winter 2011-2012 1 Toon Boom News Winter 2011-2012
and More Animated Than Ever! Committed to the animation and digital content community, Toon Boom is proudly celebrating its eighteenth anniversary with ground-breaking technology, a growing family of award-winning fun products, extensive international presence and a source of inspiration in the classrooms. Led by the visionary and astute management team of Joan Vogelesang, Steven Chu and Francisco Del Cueto, Toon Boom is very well positioned to continue to shine in the animation industry for many years.
It is with great pride and delight that we announce the inclusion of our own Joan Vogelesang in the Canadian Business “Portraits in Leadership 2011.” Joan was honored to be mentioned alongside the CEO’s of corporate giants such as GE Canada, Ericsson Canada, Barrick Gold Corp., Bombardier, SNC Lavalin Group and Manulife Financial. The Toon Boom Awards Chart recently got great additions and three of Toon Boom’s fun products deserve red carpet treatment. Garfield’s Comic Boom has been granted the prestigious Honors Award by the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA), in the software category. This NAPPA Award is a remarkable addition to Garfield’s Comic Boom impressive award-winning track record since its launch in August 2011, with the 2011 Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval and the 2011 Preferred Choice Award granted by Creative Child Magazine. Flip Boom AllStar also earned the 2011 Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval and the 2011 Media Of The Year Award granted by Creative Child Magazine. “Garfield’s Comic Boom and Flip Boom All-Star deliver tremendous edutainment value, we are excited parents who tested these prod-
ucts recognized their innovation, usefulness and high quality” shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom Animation. Last but not least, Toon Boom Studio received the coveted Tech & Learning 2011 Awards of Excellence in the Best Upgraded Product Category. This category honors already-released products that have made significant enhancements since the previous version of the same product and evolved with the changing technology to continue to offer the highest quality experiences for educators and students. Tech & Learning is the premier publication and learning resource for education technology professionals responsible for implementing and purchasing technology in K-12 districts and schools. Toon Boom has been closely involved in several celebration and networking events, among which the Meet and Greet with Stan Lee during Montreal Comiccon and the Lucky Fred launch event with Imira Entertainment during MIPCOM. These were great opportunities to reiterate Toon Boom’s dedication to its partners and customers as well as mingle with fantastic and luminary people. Toon Boom and Rahul Commerce (distributor for Toon Boom products in India) recently organized a multi-city launch tour for the New Harmony and Storyboard Pro 3D Solutions and the events saw a good response and were attended by hundreds of industry professionals and educa-
This issue’s cover Le Petit Spirou © Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel, Luxanimation, Aranéo Toon Boom Corporate Headquarters +1 514 278 8666 5530 St. Patrick, Suite 2210 Montréal (Québec) H4E 1A8 Canada
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Printed in Canada
Joan Vogelesang, President and CEO of Toon Boom Animation hosts the Lucky Fred launch with Sergi Reitg, CEO of Imira Entertainment.
tional institutes. The launch tour happened in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. After a busy Fall with nine major events in Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America, the Toon Boom Team is poised to be as visible as possible in the coming months. In this quarter alone, the calendar includes CTN Animation Expo, Booth B37, in Burbank (November 18-20), during which a panel titled Higher Education and Industry in Harmony has been organized with representatives from Disney TV, Bento Box Entertainment, Fox Television, the Art Institute of
Stan Lee, Joan Vogelesang (L) and Nancy Silberkleit (R) co-CEO of Archie Comics. Photograph ©Jean-Guy Campeau 2011
California and California College of the Arts to share on their processes and qualifications needed for today’s market. The team will also attend Cartoon Connection, in Quebec City, December 5-9; Consumer Electronic Show, Booth 3517, in Las Vegas, January 10-13; Florida Educational Technology Conference, Booth 1550, in Orlando, January 23-26; Texas Computer Education Association, Booth 2786, in Austin, February 6-10; KidScreen Summit in New York, February 7-10; and Tokyo Anime Fair in Tokyo, March 22-25. Make it a point to come along and drop by our booth!
Characters courtesy of: 1. My Life Me © CarpeDiem, ODMedia 2. Le Petit Spirou © Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel, Luxanimation, Aranéo 3. Lucky Fred © Imira Entertainment, Televisió de Catalunya, RAI Fiction, Top Draw 4. Detentionaire © 2010 Nelvana Limited. All rights reserved. 5. Scaredy Squirrel ©2010 Nelvana Limited. Based on the books by Mélanie Watt. Published by Kids Can Press. Nelvana, Kids Can Press, and Corus are trademarks of the Corus Entertainment Inc. group of companies. All rights reserved. 6. Sidekick © 2010 Nelvana Limited. Nelvana is a trademark of Nelvana Limited. Corus is a trademark of Corus Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. 7. Wrinkles © Cromosoma, Perro Verde Films 8. The Mint Fairy © Cromosoma, Inercia Films 9. Stella and Sam © Stella & Sam Productions Inc. 10. Tiki Tour © Flux Animation Studio Ltd. 11. Scary Larry © Timoon Animation, 1492, Canal + 12. Mini Wolf © Timoon Animation, Editions Hachette Livre, France Télévision 13. 3 Bearz © 3 Bearz.tv/Viskatoons 14. Gaywan2 © Gaumont-Alphanim, Muse Entertainement 15. Pok & Mok © Gaumont-Alphanim, Vivement Lundi!, France Télévision 16. 1001 Nights © Big Bad Boo 17. June © Mind’s Eye Creative 18. Las Cuevas © Ink Apache 19. Mimipops © Yowza Digital Inc. 20. Chirp © Yowza Digital Inc. 21. Tatsumi © Infinite Frameworks Studios, Zhao Wei Films 22. TV Rá-Tim-Bum ® 44Toons 23. Zoli et Pouê © La Fabrique d’Images, 2 Minutes 24. Sítio do Picapau Amarelo © Globo, Lobato 25. Winnie The Pooh © Walt Disney Pictures
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Inspire Creativity and Storytelling
What’s your story? Tell it and share it!
Create animation and comics with award-winning software.
“Garfield” Character(s): © Paws. All Rights Reserved.
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Happy Holidays TOON BOOM STAR This section is dedicated to Toon Boom employees. In each issue, we will introduce you to the people behind the technology and put a face to the voice you may have spoken to.
