Tuesday, February 23, 2010

License to Stall

Trivia fact #3452: AlphaNerd's "Alpha-mobile" has the same license plate as Steve McQueen's car from Bullitt. Two powerful men...one powerful car. You do the math.


Anonymous said...

Food For thought on FLash and Toon Boom.
Flash is the better choice in all cases, price, features, and versatility. A creative animator can easily use flash with a “non traditional” approach and create richer animation faster than with TBS and TBA. And i do not agree with this articles statement that it is the natural choice of traditional animators especially because I am one. Traditional animators want modern tools, modern work flows, and not just a digital approach to doing the work the same old fashion way.

X-sheets are great in real life. yo hold then look them over, and are easy to reference. In a digital work flow they are a pain in the ass and a waste of valuable screen real estate. I’m sorry but i will never understand what the big deal is about having an x-sheet in an animation software. To me that’s the first sign of a company who’s trying hard but still has it all wrong. It’s a digital age, and I’m surprised no one has come up with a more clever approach to visualizing an animation timeline on a computer screen.

Traditional animation is about creating quality work, and always pushing the envelope in terms of the techniques and procedures used to achieve the desired “hand drawn” look and feel despite the actual techniques used. Add to that, the need to always push production value despite the actual styles used. Having said that, hard core “traditional animators” would never opt for tools that “lock” them into doing things the same old fashion way. Or tools that define your works look and feel. It should be us who decide how our characters look an feel and not have the style of our work defined by the software limitations. This was Flash problem for a long time. Toon Boom is still at that stage where flash was back in version 3 in term of its drawing and editing tools.

In Flash, a traditional animator can easily drop in a temp layer in which they can rough out an entire sequence, set that layer to guide layer so it doesn’t get published. And use a second layer to clean up the sequence. In TB i have to deal with pegs and and junk i never reall want to have to deal with for the simplest of tasks.

The line control you get with flash is superior which allows you to create work that ranges anywhere from that typical web cartoon look with the heavy varied line width and plastic flat look to more refined feature quality look such as work seen in feature films like The road To El Dorado, Brother Bear, or Cowboy Bebop as examples. But with TB you are pretty much limited to producing work along the lines of dragon ball z and Powepuff girls at themore complex of the levels. You will provably never see work that looks like Cowboy Bebop done in TBS or TBA, the amount of work around required is just not worth it, while in flash you can do it in a business as usual approach. So all the bells and whistles are great if the desired look and feel of you production is strictly based on that flat limited animation look with the heavy lines and flat look and 1d dimensional visual performances. But if want true depth and performance range in your characters, flash is a lot less limiting. (note i didn’t say better, it’s just less limiting).

Anonymous said...

The color management feature is a great idea in TB. It can easily be done in Flash too using bitmap swatches. Paint with a red bitmap, then change the color of that swatch, everywhere you used that swatch will be dynamically adjusted just like in TB. Flash wins in my book because of its ability to use non dynamic swatches in additional to bitmap swatches. Which “under the hood” is the only think TB can actually do.

TB products are all pretty much dependent on the use of an external graphics tablet for drawing, Flash feels quite natural even if all you have is a mouse.

Actionscript is great but only if your doing web work, most traditional animators look for the ability to be able to export their final pieces to video, so i wouldn’t even use actionscript or any of the softwares dynamic features as a comparison feature because all in all flash dynamic features are not exportable so whether its flash or toon boom most professional animators will used an external tool for dynamic effects such as After effects or particle illusion etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I love TB and yes I agree that it has its place in certain animators tool box, but a comparison between TB and Flash is really just unfair to TB because pound for pound Flash flash stands out as the superior product. Especially for traditional animators, who are anything but traditional.

I always like looking at these type of comparisons, the thing that always strikes me even with the official marketing materials is the need to emphasize a traditional animators approach but focus strictly on web output. I challenge anyone here who doesnt agree with me to actually do their own tests. do a simple walk cycle, try to recreate a short sequence from any film or TV show using the same character and artistic style. do it with TB and do it Flash. And evaluate how much harder or time consuming it is to create the same thing in either product and actually note which of the products features you actually made use of in order to perform your task.

Anonymous said...

People misunderstand just because Flash does better things doesn’t mean it’s better for animation. It’s better for web development animations, but it’s nowhere what it needs to be for a real animators software package. Alot of people in here are just going…Flash, yeah. Because it’s better for this and that. And some comments are just plain ridiculous. Flash being better for traditional animators…lol no. Alot of the stuff I read in here are purely because people have no idea how to use ToonBoom, or get frustrated way too fast and give up. Then go…yeah…flash is better. Nobody has even considdered about the other main mediums of export.

