I’m also an animation director and produce storyboards, character designs, illustrations and 2D animation which is used as reference animation for CGI animators.My animated life began on paper in the days of hand inked and painted cels shot on 35mm or 16mm film. I learnt all the tricks of the animation and rostrum camera trade (including 101 special effects you can produce with a piece of black card!) and have been able to transfer that wealth of knowledge to my digital animation work.
I bought my first computer (an Amiga) for line testing, and later added a PC when scanning and digital painting became economically viable. My next step towards digital animation came when more clients requested Flash based animation.My work is now divided between traditional paper 2D and digital 2D. I’ve now dropped Flash and moved on to Toon Boom’s Animate/Animate Pro, and have, at last, found the natural home for the traditional 2D animator in today’s digital world.
“Every time I cranked up my copy of Flash to work on another animated project, my heart sank a little. I knew that it didn’t really want to work the way I worked. I had to bend it to my will, and even then, although the finished result was happily accepted by my clients, I knew that it could have been so much better.
The limited line styles, the blunt ‘ease in, ease out’ tool, the lack of a camera, minimal effects, and always the finished ‘look’ that screamed ‘Flash!’
I used it because it was the only software commercially available at the time which got close to simulating 2D animation digitally, but as I worked on it, I would always be thinking, ‘There has got to be a better way to do this.’I’m a 2D Animator, I draw pictures. 2D Animators think a certain way. Flash wasn’t built for animators, it’s for programmers.
Animate and Animate Pro are for Animators. The people at Toon Boom listen to Animators and make what they need.
I made the move to Animate/Animate Pro earlier this year and it’s a great piece of software. Everything that Flash wasn’t. Full multiplane camera with real 3D space, multiple brush styles (including fantastic textured and soft edged brushes in Pro), infinitely flexible palettes and painting options, the ability to have separate ink and paint levels in the same layer (plus underlays and overlays in Pro), a great range of easily adaptable effects, high spec morphing, 2D puppet building/animating and IK tools, direct scanning of drawings into your scene (with Pro), import and export almost any format you can think of, the list just goes on and on.
Most importantly though is the finished look of your work. Your animation will never look ‘Flashy’ again. Animate and Animate Pro have freed the animator from the creative restraints imposed by Flash. You can now make your work uniquely reflect your style and I think this is a first in completely digital, 100% paperless animation. If any software can bring about a renaissance of creativity in 2D animation, then Animate/Animate Pro has to be it.”