The Toon Boom Team wishes you and your loved ones Health, Peace and Happiness for 2012 and lots of entertaining animated content for the whole year! Send your greetings using Toon Boom’s fun e-card at ecard.toonboom.com!
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Simon Bouvier-Zappa joined Toon Boom in 2007 shortly after graduating from Université de Montréal with a Master’s Degree in Computer Graphics; having first graduated from Polytechnique in Computer Engineering. His thesis focused on 3D animation and non-photorealistic rendering, making him a prime candidate to join Toon Boom’s R&D team. Animation being his chosen career path, Simon recognized the potential Toon Boom offered, not only as an innovative Montreal company able to nurture his expertise and passion, but also one in which he would be a valuable, contributing individual. Simon is a member of the professional products development team and recently worked on the 2D and 3D integration of Harmony 9 and Storyboard Pro 3D. Based on the established feature request list, he proactively proposes and delivers solutions with results above and beyond his mandate. After programming the features into the software, the product is rigorously tested in our Unit Testing dept. Once approved for release the new features are included in the commercial build and released to our clients. Simon’s academic background enabled him to successfully contribute to the development of FBX import and export, and 3D assets manipulation. Occasionally, Simon is involved in the development of custom solutions for clients with specific requirements. An avid technophile, he keeps up-to-date by reading the latest advancements online, especially in relation to different programming languages and libraries. At home, he enjoys reading science fiction and thrillers, is a great fan of early video games such as Final Fantasy and even has plans to develop fun apps. Moving away from technology and into the culinary arts, Simon has a keen interest for Indian and Asian cuisine. He stays in shape by swimming and has a wonderful calm attitude.
2D-3D Production Pipelines
using Storyboard Pro 3D and Harmony 9
With Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 3D and Harmony 9, animators and studios can implement innovative 2D-3D production pipelines that efficiently combine 3D assets with 2D vector art. During pre-production, 2D-3D integration can be implemented between any 3D software capable of exporting to the FBX format and Storyboard Pro 3D. Examples of software that can export to FBX include: Autodesk速 Maya速, 3D Studio Max, Luxology Modo, Blender and Google Sketch-Up. In the case of using Autodesk速 Maya速, you can export to the OSB format using a plug-in that Toon Boom Animation has developed. Exporting to the OSB format instead of the FBX format will allow you to continue working in a 2D-3D integrated pipeline with Toon Boom Harmony.
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Contact your Toon Boom representative to receive a copy of the White Paper: 2D-3D Integration Pipeline
During production, there are several different 2D-3D pipelines that are possible to achieve through Harmony:
Exporting an Image Sequence to 3D The simplest 2D-3D pipeline is simply to export an image sequence from your 2D animation software to your 3D animation software. When doing this, it’s important to export individual elements to give you the flexibility of placement in your 3D software. For example, each character should have its own image sequence.
Importing an Image Sequence from 3D It is equally possible to export an image sequence from your 3D software, or to export a movie file, and to import this image sequence or movie file into Harmony. Animators can see their 3D sequence as they’re animating their 2D sequence, which helps them a lot to be able to achieve a natural look and feel. You can also use any 3D software.
Importing 3D then Rotoscoping With rotoscoping, you need only import a proxy model from your 3D software, to help animators achieve the correct angles, and to help them to re-draw things like complicated props. However the nice thing about this pipeline is that you don’t need to spend the extra effort on the 3D side to achieve a 3D render.
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Full 2D-3D Integration with Render With the full pipeline, you can take advantage of creating props, vehicles, and backgrounds in 3D, then you can animate your characters in 2D. You can even do the compositing and effects directly in Harmony. If you take advantage of Storyboard Pro 3D to do your pre-production, then you can also export directly to Harmony. This will save you time in setting up your scenes, and it will even automatically import any OSB files that you were working with.
Case study: LuxAnimation
The Little Spirou: Made in Europe, thanks to Harmony
LuxAnimation is a leading player in the European animation industry with 40 international co-productions signed
since 2002, cumulating 300 hours of programming. Most recent feature-length movies include Dragon Hunters, Renaissance, Bob and Bobette, Nine, The Children of Timpelbach, Titeuf The Film, and The Prodigies (released in May 2011). LuxAnimation co-produced the following TV series among others, Iron Man, Skyland, Franklin, Galactik Football, Di-Gata Defenders, Babar and the Adventures of Badou, and The Little Nick.
Using Toon Boom Harmony for their 2D pipeline, LuxAnimation handles various steps of the production process, from pre-production to post-production. Its team offers a wide range of skills and expertise to get the job done on time and on budget, using proprietary production monitoring tools. With a capacity of 90 workstations, LuxAnimation’s studio can deliver a wide bunch of works, including storyboards, modeling, rigging, texturing, layout, 2D or 3D animation, lighting, rendering, SFX and compositing. For their most recent co-production project titled The Little Spirou, LuxAnimation worked with Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel (France) and Aranéo (Belgium). Inspired by a 15-book collection created by Tome and Janry that has sold over 10 million copies since 1990, the series is a high-quality 7-minute 78-episode series wholly produced in Europe. Producers are Léon Perahia (Dupuis) and Eric 8
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Anselin (LuxAnimation) while the Director is Virginie Jallot. Each producer assigned a local animation studio and shared the production deliverables among them. The three studios include HLC in Paris, Dreamwall in Marcinelle and Luxstudio in Doncols. Considering the quality level The Little Spirou had to meet, the Harmony pipeline was the perfect production platform to rally all studios. The production team at LuxAnimation includes: Etienne Béguinot, Art Director; Nathalie Ronvaux, Director of Production; David Degrande, Studio Manager; and Eric Anselin, CEO and Producer. There are approximately 25 people working on this production in each studio, in addition to the management and supervision team. With a nice mix of fresh and experienced animators, the team ramped-up on Harmony in a smooth fashion. The team’s amicable mix of fresh and experienced animators made for a smooth transition to Harmony.
