Lili Chin and Eddie Mort Abandon Flash Lili Chin and Eddie Mort Abandon Flash

Lili Chin and Eddie Mort Abandon Flash

Flash error

Everybody has been jumping on the Flash bandwagon these past few years, but could 2008 be the year that animators begin abandoning the infamously buggy software for a more stable and artist-friendly program? Lili Chin and Eddie Mort, the creators of one of the earliest Flash-animated TV series ¡Mucha Lucha!, have announced on their blog that they’re through with Flash. The creative duo is currently wrapping up a feature in Flash called Los Campeones de La Lucha Libre, but they say that beginning with their next project, a short for Cartoon Network Asia, they’ll be switching to Toon Boom’s Harmony. The statement on their blog reads:

“Goodbye Macromedia Flash. After 8 years we are truly over you. Those buggy filters you tantalisingly tempted us with in Flash 8 were the last straw. And you got an ANNIE AWARD for your inadequate software? We’re looking forward to working in some new kind of HARMONY for Rocquita.”

Is this an isolated incident or has the exodus begun?

  • Flash has been glitchy since version 5. This isn’t too big of a shocker to anyone who’s worked with the software.

    That, and macromedia/adobe never seem to fix the glitches between versions. But with so many using it, and buying it, why should they have to?

  • I’m glad someone did that! I’ve started working in a company doing an animated series on Flash, and I can’t put into words how much I hate that program.

    We’ve been looking also into toonBoom, but there are two big problems:

    The first and minor problem is the support. Since we work in Brazil, support here is very limited and with Flash now belonging to Adobe the support is a lot superior than with ToonBoom. Besides it will now integrate more and more with Photoshop, which is probably their best product.

    The second problem is that there are now training availble on other softwares besides Flash. That means that probably every animator that comes into the studio will have to go through some software training period before it can really start to produce.

  • I dunno. I wonder were these guys given an incentive to switch to Toon Boom?! i’ve been using flash for eight years also and last year did a two week course on Harmony. i think it’s still in it’s infancy and a few versions down the line i imagine i’ll be using it myself but after struggling with it for two weeks i abandoned it and returned to my love-hate relationship with flash

  • Rob M

    Wow, you’d love for this to be the case, huh? No, it’s not part of a larger trend.

    Also, this is the first time I’ve heard Flash called “infamously buggy.”

    …you’ve used Flash, right Amid?

  • Ah, and just as I was going through some positives and negatives of Flash on my own blog.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think Harmony will be the saviour they are looking for. It certainly has some nice features but is stupidly laid out and has more than its fair share of crashes.

    Oh, and it’s a tool for producers looking for volume rather than for actual animators.

  • As one who is impressed with ToonBoom Harmony (and am a fan of two Canadian cartoons that use the software), this should be interesting.

  • slowtiger

    Flash was never meant to be a tool for character animation. That it was used to create lots of, and sometimes really great character animation, only proves that an animator will use any tool within his or her reach, no matter how akward it would be. And I bet in most cases they would have switched to other software if only they had known about its existance.

    Flash is a great tool for motion graphics and for text animation. For character animation I’d prefer Anime Studio (best for puppet-principle animation), or ToonBoom for drawing frame-by-frame in vector.

  • Fred Sparrman

    Macromedia said “goodbye” to everyone before these guys said “goodbye” to Macromedia… Flash is now owned by Adobe. Maybe they’ll fix it.

  • Let us hope it’s the exodus. Then again, might as well abandon Maya while we’re at it.

  • I am reminded of the old adage “you get what you pay for”. I have been using flash professionally since version 3 on my own even prior to that I mean I even had a copy of future sketch.

    I use it to build websites though, I still prefer to animate pencil on paper. The idea that production teams developed all this broadcast animation on the tool always struck me as brilliant but doomed. I can’t think of a moment where I thought that Macromedia or Adobe shipped the product with this type of work as the intent for it’s existence. It always struck me as a happy accident that it took on this life of it’s own in that arena, and it is remarkable what these artists were able to do with the tool, truly, but it had to come to this eventually.

    I don’t think you will see every production make the move but unless Adobe makes a conscious effort to alter it’s intent for the software those who don’t move toward a package geared toward a full production environment will have to suffer through the bugs and issues to take advantage of the savings in software cost per seat.

