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Old 02-20-2012, 03:21 PM   #41
jmalmsten
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Being a big fan of traditional animation I sortof have come to a brick wall and have been smashing my head at it for the last year or so. So I thought I would chime in with some comments.

Firstly: Pixels or Vectors... no question about it. Resolution-independent, easily fillable areas(no haloing), tiny file-sizes etc... Vector is the future.

The Expensives

Flash: Powerful as heck, but the animation-bit got lost in the frenzy of features a long time ago. This is what I use most, but every session ends up with one or a handful of images and about a days worth searching for alternatives on the internet. Because traditional frame by frame animation is so far down Adobe's priorities it's next to impossible to keep a good flow going. I do love the solutions present for drawing vectors though, but again, there's too much frustration with basic stuff that I can't keep animating without constantly checking forums and reading the manual for seemingly random changes in preferences that happen while I draw. It's like driving a car where it will work well for a while but suddenly you realize that the orientation of the wheel has been flipped. Kindof distracting when crossing bridges.

Anime Studio Pro. It's kind-of almost comical that it's actually called "anime" because for me, I have not been able to see anything that could remotely be mistaken for Japanese animation. The focus is so high on the "wonders" of bone-rigging that even if you get close to that real feel (like in that turn-around video posted by maestral), it feels like I could probably have gotten the same result quicker by just drawing the frames without fiddling around with rigging and key-framing.

ToonBoom: Probably what I'm going to end up using within the near future. They seem to remember that some people want to do frame by frame. But I am a bit frustrated that I'm going to have to pay hundreds of dollars for a product I won't use 90 percent of features in. They too are a bit swamped in rigging, but nearly as much as ASP. And the standard version seems to be only 199 dollars right now. Though I haven't been able to figure out if that outputs full HD resolution in exports. (it's disheartening that so few bother to list this rather essential feature in their programs)

CELSYS RETAS!PRO HD: If anything should be called Anime Studio it's this one. As it's actually built around the anime-industry and designed to fit into their workflows. Not only that, but a lot of anime-productions actually use this software. The downside of this? Well, the complete system (scanning, drawing, painting, shooting) will cost you about 4000 dollars... for reference, Adobe Production Premium (including Flash, Premiere, Photoshop, after effects etc) is usually 1699 dollars in the latest version.

TV-Paint: Looks interesting, but, well, They can say what they want, but Vectors are here to stay and I won't put down a huge amount of money for a strictly Pixel-system.

The Free Options:

There aren't any... well, not any I would want to use fully yet.

Pencil. Promising but lacks some pretty fundamental features like... zoom... and... a viewport that doesn't change the camera. What was the thinking behind this? Also, the development is more than a little diseartening when the home-page hasn't been updated in YEARS (2008-04-04!!) and the registration process for the forum has been broken for at least six months

Synfig. Wow... don't get me started on this one... I open the program. Get a bunch of random windows. Manage to figure out that one is the canvas. I maximize it and it covers all the panels. There seems to be no workaround. And after pulling my hair for some other basic needs for a while I give up. And then I realize that for some reason they decided to put the menu-bar on one of those instantly disappearing panels. I have yet to draw a line in the program because of this.

PAP. It feels GREAT! But the pixel-only part makes it limited. But I love how it's actually built like it's intended for actual animators. Not bone-riggers, Animators!. If they could only port it to Vector I would be a happy camper.

MonkeyJam. Maybe for pencil-tests, but little more.

The bottom line:

I know the basics already. I just want something that can let me animate frame by frame without hindering me with random trivia every other second. Also, it's frustrating that most of these programs are so obsessed with doing other things than animating. I don't care if it has a 3D-camera, I don't care about the crappy effects, I don't care about bone-rigging, I don't care about importing a ****-load of soundtracks. I won't be using any of that! My workflow is to create the images, composit them in a compositor like After Effects and then edit those assets and sounds created elsewhere using Premiere. Please just do that, and do it well. Please.

