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iojabba
02-14-2008, 11:19 AM
I wanted some advise on a 2D animation program for my 13 year old son.

He is currently using dogwaffle free edition. He would like something with more tools and that performs a bit faster. I was thinking of getting him the newest version of dogwaffle, but wanted to get the communities opinions and suggestions first.

I don't want to spend a fortune, so TVPaint is out, but I know that there are others out there like Toon boom (education edition) and Anime studio.

I know that this is the LW community thread, but I know a lot of you use a variety of paint programs too.

AbnRanger
02-14-2008, 12:58 PM
Since he is in school, you could simply buy him an Academic license of LW (roughly $195 at www.studica.com ), and he could build 3d models, animate them using bone rigs (instead of having to onion skin every frame), and facial morphs, yet output to a 2d look with cel shading. In the list of free video tutorials here, Proton covers a nice custom Cel Shading technique, to get exactly the look you want.
ftp://ftp.newtek.com/multimedia/movies/w3dw/CelShade.mov

I think, instead of going the cheaper route, buying him something (that's still relatively inexpensive) that he can really grow into may be the best way to go. Just think...if he gets a head start at 13, where would he be, skill-wise, by the time he's ready for college.
Disney, for example, no longer does 2D animation, but has instead transformed to a 3D environment, where cel shading can be used for cartoon-esque output. That's pretty much the prevailing model in cel-animation these days.
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=79906

Steamthrower
02-14-2008, 01:00 PM
For merely 2D animation, I've heard great things about Toon Boom. I even think that it's been used professionally before.

Also there's an open source program that looks pretty impressive called Synfig.

http://www.synfig.com/

iojabba
02-14-2008, 06:04 PM
Ok, thanks for the input. I'm going to have him take a look at Synfig to see what he thinks.

Airborne, he does use my LW sometimes, but he wants a 2d solution. He uses milkshape for modeling objects for game mods (mostly Blockland). I think that he is a little intimidated by 3D, but he will come around.

Hopper
02-14-2008, 06:26 PM
Also there's an open source program that looks pretty impressive called Synfig.

http://www.synfig.com/
Totally cool! My son could definately get into this. He's been using DreamWeaver MX to do Flash video stuff, but I think this would be more helpful and fun to play with. Thank you sir....

Dexter2999
02-14-2008, 06:36 PM
An educational license of Toon Boom Studio is also available for about $140. The problem may come in the qualifying part. You often have to go through the school to get them.

AbnRanger
02-14-2008, 06:58 PM
Ok, thanks for the input. I'm going to have him take a look at Synfig to see what he thinks.

Airborne, he does use my LW sometimes, but he wants a 2d solution. He uses milkshape for modeling objects for game mods (mostly Blockland). I think that he is a little intimidated by 3D, but he will come around.Sorry, I was just thinking how much more efficient it is to model, texture, and rig a character that you can use and reuse over and over and over for animation, instead of having to go through the more tedious process of onion skinning in an exclusively 2d program. Plus the amount of training invested in learning one of those would go quite a way towards being more proficient in LW.
Could I suggest going through Colin Larkin's Character modeling exercise
( http://puffandlarkin.com/lightwave/tutorials/character_modelling/) with him, and once done, let him texture the character with Cel-shading, then with more realistic shaders, then a hybrid between the two (with an ink outline...similar to Disney's "Handy Manny":
http://atv.disney.go.com/playhouse/handymanny/index.html) ...then see if he's not hooked thereafter :)

loki74
02-14-2008, 07:04 PM
For merely 2D animation, I've heard great things about Toon Boom. I even think that it's been used professionally before.

Also there's an open source program that looks pretty impressive called Synfig.

http://www.synfig.com/

ToonBoom Studio Pro, from what I understand, is a pretty solid "industry standard" in paperless 2D animation, but they also have a middle-of-the-line "prosumer" -esque version as well as a strictly fun version (IIRC)

rakker16mm
02-14-2008, 09:12 PM
If you want to get him a 2d animation program you couldn't go wrong with Toon Boom Studio. If he wants to try his hand at 3D animation there is always Animation Master. I think these are good starting points because they are not too expensive and it's an opportunity to see if this is some thing he wants to pursue. OTOH.... you could be creating a monster :devil: Mwahhahaha!

iojabba
02-15-2008, 09:53 AM
Sorry, I was just thinking how much more efficient it is to model, texture, and rig a character that you can use and reuse over and over and over for animation, instead of having to go through the more tedious process of onion skinning in an exclusively 2d program. Plus the amount of training invested in learning one of those would go quite a way towards being more proficient in LW.
Could I suggest going through Colin Larkin's Character modeling exercise
( http://puffandlarkin.com/lightwave/tutorials/character_modelling/) with him, and once done, let him texture the character with Cel-shading, then with more realistic shaders, then a hybrid between the two (with an ink outline...similar to Disney's "Handy Manny":
http://atv.disney.go.com/playhouse/handymanny/index.html) ...then see if he's not hooked thereafter :)

Looks like a fun project for him to try. I'll see if he wants to.

