At an exclusive animation viewing at the Art Directors Club last night,
Toon Boom Technologies, a supplier of 2D animation software, kicked off the arrival of Toon Boom Studio 1.0 for Mac OS X.
Toon Boom Studio is designed to bring many of the capabilities of Toon Boom’s high-end product, USAnimation, to the designers and creators of character animations for the Web. It costs US$349 (and just $99 for students). It’s targeted to animators, graphic artists and cartoonists working in advertising, music video production and gaming.
Toon Boom Studio 1.0, which just won the “Seal of Excellence” from Animation magazine, will take advantage of the Aqua interface of Mac OS X and the Quartz graphics engine. For example, its paint and drawing tools rely on the Quartz technology to give the user optimal quality in drawing and coloring a vector animation.
Designed for animators in the Mac community, Toon Boom Studio goes on sale today at the Apple online store and the Toon Boom Web site. It will be coming to retail stores soon, Francois Gariepy, Toon Boom’s vice president of Internet Strategy, told MacCentral.
Toon Boom Studio has an automatic lip sync feature, 3D scene planning and compact Flash-compatible file rendering for greater scene complexity. The software also incorporates the feel of traditional animation with a rotating light table, “X” sheet visual representation of the work and an onion-skinning or “flip-book” feature. It incorporates output to QuickTime, a second camera-view in the scene-planning mode and Adobe Illustrator input.
“Toon Boom Studio combines the best of traditional and digital animation,” Gariepy said. “It gives users the ability to compose 2D animations in the 3D space.”
The product was designed with the Web designer in mind, he said. That’s why it offers a complete set of product tools, the ability to input multiple formats and mix media, Gariepy said. It offers vector-based graphics and provides file re-use options and templates.
“This is a tremendous collaboration between us and Apple,” he said. “It takes full advantage of Mac OS X features.”
Tony Lee, Apple’s senior director of Worldwide Markets, said that Toon Boom Studio is a product that “shouldn’t be happening.”
“We just shipped an operating system, so Toon Boom Studio should be happening next year or the year after,” Lee said. “But Toon Boom Technologies saw an advantage and they took it. They completely understand Mac OS X.”
He added that there was an opportunity to tie the product into Apple applications such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, iDVD and DVD Studio Pro.
Toon Boom Studio is one of the first native Mac OS X graphics programs. In the beta stage it reached over 10,000 testers who offered lots of feedback, Gariepy said. Testers included American Express, FableVision, iConnect, Stvdio Media, and Art Leonardi of “Pink Panther” animation fame. In fact, Toon Boom Studio is the first digital animation program that Leonardi has used, Gariepy said.
At last night’s preview, such companies as iToons, an Internet design and animation studio, and Funny Garbage, an animation firm, showed work created in part or whole with Toon Boom Studio.