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The TAB Manga

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

By

The TAB Manga

The Bottom Line

Is it worth $200? No. Not for a beginner's program with a user interface that borders on clownish, targeting low-end users and children. You can get Flip Boom for practically a tenth the price with only a few functions missing. Is it useless, though? Again, no. The TAB Manga may not be the best program out there, but it gets the job done. Eventually.

Pros

  • Offers up to four layers with easily navigated frames.
  • Comes with a full color palette and preset textures.
  • Mid-range price tag, as far as animation software goes.

Cons

  • Clunky interface, graphics-based and difficult to navigate.
  • The drawing tools are too simplistic, with limited brush sizes, etc.
  • Various functions are hidden on program "layers".
  • Textures and brush styles can only be browsed one at a time.
  • Crashes. A lot.

Description

  • The TAB Manga is a simplified animation program priced towards mid-range users but designed for beginners.
  • Allows for simple animations with a limited palette of tools.
  • Exports to multiple formats, mostly targeted towards web or portable media.

Guide Review - The TAB Manga

It's not often that I write a bad software review on this site. Then again, it's not often that I, after using dozens of animation software packages, will open a program and have no idea what to click first to get started. The two occurrences just might be related. It likely doesn't help that the program crashed within five minutes of playing around with the interface, but we're going to be fair and blame that on my (brand new) computer.

The program serves dual purposes as an illustration and animation program. I'm not sure what it is about The TAB Manga that turns me off. It has more options than Flip Boom; the program gives you layers to work with on a filmstrip-style timeline that makes it easy to navigate between frames and layers. Unfortunately that's the only thing easy to navigate about it; the entire interface is icon-based without obvious supporting text, with many functions hidden on "layers" that fold out from a corner tab that's just a little too unobtrusive. Many of the icons are obscure, and it's hard to tell what they do unless you click on them to find out. It's a little annoying, and not particularly easy to get started with even after reading the instruction materials. If it's targeted towards children, it's missing the mark.

Granted, once you get used to it, it does what it's supposed to do. You can draw and animate in a variety of colors and textures with limited drawing tools, and overall it's not too ugly a program. It's definitely targeted towards a different working style, and may be better suited for hobbyists than anyone wanting to try anything serious. In all I give it a 2.5, simply because while it's clunky, it can animate. But I can't say that playing with The TAB Manga, which is basically the dumbed-down version of Digital Video S.p.A's animation products, gives me much hope for a future review of The TAB Pro.

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