New Toon Boom "Animate" Released

A place to discuss non-Moho software for use in animation. Video editors, audio editors, 3D modelers, etc.

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heyvern
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Post by heyvern » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:04 pm

I'm still hoping for the "Time Travel" feature myself. After installing AS, you click the "TT" button and it creates a folder with all the projects you will ever create already finished. ;)

-vern
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jwlane
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Fill Tool

Post by jwlane » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:17 pm

My main issue with Toonboom is that the fill tool for frame by frame coloring does not reach many corners of the outline image, this from a demo earlier this year. Zooming around each frame and finding holes is a huge time drag on an already laborious task. The freeware Pencil does this task very well. Did anyone see Toonboom fix this? It's an absolute deal killer for me.

Otherwise, there are many things to like about Toonboom. But, I think it's design is primarily geared toward collaborators dividing up chores, not one man band operations.
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GregSmith
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Post by GregSmith » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:26 pm

Yes, the more I experiment with ToonBoom Animate the more it seems like real work. Maybe more work than one man can handle. It is overwhelming, to some degree, for sure.

When I use Moho, I get a small, internal smile. When I use "Animate", I feel a new wrinkle beginning to form on my brow.

I really hope Mike Clifton is able to add new simplicity and power to an already "fun" and efficient animation application.

Greg Smith
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mkelley
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Post by mkelley » Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:43 pm

To me, Greg, the test has always been this -- I've owned various incarnations of TB (and tested the others, like TBDP) and *never* been able to do even one usable animation. The interface and work needed to get something going always stopped me, stopped me to the point where I went back to (for me) the far easier 3D animation I was used to doing.

Then one day I happened to be in an Apple store (for iPod stuff) and picked up a copy of AS on a whim (can't even remember what I paid but it was very cheap when you consider I routinely bought 3D add ons that were $500 or more). I went home and a few days later had produced a five minute animation that, while not great, was good enough to prove to me that AS was going to be what I wanted to use the rest of my life.

From time to time I still look at TB in all its forms (for one thing I'm on their registered user mailing list) and it continues to be like the fantastic looking gal you think of marrying until you realize how high maintenance she is. TB and the demos look great, but the product itself is almost totally unusable, at least for this one man shop (who could manage high end 3D programs costing five times what even TB DP costs).

AS needs work in order to be production friendly -- but I'm hoping that Mike will address these issues now that he's fully on board as a Smith-Micro. If he can do that and keep the easy to use interface and design philosophy of AS he might, just might, be able to bring down the industry leader.
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GregSmith
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Post by GregSmith » Fri Nov 21, 2008 11:56 pm

MKelly:

Yeah, and that high maintenance gal is quite a snob, too.

Greg
human
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Post by human » Tue Nov 25, 2008 9:49 pm

mkelley wrote:the easy to use interface
Functionality and reliability are one thing ... even the fundamental user control philosophy is one thing ... I have no criticisms in these departments... but user-interface implementation is quite another thing.

Purely from the point of view of the social contract between application and user, the user interface for Styles is a train wreck, just a train wreck.

Look back through the help threads. Don't assume that all the people struggling with Styles are idiots (an assumption that comes oh so easily to the veterans).

An example of serious user-interface fidelity is that if there is a tool or an option that isn't suitable (or isn't implemented) for Feature X, then it needs to be greyed-out when you're using Feature X. It seems to me that this happens in AS, sometimes. Sometimes not.

The irritating circa-1984 menus, where the drop-down disappears immediately if you don't make a choice instantly, have no place in the 21st century.

Anime Studio also needs any number of foundation things like a Most-Recently-Used file list, a meaningful interface for script management, and visual indicators which represent graphics assets.

You want user-interface? Look at Toon Boom Animate. That is an example of correct user-interface... follows all the rules, it's comprehensive, and responsive (minus a few bugs in the Morph feature I explored).

However, if we talk about functionality, I'm not so keen on Animate. I encountered the bug mentioned earlier in this thread about fills not being properly propagated. Hmmm. That's a big bug! I don't understand how you're supposed to work around that one.

I tried out the Morph feature. It promises you the ability to give hints to guide the morph into the correct behavior. What, can't take a hint? You can't really control Morphs, even for very simple shapes. I find it unusable.
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GregSmith
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Post by GregSmith » Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:36 pm

Human:

I spent several hours messing around with morphing in ToonBoom Animate and found it to be absolutely astounding, hints included. Like most things in this program, you have got to observe the proper order in which you perform tasks.

I was experimenting with gradients and morphing and using the "Pivot" tool and the "Transform" tool, simultaneously. Really quite amazing. The shapes that I filled with a gradient morphed the gradient to conform to the overall proportions of the shape as the shape changed.

I was pleased to find out that you can perform all of the animation forms at the same time, ( cutout, morphing, frame by frame and IK).

The timeline is very straightforward and the onion skin settings are easy to use. I found the "hint" system to work well, except on the last frame of the morph - I had to create them over again.

The fact that you can effectively morph a drawing from one thing to a completely different thing, having a completely different number of strokes and control points is incredible. Morphing a set of brush strokes into a completely new set of strokes, ( with different portions set thick or thin), is quite powerful.

I like the whole process now that I understand the sequence of events. It is quite fast to use. You just need to read the "morphing" section in the manual to get the procedure down.

Greg Smith
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Post by human » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:15 am

Greg,

Thanks for your reply.
It caused me to go back and take another look.
(sheepish) :oops:
I'm not sure how I messed it up before, but yes, morphing does work as advertised.
I've been looking into the new Flash lately... as of this moment, TB Animate looks better.
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realsnake
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Post by realsnake » Mon Dec 01, 2008 4:18 pm

:idea: I guess its time for mike to show his trump card as macromedia and Toon Boom has already shown their
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GregSmith
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Post by GregSmith » Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:04 pm

After working with "morphing" in Animate a little more, I've found that pencil lines do not usually morph correctly, even after supplying an abundance of "hints". I've tried them as closed and unfilled shapes and as closed and filled shapes and almost always get an erroneous morph.

