ToonBoom and Animazing Gallery…Two Snaps Up!!!
For those of you young’ins who don’t get the Two Snaps Up reference, please see Men On Film.
Report by Dayna Gonzalez.
The makers of ToonBoom spoke to a packed house Tuesday night at the Animazing Gallery in Soho, New York. They were in town to promote their slate of animation programs, specifically ToonBoom’s Animate. I can’t possibly go into all the details on why this program looks so awesome, but it may have a lot to do with the fact that it’s the only comprehensive animation program completely dedicated to meeting the needs of animation professionals in the best ways possible. The seminar was very informative – a brief overview of the company’s history was offered, followed by coverage of ToonBoom’s product line, with the most in-depth attention given to Animate, and Animate Pro. ToonBoom’s reps tried to answer as many questions as possible, and were very engaged with the audience. ToonBoom is widely used overseas and up North in Canada, and they are looking to expand into the US market. Almost 100% of Disney’s Princess and the Frog was done using ToonBoom’s software, and it’s truly amazing what this software package can do. It would be great to see this program used more here in the US, but I’d say the major drawback may be the expense involved. Correct me if I’m wrong, but key programs are sold separately and the programs themselves are kind of expensive for even the ordinary independent animator. The discount offered at the event for Animate was decent though, and I would suggest looking into the program to see if it’s right for you. It definitely blows Flash away, which was certainly not made with animators in mind. I could see how the program could speed up a workflow immensely.
A quick note about the venue – The event was held at Animazing Gallery, which is a really great art gallery featuring animation art. The current exhibit is focused on the art of Maurice Sendak, creator of Where the Wild Things Are. The exhibit is wonderful and you should really go check it out before it finishes on November 8th. The event was originally supposed to be at a bar that holds regular animation events, but since this event was more of an informational seminar, the bar atmosphere would not have been ideal. The wine and hors d’oeuvres were a nice touch as well.
:: smo ::October 30, 2009
i attended this too, and i thought it was a bit frustrating. i mean obviously it was an event to ramp up toon boom, but they gave a bit of misleading information and didn’t really cater to people who want a program they can draw in too aside from saying you could do it in the program.
they kept talking about the princess and the frog having used the program, but disney didn’t do the animation IN toon boom from what i understand. they did the animation on paper and the effects and possibly coloring in toon boom.
they definitely focused on the cut out style computer animation and tried to emphasize how their program does all the same stuff flash does but better [which it probably does]. they didn’t show the drawing tools outside of a quick scribble with a brush tool, there was no mention of brush sizes, opacity, other drawing tools etc. there was a little talk of coloring and how you could build palettes [something you had to have a 3rd party extension in flash to do before] but there was no mention of the powerful auto color function that they picked up from buying animo…which i heard this program has and would have liked to know more about [is it in pro? is it in the standard too?]
i came in wanting to see how this program draws and i walked away seeing yet another symbol based program. they assured me that it CAN handle drawing but didn’t show it. i guess i’ll just have to use my demo to find out.
i’m not saying it was a bad event or it’s a bad program, i have no idea. i feel like there was a lot of talk about how it’s better than flash but then we were only shown how it can do the same things as flash and after effects together, which IS nice but it would be nice to see more unique features and how…the drawing is [i’m a bit hung up on this].
The thing with toon boom that frustrates me the most is their software stratification [so to speak]. Toon boom studio, toon boom animate, toon boom animate pro, harmony, opus…
i understand the major jumps but animate to animate pro? there’s a BIG price difference that’s for sure; with our vouchers animate is 400 [900 normally] but animate pro is 2000 dollars, or and upgrade from animate at about 900. i really don’t see why the huge price difference from what they were explaining but maybe it acts like an entirely different program.[?]
toon boom animate pro might be worlds ahead of flash, but i can get after effects AND flash [and photoshop and illustrator and soundbooth etc] together in the adobe creative suite for cheaper than i can get animate pro. i’m not an adobe fanboy or anything i just don’t have money to burn on more programs when what i have [and paper] are still working ok. maybe it’s a huge difference, but from this seminar i didn’t really see it, i guess i just have to try it for myself.
sorry for taking up your comments i just was left with a confused and sour taste in my mouth after this and got more information discussing the program with a friend who likes it than i did through the whole event.
daynaOctober 30, 2009
I’d say the expense involved on both the individual and studio scale is their biggest obstacle to becoming a widely used program. I understand your frustrations. They seem pretty open to customer feedback, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they take your comments to heart and make some changes with this tour, based on what people would like to see in the 2-3 hour talk. I’m sure they can’t go over everything in that time, but feedback on what they should focus on is good. I am glad they took a lot of questions, and didn’t rush us out of there.
