The Shareware Review People

Toon Boom Studio

Type of Program: 2D Animation Editor
Supported Platforms: Win9x/NT/W2K/Mac
Company Name: Toon Boom Technologies
Version: 2.0.1
Price: $349 (Electronic Version) $374 (Boxed Version) – Corporate & Education discounts also available
Installed Size: 40MB


Toon Boom Studio is the state-of-the art tool if you do any type of 2D animating! This is one remarkable program with all drawing and animation tools at your disposal. If you’ve ever wondered how artists create those astounding cartoons or Web animations, now you know. I have been creating animations for several years and have always had to rely on multiple programs (probably like most animators) to produce any single animation. That is until I found Toon Boom Studio. With Toon Boom Studio everything you need is now tightly integrated into this one superb program! Whether you are the Traditional Animator, or the Digital Animator, Toon Boom Studio ties everything together for you into one easy-to-use package. It is a program that no matter which type of animator you are, you will feel comfortable using. Once you’ve used this program you won’t be going back to any of your old ways of creating animations!

I do feel compelled to tell you straight off that Toon Boom Studio is not a "toy." It is for serious animators that want to harness all the power and creativity within. For the true animator you will feel right at home using the Exposure Sheets, Light Table, the Storyboarding Tools, the Painting Tools, and so much more. At the heart of Toon Boom Studio lies the industry standard USAnimation® which is also produced by the same company and used in studios around the world.

So how does it perform? Toon Boom Studio follows the same logic of your traditional animation production but has the power of the computer that gives it the flexibility to support your creativeness for any type of conventional animation or Web animation. Although you can use a mouse to draw, I suggest you acquire and use a graphics tablet, as it will feel more natural as you create. I used the Wacom Graphire2 Tablet (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and it did remarkably well.

As you work on your project you will be impressed with the ease of moving around, jumping forward, inserting new ideas here and there until you’ve created the perfect artwork and animation. Using Toon Boom Studio makes it a snap to make adjustments here and there at ant time without any disruption in the flow of your work. What is perhaps one of the toughest parts of animating? Moving your character around in the scene and giving him motion? Altering the camera views? With Toon Boom Studio you use "pegs" that can be attached to pivot zones on your character or camera. Adjust the peg in virtually any direction and set the timing to alter the motion of your character/camera and you soon will see just how easy Toon Boom Studio really is to use.

Once you have all of your sketches and artwork laid out in the Drawing Mode you can setup your Color Palettes by name to suit your scene. Paint the zones and all of the drawings within the zone are painted. Change to a night scene, use your Color Palettes and Pens you’ve setup and paint away! When you are ready to see more detail and to adjust the animation, switch to the Sceneplanning Mode to go "behind" the camera to set your choreography! Like a true Director or Cameraman, you view your creation through the eye of the camera lens.

With the release of Version 2.0 of Toon Boom Studio (for Windows), there are so many new features that trying to give them the credit they deserve in this article does not do it justice. You truly must check out their site and download the Demo to really see it in action. But, to give you a rundown of some of its abilities, take a look at some of these features:

Change the color of elements over time with color tweening
Create masks to reveal only certain portions of your animation
Create a mask that changes over time with the use of pegs
The Polyline tool lets you draw objects and control the shape of the object with Bezier editing tools
Group any/all drawing objects
Import and vectorize all bitmap file formats
Vector optimization
Reposition all drawings
Flip and rotate your drawings
Draw from the center to draw round and rectangular shapes from the center of your mouse
Change your rotation pivot point
Supports importing clips in Macromedia® Flash movies
SWF Import
Auto gap closing - Close gaps as you paint and set your tolerance level
Use bitmap images as paint fills for your drawing objects
Sound scrubbing so you can determine how you want to lip-sync a track
Automatically map your character’s mouth positions to the lip chart generated from a sound element
QuickTime® audio support: Export sound with your QuickTime® movies
Export your Macromedia® Flash movies with streamed audio
Timeline and Exposure Sheets
3D Sceneplanning
And more!

Okay. Now you’re about ready to finalize and produce your animation and the only thing you lack are the voiceovers. When you’re ready to finalize and produce your animation, use the lip-synching capabilities within Toon Boom Studio to add voices to your character in just a few clicks! It really is just that easy! If you’ve created a cartoon series then you will love the ability to create your own Templates that you can reuse in future cartoons to carry on your series. Set the Templates up in Catalogs (i.e. your scene is now night and your character is highlighted by the moon), or create a Template of your Credits to be used over and over without redesigning them each and every time. When you’re done with the animation, Export the animation to a QuickTime video or Flash File and really start showing off your work.

Toon Boom Studio is your "comprehensive animation studio!" For professional results in the fraction of the time, Toon Boom Studio embodies everything you need!

User Friendly
Ease of Installation
Reviewed by Robert Hall

Purchases can be made online from their Web site with Educational discounts available.

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