When I compare the labor and frustration of creating a morphing sequence in Animate to the ease and speed of doing the same thing in Moho, (Anime Studio for those of you who like the name), there simply is no comparison.

True, you cannot morph curves with a dissimilar number of points in Moho, but is that really an issue?

I find myself working more as a "2D modeler" in both vector based applications than I do working as a "sketch artist". Really, what most of us do can be more accurately described as "modeling" rather than drawing or sketching. We spend far more time moving points around than we do sketching and then re-sketching. So, we end up optimizing the placement of points and the overall number of points as a routine.

In Moho, you can morph anything if you plan the usage and placement of points in an efficient manner.

What I wish for the next version of Anime Studio Pro is just some basic simplification of tools and a reconstructed methodology for the "Style" palette. Of course, beautification of icons and interface would be frosting on the cake, but not really necessary. ToonBoom Animate does have a fine looking set of icons.

Greg Smith
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MarkBorok
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Post by MarkBorok » Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:52 am

I just got Animate (upgrade from Studio Pro for $400), and it produces some excellent results, if you're willing to put some extra time into it. I'm using it to ink and paint animation created in TVPaint at the moment (I'm working on a cel-animation, and Moho isn't the right tool for that job).

On the Mac, the drawing tools feel more responsive than those in Flash. Weirdly, the antialiasing of the vector shapes looks fuzzy if you zoom in close, unless you specify in preferences that you want it to be sharp at higher magnification levels. Not a big problem, though.

There are shadow tones and highlights, and blur (motion blur as well). Some things are needlessly complicated, but work well. The smoothing feature is excellent, much better than in Flash and about on par with Moho, I think. I mean, the vector lines come out looking smooth. I don't think the onion skinning feature works as well as the one in Moho (or Flash). The best onion skinning I've seen yet is in TVPaint.

ToonBoom finally realized that $3,000 is too much for an individual animator when Flash costs $300 and is already being used for broadcast productions. Animate hits the sweet spot, even if it's still a bit pricey compared to Flash and Moho.

The paint tools are weird. There is one paint bucket tool for filling un-filled shapes, and another tool for filling shapes that have already been filled with a different color. If you click on a shape, you cannot simply click on a color in the palette in order to change its color, you have to use the paint bucket tool.

Yes, it does export to .swf.

For frame-by-frame, traditional animation, this is probably the ideal alternative to Flash, as it creates smoother brushstrokes and allows you to rotate the drawing space in order to draw more precisely. Of course, for cut-out animation, Moho is tons better. I haven't used Animate's cut-out features, but it's pretty obvious.
dm
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Post by dm » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:47 pm

MarkBorok wrote:. I'm using it to ink and paint animation created in TVPaint at the moment (I'm working on a cel-animation, and Moho isn't the right tool for that job).
Why aren't you doing ink and paint in TVPaint? Are you 'vectorizing' lines?

I've had the opportunity to play with Animate, and I mostly like it. Other commentary on it seems to cover what needs to be covered.

Pegs: what I don't like about pegs is that you have to attach them to anything you want to control. And, you end up with this load of pegs that have to be manipulated separately (not always elegant). Animate certainly went a long way in improving them over Toon Boom Studio's implementation though.

I find it continually interesting that AnimeStudio can do whatever you need it to do, but often with 'workarounds' I suppose I could do everything I can imagine in Photoshop with enough workarounds. Even better, just use a text editor, and type long enough, and you can produce whatever you want- all at zero cost.

A bunch of fans, here at underdog AS forums. Toon Boom's forums are pretty pitiful. It's not about the software, just the people who have the time to talk about it. Of course, that's certainly an added value, isn't it?
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MarkBorok
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Post by MarkBorok » Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:53 pm

dm wrote:
MarkBorok wrote:. I'm using it to ink and paint animation created in TVPaint at the moment (I'm working on a cel-animation, and Moho isn't the right tool for that job).
Why aren't you doing ink and paint in TVPaint? Are you 'vectorizing' lines?
I started the project in Flash, and intend to output as a .swf. Also, I like Animate's line smoothing. I'm not "vectorizing", though, but tracing by hand.

Pegs are annoying. I think ToonBoom Studio got rid of the need for pegs, but Animate is a version of Digital Pro, and they are on two different development tracks.
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GCharb
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Post by GCharb » Sat Jan 10, 2009 8:26 pm

Hello all!

First of, what is of interest to me in AS is the fact that it is aimed at no paper, no hand drawing type of production while Toonboom software are aimed at a more traditional brand of animator.

In other words with Toonboom you actually have to draw while AS sort of allows you to model in 2D, which is fine by me.

Also, most Toonboom software, except maybe Studio, are more suited for pipeline work with specialized, and sometimes very specialized artits in a very small (Studio) to small-medium (Animate) to medium-large (Digital Pro) studio

AS is half the price of Studio, offers more tools and a much simplified interface, to me at least.

All Toonboom products render beautifully, great lines, smaller Flash files as well, from what I heard, AS came a long way on that perspective.

Also, with Toonboom you get a larger company with many products which has a large user base of professionals, usually means that there will be plenty of upgrades and support in the near and far future, which is a solid argument.

I own Studio, tried very intenslly the other Toonboom software, especially Animate, after all that time, and even with some of the shortcomings of AS (pipeline integration, file handling etc.) the choice is clear to me, AS.

My two cents!

GC
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