  • Joel Brinkerhoff
  • Teri

    I suppose I don’t blame anyone for wanting something more stable and possibly user friendly. However, I have seen a preview of Flash CS4 and the upgrades they are making might be worth waiting for.

    Macromedia is really trying to take the animator into consideration and they making Flash CS4 much more intuitive. I can’t vouch for whether they have worked out ALL the bugs, but I am very excited.

  • Levi

    let’s hope is a trend… we need to stir things up.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I know Flash for the Mac has more problems than Flash for the PC, but I heard there’s a new version out there with a lot of fixes. When Adobe bought Macromedia they really listened to a lot of users to find out what their problems were. Although there’s been a trend for years in the film/software industry for software companies to comp software packages to film companies in exchange for publicity.

  • Grover

    The animation community in Toronto has gone the Harmony way and is leaving Flash behind faster than you can say “choppy camera move”

  • A lot of us would probably like to use Harmony. But we’re not loaded, or studios.

    Flash works for me because it’s accessible and widespread. It’s not hard to draw in either. I might try out toon boom again, but when I did I really didn’t dig it so much. Growing up working on computers, the flash timeline makes sense to me a bit more.

    Maybe if my background was more firmly rooted in exposure sheets [I wish it was] I’d dig toon boom and all.

    But I still believe if you use flash in a way where you look at symbols as cycles and layers as cels you can do some really cool stuff.

    I’ll check out the other programs given the time for sure. but time and decent work are 2 things a lot of us are lacking right now.

  • Jon McClenahan

    Somebody at our company asked me about Flash, and here’s what I said: I’ve ALWAYS referred to the program as Macromedia Flash-in-the-Pan. I used to laugh at people who said we could do TV animation with Flash. However, I underestimated the power of executive obtuseness – if a bad decision can be made, they will make it AND stick by it. Such has been the case over the last 6-7 years.

    It was a fun little graphic program, designed for the needs of 28K modems back in the day, featuring vectorized files that could be easily delivered over phone lines. But it was NEVER designed to handle the demands of broadcast (or certainly film) animation. Anything Flash can do, ToonBoom Harmony can do better, plus more. Even when a show is specifically DESIGNED to be a Flash-type show, ToonBoom is a better way to handle it for TV. Over the course of our company’s production, we’ve discovered MANY of Flash’s limitations which unfortunately crippled our ability to tell stories properly.

    I’ve heard a lot of producers say, “Why should I spend $5000 on a seat of ToonBoom when I can spend $500 for a seat of Flash?” (or whatever the going rates are) To me, the answer is obvious: you get what you pay for.

    On the supersonic monorail of modern cartoon production, Flash is a steam kettle on wheels.

  • Flash’s primary strength is how it allows individual creators to produce animation on their own and distribute it easily over the internet. That’s why it was awarded an Annie, not for its use in TV production.

  • They’re gonna find that Toon Boom hosts a ton of bugs of its own and support has to be payed for. But to be honest I would rather deal with Toon Boom’s bugs than Flash’s.

    It’s probably a good idea for Flash people to learn Toon Boom, I know a lot of studios that are making the switch.

  • I used harmony in College and has a vastly superior pipeline support and a much better workflow than flash. It’s a great piece of software for larger animation studios. But essentially it does the same thing, it’s just geared more towards the animation studios.

  • R.

    I’ve never heard of anyone liking Toon Boom better than Flash.

    I’m sure both softwares are full of shortcuts that make cheap looking animation and lazy animators.

  • Paul N

    Frankly, I don’t know why anyone who’s developing for broadcast would use Flash in the first place. It’s not very animator-friendly, and the only advantage to using it over Toon Boom it is if you need a preloader or some bit of interactive code, which applies only for web development.

    Toon Boom has been a better choice for straight animation for a long time. I wrote a review of the software years ago, and it was impressive then. I imagine it’s only gotten better since.

  • What are they going to do when they find out the ToonBoom people aren’t any better or faster at fixing bugs than the Flash people?

    And if the filters they wanted to use in Flash don’t even exist in ToonBoom?

  • My problem with Flash is that it is anti-intuitive. If there is a more artist-freindly (read: easy to learn and use) program out there, then I’d be all for it, but I’m not anti-Flash at all. There is a lot of great stuff being done in Flash.