Le Petit Spirou © Dupuis Edition & Audiovisuel, Luxanimation, Aranéo
“Not only does Harmony cover the entire production process which translates into significant savings and efficiencies, it also enabled Dupuis, Aranéo and ourselves to keep the project in Europe and hire over 70 people between Luxembourg, Belgium and France. Our turnover is faster and the proximity to our two partners means greater flexibility and higher quality,” stated Eric Anselin. Geared towards a family audience, each episode of The Little Spirou provides a humourous survival kit for kids facing challenging situations in school and their daily life. Spirou cheerfully shares his life’s experience and gives the kids tricks to build a better world. From the outset the series was treated as a full digital animation project, the artistic goals aspired to remain true to the comic book style as well as reflect the swift energy of each character. The camera was to stay at the eye level, always in the heart of the action. The scene set up was 9
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to be simple to let the characters’ roles and expressions shine through. Combining cut-out animation with traditional animation in certain parts of the series, the team at LuxAnimation determined the production methodology in order to keep the overall quality level as high and as consistent as possible. In addition to maximizing the integration between Storyboard Pro and Harmony, LuxAnimation built upon Harmony’s robust Central Library to make reuse their rule of efficiency. During pre-production Dupuis on one side created 110 backgrounds, of which only 40 needed to be redrawn from one episode to the next. On the other side Luxstudio prepared a bank of poses for the 22 characters; this groundwork set a solid basis for reuse and the easy addition of new assets as they were needed.
Case study: LuxAnimation (continued)
The animation production process was split into two main phases: The Blocking Phase: The goal here was to have the key poses approved by the Director. The scenes were delivered as layout in order to validate the backgrounds as well as the look and feel of the scene. The Animation Phase: The team moved on to creating the animation, adding the in-betweens and special effects. Once each scene was approved by the Director, they moved to the compositing stage.
“As far as the line quality and drawing tools go, Harmony enabled us to authentically transfer the comic book style into animation, playing with the flat colours as well as the flexible and pressure sensitive lines,” explained Etienne Béguinot. “With Harmony, we could really play with the animation pacing and appreciate the higher quality we were able to produce. We have built an extensive library of assets, which we are tracking to reuse them as much as possible, as the production progresses. It is also very convenient to have the compositing engine right into the production tool. At the end of the day, what matters for us is the quality of the project. The fact that Harmony handles the entire production workflow facilitates the revision process, eliminates the rendering between multiple applications, and ensures color consistency throughout the production. We are very pleased with this optimal process,” added David Degrande. “Considering the efficient methodology put in place thanks to the constructive collaboration with our partners at Dupuis and Aranéo and our significant experience with Harmony, we are quite open to contribute to other high calibre projects!” concluded Eric Anselin.
The production team at LuxAnimation includes: Etienne CEO and Producer. There are approximately 25 people 10 Toon Boom News
The series is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2012. Initial broadcasters for The Little Spirou include M6 and RTBF. International distribution is handled by Mediatoon Distribution. With the support of the Film Fund Luxembourg, LuxAnimation is foremost a producer of television series and feature films who not only participates to the creative and productive steps, but also contributes to the financing. In light of their current property portfolio, LuxAnimation is very interested in both 2D and 3D projects that could capitalize on their know-how and dedication to quality. â€˘
BĂŠguinot, Art Director; Nathalie Ronvaux, Director of Production; David Degrande, Studio Manager; and Eric Anselin, working on this production in each studio, in addition to the management and supervision team. 11 Toon Boom News
Images courtesy of Flux Animation
Case study: Flux Animation
Harmony Makes First Home-Grown Daily Pre-School Series Possible in Kiwiland Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Flux Animation is an award-winning animation studio that has earned a well-respected local and international reputation since its creation in 1997. Employing 25 permanent employees, the studio can take a project from script to completion. Building upon its cutting-edge track-record in the world of animated entertainment and commercials, Flux has produced 14 series for New Zealand’s leading television broadcaster, TVNZ - including Tamatoa the Warrior, Artoonz, Puzzle Inc and The Adventures of Massey Ferguson. Flux has also worked on advertising campaigns for major New Zealand brands including business giants Telecom, Telstra, New Zealand Dairy and Westpac Bank, as well as for international clients. Flux’s animators and designers are currently working on the successful 154 half-hours Tiki Tour series, which has already been given the green light for season II with another 154 episodes. Fully funded by NZ on Air, this series brings together Flux Animation and Pickled Possum Productions, the two biggest childrens companies in New Zealand. “The young New Zealanders are an important audience and deserve an authentic NZ series that reflects their world,” stated NZ On Air Chief Executive Jane Wrightson. Airing on TV2 from August 1, the 12 Toon Boom News
lively programme uses an engaging mix of eye-catching animation, live action and a mix of New Zealand’s official languages - English, Maori, and New Zealand sign language. “Our concept aimed at keeping the Blue’s Clues Animation/Live action tradition. Thanks to Harmony, it is very nice to create such a large-scale project locally for the local market,” explained Brent Chambers, President of Flux Animation and creator of Tiki Tour. In addition to Brent Chambers, the Tiki Tour’s animation team at Flux Animation and production team at Pickled Possum Productions are professionals with extraordinary expertise. They include: Animation Director Dave Butler; Toon Boom Specialist Erica Lack; and, Line Producer Csaba Nehez. On the Pickled Possum Productions, the team includes: Co-executive Producer Mary Phillips; Producer Anne Williams, Musical Director (live action) Doug Wright.
Tiki Tour’s two young presenters are Ngatarawahi Fairhall, formerly with Maori Television and fluent in Te Reo, and NZ Broadcasting School graduate Victoria Craig. They host the show’s live action segments, interact with a crazy team of animated characters, and invite young viewers to climb aboard the Tiki Tour bus to participate in games, stories, songs, dancing and activities. The young viewers visit real life New Zealand locations while learning about maths, language, science, technology, social sciences, the arts and health. Throughout, the youngsters experience English, Maori and sign language. Previously using Flash, Flux felt it was time to adopt the right technology that would sustain its growth and success. The team ramped smoothly on Harmony: animators could appreciate the higher performance while the producer praised its cost-effectiveness. “Our ROI has totally justified our move to Harmony, which is used on many of our television series, specials and commercials projects,” explained Brent Chambers. “The show’s animation presented a number of technical issues which required innovative solutions to remain within budget,” said Brent Chambers. For Flux, a key to the recent success has been pioneering the use of Toon Boom Harmony within New Zealand. With a talented team of local artists, all trained in-house, and led by New Zealand’s number one Toon Boom specialist Erica Lack, Harmony is now being used to create 75 hours of onscreen animation for Tiki Tour. “Until the use of this technology, animation projects of this scale were cost-prohibitive for New Zealand. So we’re thrilled - this is our first opportunity to produce an educational series for young New Zealanders, and working on Tiki Tour with Pickled Possum is the experience of a lifetime,” added Brent Chambers.