In the end I'm left with the feeling that there aren't any real programs designed for traditional animation for a reasonable price. Let alone free. If money's no problem, then the geek in me would point towards the RETAS system. Below that, ToonBoom. And if you already have Adobes Production Bundle you probably should try out Flash. Who knows, maybe you're mileage out of it will be vastly superior to mine?

But this has gone far too long into ranting-territory already. So I'll end it there as my two cents or whatever it's worth.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:59 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmalmsten View Post
In the end I'm left with the feeling that there aren't any real programs designed for traditional animation for a reasonable price. Let alone free. If money's no problem, then the geek in me would point towards the RETAS system. Below that, ToonBoom. And if you already have Adobes Production Bundle you probably should try out Flash. Who knows, maybe you're mileage out of it will be vastly superior to mine?
I have to say, the more I use Toon Boom the more I love it for traditional animation. Yes, the learning curve SUCKS, but that's because it's SOOOO good for we animators once you learn it. It's fantastic, really.

Of course, I don't know if you consider the $200/$400 price tag expensive... Maybe. I guess I'm used to paying four times that to Adobe every 22 days when they release a new version (so dumb) and stop supporting the old version.

The way I look at it is this: They have one shot to get paid for the insane amount of work they did to make the program. This isn't like a game that you "beat" one day. You'll never "beat" MS Word. At the end of the day I'll probably sink 70,000 hours into Toon Boom Animate, so frankly the price tag is pretty reasonable given the return. I know it takes some time to save up for, but I think it's absolutely worth it.

Unlike stupid Adobe and their "Look, it's Flash CS7.3956 B Pro Edition! Another $700, please!"
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:25 PM   #43
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Hey Malmsteen,
It's true that it takes a little time to set up the initial character for animation. But think of it this way, it's really no different than drawing the character model sheets for a character, which also takes time, but this way you get to re-use the models constantly. Also, rigging a character is very quick. It only takes a few minutes.
So, once you get like three different views of a character drawn you can do headturns, body-turns, etc from then on, and it only takes a few minutes to put in the keyframes (depending on how realistic you want the movements to be).
But anyway, thanks for your detailed post!
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Old 02-20-2012, 04:56 PM   #44
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I think Anime Studio is a misnomer also... a marketing ploy after the software was bought from Lost Marble, where it was originally known as Moho. I've never used it for character animation, though, I mainly use it for animated line art (like logos and similar) that doesn't work as well using raster-based animation where variable resolution is needed.

I wish Toon Boom was available on Linux (I think it used to be in the past), I would love to try it out.
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Old 02-21-2012, 05:47 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by J.K. Riki View Post
I have to say, the more I use Toon Boom the more I love it for traditional animation. Yes, the learning curve SUCKS, but that's because it's SOOOO good for we animators once you learn it. It's fantastic, really.

Of course, I don't know if you consider the $200/$400 price tag expensive... Maybe. I guess I'm used to paying four times that to Adobe every 22 days when they release a new version (so dumb) and stop supporting the old version.

The way I look at it is this: They have one shot to get paid for the insane amount of work they did to make the program. This isn't like a game that you "beat" one day. You'll never "beat" MS Word. At the end of the day I'll probably sink 70,000 hours into Toon Boom Animate, so frankly the price tag is pretty reasonable given the return. I know it takes some time to save up for, but I think it's absolutely worth it.

Unlike stupid Adobe and their "Look, it's Flash CS7.3956 B Pro Edition! Another $700, please!"
Actually I was long under the impression that I would need Toonboom Animate Pro, which is $1199 when starting from scratch. But digging around I have found that the Studio Option has probably all I need and yes, $249 is very reasonable, indeed. I will not argue about that. Especially since (since we're comparing to Adobe) Production Premium comes in at almost $3000 when you're starting from scratch as a Swede like me. And every year it's an upgrade to half-versions. Come friday (25th is national pay-day) I will probably buy ToonBoomStudio.