  • Flash is cheap and easy and there are way more Flash Trained animators out there. The quirkiness of the program is what unites all of us massochists to use it. Harmony is as hard to learn as Maya and is super expensive. If it were easier to learn and way cheaper, you would definately see a huge migration to it. Toon Boom should offer a learning edition like Maya does to get the masses on board to use it, thus giving the studios an incentive to incorporate it, especially if they don’t have to train everyone to use it from scratch.

  • Aww man! To have this happen right after the redesign of Cold Hard Flash is terrible! Quick! Someone buy

  • dan

    I never thought Flash was buggy…

    I just thought it was garbage.
    I’ll be trying out Harmony now

  • TikiRat

    I don’t know how Adobe’s support is but Toon Boom’s support group is really great. We’ve had many dealings with them, and they’ve even released specialized patches for us. These guys really want to be the number one animation software, and so they’ll pretty much bend over backwards to help their users.

  • C. Augusto Valdés

    Well, they decided to switch tools and just about everything else too. Read the article thoroughly and also found out they are done with luchadores. Eight years of MEXploitation have finally ended.

    Wonder if they’ll be any good without it.

  • Yeah Flash is buggy, but I think it’s silly for them to make such a public hissy fit…bunch of drama queens.

  • The only times I have had any issues with Flash so far (working on version 8) has been whenever I have attempted to program something more advanced like a game, in which the action script can be perfectly written but still not work. Still, I would like to give ToonBoom a shot one of these days..

  • red pill junkie

    MEXploitation? Well I dunno. I suppose it is kind of a limited view of what mexican culture is, but personally I have nothing against people having fun with Lucha Libre. It is an artistic interpretation and that’s ok.

    For, the record, Yo soy mexicano y vivo en Chilangolandia :-)

  • This reminds me of the whole Maya vs. 3D Max argument. Those two programs are, price wise, roughly the same and edging more towards being equally priced so maybe the argument of you get what you pay for holds up a bit there but… wait a second…

    How much does a pencil and paper run nowadays?

    I don’t know, I’ve been working with flash for close to a decade and yeah it blows at a lot of things (why isn’t that timeline scalable???) and can be anti intuitive but it’s like Maya or Max or Lightwave or XSI, you get what you put in. Then again, Poser seems pretty crappy so maybe it is the software. :-)

  • Blackwing602

    Amid asks:

    “…could 2008 be the year that animators begin abandoning the infamously buggy software for a more stable and artist-friendly program? “

    More stable and artist-friendly ? Absolutely. Let’s go! But is ToonBoom Harmony really the best answer to that question? I’ve tried out the individual-user version of ToonBoom called ToonBoom Digital Pro , and it has some powerful features , but I’d hardly call it “artist friendly”. The interface is complicated and it’s not very enjoyable to draw with . (the drawing tools in ToonBoom Digital Pro are somewhat better than the drawing tools in Flash, imo , but still a long way from “artist friendly” . Ask the Disney clean-up artists who had to use Harmony on the recent Goofy short.)

    For digital 2D I prefer TVPaint Animation or Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) Those are more artist-friendly to me , but not necessarily geared for mass production in a huge network of computer work-stations like Harmony .

  • Craig

    I am a student studying 2D animation. The bulk of the program is focused on classic pencil and paper animation and a strong emphasis on the principles of animation. We will, eventually, get around to learning Flash, but that seems to be mostly because the industry demands it.

    I’ve heard a lot of hate for Flash and how it’s cheap and makes animators lazy; however, if the majority of studios seem to be producing Flash animation. Yes, traditional animation looks better, but if Flash animators are getting hired over traditional, then doesn’t it make sense to take your knowledge of real animation principles and apply it to Flash and produce the best you can?

  • I have been using Flash since version 3 and professionally since 5. It’s my baby. At home, for illustration, animation, web stuff, at work for everything – it’s damn near apart of me.

    Though I can side with the “hate” I’m hearing. Over the last two years Flash has crashed on me once or twice at work. I don’t work in animation production for television which could tax the program for sure I imagine – so I can’t really comment on the stability.

