Ultimately you should choose a software you are comfortable in. 10 Minutes of engaging animation is a lot of work. Time wise i would budget around a week per minute of production quality animation plus some overhead for revisions and setup. So for ten minutes you would be looking at 3 months of work, which could be dropped down to about 1 month if you lower quality expectations.


You probably need to review your workflow.

  1. An animation program does not need to generate a graph from a formula.

  2. The generated graph can be changed in style.

  3. You need to define what animation you want.

Here is a test.

  • I took the graph from the page you linked. So you can generate your graphs in any mathematical program you want.

  • I separated the different elements in different assets.

  • These assets can be changed in color, style, vectorized, shadowed or whatever you want to do with them.

enter image description here

And here is a simple primitive quick animation. The animation uses these different assets in different ways.

The graph appears over the grid.

The face follows the path.

enter image description here

The point is, do not limit yourself to one tool, grab different tools to complete what you need.

Here is an animation using Gimp, copying the same red line as a layer and deleting a portion of it.

enter image description here

Again, the point is to define what you need and export the assets as you need.

If you want to use the mathematical graph as a path and use a 3D flame particle generator or whatever, simply use the line as a path. A tutorial is something like this:


  • Thats not entirely true. What if i want to evolve the function from frame to frame. Its pretty normal to use functions in animation software to do this. Just that we have 2 different traditions in animation software tools and 3D tools like present a tradition that understand you can indeed need to do this.
    – joojaa
    Sep 1, 2017 at 3:42
  • The point is. 1. Define the type of animation and the specifics of it. 2. Use some tools to animate that, with the style you like.
    – Rafael
    Sep 1, 2017 at 4:39
  • But he is asking if there is any software tool that allows him to circumvent this approach.
    – joojaa
    Sep 1, 2017 at 4:44

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