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Case study: Flux Animation (continued)
“Our ROI has totally justified our move to Harmony, which is used on many of our television series, specials and commercials projects.” As far as the production pipeline goes, the animation component of Tiki Tour is based on cut-out techniques. The team spent 4 months building asset libraries, enabling them to produce 15 minutes of original animation per week. On average, they reuse 50% of assets, and create 50% of new assets per episode. Currently, the team includes 5 animators creating new assets and 4 compositors. With the new Tiki Tour season coming up, it will go as high as 16 animators, if not more. The team uses Final Cut Pro to bring together the animation with the live-action. Acting as an incubator for the local animation schools, Flux launched a competition and received over 40 projects submitted by students, mostly from Freelance Animation School. “The quality and creativity were so good that we integrated 20 of the projects in Tiki Tour, representing 15 minutes of animation,” shared Brent Chambers. On the live-action side, Tiki Tour was also challenging for Pickled Possum’s Christchurch-based team who were scheduled to light the green screen for the show on February 23, the day after Christchurch’s second major earthquake. Thankfully nobody on the team was hurt, but the team still had to produce 154 half-hour episodes while 14 Toon Boom News
coping with the trauma of thousands of after-shocks and the effects of the quakes on their personal lives. As he built his resources to take on quality international projects, Brent Chambers embarked on the production of a high-profile Christmas special titled hoops&yoyo Ruin Christmas, scheduled to air on CBS Television Network on November 25, 2011. Presented by Hallmark, this new thirtyminute animated special came with a budget that enabled Flux to create absolutely amazing animation. Combining cut-out animation, with traditional and 3D animation, this project was perfect for Harmony 9. “Even though the characters had previously been animated using Flash, working with the U.S. Director we decided to go with Harmony to deliver rich looking animation with a lot more effects,” stated Brent Chambers. “We stayed within budget and yet delivered a project that went beyond expectations,” he concluded. Flux attended MIPCOM 2011 to promote the Tiki Tour concept, in addition to positioning the studio as a partner for co-production and outsource work. With its built-in Harmony expertise, Flux is a very serious contender that international studios should get to know better. •
Make the Most of the Art
The Speed of Storyboard Pro
I think because most people who work in animation are so visual the writing part of a bible is seen as such a formable task that the art can actually suddenly find itself taking a back seat. But we all know a picture can say 1,000 words so make sure when developing your sales materials or pitch bible for your projects you imbue your characters with as much personality and pizzazz as you can. That super cute drawing that reflects your characters’ inner-self is just what could sell your project. As you begin to pull together your pitch materials focus on the different sections of text and what art can creatively and cleverly be incorporated to sell the points being made. Carefully planned art can, not only evoke your characters personalities, but also the tone and world of your show. Do you have a cast of characters that are an hilarious ensemble? Then let’s see a “shot” of them in action, filled with personality, and portraying an outrageous moment. Is your character the next super cool superhero? Then let’s see him in action – and make it a specific action to him. If any other hero could be swapped into the shot then it is not unique and specific enough. Think of a shot of Superman saving someone vs. Spiderman. They are completely different in tone and style. Do you have a buddy cartoon? Then give us a few drawings of the prankster part of the duo bugging his cohort. Just by looking at this guy…we should be able to see he is trouble! And how is his partner re-acting? Is he angry? Or is he rolling his eyes, resigned to his fate? In just this simple exchange, we can know volumes about your characters without ever reading a word. Drawings don’t need to mirror the text word for word – you can add lovely vignettes with your characters that tell the reader in one easy-to-see shot exactly your show’s tone and sensibility. You can add backgrounds or swaths of color to pages as well. Whatever you want! Just make sure that the end result is a whole; a package that stands together and looks well planned and balanced. I was recently at MIPCOM and while there a tiny drawing of a funny little coconut with an underbite, looking nervously around, was one of the highlights for me. I am serious! This coconut is fantastic and I am hoping he and his pals are going to come to a TV screen near us soon.
When I am in the middle of a rush storyboard project, every minute counts. Small changes can add up to a lot of extra time on a project. I don’t want to miss out on the little things in life, like eating, sleeping, and seeing my family. That’s why I appreciate anything that helps me deliver to a client faster so I can also have a life. Recently I was working on a series of four Progress Energy commercials. They had me booked for 2 days. Two spots per day isn’t too much of a hardship, but when the director Progress Energy panel hasn’t worked out what by Mark Simon he wants before we meet, that often adds a lot of time to the process. I showed up at the production office with my Storyboard Pro, laptop and Cintiq. It took all day to get the director’s notes. The entire day. However, while I was thumbnailing the boards as he spoke, I also set up rough timings of the boards in an animatic. The director loved it, so I suggested that he record the sound track and we could make the edit even better. Nothing strokes the ego of a director than to hear his own voice in an animatic. So by the end of the first day we not only finally had full breakdowns of all 4 spots, but we also had animatics with camera moves and motion layers. I spent the next day doing clean-ups of over 60 panels. At the end of the day I was delivering all the spots in both PDF and MOV formats. The director loved it….but he had just a few small notes. There were a couple of frames he wanted to remove in a couple of spots. Those frames were right at the beginning of the spots. For those of you who work on paper and/or in Photoshop, you know how much time that type of small change can take. All that cutting and pasting, numbering, scanning and rebuilding the delivery files, not to mention if you also need to re-edit an animatic. Luckily, in Storyboard Pro, I simply removed those frames, clicked to rename all scenes and exported both the PDF and MOV files. 2 spots edited, renamed, exported and re-delivered digitally in just 3 minutes. I still had time to go out and grab dinner with my wife. Try doing that with paper.
Heather Kenyon is currently working with Kid Glove Creative, a new division of B. Wooding Media. For five years, she worked at Cartoon Network, as Senior Director of Development, Original Series, leading the development of all series for children aged 6 – 11. She is also currently Vice President of Production and Development for Citizen Skull Productions, a predominately unscripted and documentary producer.