    HOWEVER, Flash 8 does have its host of bugs with the new filters you can apply to movieclips ONLY. Part of the power of Flash is using “graphics” (over movieclips) when doing animation – specifically character animation. With “graphics” (that’s what they’re technically called in Flash…don’t ask me why) the animation plays out in real time and we have the ability to call up specific frames whenever you’d like. The blinks happen on frames 20, 65, and 110 – just call ’em up from the “eyes graphic”. Now within these controlable graphics you could us movieclips and use the awesome new filters to get some nice effects, but glitches arise when you try to dynamically call up a specific frame that should be showing a filter. Most of time it just doesn’t register – just doesn’t show the filter. This is a glaring problem. I’ve actually e-mailed this tech support and after walking him through completely simple sample files describing the problem, he stubbornly repeateded “yes, but it works when you output a .SWF.” Which is true, but I’m not doing work for the web. I’m doing animation and I need to spit out a frame sequence. I got annoyed and told him to file it as a bug then instead of an innocent help request.

    Sorry to babble – but this is probably the largest problem I’ve noticed in Flash 8/CS3. And I can understand many people tossing their arms up in frustration. I’ve been doing character animation in Flash for years before all these new fandangled additions so I either work around the bugs or don’t use ’em at all. It’s dumb and stupid and I don’t like Macromedia/Adobe for not acknowledging the animators as much as the web developers (I couldn’t careless what happens to Actionscript or if they incorporate IK chains) even though Flash was never intended for animation. It’s a tool that’s gained interest in what we do and they’re not really supporting it all that much.

    I’ve never used Harmony and only tried Toon Boon a couple times. Maybe they’re the best programs on Earth but Flash is cheap and accesible to me for what I want to do. And it hasn’t prevented me from doing what I want to do animation wise. There’s still After Effects for camera moves and depth of field and masking, etc.

    I’ll continue to use Flash though I have been disappointed in Adobe’s support towards animators. And frankly, I can completely understand many people’s frustration. If someone drops a copy of Harmony in my lap maybe I’ll change my mind.

    And if Adobe gives Illustrator a timeline and calls it an animation program I will get uncontrollably violent.

  • There are significantly less comments on this post, than the number of times that Flash has crashed on me today. Fact.

    Its about time we all abandoned it, because it abandoned us many years ago. Flash is NOT an animation program, that’s the thing. Its the leading software for rich media web development, and its clunky animation tools cling like barnacles to the side of those functions. The animation interface has not significantly developed in a decade, and it CAN’T develop significantly, because it would mean rewriting the scripting languages that are its true function and purpose.

    If you are not animating for web content, if you’re animating for broadcast, or anything to be output as a Quicktime or similar, there is absolutely no value to sticking with Flash.

    It’s like animating with flickerbooks and wotnot when you’re a kid. Once you’ve gotten your hands on ‘real’ animation equipment then why stick with the hokey old methods you used to use, just because there was nothing else?

    Me, I’m only using Flash right now cos someones PAYING me to use it, and i’m only writing this post because i’m waiting for the spinning umbrella of death…

  • I give Flash another 5 years… It provides very little room for innovation and it is very buggy (I’ve used it for both animation and interactive design). Plus, flash animation looks like it was done in… well, Flash, which usually isn’t a good thing.

    I am surprised hardly anyone has mentioned After Effects. I will be releasing a 10 minute short made in After Effects this February and I had almost zero technical problems. It’s very stable and integrates perfectly with Illustrator. Not great for frame-by-frame but incredible for digital keyframe animation.

  • Blackwing makes an interesting comment about Toon Boom: it’s “not very enjoyable to draw with.”

    And while there maybe better artist-friendly programs for drawing out there, Flash has always been an enjoyable process for me which is why I’ve never looked elsewhere. Manipulating lines and shapes and the distinction between the two and the gradient tool – it’s all pretty fun actually. Grabbing the actual line or edge of a shape and bending it and sort of sculpting things has been part of Flash’s biggest advantages. Way better than the techincal mumbo jumbo of Illustrator – again, maybe I’m in the minority here.

    Artists are the pickiest bunch of all to develop software for I hafta imagine. I certainly don’t envy the software nerds that are trying to make something that appeals to needs/wants of us fickle cartoon nerds :)

  • amid

    Craig: If you’re a student, I’d highly recommend learning Flash. It’s still going to be the industry standard for a few more years, if not longer. I was just pointing out a trend about how some may be switching to other programs. Even if everybody abandons it, it’s not going to happen overnight so there is still plenty of job value for students to learn it.

  • Eat, Sleep, Drink, Flash. Flash CS3 on a Mac Pro is the most stable Flash I have used, EVER.

    Software is supposed to crash, but I heard pencils and paper do not spontaneously combust, that could be a happy alternative to this digital revolution.

