For a long time I have gone back in forth between using vector and pixel based animation software. In the vector world, I have only used Anime Studio Pro, not being a fan of Flash, and having never tried Toon Boom Studio or others. I have often felt that there is a type of animation where the vector software really shines, while there are other types where pixel based solutions seem ideal. To put it most basically, it divides between animation that necessitates the drawing of every new frame, versus animation that can benefit from pushing and pulling vectors.
Using American television animation as an example, the typical "sit com" style animation of shows like The Family Guy or The Flintstones seems like an ideal environment for the use of vector animation. On the flip side, a very pose intensive show like Avatar: The Last Airbender seems to all but require pixel based animation. (or traditional animation on paper of course) This could further divide the ideal uses, of each type of software, between dialogue based animation and action based animation.
Dialogue based animation lends itself very well to vector software because it basically lacks two things, dynamic camera angles and dynamic poses. The fact that the story is driven by what the characters say, rather than what they do, means it doesn't matter if the characters are often seen from the same, near profile, camera angle in every scene. The characters also don't need to swing from ropes, leap over buildings or shoot fireballs. For this reason, building the characters as a type of "rig" in vector software makes for a small, upfront investment with a large payoff in being able to animate many scenes very quickly and easily.
Action based animation lives and dies on dynamic camera angles and poses. The characters are almost always seen from a new and dramatically different camera view. The characters may also need to do kung fu, shoot guns, or perform amazing acrobatics. This often requires the need to draw a completely new image for each frame of the character's motion. Although it is certainly possible to do so in vector animation, this process can actually slow the work down, rather than speed it up.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. We have seen vector based works from the likes of Grey Kid Pictures, on their La Reine Soleil (Princess of the Sun) film some years ago. Using vector software, they achieved feature quality animation with quite a bit of action. Other examples of their work contain similar feats of pushing the limits of vector animation. They have, however, also written that to accomplish this required a considerable upfront investment in building character rigs that may rival those used in full 3D animation. Still, they leave no question as to whether or not it can be done.
So what do you think? Has the software ever stopped you from doing something you wanted to do? Have you ever felt the need to adapt your ideas or plans to fit the software?