But that's the reason I kind of lumped ToonBoom in the bunch of Expensives among Celsys. Maybe I should have had an intermediate bunch of software you pay for but don't need a mortgage on the house.

I love Adobes video-programs though. After Effects, Premiere And Photoshop is second nature right now. I just wish they had an animation-sollution that wasn't drowned in scripting and applet-features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jman99
Hey Malmsteen,
It's true that it takes a little time to set up the initial character for animation. But think of it this way, it's really no different than drawing the character model sheets for a character, which also takes time, but this way you get to re-use the models constantly. Also, rigging a character is very quick. It only takes a few minutes.
So, once you get like three different views of a character drawn you can do headturns, body-turns, etc from then on, and it only takes a few minutes to put in the keyframes (depending on how realistic you want the movements to be).
Well, therein I think I have a catch22 problem, because yes, I can do a character-model that will morph perfectly but to me it feels like Cel-Shading 3D-animation. So much work and still ends up in some sort of uncanny valley of styles. It looses that hand-drawn feeling when nothing goes off-model to suit the camera-angle. And every movement interpolated perfectly in full frame-rate feels synthetic. I know that's just a subjective view of it. Every time I see interpolated (tweened) animation on TV I think Cheap and I think Flash.

But I won't say either that nothing good comes out of the rigging-technique. On the contrary, for example, I love to watch Futurama, South Park and Family Guy. As far as I know, they're rigged and not traditionally animated. But it's not a style I would want to pursue for my own shorts and features (if it ever comes to that, fingers crossed). And it does come down to that title. "Anime" Studio. It just creates expectations on the results that the software just isn't designed to do. If they instead called it Prime Time Animation Studio I wouldn't be so negative. Instead I would probably be darned right impressed. And people wouldn't try to make Naruto and ending up with something out of a cheap point&click adventure. And not even one of the good ones at that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jman99
But anyway, thanks for your detailed post!
It's been brewing in the back of my head for the better part of two years now...

And by the by... no, I'm not related to Yngwie... I just share a similar name. And I suck at guitar
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Old 02-21-2012, 06:59 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmalmsten View Post
Actually I was long under the impression that I would need Toonboom Animate Pro, which is $1199 when starting from scratch. But digging around I have found that the Studio Option has probably all I need and yes, $249 is very reasonable, indeed. I will not argue about that. Especially since (since we're comparing to Adobe) Production Premium comes in at almost $3000 when you're starting from scratch as a Swede like me. And every year it's an upgrade to half-versions. Come friday (25th is national pay-day) I will probably buy ToonBoomStudio.
You can get TB Animate 2 (not Pro) for $549 right now. That seems to be a good solution for mid-priced software that has the traditional hand-drawn features you want plus the vector tools you also need. For that matter, download the free PLE version and try it out first.
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Old 02-21-2012, 07:20 PM   #47
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I had this huge comment to your post but after i read that you'll probably buy TBS..well then it's done... that's the best...it can do pretty much every kind of 2D animation style, it's afordable...

[i can't help myself...:
Do you know what style you are after? Have you tried the free and open source animation software before starting spending (your)money?
And by "tried" i mean more then just click on the .exe take a quick look and then close it and post your overview on an AnimationForum like you Really did some investigation...Let's start b the one i like the most:

Pencil - Zoom?Click on the "hand" icon and press "Ctrl"... see?it's been there all this time...
"a viewport that doesn't change the camera", wait ...what?Pencil it's THE only animation FOSS that have a dedicated camera layer...you draw on the canvas and then you set the camera in the end,just like physical traditional animation...Now i wonder "What was the thinking behind this?"...

Synfig - "random Windows?" ...that's what i was talking about...what are you after?do you think you'll be able to find ANY animation software that you just click and "taram" it's done? You Must Learn!(yes, i'm quoting KRS-One)
By what you're saying, Synfig it's the free solution for what you're planning...google about it and see the works that has been done with it...

PAP - ...well...come on...if you're good at drawing, vector it's not everything...in doubt...google about the works animators have been doing with raster(that's the expression not "pixels" they're all pixels in the end)...