Sounds like there is a lot of support for Toon Boom here. I will have him look at the feature list to see if it has what he wants. I understand that it is vecter based. What are the advantages/disadvantages to this verses pixel based products? I think that dogwaffle is pixel.

Also, what do you think about aura. Would that be an option? Isn't there an animators plugin for that?

cresshead
02-15-2008, 10:33 AM
there's also pencil which is FREE and is pixel and vector based [via layers]

def the right price point!

http://www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil/index.php?id=UserManual

http://www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil/contents/Screenshots/0.4.3-screenshot-win.png

if you want better features etc then i'd reccomend TVpaint

www.tvpaint.com

[tv paint is the renamed aura/mirage etc]

http://www.tvpaint.fr/images/tutos/images_fr/03/rotation.gif

http://www.tvpaint.fr/images/tutos/images/tuto03_flip_book.gif

BigHache
02-15-2008, 10:53 AM
I might be wary of purchasing Mirage. There's a licensing dispute between the French company TVPaint and the US distributor/developer that produces Mirage. Nothing may become of it but it's possible that you could buy a license of Mirage then be left without support in the future. It seems like a nasty legal battle that no one really knows much about, but some folks online have taken very staunch positions not knowing what they're talking about because they don't work for either company.

I think before getting into software, a good place to start (for 2D) would be with books and studying animation, like frame-by-frame. Tony White has a great book on animation, "The Animator's Workbook". I don't know that I can say inputing drawings directly into the computer is beneficial because animators draw on paper then scan in. Flash is good for learning, but it's not something that studios would really be interested in seeing if that were the goal.

cresshead
02-15-2008, 10:57 AM
just to clarify i understand mirage is now NOT for sale on bauhaus site, so TVpaint from the developers of aura/mirage and tvpaint over in France is the only place to get TVpaint per se.

I'd urge you to maybe try out pencil first then maybe the 2 demo;s of TVpaint one after another so you get some extended time playing with the app for free.

iojabba
02-15-2008, 11:20 AM
I might be wary of purchasing Mirage. There's a licensing dispute between the French company TVPaint and the US distributor/developer that produces Mirage. Nothing may become of it but it's possible that you could buy a license of Mirage then be left without support in the future. It seems like a nasty legal battle that no one really knows much about, but some folks online have taken very staunch positions not knowing what they're talking about because they don't work for either company.


I saw the leagal issues with Mirage, so I planned on saying away from that, but I know that Aura and Mirage are earlier versions of the current TVPaint so I thought that may be a way to get entry into TVP and later upgrade. But I'm not sure if there is an animation tools plug for that version.



I think before getting into software, a good place to start (for 2D) would be with books and studying animation, like frame-by-frame. Tony White has a great book on animation, "The Animator's Workbook". I don't know that I can say inputing drawings directly into the computer is beneficial because animators draw on paper then scan in. Flash is good for learning, but it's not something that studios would really be interested in seeing if that were the goal.

This is very good advice. I have already taken this step with him. He has "The Animator's Workbook" I passed my copy down to him that I used during my first animation class in school. Great book. He has done some cut-out type animation (scanning in cutouts), line animation (just pencil drawings), and some stop motion using a digital camera and then stringing the stills together.

I got him interested when I pulled out the 16mm projector and showed him my first cell animation (final project for class back in school). He really got hooked when he realized that he could make ninja battles with a flip book. lol

Cresshead - I took a look at pencil and it looks pretty usefull. I will have him look at it. Looks like it is a work in progress, but you can't beat free. Especially if he likes it.

faucheux
02-15-2008, 11:27 AM
I have used Toon Boom for quite some time. It is an excellent program and very affordable. Plus, it imports well into Flash. You can do much more in Toon Boom than you can do in Flash as far as animating because you can draw and keyframe in the traditional way. Then, after you import into Flash you can add interactivity.

