I have narrowed my search to two animation programs. One is Toon Boom and the other is Anime Studio.
Toon Boom- has different packages for different levels. From kid’s software up to professional. I counted 14 different product levels on their website, which can be pretty overwhelming. It seems that Toon Boom is more like traditional frame by frame animation. Which is good if you know how to draw, but it may prove difficult for someone like me where drawing is not one of my strengths. Toon boom is used in many TV cartoons, but I am not sure which product level was used.
Anime Studio- has two different product levels. One is the Debut and one is the pro version. The drawing tools are vector based, which I think may be more suited to my lack of drawing talent. Amazon has Anime Studio Pro 6 for less than 30.00. Version 6 is an older version of this software, as they have version 8 available now. However I can get the full pro version 6 for less than the scaled back Anime Studio Debut 8. So for less than 30.00 I can give the software a whirl. Now the Anime Studio Pro 8 does have a lot of newer features like simulated physics, patch layers, automatic image tracing and a character wizard, all features that Anime Studio Pro 6 does not have. However, it will let me get a feel for the program without the greater expense. I can always purchase the newer version later if needed.
Ktoon seems to be mainly for Linux. I went to their website which seems to be mostly in Spanish you can click the English tab, however it seems several languages were mixed together, which made reading the website hard. I went to the user video example gallery and there was 1 video posted. Now if the software was easy to use, you would think there would be a large number of videos from users, since after all it is free. I also searched youtube for examples and I did find a few, mostly stick men type animations. I did not find very many tutorials either, so I will pass on this one.
Synfig looks promising, however doing research I notice that it does not handle sound. Now for music and such that should not be a problem, however for lip-sync I would think it would raise a lot of problems. How can you animate the lip-sync without being able to work with it in the animation program? Synfig had much more examples, both on youtube and on the main website.
Below is a Synfig eye animation, I think it looks very good. However, not having audio in the program makes me Leary.
Pencil seems to have a pretty good following. However, pencil is a frame by frame animation software. I was hoping to use the power of the computer to do the in between frames. So I will keep looking.