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Adobe vs Toon Boom

Flash vs Toonboom

There’s a war brewing in the animation software world and Cartoon Brew is right in the thick of it. In fact, I only became aware of the no-holds-barred battle in the past few months because two of our biggest advertisers have been the dueling companies: Adobe and Toon Boom. The latter is currently making a serious run to overtake Adobe Flash as the preferred software package for 2D digital animators. Toon Boom’s new Animate software has an animator-friendly set of features and more importantly, it’s price-competitive with Flash. This isn’t a new development. We spoke of the animation community’s increasing dissatisfaction with Flash last January when Mucha Lucha creators Eddie Mort and Lili Chin announced they were switching to Toon Boom software.

Australian animator Adam Phillips, of Bitey Castle fame, has reviewed the new packages from both companies–Toon Boom Animate and Flash CS4–and approves of both, though he’s more enthusiastic about Toon Boom Animate:

[Toon Boom] Animate is definitely an exciting release for animators who are frustrated with the animation limitations of Flash. It’s also the most intuitive of their fantastic animation programs to date and it’s priced very competitively. Packed with animator-friendly tools, is based entirely on traditional animation workflow (with all the benefits of digital animation) and has a library of effects that will put your work way ahead of the average web animator.

Phillips’ verdict on Flash CS4:

If you’re sticking with Flash and you decide to upgrade to Flash CS4, I think you’ll be blown away by it. There are a few persistent gripes, such as masking, audio, video format export, brush sizes & shapes, colour management and the Timeline. However, certain new features have thrilled the shit outta me! They include armatures (Inverse Kinematics), 3D movieclip translate/scale/rotate, the Motion Editor (an amazing, kickarse version of the old Custom Ease window), Spray Brush (which can spray movieclips all over the Stage – perfect for say, millions of flowers in a meadow, animated swaying in the breeze) and completely new motion tween model.

It’s no coincidence that industry website Cold Hard Flash recently hosted three launch events in LA, NY and Toronto celebrating the release of Toon Boom Animate. Not to mention the site’s primary advertising spots are taken up by Toon Boom. The bottom line is that this competition between software makers should lead to more powerful and efficient packages for the animation community. Hopefully both software makers will continue to use Cartoon Brew as a battleground for spreading their message. We could use the few extra bucks.

Would be interesting to hear some animator perspectives in the comments–who’s switching to Toon Boom and who’s sticking with Flash? Speak up.