  • VideoWorks was great when my friends and I were making silly pythonesque 1-bit animations on the Mac SE in 1986. Flash unfortunately doesn’t feel 20 years better.

  • Steve Gattuso

    “could 2008 be the year that animators begin abandoning the infamously buggy software for a more stable and artist-friendly program?”

    It could be, but not as long as they’ve chosen Harmony. That’s like telling me you’re sick of dealing with OSX’s foibles, so you’re swapping to Vista. (Or you don’t like In-And-Out, so you’re getting Tommy’s.)

  • Baron Lego

    “Everybody has been jumping on the Flash bandwagon these past few years, but could 2008 be the year that animators begin abandoning the infamously buggy software..”

    In order to go back to proper hand-drawn 2D animation shows? That would be great!

    “…for a more stable and artist-friendly program?”


  • Anonymous

    I have been using Flash since 5 and currently have CS3. I don’t love ANY software. The “friendly” software is a myth. Perhaps some are friendlier than others. It’s like saying my one friend kicks me in the groin and slaps me in the head. My other friend only slaps me in the head therefore he’s friendlier. Flash never claimed to be a character animation program. Yes, the macromedia and adobe people have been apathetic in addressing cartoonists. The latest IK for Flash Next looks cool, though. The problem with toonboom as an independent is its price and learning curve ( I have seen the demonstrations on their site; some impressive stuff but worth the change?). I go with what I know, not because I claim Flash is wonderful. Pencil and paper? Now that was wonderful. I never had to retrain when I bought a new pencil.

    Another problem with toonboom are the results they show in their gallery. Alot of stuff LOOKS LIKE FLASH……despite the few cool features. In the end it’s what is on screen that counts, not how it got there. It is always the artist behind the tool. It reminds me of how once in a while an animator may do some great stuff in Hash Animation Master and some who use something like Maya are left scratching their heads on how was that possible.
    I understand Harmony has something in which a studio can share assets from a server. An individual won’t need that.
    Whatever happens in the so-called industry I’m sticking with Flash, not because it’s wonderful but I am old, tired and fed-up with the way these tech companies have us brainwashed that we need all this stuff to animate by releasing half-baked products and claiming the latest is an upgrade.

  • Eddie Mort

    Wow, what a surprise when I checked the Brew this morning!

    Having worked with every version of Flash (Yes, including Futuresplash!) and now having really put Flash 8 through its paces on Los Campeones, we reached a personal and professional decision that the software just wasn’t cutting it for us. (We will have to do an entire blog post with our list of grievances)

    No there are no incentives for us switching. Lili and I did a Harmony training course last year, liked its features, and are making a leap of faith with it on our new project. Time will tell if Harmony is the answer. Maybe we’ll end up going back to Animo ;)

  • Has anyone tried Pencil 1.0? It does crash occasionally, but is quickly fixed with the plug-in Sharpener 1.1 (an extension of the earlier Knife 1.0)

  • david

    people should learn how to draw and animate cartoons. no matter what software they use, as long as they how to animate traditionally, it will turn out great. you cant blame the program for the quality of the work, just blame the artist.

  • AICASF_Student

    I pefer Mirage becuase it’s easier to use a wacom tablet that isn’t the monitor or monitor-sized; and I’ve never seen ToonBoom before. It’s not the software that hinders animators; we just need a computer that’s as easy to animate on as paper.

  • Greg, you’re hilarious. And right of course – Pencil 1.0 is the way to go.

    Flash – Harmony, it really doesn’t matter a huge amount (though the idea that Harmony is more stable than Flash is laughable). Neither are tools to create better animation. Quicker? Sure. Quicker but worse.

    Whether to go with Flash or Harmony is really a producer’s question because they’re the ones who see the benefit and couldn’t care a damn if quality drops. Animators don’t benefit either way.

    Unless you’re a lazy-ass animator.

  • Ziggy Zarcowski

    I think Adobe should make two versions of Flash, one for web design and one especially made for animation.

  • animazzata

    I learned animation the good ol’ fashioned way, with Pencil 1.0 and LightTable 2000. I taught myself how to use ToonBoom in a weekend, before I “really” knew how to use an X sheet, and loved, loved, loved it. I tried to learn, and relearn, and re-relearn Flash. What I got was clunky animation and a three-year-long headache. Just my two cents.

