Just wanted to give a different perspective on the discussion about Toon Boom here. Of course I'm biased, but I think that there are a few things that I can clear up.
One thing you guys might find interesting is that South Park is actually 3D toon-shaded, it's not even made with 2D software. Though, interestingly enough, they do their storyboards using Toon Boom Storyboard Pro.
Regarding Animate Pro and Harmony 9, we decided to invest in building some powerful new tools for Harmony 9. One of these that was discussed was the 3D integration. We're not trying to replace a 3D software, what we're trying to do is to integrate with it. The reason that this is interesting is that there are times when you want to do things like backgrounds and props in 3D. Let's say for example that I have a character who's standing in a 3D environment, and part of that environment is in front of my character, part of it is behind. I can't simply render out an image sequence of that 3D background and composite it together with the character, I need to mask out the part of my character that is behind the environment.
This is where working in a 3D space comes in really handy, because Harmony will automatically do all that, saving you tons of time in the 3D rendering and compositing stages.
The new Deform tools are also very cool and fun to work with. We have the ability to create a bone-style deformer similar (but more sophisticated) to what you would see in Toon Boom Studio. But then you have the added ability to create curve-style deformers as well. And you can scale the width of the bones, as well as the length of the bones.
The particle system is also really very interesting. You can plug in any drawing layer that you create in Toon Boom, or any imported drawing, into the particle system to multiply that drawing. Add effects like gravity, wind, velocity, blur, animated transparency, animated colour, and many more, and things become very
Then the new pencil lines are also so much better than what we had before. You have a pencil line that you can animate from the centre of the line, just like you could with the old pencil line, but now we have the added flexibility of having varied thickness (which supports pressure sensitivity from your tablet). Also you can put texture on the pencil lines, which creates a very nice look because when you fill in a textured pencil line, it fills right to the centre of the line.
And these are just the new features. These features don't mention the animation tools, the multiplane, the animated camera, the lip sync, the rigging tools, the built-in compositing, and other features that have caused studios and individuals around the world to choose this software over others.
As a freelancer, you may also take advantage to contact the sales team (or even to contact us through the studio that you're working with) in order to take advantage of specials on pricing.
Our tools are not just for hand-drawn, or frame-by-frame animation, we are particularly good at creating cutout characters due to the built-in compositing that we can do in the software.
I saw earlier in the thread a discussion about being able to animate a mouth. We have the ability to make a really cool setup, through the built-in compositing, that lets us cut off drawings based on other drawings or certain colours in other drawings. That allows us to create a mouth that you can swap, but you can still animate the teeth and the tongue independently from the mouth. You could even have a setup where you have a tongue layer that is both inside and outside the mouth, even though it's on only one layer. You can do this through the sublayers.
And something that you might find interesting is that when you post on our forums, the person who's responding to you (i.e., me) is the Product Manager who has the final word on what new features do or do not make it into the software. And I sit right next to the programmers. So in a way, you've got a direct ear to the programmers with us, too. Or, more importantly, a direct line with the people who get to tell the programmers what to do.
Just food for thought!