Mark Simon is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran amassing nearly 3,000 production credits. He is head of story on the upcoming Hong Kong Phooey feature for Warner Bros and animation producer on Fox's Tooth Fairy 2. Mark has landed more than 25 deals for his original concepts. He is owner of three industry companies in Orlando, FL and the author of ten popular industry texts. He also lectures around the world.
by Heather Kenyon
15 Toon Boom News
by Mark Simon
Image courtesy of Viskatoons
Image courtesy of Ink Apache
Based in Madrid, Spain, Ink Apache is a magical place, filled with devilishly talented young odd-bods who just happen to be experts at drawing pretty pictures and making them move in mysterious and funny ways. It is also a top secret laboratory for fiendishly original ideas, concocting the kind of solutions that simply don’t fit into boxes. These freakishly gifted individuals also happen to be completely loopy about animation and will stop at absolutely nothing in their quest to deliver new meaning to the term. Las Cuevas is a normal town… well almost. Actually, it’s a unique place, dark, enigmatic… an energy epicenter where the most spine-tingling paranormal phenomena occur… where the disturbing things happen, the oddest and most absurd 16 16 Toon Boom News
events… And the place where lives Little Danny & Balthazar Holmes III two young & inseparable friends who share a passion: the investigation of mysterious mysteries. “Toon Boom offers exactly the artistic tools we need to develop large production such as a television series. The fidelity of stroke brushes, multi-plane, and customizable colour palettes are some of the tools that we get more out for this particular project. And all integrated into a production plan, which is essential to organize the workflow and the amount of material that is generated along the process,” Gerardo Álvarez, Producer at Ink Apache. www.inkapache.net
Image courtesy of Idle Games
Viskatoons an independent animation studio located in Melbourne, is also one of Australia’s longest established animation studios. Offering a full spectrum of services in animation, design, storyboarding, content creation and post-production, Viskatoons produces fun and award winning work for television series, advertising, music videos, the web and games. Formally a Flash studio, this year Viskatoons made the move over to Toon Boom Harmony when the opportunity came up to create a teaser for the TV series, 3 Bearz. Peter Viska, Executive and Creative Director of Viskatoons explains, “it was the right time for us to try it out. Having worked over the years within the limitations of software that was more geared to web content creation, we not only wanted to see what Harmony was capable of, but we also saw it as a good time for our artists to learn the software as well. In particular, the character animation style for the show needed to be more fluid than Flash has traditionally been able to achieve, and we wanted a professional pipeline for the production to speed the process up. With the artists enthusiastic about the move, the transition from Flash to Harmony was seamless. Parenting and the ability to merge traditional styles – puppet animation, straight ahead animation and morphing - were among the favourite features.” Viskatoons is gearing up for a new series Jar Dwellers SOS which will also need more fun animation (stretch and squash) as part of its appeal. www.viskatoons.com
Idle Games is a social gaming company nestled in the heart of San Francisco’s SOMA district. “San Francisco is the nexus of technology and creativity,” says Idle Games CEO Jeffrey Hyman. “Idle Games’ focus is on quality, creativity and originality.” The team at Idle Games thrives off the innovative spirit of the city and they challenge themselves everyday to make the “first TRULY social game on Facebook.” Idle Worship, their first game, is no doubt going to make a splash in the industry by proving that technology and art can come together to bring something truly unique to Facebook. Their game world is composed of hand drawn animation and fully painted frames, producing a fluidity of animation and quality of painting that is more akin to a Disney animated feature than a Facebook game.
Warner Bros, so we were convinced that the maintenance and training would be proficient in all purposes”, explains Nick Cloete, President at Mind’s Eye. After creating local corporate presentations, webisodes, Brazilian campaigns and French animated series, the team is currently in preproduction for an in-house series, comparable in quality to international standards. mindseyecreative.co.za
Image courtesy of The Picture Factory
Idle Games’ art tool chain is unlike virtually all flash-animated games that use the “puppet” method for animating characters and where colouring is simply colour fills with gradients. Idle Games is creating something the animation community will truly be proud of with a tool chain that fully integrates hand drawn 2D animation via Toon Boom Harmony and hand painted animation frames using Photoshop. “With Harmony we have found a fluid workflow and the essential tools needed to accomplish this high bar for quality. Harmony provides the most “traditional” workflow, which helped the transition from paper to paperless for our animation team. The ability to label key drawings in the x-sheet, flip drawings at various speeds, and the ease of use of the network to share files in a global library have enabled our sleepless animators to efficiently produce a product we are proud to share and call our own. “At Idle Games, Toon Boom has given us piece of mind that there is another company like us that cares this deeply about 2D animation and provides us the technology and tool set to better realize our creative vision,” states Fabian Molina, Director of Animation at Idle Games. www.idle-games.com
Image courtesy of Mind’s Eye Creative
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mind’s Eye Creative is a creative solutions studio. The term “Multimedia” broadly encompasses the range of services they provide, but they focus predominately on illustration, design and, particularly, 2D animation. Whether customers need a Corporate Identity or a storyboard/animatic developed to pitch a campaign/series/feature, they have the facilities and expertise to meet their requirements. They produce animated content on an assortment of platforms and their preferred medium is 2D because all their resources have been poured into streamlining their production pipeline. “We chose Toon Boom Harmony because our team already had a wealth of experience with the program, working on a sub-contracted series from France. More prominently, the product potential has also been exemplified through box-office feature films, produced by companies such as Disney, Nelvana,
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Opening its doors in 2002, The Picture Factory (La Fabrique d’Images) is a Luxemburg-based animation studio that creates high quality 2D/3D animation and illustration work for a multitude of international clients. Christine Parisse and Jean-Marie Musique have built a strong team of talented artists that rapidly began taking on a range of tasks, including design, development, storyboarding and animation, through to compositing the final image. Having co-produced a number of well known television series such as The Little Prince, Grenadine and Peppermint and the second season of Iron Man - Armored Adventures, the studio is buzzing with creativity as it changes gear on two original series and an original short currently in production. “The directors of the upcoming original series Zoli & Pokey, found it imperative to implement a full pipeline using Toon Boom,” explains Laurent Paqueteau, Studio Manager. Starting with Storyboard Pro, the team produces everything within Toon Boom Harmony, from character creation and rigging to animation and final compositing. “The Toon Boom pipeline saves precious production time, cutting out the middle man and the need to convert shots into multiple formats for a variety of programs”, he adds. The Picture Factory is taking the big leap into studio-original feature films, benefitting from the knowledge and experience their artists have gained from working so closely with the always available Toon Boom Team and their constant support of the studio’s technical and special requests. www.fabrique-d-images.com
Image courtesy of Chuck Monroe
Chuck Monroe works at PerformTech as a Senior Graphic Designer. PerformTech provides quality training and performance improvement support to their clients in the public and private sector. As he had to create an animated greeting card, Chuck felt it was the perfect opportunity to use Toon Boom Animate Pro. Going paperless, this was his first frame by frame animation project. “Animate Pro has amazing drawing and animating tools. It has the best vector drawing tools I have used hands down. Since I was trying to create a Disney style animation I felt Animate
Pro gave me the best set of tools to achieve the look was trying to attain. Also, I really liked that you could change the depth of field with the camera. That was a really important feature to me” comments Chuck. He found being able to draw and animate in the same program extremely helpful. As for his other favourite Animate Pro features, he pointed the network view which makes it easy to add in effects; the colour palettes, which enables to automatically update a colour in all drawings; and, the access to multiple layers for the line and colour drawings.