  • WOW! Good post Amid. I agree with slowtiger that Flash was not meant for character animation. Flash is great for interactivity for the web, but really you kind of do get what you pay for. Go with what ever software fits your studio. Toon Boom has gotten a lot better as time goes by, and more artist friendly. ToonBoom Studio 4 is the best for it’s money, ($400) and is much more geared for animators than Flash. It has a drop shadow filter and easy camera pans. I’m training right now on TB Digital Pro and it’s got some great features on there too. It WAS intimidating at first but the work flow is great (I do wish the rendering was faster however) Toon Boom’s web site is helpful with tons of video tutorials. The price of Digital Pro is good for students at school but is steep for those who are not ($2999, $600) But if you are a studio that wants to put out high quality stuff that I would go with Harmony or Digital Pro. But that is for vector.

    The best for bitmap that I have worked with was Mirage. But they don’t sell their software anymore. Those brushes are GREAT and is rendered in real time. Their update was fantastic too. TV Paint is still around and seems ok but Mirage was the best. To me it’s just based on the artist and what he/she prefers (and what is affordable).
    For me however, I’m going with Digital Pro. But don’t be afraid to try something different folks, the technology is getting better with time….

  • Figures. Just when I’m getting the hang of flash it goes out of style.

  • Hulk, if you like it stick with it. Whatever fits you….

  • Hey, Flash is a GREAT program!

    When a program that was never designed for professional television animation in the first place becomes the industry standard, you blame the industry, not the program.

  • Like others have stated, Flash was never designed to be used as a professional animation program. If it was, tell me what purpose action scripting has?

    Most studios over the past several years have drifted over to Flash because of it’s ease of use and low price tag, not because of the quality output or functionality.

    I find most studios now are looking for a real animation solution, both in big and small environments. That solution is Toonboom.

    We switched over 2 years ago and haven’t looked back.

  • Greg Holfeld, your joke is unfortunately somewhat spoiled by the fact that there actually is a freeware OSX animation app called Pencil! :)

  • Matt Sullivan

    My problem with ToonBoom is there doesn’t seem to be any tutorials out there ( i think there’s one usergroup with tutorials but they dont really explain what does what, how, and why. I’m wishing someone like say, DIGITAL TUTORS would do a toonboom training dvd. those are idiot proff easy-to-follow dvd’s that a monkey could learn from.

  • Gavin Freitas wrote:

    ” The best for bitmap that I have worked with was Mirage. But they don’t sell their software anymore.

    TVPaint is still around and seems ok but Mirage was the best.”

    Yeah, Mirage was great ! But Gavin, TVPaint Animation is the exact same thing and much improved over the version that was sold as Mirage.

    As you mentioned , Mirage has been withdrawn from the market and is no longer available , but when you say that “TVPaint is still around and seems ok, but Mirage was the best” I need to point out as a former Mirage user and current TVPaint user that TVPaint IS Mirage , the exact same program except that TVPaint has been updated and improved several stages past where Mirage was.
    (Mirage source code was written by the TVPaint Development programmers).

    Part of this conversation that Amid started is talking about animators looking for more artist-friendly digital/paperless animation tools and I think TVPaint Animation is one of the best. For what it’s worth , I like many of the features in ToonBoom Digital Pro , too, and if I needed to work in a vector app that’s probably the one I’d go with.

    (my vote is still with Pencil 1.0 as THE artist-friendly method for animating !)

  • Oh, yes, and as Tim Drage pointed out above ,joking aside about “Pencil 1.0” , there actually is a digital animation app called Pencil , but it’s Pencil 4.4 . There are versions for Mac OS X , Windows, and Linux .
    It still needs some work , imo, but it’s FREE , so who’s complaining ? It’s fun to play around with. I’m looking forward to the next release , but like a lot of freeware it’s a part-time project of the programmer and no strict timetable for when the next release is due.

  • Paul N

    “Like others have stated, Flash was never designed to be used as a professional animation program. If it was, tell me what purpose action scripting has?”

    Well, maybe not professional, but the app that became Flash, FutureSplash, did start out as an animation program. ActionScript was added on when the decision was made to move more toward a web development app.

  • Greg Schwartz

    Quote “My problem with ToonBoom is there doesn’t seem to be any tutorials out there ( i think there’s one usergroup with tutorials but they dont really explain what does what, how, and why. I’m wishing someone like say, DIGITAL TUTORS would do a toonboom training dvd. those are idiot proff easy-to-follow dvd’s that a monkey could learn from.”

