Toon Boom Launches Harmony 12 and Introduces Subscription Pricing


A little over a decade ago, top-of-the-line digital 2D animation software cost between ten to twenty thousand dollars. Today’s software is not only far more robust than those earlier programs, but it’s also financially attainable by nearly all artists.

Today Toon Boom announced a major upgrade to its flagship software with the release of Harmony 12, as well as introduced a new subscription pricing model. Their North American industry-standard animation program is used in the production of popular TV shows like The Simpsons, Gravity Falls, Adventure Time, and Bob’s Burgers, as well as features including Paramount Animation’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of the Water and Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.

Toon Boom’s goal with the launch of Harmony 12 is to “democratize animation with a product line full of new features for studios and enthusiasts alike.” Subscriptions to Harmony start as low as $15 per month.

Harmony will now be available in three distinct editions targeted at everyone from students to industry pros: Essentials (simple paperless/cutout style projects aimed at hobbyists and enthusiasts); Advanced (professional-grade solution for studios, freelancers, and others who need full paperless and simple cut-out); and Premium (fully featured paperless and sophisticated cut-out style animation with full character rigs). A feature comparison chart for the different versions is available on the Toon Boom website.

Harmony 12 has a number of significant improvements, especially to its bitmap brush tools (the traditionally vector-based Harmony had lagged in this area compared to TVPaint and Photoshop); support of OpenFX plugins, which significantly expands its capabilities as a compositing tool; and enhanced compatibility with Unity for game developers.

Some of Harmony 12′s key improvements:

Bitmap Brush Improvements – Artists can now create customized bitmap brushes as textures for experimental and organic creations. Along with dual brush support, artists now have even more ways to apply unique looks.

Bitmap brush improvements in Harmony 12 include a dual-brush and "Photoshop-level brush control" that allows users to adjust brush roundness and angle. (Click to enlarge.)

Bitmap brush improvements in Harmony 12 include a dual-brush and “Photoshop-level brush control” that allows users to adjust brush roundness and angle. (Click to enlarge.)

Open Platform Tools – Harmony 12 supports OpenFX plugins, which can be used to add striking special effects to characters and scenes. Industry-standard Collada and Alembic 3D files load into Harmony, and animated character rigs can be exported to the popular Unity game engine.

New game export features in Harmony allow users to preview game animation in Harmony, and then export to Unity. (Click to enlarge.)

New game export features in Harmony allow users to preview game animation in Harmony, and then export to Unity. (Click to enlarge.)

Light Shading – Harmony 12 adds surface volume and lighting to 2D objects, providing automatic tones/highlights for characters that are far more efficient than adding shading nuances by hand.

Harmony allows users to add automatic tones and highlights to characters. (Click to enlarge.)

Harmony allows users to add automatic tones and highlights to puppet characters instead of drawing them frame-by-frame or building rigs. (Click to enlarge.)

Deformer Improvements – Simpler set-up and new envelope controls are perfect for bending, squashing and imparting highly organic character movement. New game bone deformers provide game engine compatibility.

Harmony boasts improvements to its deformers that bend, squash, and stretch characters. (Click to enlarge.)

Harmony boasts improvements to its deformers that bend, squash, and stretch characters. (Click to enlarge.)

Performance Improvements – Harmony 12 delivers rendering speeds that are up to 65% faster, as well as real-time visualization of deformers and special effects.

Following the lead of other software manufacturers like Adobe and Autodesk, Toon Boom has also introduced a subscription model. The subscriptions are available at both monthly and annual subscription rates, with the lowest price being $15 per month for the Essentials (with the purchase of an annual plan).

It’s still possible to purchase the software upfront, too, in what is referred to as a perpetual license. Harmony Essentials costs $375; Harmony Advanced is available for $975; and Harmony Premium will set you back $1,975.

  • Tres Swygert

    This is way better than what Adobe is doing for the Creative Cloud. Toon Boom is offering up choices for different individuals (hobbyist, student, professional, studio), and plenty to choose from. Three different ways to pay for Harmony 12 to be exact (annually, or by month, or the license).

    The prices themselves are worth taking interest in, and I do hope they keep those prices consistent in the years ahead. As well as the choice to either go with the subscription model, or to buy a license. It would really challenge Adobe in how they do business.