Joseph GhetlerOctober 30, 2009
Dear SMO and Community,
Thank you very much for attending Toon Boom Animate “More for Less”. We are so excited with the New York Animation Community commitment to our company. We appreciate everyone who could take the time to join the event and are encouraged by animators like you who take the time to comment. When we hold our events we are limited in time and appreciate that to cover all the different features of our software would be outside the scope of our presentation as it is not really geared up to be a technical session. We also understand that all artists do not have the same needs and to cover all styles and techniques would take to long in one event. We need to consider the spectrum of people attending and strive to present to a broader audience however we agree we need to show our brush tools. May I kindly direct you and anyone else who may share the same concern to a non-biased review of Animate brush tools at: http://www.cartoonsmart.com/wordpress/blog_video/TBA_brush_tool.mov
We also touch on Animate Pro’s drawing tools in the Animate Pro take a tour video: http://www.toonboom.com/products/animatepro/takeATour/
Failing this we would also be willing to hold a live demo for you where you can discuss your concerns with us. Your feedback and opinion is more then welcome as it helps us as a company develop tools to meet your needs and grow.
Regarding the Auto Color Function feature; this will be coming out in the next release of Animate however it can be found in Animate Pro.
To answer your question on pricing Animate Pro and Animate. Animate Pro is an integrated pipeline product covering the whole process including a very high level of compositing with many more effects enabling you to work with one software package.
Toon Boom would once again like to thank everyone for your support and welcome any suggestions for events we may hold as to what you would like to see. When you speak we listen!
The Toon Boom Team
Any comments or suggestions may also be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
PierreOctober 31, 2009
To be fair to Toon Boom, they do offer a completely free Personal Learning Edition (PLE) version of Toon Boom Animate Pro, which allows you to save your work in a proprietary format and with watermarked output. However, it would certainly allow you to try out all the features at your leisure.
The URL is:
The PLE version of Animate is located at:
You should have a reasonably powerful computer to run the software, as it is fairly sluggish on my netbook. However, it is very nice to play with.
I am very sympathetic to everyone’s concerns regarding cost. The comment about being able to purchase Adobe’s Creative Suite for the price of Animate Pro is perhaps the biggest hit against the high end Toon Boom line.
It may look like a toy but I’ve gotten alot of use from their low-end software. Animation-ish is really very nice for the price and there’s quite alot that can be done with it. All the drawing tools are vector based and you can set up the lightbox feature in preferences to view three frames before and after your current frame.
The URL is:
I hope this helps!
jsketchesOctober 31, 2009
“May I kindly direct you and anyone else who may share the same concern to a non-biased review of Animate brush tools at: http://www.cartoonsmart.com/wordpress/blog_video/TBA_brush_tool.mov”
Non-biased? The CartoonSmart guy was one of your video evangelists!
Now I understand that it was more of a tech demo for the software than a showcase, and that alot of the industry has moved toward cut-out animation. But the drawing tools, onion skinning, scrubbing and frame-by-frame workflow should have been elaborated on, as well. I was wondering when looking at the product list whether or not I could just get by with Pencil Check. I was happy to see Storyboard Pro in action, though.
:: smo ::October 31, 2009
thanks for the links guys. maybe for the future you could do a live demo of that too. i know you said you only had 3 hours, but those videos were maybe 2-4 minutes each.
and it would be in your favor to have an artist on hand to answer questions [as the person giving the presentation told us immediately he was not one], i noticed a bit of confusion when people were asking specifics about exports to illustrator, drawing tools, or things like putting shadows on characters and it seemed like people weren’t really getting their questions resolved.
i appreciate what you guys are doing with your program, and like i said i’ll try it out, but i think maybe instead of taking the angle that “we can do what after effects and flash do in the same program” you should maybe focus on that you can handle multiple animating styles. one of the benefits of flash is the ability to draw in the program [as weak as it is in flash] and sometimes people use symbols not because they like it but because it’s a speed necessity. otherwise we’d probably all be using after effects instead.
i would also suggest looking into what sorts of third party extensions people are using for flash and work with the people making them to incorporate their ideas into toon boom.
the information on the animo auto color you posted above is really helpful too. i can see that being a definite benefit of the pro version.
TomNovember 6, 2009
I enjoyed this panel quite a bit & was all ramped up about using Animate. As I play around with the demo version, though, I’m realizing that it’s missing some of the features I really love in the lower-end version (Toon Boom Studio.) I like being able to scan directly into the program and have it vectorize artwork. Why won’t Animate do this, too? Also, the ability to export color palettes seems like a no-brainer (especially if you can import them.) But this feature is missing as well, as far as I can tell. I know you’re supposed to upgrade to Pro for these conveniences, but I really think these should be a part of Animate, particularly when they’re available in Studio.