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Various computer platforms for animating.

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Various computer platforms for animating.

So it's time to invest in a new computer, and as I'm just about to graduate from classical animation school, it comes time to decide what kind of computer I want. Now, naturally I'm going to be travelling a lot, as the industry requires, so a laptop would seem most practical.
I'm just wondering if animating on a laptop is any harder than on a PC, since the resolution is usually worse, and it gets harder to look at after a long time.
Also I wonder if people use a Mac or Windows and what those benifits and drawbacks are.
Finally, I ask you what programs you guys are using, and why. I've been animating on paper my entire school career, so I'm really lost when it comes to this stuff, and I know that in the end it's me who's going to be animating, not the computer, but I also want to take advantage of the medium as best I can. Thanks in advance.

I'll preface this with the statement: I have no idea what I'm talking about.

This gets me out of any arguments that may ensue from this post. :rolleyes:

I've been solely using a laptop for 2D and 3D animation for over 2 years. Resolution and screen size aren't really an issue anymore if you're willing to sacrifice a little portability. There are laptops with 15" (mine) and 17" widescreens that are much bigger than you think and have 1920 x 1200 resolution. Dell even has a laptop in it's business store (I think) with a 20" screen. I think the key with getting a laptop for graphics is to make sure it has a dedicated video card. Otherwise high res may not be good/available.

The other good thing about a laptop is that it transforms into a desktop quite nicely. I just got a 24" widescreen lcd monitor last year and hooked it up to my laptops video out. I now have a dual monitor setup (using the laptop screen as my second monitor) at my desk, but can still take my workstation with me if I need to.

Downsides of laptops:
1) Less bang for buck
2) Usually second tier in terms of:
a) processor speed
b) video card
c) disk space

If you plan on setting up a dedicated workspace (I'd recommend it) and not moving around a lot, I'd say go with a desktop. Just my opinion.

As for the Mac/PC debate, I'm not even getting close to that one. Too volitile a subject for me.

I will say that I've used both, and that both have their pros and cons. Both are equally capable in the graphics and animation field and MOST software that you'll be using will run on both.

With Macs you'll end up paying a little more, but it will come back to you in the reduction of evil glares and snide comments from other creatives.

Your last question was software. In 2D the main choices seem to be Flash, ToonBoom, and Mirage. All have free demo downloads, so just try them out and see what you like.

There's also a piece of software out of Germany (I think) called Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) that has a nice, functional, FREE version available for download and unlimited use. Very geared towards the classical animator. Might be a good place to start for someone with your background.

Last, and you probably know this already, but invest in a good tablet. I wouldn't trade my Wacom Intuos for anything in the world... 'cept maybe a Cintiq...

Good luck!