Tour of WIP GUI / Features

NielsAll144 Comments

What you see here is work-in-progress. Every detail will be reworked again and again, so chances are that much will be different and more distilled in the final app. Anyway, take a peek at how the design of the interface looks at this point in time. May you find it interesting…

Tour of the GUI

Here’s the overview screenshot. A familiar Mac window, with a vertical divider that can be dragged left or right to hide or expand the left pane – the x-sheet. The large pane contains the drawing area, your current frame.

AnimationPaper-screenshotClick image to see full size

Work in a window or enter full screen mode. What ever you choose, you can always zoom the sheet in or out to work on a detail or see the bigger picture.

At the bottom of the window you have your timeline. It marks your current frame and shows the range of frames you are currently working on (in this case frame 260-408). The bar shows what your range is, compared to all your frames in the scene.

Here’s the X-Sheet. Easily adjust your timing of keys and breakdowns, by dragging the thumbnail down (or up), adding clone frames, making the key hold longer.

AnimationPaper-xsheetYou also control your layers here. A layer is represented by a column of thumbnails, like a vertical filmstrip. The leftmost layer is the top one and so on – down to the bottom layer at the right. You change the order, by dragging left/right at the bottom of the columns.

In this example the layer you are currently drawing on is the leftmost. Your current frame is always highlighted in the middle (black rectangle). When you flip frames, the X-Sheet scrolls up/down.

Layers can be linked, so when you add or remove frames on one layer, the same happens on linked layers to keep your timing.

Your drawings are color coded to visually separate each layer. Setting the color at the little drop-down-tap above makes the entire layer that color. The active layer in this example is blue – which means you only draw blue lines here.

At the right side, you have your soundtrack and notes. Dragging the pane-divider further right reveals more space for notes. To write notes, you simply use your pen and write by hand.

You can have as many frames and layers as you want.

Speaking of “as many frames as you want” – it is of course limited to the amount of memory your computer holds. But an effective and realtime non-destructive compression of each frame means you can have a lot of frames in even a small amount of memory.

The top part of the Animation Paper window (the title/drag bar) can be configured to hold the tools you use the most.


But once you get used to using the keyboard to activate things with one hand and drawing with your pen in the other – you’ll be lightning fast. Maybe you prefer to drop the keyboard all together and only sit with your tablet? (you might even own a Wacom Cintiq) – then that’s no problem. You access some functions as normal by clicking the interface – and some functions you will want defined on the physical buttons on you Wacom tablet (or other brand tablet). Flipping a few frames back and fourth, while you are animating, can be mapped to the touch ring or -sliders on the tablet.

To the left of the above picture, you have two sliders controlling your line thickness and opacity. They are of course dependent on the pressure input of your pen too.

AnimationPaper-zoomtoolThe rest I think is pretty self-explanatory. Only thing to mention about the above, is the small icon that says “2nd”. That is for displaying the complete frame if you have a second monitor attached. So no matter how you are zoomed in or rotated, to make drawing more fluent, you can always check your second monitor for the full view.

The green rings shown here is the zoom/move/rotate tool. Use this to quickly zoom in and turn the view around up side down – to draw a certain curve or detail just right.


So what’s in the menus? Again, it has to be stressed that these are not necessarily the final toolset and layout. But it gives a clue to what we’re thinking. Here’s a slideshow that runs through the menus.

[Originally there was slideshow running here. It showed the drop down menus of Animation Paper. Watch the last part of the frontpage video for a look at the same menus]

Use the arrows to pause and step through

Main Features Summary

The No.1 feature of Animation Paper is the limited number of features. πŸ™‚ Keeping it clean and simple.

Other than that, here’s the list of basic features:

  • Super fast responsiveness – while drawing, while flipping, while everything
  • Quality lines – built on high speed, high resolution input from your tablet (like a Wacom)
  • Small to large format frames
  • Realtime smooth rotation and zooming of the view
  • Light table (onion skinning – fully customizable)
  • X-Sheet – timing and layers
  • Cutouts (easily reposition drawings)
  • Import and export of video and frame-stacks

That’s basically it. Feel free to comment or ask questions below. Any good ideas and suggestions should be considered and discussed.

EDIT: Since this post more menu items and functionality have been added. Here’s the

144 Comments on “Tour of WIP GUI / Features”

  1. The green rings remind me of the interface in ArtRage for panning, zooming and rotation of the canvas – which works really well. It would be nice if you could adopt the mirror function from ArtRage.