    Matt, there are more than 4 hours of video tutorials on Toon Boom web site for Digital Pro, plus Tips and content uploaded every month. This is how I learned Digital Pro, you shall check the eLearning section.

    Regarding TVPaint, its a fun application with good capabilities, I learned it at our school in Switzerland, but IMO its more like a toy compare to Digital Pro in a real production context.

  • Is ANY program as easy as paper and pencil? No…

    The real problem with paper and pencil is not that it can’t crash or is less buggy, it’s because FILMING paper is costly and time consuming. If I had an animation stand, camera and darkroom at home, what would I do? MAIL copies of the film to family and friends? Any idea how much developing and mailing would cost?!

    With flash, you can go straight from your head to an audience online. That’s its lure and why independent animators are stuck with it. Maybe one day, someone will invent an “iOxbury Camera” to get from paper to YouTube in one automated go…

    ToonBoom does the same thing as Flash, but without the added ability of adding complex interactivity, which is not important if you’re not working on internet projects.

    Harmony has more of an integrated work flow, which is great for larger productions and producers to keep track of everything.

    Flash is winning the war so far, because it’s a cheaper program and there’s an isle of books in Barnes & Noble about how to use it.

    Regarding Flash’s crashing, it’s in how you use the program, how you take care of your computer, and how often you back files up that could make your life more or less miserable.

    I’ve made TV productions in Flash 4, on a G3 and QuickTime Pro 4.0. Never even opened After Effects. The 22 min. cartoon never crashed once. My friends couldn’t even open my files. (Then again, I organized my stuff worse than Rain Man, stripped my machine of everything else and wouldn’t even use my computer for E-MAIL!)

    I still prefer the “brush” tool in Flash 4 and hope that someday the people at Adobe figure out how to handle sound better in flash.

    Animation is all about timing. We are 1/24 of a second precise, but sound in all version of flash seems approximated in its timeline. This’ll give you syncing issues later on…

  • To David Nethery:

    Maybe with Mirage 1.5 before their plug-ins but the new updated version Mirage Pro was awesome. I tried TV paint a few weeks back and it was no where as good as Mirage Pro. In both programs the pens are great, timeline is the same but the fill paint is bad. It’s good that you can adjust it a little but it leaves gaps. One great thing I did like about TV Paint was the Toon Shadow feature in the EFX’s. Dont get me wrong, it is what it is but it’s not for me. Besides their tutorials are horrible and their website needs to be updated a little. Go to the Mirage website here and you tell me whats better.

  • Gavin,

    I’m with you on the website issue and the tutorials. TVP needs to update those ASAP . I’m still puzzled about you saying the current version of TVP is not as good as Mirage Pro since the Mirage “Pro” version is just the same old Mirage 1.5 with the addition of the Animator’s ToolBar v.2 plug-in and the Board-O-Matic plug in . (very nice plug-ins they are too, but the basic application hasn’t been updated from Mirage 1.5 in the “Pro” edition… )

    All the functions of Animator ToolBar are in TVPaint , too. I’ve used both. They’re the same thing . (But sometimes stuff is located in different places in the newer version of TVPaint)

    Oh, well, I guess we’ll have to disagree on this one. Don’t get me wrong : I thought Mirage was awesome , but I think the same of TVPaint and to me it’s improved. (just the amazing rotating “virtual animation disc” , in real-time , was worth the price of the upgrade to me!)

    Moot point on Mirage now because it’s not longer available for sale anyway.

    Good luck on your work with ToonBoom Digital Pro . I want to spend some more time with it using the Personal Learner Edition that TB has made available . So many softwares, so little time.

  • Eric B

    Software topics! Always fun… or not.

    I’ve used both Flash and ToonBoom products extensively over the years. Flash has been very good to me and there’s a special place on my shelf for that software. It’s like an old truck that you buy for 500$, if you’re still driving the thing 10 years later then you win and that truck doesn’t owe you anything. Flash got us to the store and back steadily for years and there’s been some great work done in it. But there are bigger roads out there. and better software too. IMO we’re seeing the beginning of the torch passing in the tra-digital world.

    I dont think that it can hold up against the ToonBoom line of animation software. Speaking from an animator’s point of view, there’s no contest. Features, workflow, adaptability are all a step ahead in Harmony, IMO.

    From a production standpoint, the database backbone (harmony) and integrated compositing features make the wares a real gem.