    Lastly, Toon Boom announced that Studio, Animate, and Animate Pro will discontinue on October 16 this year. I’m sure to pump up Harmony 12 and its services (no complaining about that though, I think the prices seem fair for what they are offering with the services).

  • Matt Dean

    It’s amazing to think five years ago, Toon Boom was pushing its releases of Studio and Animate to consumers while Harmony was reserved strictly for professionals and enterprises. Now Harmony has been made more accessible to customers with two new editions that are replacing Studio and Animate later this year. How the market has changed.

    And yeah, their subscription plan is what the Creative Cloud should have been. Give customers the option to either pay a monthly fee or pay for an entire program upright. Don’t pin them against a wall and make them sign up for a BS cloud service that they seldom have use for.

    • markb

      And Autodesk is charging twice as much per month for Maya as Adobe is for its entire suite of tools. Makes Adobe seem saintly by comparison.

  • Joris

    It also seems that people from outside the US don’t have to pay up to almost 50% more, unlike Adobe’s creative currency conversion. Well done Toon Boom! Now it’s interesting to find out how easy it is to change between these 3 different versions, depending on what your current project demands.

    • AmidAmidi

      We asked about that when we spoke with Toon Boom last week, and if I recall correctly, they said it’s streamlined so that you can jump between different versions of Harmony. That’s a definite improvement since it hasn’t always been easy for artists who wanted to transfer files between earlier Toon Boom software.

      • Vee Eaton

        That’d be great, since 10 and 11 are not retroactive. :(

      • Chrispy

        Yes, this has always been a concern for freelancers working with studios that run Harmony.You couldn’t work in Animate Pro because the studio wouldn’t be able to open it and the (at the time) price tag of around 4 grand for Harmony made it completely prohibitive for most freelancers. I’ve been begging for this system for years, it really made no sense to have all those slightly different pieces of software that did not speak to each other. Pretty excited for this news.

  • Freddie

    I’m a freelance animator who uses Flash, this is seriously making me consider switching over to Harmony. The pricing is a lot more reasonable than what Adobe offer and the tools look far superior.

  • wobbie

    I have the faint hope that they allow for an upgrade from Studio/Animate to Harmony. I spent $150 for a student licence and I’m sorta miffed that they’re releasing a superior software for relatively the same price.

    • droosan

      I just upgraded my seat of Animate 2 (originally purchased at full-price) to a ‘perpetual license’ of Harmony Advanced … the cost as of yesterday was US$199.

  • siskavard

    Good to see Toon Boom offering this. It’s such a better animation tool than Flash.

  • megadrivesonic

    This subscription model is nice However is it to much to ask to be able to have an option for a subscription model that is like a lease to where you pay up till the full price of the software then its yours?

    • Jessica Plummer

      I’ve asked and been put on a payment plan for all my previous versions of Harmony, only way I’ve been able to afford this software. And since I saw there was a choice to buy a perpetual license for 12, I would just ask their sales department if you can divide up the payments and see if they’d offer that option.

  • JonathanCoit

    Do we know which version more closely resembles the old “solo” version? Is it the muddle SKU? I thought 11 Solo had envelop deformers and not just bone deformers. I would want to best version for working with a studio from home but also don’t want to spend $2000.

    Though I must say, this is a huge price drop from what it previously cost.

    • Robert Kohr

      I have stand alone which I purchased a few months ago with support, so I was on Harmony 11. I contact their support and they are upgrading me to Premium for free, which is a step up.

  • Annie T.

    Is there going to be student tier pricing, similar to what Adobe has for their subscription service, and which version would you get? I didn’t see it on the ToonBoom website, but since they already have a pretty decent student license, I assume they’re planning some variation on it.

    That being said, even if there isn’t a student license, sure looks a lot more affordable than Adobe’s up front price.

  • Robert Kohr

    I think that this round of upgrades is going to give Flash a run for its money. The entry point is much lower than in the past which gives even the basic user access to the system. One major concern I have expressed to Toonboom on multiple occasions was that when I was on Animate Pro I could as a freelancer to purchase Animate and work for me. Once I moved to Harmony this became an issue since Animate and Animate Pro files were not compatible. Now that the buy in is lower I can not only ask that they purchase the lower end version to help me but I can also purchase it on a month to month just for the gig. This allows for scalable productions.

  • Roberto Severino

    I’m definitely signing up! I’ve been wanting the program for a while but found the pricing to be really expensive for previous versions.