Born in East Chicago, Justin Marchert spent most of his life doodling cartoons and writing stories. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 2000, he put his Journalism degree to good use and took a job at the Joliet Herald News, where, among other things, he began the web comic, Sketch 22. It is only a decade after that he began teaching himself animation with Toon Boom Studio and released the animated webseries, Gym Shortz - a workplace comedy set in a Chicago gym. He then moved up to Toon Boom Animate and released The Film Bowl, a movie review show in which the critics are fish. In 2011, he finally released the animated version of his web comic,
Image courtesy of Justin Marchert
Sketch 22. Justin is currently working on new episodes of all four shows, as well as finding sponsors for them. An advocate of cut-out animation, Justin usually creates adult comedy pilots, similar in tone to The Simpsons, Futurama, and American Dad. DumperFilms.com
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Fwak! Animation – creator and producer of the Warner Bros hit TV series Mucha Lucha! and the theatrical feature Los Campeones de La Lucha Libre – is back with a brand new TV project. Ska-Ville is an animated preschool show that invites kids to shake, move and dance to the bouncy, feel good beat of Ska music! Not only that, but they also get to learn about Ska, Rock Steady and Reggae music and their cultural impact through a cast of diverse and fun characters. The studio is committed to creating the first episodes and is looking for other interested parties to join them in catching the beat. Director Eddie Mort has been working exclusively with Toon Boom Animate for the last few years, and has utilized its features again for Ska-Ville. “The most important thing for me will always be the ease in which I can create great, multiplane camera moves so easily. SkaVille has a very flat, graphic look by way of its design,
Image courtesy of Fwak! Animation
so the Animate camera really helps give the scenes a little something extra. I also find that in terms of effects, Animate has everything I need, so I never feel the need to go to After Effects or any other secondary programs. This not only saves us time and money, but also means we can have more control over our post-production.” Ska-Ville is aimed at children aged 2 and up. And so far the indications are that parents are going to want to get up and ‘stir it up’ too! fwakanimation.wordpress.com
Image courtesy of Olly and Emma Drew
Image courtesy of Fred Coince
Three years ago, Olly and Emma Drew made their first animated nursery rhymes, Incy Wincy Spider, using Flip Boom Classic. They uploaded it to YouTube in their Myvoxsongs Channel and after what seemed like forever they celebrating reaching 50 hits! But its growth was exponential. Incy Wincy Spider now has over 15 million total hits and gets 50,000 hits per day. Soon after Incy Wincy Spider, they made Humpty Dumpty and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and gradually their animations grew relatively more sophisticated. They began to edit sequences together in iMovie. “Using Flip Boom grew to be more of a challenge: intended as a kid’s program with just one layer, it was a relief when Flip Boom All-Star came out with a second layer for backgrounds,” explained Emma Drew. “People may probably be wondering why they didn’t just get hold of Toon Boom Studio or Animate and start using a grown-up software - it’s a good question!” she continued. “There are two reasons really: one is that we wanted our cartoons to have a naive quality, charming in their simplic-
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ity so we wanted to avoid getting carried away or bogged down with sophisticated animation effects. The other is that we were comfortable using Flip Boom - we knew there was going to be a learning curve with a pro animation software, and so we delayed upgrading as along as possible,” added Emma. Old MacDonald was their last nursery rhyme cartoon made in Flip Boom All-Star, and I’m a Little Teapot is their first go using Animate. “You can judge for yourselves if we have crossed over successfully. It was definitely a steep learning curve moving to Animate, but after initial angst it has made our job a great deal easier! There are some great tools for us to tap in to now that we are starting to feel comfortable with Animate, but I still like the fact that we are a working studio that puts producing entertaining cartoons above searching for technical brilliance in our animation - there’ll be time for that sooner or later...” stated Emma. myvoxsongs.com
Based in Nantes, France, Fred Coince is a self-taught freelance illustrator, storyboarder and animator. Fred uses Toon Boom Animate Pro and has created several original animated shorts, such as Le Pommier and Foresta, all available in the Toon Boom Showcase. As a traditional animator working paperless, he creates cartoon animation but would like to produce a “darker” animation film a la Tim Burton. “My animation quality has improved since I’ve started using Toon Boom. Before, I worked with Macromedia Flash but I was facing lots of limitations. Toon Boom has opened a wider space of creation and made me realize some short movies that I would not have created with Flash,” comments Fred Coince. Some of the key Animate Pro features Fred enjoys the most include the 3D space which opens a new world of creative ideas, the various texture brushes and pencil lines, as well as the multi-plane camera which results in increased productivity during scene planning. In addition to developing his own animation projects, Fred is open to freelance opportunities and acts as a very reliable virtual studio team member! f.coince.free.fr
Building a Solid Brand Using Harmony Snipple Animation is one of the fastest growing animation companies and is widely regarded as amongst the best Toon Boom Harmony studios in the world. The company, headquartered in the UK, has its 2D operations base – with a state-of-the-art pipeline based on the latest release of Harmony version – in Manila, Philippines; and a 3D CGI studio in Bangalore, India. Jitin Goyal, Founder and CEO of Snipple Animation had this to say during a meeting with Toon Boom CEO Joan Vogelesang at MIPCOM 2011, “Over the years I have dealt with many software companies across multiple industries. Toon Boom is, by far, one of the best I have worked with. The software is best-in-class, the support is fantastic, and most importantly, Toon Boom management is genuinely interested in helping studios successfully deliver world-class animation. Joan is a true visionary and her team is doing a great job in realizing the vision.” “We are truly delighted to have Snipple Animation as part of the Toon Boom family. This first class studio is bursting with talent and is led by a management team that you can trust unquestionably,” commented Joan Vogelesang. Snipple has rapidly built up a reputation for quality, reliability and, in particular, for getting tricky projects back on track. The company has successfully delivered projects such as Titeuf, The Film for Moonscoop and Geronimo Stilton for Atlantyca in the recent past. It is working on a new feature film Pinocchio with a Euro-
