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Animating cartoons: Which Toon Boom Product does what?

Toon Boom animation software saves time over older tools from years ago. Creating a sophisticated seven minute animation in the era of the 1930s to the 1970s required a large room of animators, lots of expensive equipment, and more money than I can imagine. Thus, by the end of the 1940s, the average seven minute cartoon was very unsophisticated and the animation was called “limited” because it took so many short-cuts. Cartoons from the 1950s and beyond looked less interesting because they were made so “cheaply.” Yet, even these “cheap” cartoons were terribly expensive to create.

My last cartoon took less than two weeks to create and tackled the issue of malpractice. Take a look at it.

This cartoon utilizes several effects and benefits available in the various Toon Boom packages:

The following effects seen here are possible in Toon Boom Studio, Animate, and Animate Pro:
1. Reusing characters from other projects
2. 3D camera that allows camera motion in and out with depth of characters and surroundings
3. Creating characters with cut-out parts that can be moved in a manner that reduces the number of drawings and adds more expression and motion to characters.
4. Speedy lip-synch with high levels of accuracy.
5. HDTV 1080p output

The following effects in the cartoon are possible in Animate and Animate Pro:
1. You may note there is subtle shading of the characters to create more depth. It makes the cartoon look less “Flash-like.”
2. Easier assembly of parts.

The following features are exclusive to Animate Pro:
1. The amazing swooping camera at the start and end of the animation that involves both 3D camera movement AND 3D ROTATION. The rotation is the key ingredient here.
2. The set is also 3D. Look at the announcer’s desk, walls and floor. The same is also present in the doctor scene but is kept more subtle. This was created totally in Animate Pro.
3. The shading effects on the floors, walls and characters are much easier in Pro.

Take home points: The majority of the cartoon effects are available in the entry product, Toon Boom Studio. Studio is a great starting point for the beginning animator. Then, once you are comfortable, you should graduate to Animate Pro. Animate Pro then allows the incredible shading, camera motion, and character interactions that make your production more professional.

The idea is to create a big-budget look with only a little time and money.

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