I would encourage your son to develop his skills in both 2d and 3d animation. The traditional methods and principles developed over decades in 2d animation hold true in 3d as well. That's why Pixar is so good. It's not just their technical skills that set them apart, it's their ability to make the characters act. That comes directly from 2d animation.

Encourage him develop his skills in drawing. The better he can draw the better animator he'll be no matter what type of animation he'll finally settle in to.

Here are two excellent resources I would reccomend to anyone interested in animation :http://www.animationarchive.org/ http://awn.com/

Best of luck.

Faucheux

iojabba
02-15-2008, 11:37 AM
Thanks for all the help everyone. You have given us a lot to think about.

rdolishny
02-16-2008, 01:29 PM
there's also pencil which is FREE and is pixel and vector based [via layers]

Pencil is amazing.

How many times I've needed a quick solution for a cel job and used the "Hummer H3 to get a gallon of milk" solution called Flash.

Thank you for this recommendation.

cresshead
02-16-2008, 01:41 PM
yeah i was showing pencil to my old students today at the nottingham usergroup it's really a neat program:thumbsup: and works on all the major o/s's too...yup it's not 'deep' but it's early days and i'll def be using it alongside TVpaint for some fun 2d stuff this year.:agree:

main link page

http://www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil/index.php?id=Home

http://www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil/contents//Home/pencil-home.png

cresshead
02-16-2008, 01:49 PM
youtube tutorial [no sound]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF8RUoI-9mk

cresshead
02-16-2008, 01:55 PM
2d ball animation tutorial for pencil

http://www.stage6.com/user/apelsinchoklad/video/1996089/the-bouncing-ball-tutorial

Greenlaw
02-16-2008, 10:17 PM
Hi,

I've used Flash, Anime Studio Pro, Toon Boom Studio, and Mirage Pro. Not a lot but here's my quick take on each:

Flash has some nice drawing tools, and of course tools for making your animations interactive. For character animation it doesn't natively feature any real rigging tools. If your son is mainly interested in non-interactive animation, Flash may be overkill. Also, Flash doesn't necessarily simulate traditional 2D animation workflows, if that's important to you.

I used Anime Studio Pro when it was called Moho 5 Pro. It's vector-based like Flash and it has rigging tools like in a 3D program, i.e., bones, inverse kinematics, dynamics, etc. It also has a particle engine and can render motion blur. With Anime Studio Pro you can deform your drawings (vector or bitmap) with bones or switch to sequenced drawings for more traditional 'cel' animation, or do a hybrid of both. It has a separate lipsynching program called Papagayo which is free. The lip-synching can use morphed paths or individual drawings animated by image switching. I like this program but you need to render your frames to see certain drawing effects. If I remember correctly, you can render to .tga, .png, and Flash. It's fairly inexpensive but the price has steadily gone up over the years: when I bought it a couple of years ago, it was $99 but now it costs $199. I got a free upgrade to Anime Studio Pro but haven't had a chance to use it for some time now. I hope to get back to it as soon as finish my current short film project. FWIW, I think it's worth the price but you should try the free version first to see if you like the interface. You can draw directly in the program but it's not as powerful as Flash in that respect. That said, you can get very nice animations from it but it takes a bit of planning and work (which is true of any good animation.)

I just got Toon Boom Studio, but I haven't had a chance to use it much yet. It's another vector-based animation program. It has rigging tools but no ik system--you need the higher end version for that (which is much more expensive than the Studio version.) I've only played around with TBS for simple stuff but so far I really like it. The interface is straightforward and easy to understand. It can simulate traditional animation tools like a rotating animation disc, making it nicer for drawing directly in the program when using a tablet. (This same feature can be found in Painter, Art Rage 2, and Manga Studio, and it really makes drawing easier. I have no idea why Photoshop still doesn't have this.) I bought the Studio version because they recently had a good discount ($349) that also included a ton of training material. There is a free version and the significantly more expensive Toon Boom Digital Pro. Though I haven't used Toon Boom much yet, I think the price for the Studio version is pretty reasonable, and it's worth mentioning that this program has been one of the standards in the industry.

Unlike the previous programs, Mirage is a bitmap-based animation program. Like TBS, it features a number of 'traditional' 2D animation features like a rotating animation disc. Mirage's strength is natural media tools, which makes it great for creating arty looking animations (i.e., sketchy or painterly techniques.) You can draw in more commercial looking styles with it too--it's pretty flexible. With the optional Animator's Tool Bar, you get a number of tools that simulate a more traditional 2D animation workflow. There's one important thing to be aware of: you can't buy Mirage anymore, at least not here in the United States. Another version of this program is sold as TV Paint in other countries though.