MonkeyJam - IT'S a line-tester, stop-motion and a frames compiler...you can't get this one wrong...


The bottom line:


If you're really only after something that "just" let you animate frame by frame...then open your eyes...you just crossed a lot of them
Really...it's not in the software...it's in you...What are you really after?]

And no, this is not the huge comment i was talking about...it was bigger...a lot bigger...

Hope it helps
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Old 02-21-2012, 08:11 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by jmalmsten View Post

I love Adobes video-programs though. After Effects, Premiere And Photoshop is second nature right now. I just wish they had an animation-sollution that wasn't drowned in scripting and applet-features.
Yep, Adobe knows their video software. And stuff like Photoshop. With Flash, well, they bought Macromedia and then rode Flash into the ground with no real intention of continuing what Macromedia started.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:24 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by adnan0343 View Post
now ... this is my question to everybody here ...
anime studio is good vector software
flipbook is for kids
tvp is a bitmap based software
I just want to chime in here, Flipbook is definitely not a "kids" software. It's not the most comprehensive program out there, but a lot of pro's use it. It's a very solid program for basic animation and coloring.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:31 PM   #50
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Agreed! "Flipbook" is bitmap animation software like TVPaint. It's definitely pro software. Maybe not as full featured with painting effects and a brush engine like TVPaint has, but it's still good animation software.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:45 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by jmalmsten View Post
Actually I was long under the impression that I would need Toonboom Animate Pro, which is $1199 when starting from scratch. But digging around I have found that the Studio Option has probably all I need and yes, $249 is very reasonable, indeed. I will not argue about that. Especially since (since we're comparing to Adobe) Production Premium comes in at almost $3000 when you're starting from scratch as a Swede like me. And every year it's an upgrade to half-versions. Come friday (25th is national pay-day) I will probably buy ToonBoomStudio.

But that's the reason I kind of lumped ToonBoom in the bunch of Expensives among Celsys. Maybe I should have had an intermediate bunch of software you pay for but don't need a mortgage on the house.

I love Adobes video-programs though. After Effects, Premiere And Photoshop is second nature right now. I just wish they had an animation-sollution that wasn't drowned in scripting and applet-features.



Well, therein I think I have a catch22 problem, because yes, I can do a character-model that will morph perfectly but to me it feels like Cel-Shading 3D-animation. So much work and still ends up in some sort of uncanny valley of styles. It looses that hand-drawn feeling when nothing goes off-model to suit the camera-angle. And every movement interpolated perfectly in full frame-rate feels synthetic. I know that's just a subjective view of it. Every time I see interpolated (tweened) animation on TV I think Cheap and I think Flash.

But I won't say either that nothing good comes out of the rigging-technique. On the contrary, for example, I love to watch Futurama, South Park and Family Guy. As far as I know, they're rigged and not traditionally animated. But it's not a style I would want to pursue for my own shorts and features (if it ever comes to that, fingers crossed). And it does come down to that title. "Anime" Studio. It just creates expectations on the results that the software just isn't designed to do. If they instead called it Prime Time Animation Studio I wouldn't be so negative. Instead I would probably be darned right impressed. And people wouldn't try to make Naruto and ending up with something out of a cheap point&click adventure. And not even one of the good ones at that...



It's been brewing in the back of my head for the better part of two years now...

And by the by... no, I'm not related to Yngwie... I just share a similar name. And I suck at guitar
Hey again Malmsteen,
I was looking at this older thread and you know, the more I've seen of Anime Studio and similar programs, the more I agree with you. The animation looks too smooth, sterile and very odd, actually. It IS possible to make very good animations, but I've honestly only seen two or three people ever who make what I would consider pro-quality animations with it. Interpolation and tweening just isn't where it needs to be to make more natural-looking animations, and may never be. I'm just going with Toon Boom Studio for now, and may switch to Animate later, but Studio has most of the tools most people would need.
Anyway, just wanted to touch base on that. =)
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