Pencil

Create animated digital comics

Pencil is a vector drawing program for Windows that lets you make your own digital comics. View full description

PROS

  • Clear, customizable drawing interface
  • Neatly-organized timeline
  • Open source

CONS

  • You'll need a graphics tablet to get anything impressive out of it

Good
7

Pencil is a vector drawing program for Windows that lets you make your own digital comics.

Pencil is based around traditional hand-drawn animation techniques, and it's free. At the center of the application is a timeline, which allows you to add four types of layers: bitmap image, vector image, sound, and camera. The animation basically works by setting keyframes one each layer and arranging the different layers on top of each other.

You start by sketching out your characters in bitmap format using the pencil tool, before adding a vector layer and inking it out with the pen tool and fill tool. The principle of Pencil is very simple and the interface is much clearer than that of Flash or a similar high-end animation tool. What we liked about Pencil is that all the tools and options are on display from the start and nothing is hidden, plus you can detach or remove palettes to make things easier on yourself.

The problem with Pencil is that it's very difficult to produce good quality drawings unless you have a graphics tablet - most mouses simply aren't conducive to precise sketching. What's more, there aren't any predefined shapes, objects or templates included that might help you get started.

So, while Pencil might be a good way to learn the basic principles of cartoon animation, it's difficult to create anything truly impressive unless you've lots of patience.

Pencil is an animation/drawing software that lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics.

Pencil is free and open source. Pencil is not intended to mimick web-oriented vector-based animation software such as Flash. Its main purpose is to make traditional animation.

Neither does it try to rival commercial software targetting the professional animation sector. Pencil is intended to be a simple program enabling anyone to make 2D animation.

Pencil

Download

Pencil 0.4.4b

— User reviews — about Pencil

  • Cam Gaming Roblox & More!

    by Cam Gaming Roblox & More!

    "FINE."

    ITS O.K But could be better. I like to use it for animating a lot (duh). More.

    reviewed on February 26, 2017

  • Dennis Bai

    by Dennis Bai

    "BEST THING EVER!!!"

    I used it for an animation for something...IT WAS SO GOOD ALMOST EVERYONE HEARTED IT!!! . More.

    reviewed on December 1, 2016

  • Adrian Ngai

    by Adrian Ngai

    "Great, works on windows 7, but it wont export if the animation is too long."

    Awesome! However, if the animation is to large/long, it can't export. Also, even though I use windows 7, it works... More.

    reviewed on April 26, 2016

  • kassidy.latchaw

    by kassidy.latchaw

    "Wont open!"

    I tried so hard to work with this app, but whenever i tried to open it, a thing popped up that said; "You don't... More.

    reviewed on November 14, 2014

  • APPLEMILK

    by APPLEMILK

    "I CANT SAVE"

    i cant save the animation i can only save pics and i dont have a program to make the pics into a movie . More.

    reviewed on August 19, 2014

  • william.bartlett.338

    by william.bartlett.338

    "This Program REALLY needs to be worked on."

    Looks really cool, sadly doesn't work. I tried to make a cool animation with a frog and it wouldn't let me switch colors... More.

    reviewed on July 31, 2014