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Toon Boom Announces Animate 3 and Animate Pro 3

Animators have more options for hand-drawn software than ever before, a fact that is reflected daily in the projects we feature on the site. For example, the short Junkyard was produced with TVPaint, the TV series Sarah and Duck was made with CelAction2D, and Disney’s new Mickey Mouse shorts are animated in ToonBoom Harmony. Of course, there’s the ubiquitous Adobe Flash which is still the most widely used 2D animation tool, though its influence has been waning in recent years.

Part of the reason that Flash has been losing marketshare in the U.S. and Canada is due to ToonBoom’s Animate line of software, which is considered by many to be an affordable alternative with better workflow and a superior set of tools for vector-based 2D animation. The company recently announced the pre-launch of Animate 3 and Animate Pro 3, which adds some much desired features like the ability to taper pencil vector lines, draw with textures and output in 64-bit high-resolution. Many of these features were previously available only in ToonBoom’s much higher priced Harmony software.

Here are some of the new features announced by ToonBoom:

Toon Boom Animate 3 highlights:

  • True Pencil: Animate 3 gives you the ability to draw with True Pencil, a pencil line with variable thickness that supports pressure sensitivity. Draw clean lines with the pencil and have the ability to modify the lines easily. You can apply the style across hundreds of drawings. Incorporate texture on your lines for cool effects.
  • Texture Brushes: Animate allows you to draw with texture brushes using the Brush tool. Take advantage of this to do rough drawings just like you would on paper, simulating that pencil-on-paper feeling.
  • Tool Presets Toolbar: When creating paperless animation, you often want to save frequently used brushes or pencils so you can quickly go back to those preferences. Using the new Tool Presets toolbar, you can save presets for any tool, remembering the properties of that tool.

Toon Boom Animate Pro 3 highlights:

  • Bone Deform: Animate Pro 3 now comes with Bone-style Deform! Bring your cut-out characters to the next level by adding deformers to bend drawings around bones and articulations. Apply deform to vector drawings, textures, or imported bitmaps.
  • True Pencil: Animate Pro 3 gives you the ability to draw with True Pencil, a pencil line with variable thickness that supports pressure sensitivity. Draw clean lines with the pencil and have the ability to modify the lines easily. Incorporate texture on your lines for cool effects.
  • Tool Presets Toolbar: When working in cut-out animation, you often want to save standard brush or pencil settings for different areas of your character rig. Using the new Tool Presets toolbar, you can save presets for any tool, remembering the properties of that tool.

Both products are now supercharged on a 64-bit core. This gives you the freedom to use more of the computer’s resources, and output high-resolution files for a professional-quality production. In addition, they both support standard two-finger Touch Gestures for zooming, rotating, and scaling of the canvas, when using a tablet. Finally, they both benefit from interface enhancements designed to simplify workflow and streamline the animation process.

Pricing and Availability: During this time-limited pre-launch period, you can buy Toon Boom Animate 3 for $599 US and Toon Boom Animate Pro 3 for $999 US – a saving of $100 US. Customers will receive a version 2 license which will be replaced by version 3 upon release. Customers owning previous versions of Animate and Animate Pro may upgrade on release day only.

To learn more and pre-order the software, visit ToonBoom’s website.

  • Alex Dudley

    ToonBoom Animate seems really great and all, but I got Adobe Master Collection cS3 back in college, and from what I’ve seen, ToonBoom is taking the best from Flash, After Effects and Photoshop and putting it all in one program.

    • Dave Jutsum

      ToonBoom is 100% vector-based, so it’s a lot more like Flash than Photoshop. Flash if it had been designed to work with the metaphors of traditional animation, with a compositor built in. Try out their learning edition if you want a taste of what it’s like.

  • Roberto Severino

    Maybe this means that there might be more animation done domestically, especially on television. I’m not expecting the outsourcing of television animation to completely stop altogether. It’s a practice that’s been around since the days of Jay Ward and Rocky and Bullwinkle, but it would be nice for great animators over in the States to have more opportunities to draw and animate. I think part of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends was animated at Cartoon Network Studios and the other part was animated at Boulder Media in Ireland, though the show was animated in Flash.

    • Animator606432

      Thanks to software like this, wouldn’t it just be cheaper to have local animators due the work instead of outsourcing? With things moving more digital now and high quality work being able to be done with more ease, I thought outsourcing would be redundant.

      • Uli Meyer

        Outsourcing is about the bottom line. Someone using this software overseas is still cheaper than someone using it at home. Makes no difference. The producer bent on saving money will still opt for outsourcing. Broadcaster budgets are getting smaller and that doesn’t help either.

        • Roberto Severino

          Thanks for the great response, Mr. Meyer. Glad to have a professional working in the industry share his take on the subject.

          I can see what you mean there. Penny pinching producers and networks would still want to resort to outsourcing for many reasons including hiring people overseas that would be able to work at lower wages than North American animators generally.

  • Christina Skyles

    Hey, that price is just for people who don’t already own Animate, right? Because I don’t want to pay $999 for a mere update. :

  • Hopefully they’ve improved how it works on tablet hybrid devices. It’s a great program, but it’s a pain to use without a keyboard. Wacom’s pop-up menu doesn’t work properly with it, and even my old copy of Flash CS4 lets me use touch to pan the workspace.

  • Matt Norcross

    I really hope WDAS goes back to hand-drawn feature films in the future, they would do a great job using Toon Boom’s new software.

  • Luke

    Anyone here who has used Flash professionally for years move to toonboom? I would like to know if it is in fact better for animation. The new set of raster-like tools is tempting.

    • Joseph

      I had been using Flash for 5 years and just recently switched to TB in 2012. Flash is utter garbage compared to TB. I’ll never touch Flash again if I have a choice.

    • Mike Overbeck

      I have moved to Animate Pro a couple years ago and use it over Flash whenever given the choice. Much better for making high quality animation. Better drawing tools, flipping tools, color palettes and rendering. Flash is still better for quick and dirty stuff. Illustrator and Photoshop integration is still better with Flash, and for collaborative projects, I still use Flash because of the broader user base.

  • Joseph

    Way to support existing customer base :(

  • Jordan Johnson

    I’m rather bothered they aren’t making this a free update for us Animate< users./ So there's some UI tweaks and 64-bit usage, is it seriously $300 to update a product I only purchased no more than a year ago?

    As an indie animator who is trying to budget for things OTHER than software at the moment, it would have been a nice gesture to slip us a free update….