... It's Free, but not without it's limitations.
Yes it's a 'Double-Post' day. I thought I would just quickly put together a little list of some free and/or open-source software that is being developed out there. Remember though, these are just tools. They won't make magic for you. It's up to you to use the software in a way that will showcase your creative vision.
A tip, this software IS NOT always easier to use or more user friendly than the industry standard software. If you are willing to buy what the professionals are using, then please go ahead.
For example, Toonboom or Flash individually could probably do what several of these programs can achieve collectively.
Gimp Image Manipulation Software.
A one stop photo shop with thousands of add-on's and paintbrushes available for it. It also has an animation shop plugin, although I've never used it. There is a lot of help and tutorials on the web for GIMP and it is highly regarded Freeware.
Inkscape Vector Art Software.
For creating Vector Art of course... although I only use it for fast and efficient colouring of my digital animation cel's.
Monkey Jam Pencil Test Software.
I say Line Test, you say Pencil Test. Time out your animation sequences with this. A must have for Stop-Motion animation.
Pencil Vector Based 2D Animation Software.
I use this for my Digital Clean-Up, with the Polyline tool and a $75 (New Zealand) tablet. I also use it for animation timing, but I don't use it for Cel colouring. You could in fact make entire 2D digital animations with this, from rough to cleaned-up and coloured. Remember to save often!
Wax Effects and Compositing Software.
Works well with compositing the different levels of your shot together. Not so good as a video editor due to the number of video levels it creates. Also it's not the best for trimming and splitting video clips.
Also an honourable mention goes to FastStone Photo Resizer.
A very handy tool for your batch image resizing and watermarking (among other things...) needs. Good for those pesky image sequences.
I don't know how to code or write programs by the way. These are programs which I have found to work well for what I want to do... at this stage anyway. These programs usually have tutorials and help to get you started and making those masterpieces.
I've used a combination of these programs over the last year and a bit and I want to really give them a work out this year. Also it should be noted that I am not working on a high end computer, just a standard laptop running Windows XP. Sorry if I'm now not the man you once took me for.
EDIT// Thanks to a daily deal on a daily deal site I have managed to get Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 for a VERY decent price. It's missing a few features that I really, really wanted but it will serve me well (hopefully) in the near future when it comes to stringing a bunch of shots together.