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Toon Boom vs Flash -- worth it?

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Toon Boom vs Flash -- worth it?

Hi All,

I'm a flash animator, and I've just begun the to switch to Toon Boom.

Toon Boom has had mixed reviews among my animator friends, some of whom are delighted by its many features (like 3D camera moves, automatic lip synch, joint patching), and others who criticize it for having minimal support for frame-by-frame work, and a nasty UI.

If any of you have used Toon Boom, I'd really like to hear what you think. In your experience, what are the strengths and weaknesses of this software? Is it possible to get the flexible, fluid, squash and stretch style of frame by frame animation that one can achieve in Flash?

Also is Flash still being used for animated TV shows? I've heard that it has fallen out of favor. Apart from in-house software, what kinds of vector software are studios using these days?


Not related to your post but I was wondering if you are still making those little animation with your avatar?

If you are using a tablet, I think toonboom's drawing tools are better suited for drawing directly into the computer.

I really hate the interface though compared to flash. It seems overly convoluted to me, especially when I was trying to do symbol-type animation. I'm just at a point where I know flash like the back of my hand and I'd rather just keep using it as opposed to learning an all new interface and keyboard shortcuts for the same result.
Animation and Design

So here are my experiences making the switch:

Around the time that Flash CS5 came out, it suddenly got harder to export from flash to Quicktime. I found that this was a common problem and was unable to find a solution. Plus, my 2004 version of Flash was too obsolete to even exist anymore haha.

So I switched.

In terms of UI, I always found Flash to be pretty intuitive; or at least it was relatively simple to get started making things right away, without having to knowing all of the tools.

Toon Boom is less intuitive in that it's very difficult to make anything before learning many new tools and concepts (such as figuring out how edits translate between the camera and drawing view, learning to manage the network, and figuring out how Toon Boom handles exposures and tweening).

As of now, I haven't yet found a way to easily translate my usual method of animation to Toon Boom. In Flash, I did cutout frame-by-frame animation... That is, I'd have a character made of grouped/symbolized body parts, and I'd move them around frame by frame, redrawing body parts whenever necessary (pretty often).

In contrast, Toon Boom likes to tween everything, and that's making it difficult to work as I did before. I'd actually much rather control things frame by frame.

That said, I'm thrilled to finally be able to set up a scene in 3D space. And I agree with acetate-- Toon Boom's drawing tools are incredible! I'm excited to learn to use more of the features; it seems like a really powerful program.


PS. Aw! Sadly, Wontobe, I haven't drawn Sven in over three years.

I used to use 'Animo' back in the day, and ToonBoom reminds me a lot of that, since it has tools for detecting line weight in scanned art, formulating colour regions etc. It seems to be built specifically for 2d character animation - either scanned or drawn directly.

Flash (in my experience with versions up to CS4) is a strange hybrid, used for web ads and website UI's as much as character animation. I use it now, but I've tried (and liked) ToonBoom's 'feel', it acts like a paint program - which I like.

I think it's down to style - if you want the clean lines and solid colour of vector art - I've yet to see a vector drawing program that is better and more efficient than Flash. If however you'd like to preserve the variation in line-weight and colour grading of hand-drawn art, use ToonBoom.

Get in touch with Adam Phillips over at to see how he feels about the switch from Flash to ToonBoom (which he did recently).

I'm thinking of making the switch myself - for my next project Gilbert's War which will require a more painterly look.

I recently became frustrated with Flash's video export, too, and have been contemplating the same move. Until then, though, I found that a useful workaround was to export a PNG series and then import them into my editing software (Vegas, in this instance) as a sequence. It worked so well that I will probably not bother exporting video directly from Flash any more.

Flash does a fine job of making animation for the web or for simple games, but it's ability to produce quality video for any other purpose is nonexistent. Many of the more interesting filters and effects are unavailable to anything but movie clips, which make them valueless to an animator wanting to create content for video.

Toon Boom is next on my shopping list of mindbogglingly expensive software tools for starving artists.

I actually use Flash CS5 as

I actually use Flash CS5 as well. And here is how I export it and convert it to mp4:

in google, search for "swivel for flash"

it's what i use and it still renders the v-cam whenever you export it :)

i really can't afford toon boom, so that's why im stuck with flash xD

Thank you for your posts!

Thank you for your posts! Very interesting!


I used Toon Boom

When I was animating for Fishtronaut, I used Toon Boom. It's very intuitive and I found far better than Flash. The way that we rig the characters are better, having some effects like Auto-patch that facilitates a bit. I think Toon Boom is good for drawing and, if you are a frame-by-frame animator, you can have a lot of resources for it. The incridible thing about Toon Boom is that you can use it for traditional animation and for digital cut-out.