Animation Software

Hi im wanting to make animations for fun with my friends i used to make animations in paint but it took hours to make.  I have bought several animation programs for about 80 to 90 dollars and they never worked because I didnt understand how to use them and they didnt come with very good instructions.  I was hoping if anybody knew of any animation program that is cheap or free and easy to use.

Monkeyjam is one..but it's a pencil test/stop motion program, meaning, you draw each frame. As with animation, it's good to know the rules of what you are doing, and why.

2D or 3D?

As well as monkey jam there is pencil animation and plastic animation paper.

If you are looking for something very basic you could use pivot. Its a stick figure animator but some really great things have been achived with it.

2 D animation 

Then I have no idea.

For 2D animation you can use Adobe Flash, Adobe Photoshop, TVPaint, ToonBoom, MangaStudio and Digicel Flipbook... There are many others, but that's all I can think off the top of my head.

All of these cost a bit of money, but they are some of the better ones out there. 

If you don't already have one you should consider getting a graphics tablet of sorts. Wacom are the most popular. It will make things a lot easier for drawing on the computer, alternatively you can get a TabletPC like the Lenovo x230t.