One other program worth mentioning is Plastic Animation Paper. I barely used it, so I can only say a few things about it. It's another bitmap-based animation program, but the impression I got is that it is strictly for drawing your line art; you have to use a third-party program like Photoshop for coloring. Because of this, I'm not sure it's a good value, but a friend of mine seems to like it a lot. Like Toon Boom and Mirage, it can simulate a traditional 2D animation workflow. I glanced through the tutorials and it seems pretty capable, but you'll have to finish your shots using separate paint and compositing programs. (Which, to be fair, is exactly what I do for 3D animation anyway.) Like Anime Studio and Toon Boom, there is a free version of PAP available, and you can also demo the pro version.

If I was to recommend anything, it would be between Toon Boom Studio and Anime Studio Pro, possibly leaning towards TBS if your son is thinking of entering the industry. Please take my opinion with a grain of salt though as I make my living as a 3D animator, not 2D, and I haven't used these programs enough yet to know all the shortcomings yet.

I do recommend reading the user forums for each program to get a feel for what full time users think about their tools. Also, download and use the free versions of each to see what you like the best--all the programs have similar functionality, but some of tools and workflow can be quite different.

Hope this info was helpful.

DRG

Greenlaw
02-16-2008, 10:28 PM
I glanced through the tutorials and it seems pretty capable, but you'll have to finish your shots using separate paint and compositing programs. (Which, to be fair, is exactly what I do for 3D animation anyway.)

Hmm. I just re-read my post and realized that this statement doesn't completely make sense . Of course, I do my 'coloring' in the 3D package. However, I usually think of the 3D output as 'raw' material, and I do a lot to enhance the image in post using other programs. I hope now this makes a little more sense.

But I digress...:)

DRG

iojabba
02-16-2008, 11:14 PM
I have seen Anime Studio, but I was a little skeptical of something I saw on the shelf at Target, but who knows......

cresshead
02-17-2008, 03:09 AM
Hi,

edit>>



Unlike the previous programs, Mirage is a bitmap-based animation program. Like TBS, it features a number of 'traditional' 2D animation features like a rotating animation disc. Mirage's strength is natural media tools, which makes it great for creating arty looking animations (i.e., sketchy or painterly techniques.) You can draw in more commercial looking styles with it too--it's pretty flexible. With the optional Animator's Tool Bar, you get a number of tools that simulate a more traditional 2D animation workflow. There's one important thing to be aware of: you can't buy Mirage anymore, at least not here in the United States. Another version of this program is sold as TV Paint in other countries though.


DRG


just to correct you a little in case he goes for a second hand Mirage.

mirage does have a rotating disc 'of sorts' as a freeby add on but it's really more of a hack and not that usable in day to day usage when you compare it to other rotating canvas tools found in art rage, toon boom and TVpaint

also Mirage has been withdrawn from sale from their distributors over at bauhaus software so you can only buy it second hand in which case support may be an issue with any dongle breakage or licencing problems.. just so you know!

as you said Tvpaint is the next and latest version of that line of products and has full support from it's creators over in france plus there's 2 versions to choose from and so 2 demo's to try out!

I'd also say have a play with 'Pencil' which i linked to in a previous post..it's free a may just be what your looking for.

iojabba
02-17-2008, 11:02 AM
He is playing with Pencil right now. He likes it a lot, but it does have limits. Seems to be limited to line/cell type animation with no bones or IK. But, he does like it. He still wants dogwaffle though. I haven't gotten much feedback on it thogh. I just hate to spend $100 bucks on it (because he is used to the interface), just to find out that he really would have liked another product better down the road. Any input on dogwaffle?

I did get the demos of TVPaint for him, but it scares me a little. I'm not sure if I want him to fall in love with it because of the cost.

cresshead
02-17-2008, 02:54 PM
i bought dogwaffle a while back, but didn't get into it so i've not used it...so from my point of view it didn't 'click' with me.

try the demo of dogwaffle to see if it's more your cup of tea.

i have toonboom express but also never really got into the idea of cut out animation...i'd prefer pixel based as it's more freeform/fluid and if i went with cut out i may as well use lightwave really...just use 2d cutouts in the 3d camera space...you can even have linking, ik and bones with lightwave for this.

danielkaiser
02-17-2008, 03:33 PM
Aura and Mirage are earlier versions of the current TVPaint

It was originally TVPaint and started on the Amiga, first time I saw it was in 90' or 91', there was a free version of Aura that was given out at a Video Toaster Demo, I may have thrown my copy out, I'll have to look and postage is cheap.

