It's not just word processing and communication that a PC is useful for. You can even express your creative side and use your machine to create animiations. Before you invest in expensive software, check out these free downloads that'll help you become the next Nick Park.

Plastic Animation Paper 4.0

Plastic Animation Paper is a powerful and professional 2D animation package, once sold commercially but now available for free. The program allows you to draw directly to the screen (in video or film resolution) using a tablet. Although if you don't have one then it'll work with a mouse, too.

Vectorian Giotto 3.0.0

Vectorian Giotto is Flash creation tool aimed more squarely at designers. All the vector drawing and animation tools you could need are there, wrapped up in an interface that's far more accessible than Adobe's. Despite the simpler approach, that doesn't mean it's only capable of rudimentary animations; Giotto can still generate impressive, professional looking animations, suitable for most people's needs.

FotoMorph 13.2.3

FotoMorph is a free professional graphics tool that makes it easy to create animations that morph one image into another. Essentially you just give FotoMorph a start and end image and it'll handle all the details for you (although there are plenty of tuning options available to improve the quality of results, if necessary).

Blender 2.58 (32-bit)

Blender is a powerful, professional, and free open source 3D graphics tool that can be used to produce everything from single 2D stills, to full 3D movies in broadcast and cinema quality, and even interactive 3D content for stand-alone playback.

Chatterbucks 1.1

Chatterbucks is an iPhone app that will cause great entertainment at the bar at it enables you to make your money talk. All you need to do is to point the camera of your iPhone at a bank note and Chatterbucks will automatically recognise the money. The software will than animate the portrait on your note, bringing it to life as it talks. There are a number of built in phrases that have been pre-configured, but you are free to add more of your own.