Ive used Flash Since Flash 5, so nearly 9 Years and I can tell you right now, for Hand Drawn and Parented Tween Animation. Toon Boom holds it’s complete own and in some cases, can’t be touched by Flash.

I love how all the amazing extras in TB has totally been ignored in this thread. You can scan and convert straight away to vector in ToonBoom. Heck…you can just plain twain acquire. You need a seperate source for Flash to do that. And if you want to scan a serious of Traditionally animated images it’s far quicker. Things like you assign colours to specific objects. So if you do an entire animation and think, hmm that guys coat, face or whatever could do with a more hint of red, you change the assigned colour in the palette and it changes it all. In flash you would have to go through it Frame by Frame colouring re filling it all in one by one. And if you have shadows…heck you will be there forever at 30fps.

Heres another. See when you tween a bit map in flash, and slowly zoom/pan it in or out and does that really annoying shakey effect…yeah. Toon Boom doesn’t do that, it scales pixels accordingly and correctly. Like After effects. How about being able to rotate your canvas at a push of a button instead of rotating your wacom. Or when zooming in the Brush tool is in ratio to the brush size like photoshop, not to the canvas zoom ratio like flash. Which is AWFUL for traditional animation. It means if you want to get up close and put in steady hand detailing you cant, because when you zoom in, your brush is the tiny.

And That guy, Ibis saying flash is cheaper! What in earth!? TB is USD$179 Flash is USD $699. Saying That you can use two layers in FLash and use one for clean up and things like the line control is better…Have you even used Toon Boom?! Flash only allows the largest size of a pressure sensitive movement. Toon Boom gives the ability to show the line thickness at the softest point too, not just the hardest point and you can use multiple layers and clean up as well on a foreground layer. Saying you are limited to that style of TB is ridiculous. have you seen the array of proffessional TB Animations? :/ How about the Simpsons movie…or the rugrats movie..

As for that challenge you. I dont have to, because as a Traditional Animator for a decade, I choose to use both. But when I do a job which requires Traditional 2D Animation, ToonBooms Tools are quicker, more precise and the shortcuts speed up the process double time. As I said, Ive used Flash for Nearly 9 Years, and Toon Boom for about 5.

Webdevelopment Flash is the Bomb, but as for Full Blown 2D Animation, Flash doesn’t even compare. To recieve best results you should both as well as after effects or whatever compositing program you like. Then an editing program to put the shots and soundtrack together.

Anonymous said...

Toon Boom Strengths
There are many things that Toon Boom can do that Flash animators wish they had access to. Note that some of these can be accomplished in Flash via additional plugins, but not by default.

» Parent Child Relationship - The most powerful integrated tool in the Toon Boom arsenal is proper parent child relationships between elements. The ability to attach one drawing to another and have it mimic the parent’s movements is a key feature of limited animation. Flash users have been begging for this functionality for years but neither Macromedia or Adobe has seen fit to grant this feature.
» Detailed Camera Controls - Toon Boom you to easily pan, zoom and track your camera. The system offers budding directors all the camera control they’ll need.
» Cell Controls - Used for quickly changing a drawing for a frame of any particular element, Toon Boom Studio can inherently do what Flash requires a plugin for (AnimSlider Pro).
» Z-Axis Control - The ability to place elements with a z-axis 3D environment is an important tool in the animator’s arsenal. By default Flash hinders animators by forcing a dual-plane environment.
» Exposure Sheet - Traditional animators are accustomed to using exposure sheets to draw their characters. This allows you to view many drawings at once and really nail your timing.
» Library Management - While Flash allows you to import and export items from other movies there is no distinct library management tool. Toon Boom allows easy drag and drop capabilities to quickly managed your digital assets.
Flash Strengths
» Actionscript - The scripting language integrated into Flash continues to be a powerful asset, allowing Flash to do what it’s best at: web publishing. Database interaction, custom forms, interactive quizzes are all possible with Actionscript. This advanced scripting can be put to good use in animation as well, especially for things that would be difficult to animation by hand like particle effects.
» Blur Effect - Flash MX saw the first bitmap blur effect for vector graphics, and this has proven to be a useful tool for animators looking to push the envelope with impressive realism.
» Customizable Preloaders - Toon Boom currently has a default preloader that can be assigned to SWF files but it can not be modified. Flash allows you to create and edit your preloaders how you see fit.
So Which is Better?
If your animation requires interaction Flash is the clear choice. Toon Boom is centered around animation throughout, which makes it preferred by animators. Toon Boom has great integration with Flash though, so using them both together makes a great animation studio.

Anonymous said...

This is by no means the final word on these 2 sotware packages Jim, but it should give you some more info. Good luck and nice job on the last Ghettomation show. Some people talk about making movies, you do so. Your ambition is contageous.