pean consortium and has signed up with Alphanim to produce a new 52 episode series. All these projects are being executed on Harmony. Maia Tubiana, Vice President and Executive Producer at Moonscoop, comments, “Project after project I value working with Snipple, as they have the right approach and positioning in today and tomorrow’s markets. They listen, propose and are always keen to achieve the best. It’s intelligence at work”. Snipple is also developing several animated properties of its own, among them a new Harmony-based comedy series targeted at 6-11 year olds called Cathy & Ratko. The show, currently in development, has received a very enthusiastic response from the market. As the Snipple CEO puts it, “The animation business is essentially about two things – delivery and creativity. Toon Boom as a partner helps us do better on both fronts. Building our studio on Harmony is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!” www.snippleanimation.com
Become Toon Boom Certified! For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org Perfect for • Students • Teachers • Professional animators • Storyboard artists • Employee certification
Applicable Toon Boom products • Toon Boom Studio • Toon Boom Storyboard Pro • Toon Boom Storyboard Pro 3D • Toon Boom Animate Pro • Toon Boom Harmony
Toon Boom Certification Programs • Associate Certification • Professional Certification • Master Certification
Benefits • Get industry recognition • Be qualified to teach Toon Boom software • Open up career opportunities • Boost your credibility within your field • Be recognized in the Toon Boom community
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Image courtesy of Oak Crest Middle School
Image courtesy of New Mexico State University
SCHOOLS ON BOARD
Oak Crest Middle School is located in Encinitas in North County, San Diego, California. Animation has been an elective choice for the past 3 years. Our Parent Foundation in conjunction with our principal Ana Pedroza, have provided funding for various media used in class, as well as cameras to take still shots. Toon Boom Studio was purchased through a grant offered by COX Communications, a San Diego based cable company. This class has grown in popularity largely due to the creative forum and diversity of projects that students can accomplish by using Toon Boom Studio. Students have been involved in creating a variety of animations with Toon Boom including: music videos, avatar virtual thank you cards, short animated advertisements and stop motions. Among the favorite stop-motion styles are clay and white board animation. Currently, the class is creating claymations that confirm a school rule with a humorous slant. Titles include The Trash Monster and What Happens If You Cross the Blue Line at Lunch. The best student animations are shown weekly on our own weekly news program called Wave Live. Students are thrilled to see their hard work on LCD projectors displayed in every classroom. New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute (CMI) offers a Bachelor of Creative Media degree with a focus in either Digital Filmmaking or Animation and Visual Effects. The CMI Animation program focuses on the art, craft, and business of storytelling; and has already produced several talented artists. Theory and practice are integrated at every step as the students manipulate text, sound, images, and animation using industry-standard technology. For them, it is the place to learn their craft and find their voice - to master the artistic process and the technical skills needed to realize their vision. Areas of study within Animation include; 2D classical animation, character animation, 3D computer animation, visual effects, voiceover, storyboarding and visualization. The goal is to teach students to tell stories in ways which 21 Toon Boom News
are innovative and original using industry-standard tools. The CMI Animation concentration emphasizes imagination, creativity, and critical thinking. Led by professor Jess Gorell students start creating projects and animatics in the Project Development class then move on to 3D study or to the Beginning 2D Class with Eddie Bakshi where they further explore Toon Boom Studio. Working from a storyboard or animatic students work on their animated scenes - creating scenes with multiple shots, importing backgrounds from Photoshop, adding multi-plane camera moves, dollies and effects. Using Toon Boom Studio in depth, they go through the creation process step-by-step. Those who move on to the Intermediate Class with Prof. Bakshi master animation principles, focusing on drawing and animation fundamentals while also moving ahead with the software. They build motion skills that can apply to all animation styles. “As students can pick up Toon Boom Studio very fast, they can make their drawings move without too much stress. They gain control over the tool easily, letting them concentrate on learning the art of animation right from the beginning of the program,” commented Jess Gorell. Once students reach the Advanced Class, they are exposed to a more “real-life” 2D production pipeline that includes compositing and more advanced sound integration. They work in teams to reproduce a studio environment and tackle larger projects. Currently, Toon Boom Animate is used in this class; with thoughts of switching to Harmony in the future. www.nmsu.edu The Schorr Online Animation School offers courses designed for artists in general, including animation industry professionals, students, web designers, storyboard artists, directors and producers, game designers, as well as communication specialists. The school’s goal is to deliver quality training reflecting the market; consequently their classes pull in well-known professional animators from the industry. Armed with the knowledge
SCHOOLS ON BOARD NIT include: Architecture, Animation and Motion Graphics and Information Technology. The NIT is scheduled to change its designation from technological institute to a university in the future. The new status will enable the NIT to increase the programs it offers and to develop special courses and research programs. The NIT collaborates with other educational and commercial institutions in and outside Kenya. One of the institutions is the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in Nairobi. The latest collaborative training agreement is with Toon Boom Animation Inc, through which Harmony and Storyboard Pro will be incorporated into the current Animation and Digital Design Diploma. The NIT Animation and Digital Design Diploma is a 15 month course, with 3 months of attachment. The Diploma equips students with the necessary skills required to enter the field of animation. The curriculum covers web design, psychology as applied to 2D and 3D characters, life drawing and rendering techniques, and electives that will round out a strong expertise in visual effects and digital video. The NIT will be the first Toon Boom Preferred Training Centre (PTC) in East and Central Africa.