    Best of luck with the project! =)

      1. I’ll second the Artrage comment. One of my favorite art GUIs out there. Hooray for pressure based opacity! Something Flash and Toon boom don’t seem to understand how important that is when doing roughs.

      2. Great work Neils, I’m so glad you’re back developing this again. One thing I think is super important in modern Drawing apps that is not present in any animation packages that I know of is gesture support for zoom and rotation of the canvas. Sketchbook Pro has nailed this, My current work flow is rough out in Pap 4 then clean up in sketchbook due to the ease of the canvas rotation and zooming on my Cintiq, I just use two fingers to pan, pinch to zoom and twist the two fingers to rotate, it’s just like an animation disk in traditional paper animation. If you could get this in as a feature, drawing would be much easier too. I’d definitely be willing to pay for an animation app that did this properly, and I know many people on the sketchbook forums have been crying out for them to do animation for the same reason. Good luck with it though, this is great news, pap is easily my fav animation software.

          1. That’s awesome news! If you get that nailed I think you’ll take the 2D world by storm. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

  2. This project seems to be interesting. Is there going to be basic colour palate like pencil check pro has to add colours?

    I just wonder whether this is going to be on apple store for Indians like me to buy easy?

    What would be the price of this app?

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks Lavanya – happy that you find it interesting.

      Yes, you’ll have the ability to choose between the basic black, blue, red and green pencil colors – and you can choose your own custom colors as well.

      Yes, the plan is to release it on the Apple Mac app-store.

      The price is undecided at this point, but looking at a price-tag of maybe as low as $50-$60 USD. It could end at $100-$120 too though. – or somewhere inbetween as the most likely…

      1. Great to know the price Niels. I would be looking forward to try the demo version and also go for purchase.

        I detest VMWare installed apps so I think it would be interesting to have an app like this on mac in that price tag and I guess there will be release discount for us poor souls. LOL πŸ™‚

        Good luck with your project. I signed up so I would be looking forward for release mail to try demo. πŸ™‚

  3. Very good news !!! A new PAP !!! Wow!
    Congratulations and good luck!

    You probably think about it yet… In some drawing softwares, we can draw a line with a shaky hand (like mine) and the program will smooth it. You can control de degree of smoothing also. I think this would be a good feature.


          1. Line smoothing is great for inking. But I would think it would be out of scope for a project like this.

            I’ve never come across a program that has a great implementation of line smoothing. It usually eats up a lot of CPU cycles.

  4. This looks like a 2D animators’ dream!

    I’m always confused and frustrated when I open certain programs and am bombarded with so many tools that are unnecessary and useless to me. This looks to be so optimised, streamlined and easy on the eyes.

    Plus the fact that it’s on Mac is a real plus for me.

    Great job! Will be snatching this up asap. (If you need a beta tester let me know πŸ™‚

  5. Hi, Neils !!

    I am using PAP4 , and its awesome and what you have got here even looks great, From the old one coloring self color lines and filling in color I found to be tricky. So is that something fixed in this one ? Also about layering ! Like putting different body elements of a character on different layer will that be possible. About doing multiple characters is it possible for them to be doing on separate layer each ?

    The price looks very reasonable for amount of work you have put in, so thank you for making it affordable.

    Thanks !

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi there – thanks. πŸ™‚ yes, putting characters on separate layers including splitting up characters into body parts, each on a separate layer too, is sort of what it is to be designed for. So definitely no problem. πŸ™‚

  6. Hi.

    I can see you have been working on this update lately!
    One thing I cannot resist to tell you is that: I LOVE the old User Interface!… I find all the icons and information so well done, with the right information, customizable… Great!…
    The only “negative part is that it uses small icons and letters!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks for your nice words. πŸ™‚ yeah, the icons and font was made at a time with low resolution screens. As resolution increased, the icons displayed smaller and smaller. πŸ˜‰ one more reason that it is outdated. πŸ˜‰

  7. Thank you very much for making a dream come true, this is a true 2D animation software. A tool that would i like to see in future versions is a Stroke stabilizer similar to Easy Paint Tool SAI which correct the hand pulse and allows cleaner lines. For me it is amazing that even professional software for drawing does not have this tool for inking faster and clean

  8. Niels,
    I was wondering if one of your developers uses the nick name “Oluseyi”
    If yes, I think you got a very professional one… just my feeling

