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Toon Boom Animation Software - A Review

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Published on May 2, 2011

I found what I was looking for in Toon Boom animation software, so I’m fairly impressed with it. The initial learning curve was slightly steep, although in reflection I realize I also struggled initially with Flash. The key difference with Studio 4 is that it accomplished two tasks that I was struggling with in Flash. One task was to create pivot points so arms and legs moved properly when I bent them at the elbow or knee. Another was to synchronize lips with voice.

Lip Syncing was fairly easy to learn and do. My review video demonstrates this with a couple animated characters. One is a free hand drawn face, made with Toon Boom Studio 4, that introduces the review with a historical tidbit, and valuable lesson. Another is from a series of traced drawings of me, again using Studio 4. I expanded a little with this one by syncing my lips and a couple head motions. Yes, you can sync to multiple tracks of figures with the same audio. My traced drawing has 4 layers; shoulders with neck, jaw with mouthy, eyes, and top of head. The top three are grouped.

Although Toon Boom has many tutorials on their site, I went to a 3rd party site for one on pivot points; There are many 3rd party tutorials, so a pleasant surprise. The few Toon Boom tutorials I tried were in passive voice so slightly difficult to follow - for my active mind. In any case I learned how to use pivot points then went back to apply them to my animated figures. Again this was fairly easy to do as I created pivot points and grouped elements of my face together, so it pivoted at the neck. A bouncing character towards the end demonstrates arm and leg pivots.

I was surprised at the number and quality of places using Toon Boom. A few are shown in the video with a link to Toon Boom. They range from Sponge Bob to Rugrats. The final thing I didn’t learn yet is multiplane scenes, but I will. Again this is demonstrated in the video, so watch on for a brief overview of Toon Boom Studio 4.

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