    I’d say the biggest downside to ToonBoom’s stuff is the price. It’s REALLY prohibitive for a lot of studios and animators. To put support ontop of that really starts to rack up the $$$ for bigger places, and their support has left me with a lot to be desired quite frankly. Flash is appealing because it’s affordable, and it’s EVERYWHERE. Flash’s been around for so long that there’s no shortage of mouse-operators that will gladly tween the life out of your favourite designs. Any kid with a p2p program probably has a copy of flash and knows how to work the basics of it, and basic is what the majority of cutout shows are these days. That’s a big user base to get labour out of. Flash wont be disappearing anytime soon. Maybe the higher pricetag is a good thing because it weeds out the wannabe software users from the real animators? Nah… bring down the cost!

    Stability wise, TB stuff crashes too of course, just like flash. I honestly couldn’t say which one is worse because it depends on so many things. Flash has always choked on the really complex stuff for me, whereas Harmony has random glitches here and there that can be frustrating. In either case as a user you learn what the shortcomings are and adjust to work around them. IMO there’s a *lot* less working around to do in Toonboom, and I can’t imagine Flash standing up to the way that we’ve pushed Harmony.

    As far as it being complicated, flash really didn’t make a lot of sense from a traditional animation point of view. You can learn to use it and get comfortable with it for sure, but TB’s workflow hits home harder and in a more intuitive way. Pegbars and drawings, simple as it gets. I’ve sat through the Harmony training from TB a couple times, it is pretty intimidating to get the full feature list thrown at you. The reality though is that most cut-out shows won’t even need 50% of the features there (the auto-lipsynch hurts my feelings on principle alone). But man, when you want to push the envelope it sure is sweet to have them. I dont know about steep learning curves, we train new animators in Harmony within a week and then focus on getting them out of the flat/tween style as quickly as possible. The biggest challenge is training old Flash animators to let go of their old habits and mindsets. I’ve never heard anyone say that they would rather go back to flash except for familiarity reasons.

    I’m a nostalgic guy, but I’ve moved on. Because of it’s price tag, user base, and entrenchment in the industry it’s going to be a lonnng time before Flash is completely gone, if ever. But I’m glad that more schools and studios are starting to switch over in my country, because it opens up a lot of potential for better quality work. Whoop Whoop for Canada!

  • simon ampel

    I’ve been using flash a long time, and after a discussion here caught my attention, I resolved to try some other digital animation software packages out. My focus is on drawing tools, I don’t really like to draw in Flash that much. I use a Cintiq, but still I missed the feeling of building a rough drawing up with pencil on paper. So I tried Toon boom pro. It wasn’t markedly better, it didn’t seem to have a whole lot of variety of brushes, and it was still smoothing my lines. Then I tried Tv Paint. Awesome, if you’ve ever used sketchbook pro and wished it was an animation program, switch now. It’s a bitmap program, so no vectorization. you can animate with a convincing, blue pencil, airbrush, mechanical pencil, pen-brush, etc. These days you can get a terabyte hard drive for a few hundred bucks, my mac has 8 gigs of ram. We don’t need to draw with vectors. Anyway, the interface takes a minute to learn, and it’s not for symbol animation. but if you love drawing, and miss paper, you have to try it.

  • For me, Flipbook by DigiCel is the best software for traditional animation. You can scan your drawings into the X-sheet and the camera feature is amazing. The only setback…it is not vector based. But in the overall, I prefere it over Flash and ToonBoom, it is easier to use.

  • Anthony

    I have to agree with the many comments that a big part of the resistance to ToonBoom is the price. If they repositioned the price of ToonBoom Pro to under $1000 they would probably sell ten times as many licenses and become a major competitor for Flash. With their current pricing they’ll never attract more than a small trickle of defectors.

  • I’ve been doing things in flash for a while now. But, I’ve got to admit that I wish that there was a decent raster program that had a nice simple interface to do roughing with. I’ve looked at TV Animation Pro and Plastic Animation Paper and both of them are annoying, mostly because of the goofy GUI design. It would be nice if someone could make a nice raster program so that I can use them to rough out (roughing with flash and toon boom is atrocious), make quicktime movies, and import into flash for clean up. Hopefully flash will implement a rotating drawing disk at some point too. What would be ideal is a stripped down mutation of photoshop with true animation features, not that silly “animation palette” that’s included in CS for making animated gifs.