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Animation Software - 2D

Share your views on the state of the Animation Industry.

Animation Software - 2D

Postby coffeecat » Wed Dec 08, 2010 12:10 pm

For those 2d animators out there... what are your favorite software programs for 2d animation... and, sparing no expense - what are the best?

I've been a long time user of Flash. And combined Flash with 2.5d space in AfterEffects. And a more recent user of Toon Boom's Animate Pro, Pencil Check Pro and Storyboard Pro. I've looked into Flipbook Pro by Digicel.

Just wondering what you all view as the top tier programs... as well as what programs you're using.

Thanks!
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 08, 2010 5:45 pm

Hey there coffeecat. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say about the 2D software you mentioned. What are you partial to, what's impressed, what would you use in a production situation?
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby coffeecat » Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:24 pm

Sure. I'll go ahead and get somewhat lengthy and "conversational" here:

Flash + After Effects allows nice vector character drawings in Flash with a variety of compositing, camera moves and special effects and motion graphics in After Effects 2.5d space.

You can get the same vector drawing and 2.5d space in one program, if you opt for Toon Boom Animate Pro. Great vector animation, and a built in 2.5d camera space. The convenience of this is that if your vector art doesn't match up, you can draw and align it easily within Animate Pro. If you are using Illustrator, Photoshop and Flash for your assets in After Effects, there is always a bit of back and forth to correct these staging issues.

What you don't get is the wide array of After Effects plug-ins and other motion graphics. Plus, After Effects is a pretty widespread post-production tool, whereas Animate Pro is not.

One of the biggest drawback to use the Toon Boom software is how strict they are on your activated installs.

If you have the software installed on both your desktop and laptop, you have to deactivate it on one in order to activate it on the other.

A major convenience of Flash / After Effects is being able to have them installed on both machines (and also the likelyhood that other collaborators, contractors, clients and vendors will have Flash and/or After Effects as well).

I would say Flash is easier.
But I've been using it for 11 years. So I can't say my view there is accurate. Plenty of people find Flash to have a steep learning curve. And I would certainly say that with Animate Pro - it's learning curve is steep, best helped by watching a few videos or tutorials.

One of my biggest complaints was how Storyboard Pro's output to Animate Pro resulted in rastorized frames in the Animation program. While camera moves and timing came through - the art was rasterized. This is apparently fixed in the new Storyboard Pro release.

Since a lot of my work is for broadcast TV spots, I almost always end up in After Effects to do some motion graphics effects. Character animation can be done in Flash OR Animate Pro... along with other assets from Photoshop and Illustrator, or even Maya and Cinema4d.

On rare occasion I have completed an entire spot in Animate Pro alone.
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby Charles » Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:47 am

If you had to pick just one 2D program for animation, if you could only choose one from what you've experienced, which would it be?
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby coffeecat » Thu Dec 09, 2010 3:17 pm

For character animation, I would have to say Toon Boom's Animate Pro, then. It's not perfect, but it seems to be the best blend of high end options and drawing tools within one application.

That being said... that's exactly what I am looking for: a more ideal solution.

If any one knows of superior digital 2d animation tools, I'd love to hear!
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby Charles » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:41 am

Found a few demos of Toon Boom's Animate Pro. The software looks like it has lots of features. Not surprised that you would choose this over any other 2D program.

Here's some of what it can do.



And more features...



And still more features...



And still more...



The demos they have online of what the software can do goes on and on.
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby coffeecat » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:56 pm

Absolutely.

There is a bit of a learning curve to using the software. Even in some tasks that seem like they should be no-brainers.

I use it sometimes simply for the ability to label an X Sheet with Keys and Breakdowns. In flash, you can get lost as you inbetween or when you need to make changes.
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby coffeecat » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:02 pm

It's vectorization of bitmapped graphics or scanned drawings is quite remarkable, too. Just in case you're working that way.
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby coffeecat » Tue Dec 21, 2010 9:05 am

I'm looking at TVP Animation (TV Paint), as well as Anime Studio and RETAS!PROS (Stylos and Paintman).

If anyone has any better recommendations I would love to know.
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Re: Animation Software - 2D

Postby Charles » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:49 pm

It's interesting how Toon Boom works. Looks like the system is set up to handle 2D like 3D. Animators can rig their 2D characters and even backgrounds which are 2D in nature are can be set up in depth of field layers for a 3D effect.

In many ways this reminds me of Animo, an animation software from the early 1990s which had a similar approach to rigging 2D characters.

This technology is fascinating and is helping to fuel an incredible creative explosion in animation.
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