The Bottom Line
- Allows natural drawing in a vector-based environment.
- Enhances the features of Toon Boom Digital & Studio.
- Supports multiple input/output formats.
- Interactive cameras are a dream.
- Customizable user interface.
- A little slow to load, freezes a bit even with 4GB RAM.
- Had to try 3 different computers before it stopped crashing.
- Very little support for non-NVidia chipsets.
- Takes the next step up from Digital and Studio to further enrich the animation experience.
- Simulates an entire studio in a single software package.
- Offers advanced features that render months of work into a few hours' time.
- Enables beautiful, richly-featured animations with great detail and effects.
- Easy for both traditional and digital animators to adapt to.
Guide Review - Toon Boom Animate
At first glance the interface is rather daunting, even for a veteran animator. When you stop to take it all in, the important tools are there: drawing stage, brushes, editing tools, effects, and the all-important timeline. Animate takes the foundation of standard 2D animation and builds on it with just about every extra feature imaginable: symbols, fluidity between vector and raster work, inverse kinematics, a lovely A/B editing environment, and lip-synching, just to start.
My favorite feature would have to be the interactive, multiplane cameras, although the morphing is a close second - not to mention the rich shading options that make it easy to move beyond the flat, single-color painting of cel animation. What may discourage some, though, is a lack of compatibility with some graphics cards. The hardware requirements for Windows ask for an "NVIDIA Video card fully supporting OpenGL with 128 MB of RAM." Many computers run on Intel, including my brand-new laptop - which suffered several BSODs from simply drawing. But in a household with 14 computers, after some hunting and trial-and-error I found one that'll support it...but that still knocks off half a star from an otherwise glowing review.
While I worked with the full edition, Animate also comes with a trial / Personal Learning Edition with startlingly few limitations, giving it a leg up over Flash - which charges even for student editions.