At Uni. I have used the program Nuke to morph and distort shapes to do simple animations, but using Nuke is overkill for what I want. It is the main program used by the big commercial studios to create special effects. In Nuke you build your effects yourself, which gives you full control of what happens. I do believe that it is the most powerful and flexible program available - it makes Adobe After Effects seem really crude and simple. It is, however, way beyond my budget and as I am awkward with any but the most intuitive and mac friendly programs I am going to give it a miss.
I want to animate my drawings and paintings so a 2D drawing program is what I am looking for. The 3D world of a program like Maya holds no appeal. I dont want to go there. If I want to get more depth in my work I think I will overlay the drawings on to live, but rather abstract footage. Most of the films I take seem to have very abstract elements anyway. Film-making is not my thing, probably because I really don't care about the technical quality of film. Aesthetically, I prefer indistinguishable blurs and pixelation to hyper-realism.
Having looked at what is available, I think that the program I will go with is Anime Studio Debut which I should be able to get a recent version for $50 or less. Toon Boon Studio is over $300, and they both seem to have similar capabilities including the automatic morphing/warping capability of an internal "skeleton" to the structures (vector based animation).
Still enjoying Porkchop 'n Flatscreen, I wonder what program Emezie uses?