Don't know if NewTek has a restriction on the transfer of the license, any one have info on this?

iojabba
02-17-2008, 07:51 PM
It was originally TVPaint and started on the Amiga, first time I saw it was in 90' or 91', there was a free version of Aura that was given out at a Video Toaster Demo, I may have thrown my copy out, I'll have to look and postage is cheap.

Don't know if NewTek has a restriction on the transfer of the license, any one have info on this?

Is the aura version that you have for windows or amiga? The only amiga I have is an old 500 in my garage that I don't have set up. If its for windows, I will gladly take it off of your hands for you.

cresshead
02-17-2008, 08:02 PM
It was originally TVPaint and started on the Amiga, first time I saw it was in 90' or 91', there was a free version of Aura that was given out at a Video Toaster Demo, I may have thrown my copy out, I'll have to look and postage is cheap.

Don't know if NewTek has a restriction on the transfer of the license, any one have info on this?

are you talking about Aura DV?
that was a freeby on some magazines..i had that then went onto buy Tvpaint.

if it's aura dv then it runs on windows

danielkaiser
02-17-2008, 08:10 PM
Is the aura version that you have for windows or amiga? The only amiga I have is an old 500 in my garage that I don't have set up. If its for windows, I will gladly take it off of your hands for you.

Yea it's Aura DV, I'm still digging!!!

Greenlaw
02-17-2008, 09:00 PM
I have seen Anime Studio, but I was a little skeptical of something I saw on the shelf at Target, but who knows......

Have him try the demo versions first, which you can download from the website. My guess is that Target sells the basic version. I'm not sure what it lacks compared to the pro version so he should try both demos.

I think it's a good program, and it's relatively inexpensive, but as I said it can take a bit of work and planning to make the most of it.

DRG

Greenlaw
02-17-2008, 09:10 PM
...it can take a bit of work and planning to make the most of it.

I should add that once you get a full rig set up, it can be fun to animate with. The 'work' part is that, depending on your designs and how ambitious your storyboard is, you may need to make many rigs for the same character. Fortunately, it's easy to set up rigs in this program. Just a few more things to keep in mind.

DRG

BigHache
02-17-2008, 10:31 PM
If he gets more serious I'd look into getting him a cheap animation lightbox. Lightfoot LTD and Cartoon Color Company should have something to foot the bill.

D.T. Nethery
05-08-2008, 07:20 PM
I saw the legal issues with Mirage, so I planned on saying away from that, but I know that Aura and Mirage are earlier versions of the current TVPaint so I thought that may be a way to get entry into TVP and later upgrade. But I'm not sure if there is an animation tools plug for that version.


Just to clarify: Bauhaus Software (http://www.bauhaussoftware.com/) no longer sells Mirage (they have not sold it since October 2007) and the legal issues between Bauhaus and TVPaint Development Co (http://www.tvpaint.com/). have recently been resolved in favor of TVPaint.
Mirage is the property of TVPaint Development Co. The software is now known as TVP Animation Pro (http://www.tvpaint.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=79).

iojabba
05-08-2008, 07:36 PM
Holy RESURRECTED thread.

Thanks for the info. He has dogwaffle and I'm getting him a copy of aura (which is upgradable to TVPaint later if he wants)

Larry_g1s
05-09-2008, 01:03 PM
Just an FYI, the one I'm using with Jason Ryan (http://www.jasonryananimation.com)'s ramp up (& soon tutorials) is Flip Book (http://www.digicel.net/). He's an animation supervisor at Dreamworks. That Pencil does look interesting though.

cresshead
05-09-2008, 02:19 PM
hey thanks for the heads up on flipbook...looks intersting.

adamredwoods
05-09-2008, 04:37 PM
I used to do 2D animation. I recommend Toon Boom and Flash. Just turn on onion skinning and dive right in. No rigs, no technical headaches.

Anime Studio is interesting since it can combine 3d and 2d, but for strict 2D animation it is best not to be messing around with technical mumbo-jumbo.

To learn 2D animation, one must draw, draw, draw, draw....

archijam
05-10-2008, 05:29 AM
Another great (and free) vector drawing app is Inkscape, great to work in, even if only used for backgrounds etc ...

Very similar to CorelDraw/Illustrator.

IMPERIAL
05-12-2008, 04:44 AM
for vector based program try this:
http://www.the-tab.com/
fot raster (bitmap) i recoment TVPaint. (Aura, Mirage)