that production schedules require creating animation faster, the school teaches field-proven techniques that combine traditional animation with advanced cut-out using Toon Boom Harmony. “The Harmony technology is great to create a skeleton of the character as well as a library, resulting in faster production. As the software makes all the in-betweens, it saves a lot of time and money during the production,” explains Tathy Schorr, the school’s founder. “We also use the WACOM Cintiq to work on a big screen, and draw digitally with quality tools straight into the computer. This is a major benefit as we avoid drawing on paper and scanning, which is a very time-consuming and tedious step!” she adds. The classes are available online to accommodate students, wherever they are, and give them the opportunity to learn the tools of the trade. Students have access to four modules, which are: 1. Introduction tools, model sheet, and animation principles 2. Animation principles and creating a cut-out 3. Complete cut-out and animating the character 4. Compositing, Special Effects and Portfolio www.schorranimation.com
Image courtesy of Nairobi Institute of Technology
The Nairobi Institute of Technology, NIT, is a mid-level college in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa. The college was founded in 1997 and is privately owned, managed and funded. The Degree and Diploma programs offered at
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Based in South Bank, Brisbane, Australia, the Griffith Film School animation program celebrates 25 years of graduates in 2012 and throughout this quarter century they have embraced the extraordinary changes (and challenges) that have occurred in the industry – both creatively and technologically. The program has always had a strong focus on Character Animation and they continue to develop innovative and ingenious artists that have the ability to adapt to almost any facet of the animation and film and games industries. The final outputs from their programs are focused on telling engaging stories, utilizing all the tools and techniques learnt in the preceding courses. However they also believe that ‘stories’ are really about communicating and don’t necessarily have to be a standard 3-act structure, and encourage a very broad approach in terms of style and technique. The Animation program is situated within the Film School (part of the Queensland College of Art at Griffith University), which also hosts Screen Production and Games Design, so the opportunities for cross-disciplinary projects is strongly promoted. They use a wide range of software solutions across all programs, but the most important element in their foundation years is the Toon Boom software. “Four years ago, we transferred to a completely digital workflow using Animate Pro in the initial “Introduction to Animation” course, which introduces all the principles of animation to the students (and yes, we still do the “flourbag” exercise). Despite our early fears about losing the much-loved light boxes and that glorious tactility of pencil and paper, the transition was incredibly smooth - so much so, that we can barely remember how tedious and time-consuming the old ways of teach-
Located in St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada, Heritage Regional High School (HRHS) with almost 1800 students, is the largest English high school in Quebec. HRHS is part of the prestigious International Baccalaureate network and is the highest academically rated public school in the Montérégie region of Quebec. One of the school’s innovative programs provides a vibrant arts core education that promotes academic success through artistic exploration. As part of its Visual Arts and Media class and its Fine Arts Focus program, HRHS is using Toon Boom Studio to integrate animation into their curriculum. Toon Boom Studio is promoted as a multi-technique animation software, it is the most widely adopted program used in schools to teach art and all cross-curriculum subjects such as geography, science and language. Jordan Swift, technology teacher at HRHS, has been familiar with Toon Boom Studio and, as soon as LEARN Quebec made it available, he took the opportunity to use it in his classroom. Mr. Swift’s 12 to 17 year old students use Toon Boom Studio to create animated shorts of between 30 seconds and 1 minute duration.
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Using Toon Boom Studio his students apply the animation principles they have learned to demonstrate their understanding of motion, timing, walk cycles and anticipation. They also integrate sound, and create dialogue segments using Toon Boom Studio’s lip-synchronization tools. After recording several voice-overs for their characters, the students fine-tune the characters lip-sync by experimenting with different mouth positions. Toon Boom Studio analyses the sounds phonemes and suggests suitable mouth shapes, applicable to any language. As animation creation is a collaborative process, students interact to prove ideas and share tricks. “Knowing Toon Boom is the market leader in the animation industry, students like the idea of using a program that large studios such as Disney and Cartoon Network use to produce their favourite cartoon series”, shares Mr. Swift. “Creating animation is a very rewarding experience for students who see their concept taking shape and moving. Toon Boom Studio is an incredible tool and I would recommend it for visual art classes. Teachers should definitely try it!” concludes Mr. Swift. Image courtesy of Heritage Regional High School
Image courtesy of Griffith Film School
ing were,” explains Andi Spark, Associate Professor. This is not to say that they have ditched the pencil completely though – they still include Life Drawing and perspective and environment drawing classes for at least two hours
every single week for the entire program. This remains one of the key components of their students’ skill-sets, particularly their ability to ‘observe’. “Animate Pro was a godsend in encouraging new approaches to creativity, so we were very excited to see the new features of Harmony. The fact that it handles 3D objects (encouraging more hybrid and collaborative style work between our ‘2D’ and ‘3D’ streams) plus also simplified yet expanded on the ‘puppet’ capabilities seemed perfect for what our students are inventing in their projects. The real icing on the cake was the expanded range of brush and pen tool options for many of the projects that use non-‘toon’ style artwork. We’re eager to continue exploring and discovering all the new ways we can extend the artistic boundaries in animation and Harmony offers an all-in-one tool to facilitate this,” concludes Andi Spark. www.griffith.edu.au/filmschool
The Toon Boom Pipeline
Solutions for Animation Pre-Production and Production
A New Dimension. Import 3D Objects: Import 3D CGI objects and manipulate their position, rotation, and scale. Working in a 3D Space: Use the Camera View, Top View, and Side View to position your 3D objects or 2D drawing layers in a 3D space. Building a Library: Save your 3D assets into an easy-toaccess library for reuse. Exporting to 3D: Export the project back to 3D software using the FBX format. Digital Storyboarding: Take advantage of Storyboard Proâ€™s proven storyboarding capabilities such as drawing tools, script import, captions, animatic generation, and export to PDF and Quicktime.
Between the Past and Now. True Pencil: Draw with pencil lines supporting textures and variable line thickness. Deform: Deform images and drawings animated over time using advanced bone and curve deformers. Effects Inside: Access built-in particle effects and dozens of other effects. 2D-3D Integration: Import and use 3D assets within Harmony as well as transform objects on all 3 axes.
Toon Boom Animation produces award-winning software to create digital content and animation. Our animation and storyboarding software is use...