  9. A must have – at least in my opinion – is frame-holding (showing the same drawing for x exposures) and nice to have is faux-fix (looping the last x frames for y frames). These features greatly help finetuning my timing and are a basic for pose-to-pose animation.
    Will you implement these features in your X-Sheet?
    I miss them in all! iPad apps, and many Desktop-Apps as well. The only program that has them implemented nicely is TV-Paint, at least as far as I know. On the other hand I really can’t stand using Photoshops Video-Layers for Animation, because of the lack of proper frame-handling. Still some of my friends and colleges keep telling me, Photoshop was nice for animation. I differ. Multiplying frames to generate a hold is NOT an Option πŸ˜‰
    Really looking forward to the new Animation Paper!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Claus,

      Yes, these are basic features that will of course be included in Animation Paper. In the X-Sheet you will simply drag down on one of the filmstrip thumbnails to add “clones” – copies of the frame, to make it hold. If you draw additional lines or erases stuff on the original frame, the clone frames will update those changes automatically.

      1. To you have specific plans to implement faux-fix / looping a set of frames for x exposures? It is arguably not a ‘basic’ feature, but greatly helps to retain the ‘living line’ aesthetics of still or paused objects, while keeping the x-sheet clean and tidy. The dirty way would be copying a few frames and pasting them a few times (like you would do with one frame, if couldn’t hold it).

        Actually I am not sure, if faux-fix is the right term. That’s how TV-Paint calls it. Here is a discussion about this (other translations in TV-Paint):

        Here the term ‘moving hold’ comes up, but when you look into it, it can mean something slightly different, like in ‘subtle movement, after hitting an extreme’.

        What I mean, is really only the abilty to loop or pingpong a given set of frames over a number of exposures to keep the line wiggleing. I guess it isn’t much of a programming challenge. I would be more of a challenge in UI design terms.

        1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

          You are exactly right Claus. The challenge is how to implement this in a really simple and easy to understand way.

          We already have your requested ability in the old PAP and emmediate plans are to do it the same way in Animation Paper. I.e. to be able to repeat a few frames many times to have a hold that is not completely still, – having wobbling lines.

          But I’m working on how to do this even simpler and easier. There must be a way…

  10. Hello
    Sorry for my english .
    I tried the old PAP, and willingly want to share some thoughts about the features that should be added to PAP.
    1. Smoothing trembling lines , optional with the ability to adjust the degree of smoothing . And also the use of deformation lines , as it is implemented in the program Tupi or Toon Boom.
    2 . Add primitives circle – ellipse , square – rectangle . Take very convenient to construct the appearance of the character.
    3 . Tools perspective. As the program Krita.
    4 . Perhaps it will be odd , but I think good idea to add a pin or plastic deformation in Photoshop.
    The program should be implemented for all platforms Linux, Windows, Apple Mac. Implement the program only under Mac in my opinion, it’s just a narrow range of users.
    A good example of this blender and Krita, a step and in many ways they have already surpassed the expensive super heavyweights such as Autodesk and Adobe, at the same time they are open source .
    Perhaps, you should open to the world . But then you have to live on donations , there need to be popular , and move with the times . I think that all of this you will have. I can only maintain interest in the program PAP, at the forum dedicated to animation.
    Good luck

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thank you for your thoughts. And no problem with your english – we are many that struggles with english not being our first language. πŸ˜‰

      About your points:

      Some kind of smoothing option is something we are considering, since you are not the only one to request this.

      I am personally very much against adding functionality such as circles and squares, since this is a hand drawing tool. Not a technical one. If you need a perfectly straight line or circle, you can use a ruler or a glass or something placed on your Wacom board to draw along. πŸ˜‰ I am (almost) serious. – The point is of course the need to have the software ultra focused and keep technical stuff at an absolute minimum.

      About deformations, this is something I need to think about. We of course already have the rotation, mirroring, skew and various scaling options for cutouts. Maybe we could add to that. But again, it must blend into the simplicity of the program very smoothly – otherwise it is out the door. πŸ˜‰

      As you can see from my articles here on this site, plans are to make Animation Paper for both Mac and Windows. Also iPad. And Android and Linux should be considered as well. Of course. There’s no reason to limit the number of supported platforms – other than because of the effort and cost it takes. Hopefully Animation Paper will be popular and we will naturally do all platforms.

      As you know, you and everybody else, can help here and now, by signing up at the front page.


      1. I think that Android would be important since Wacom released the companion hybrid. Animating on the go would be a dream!

        What I’d like to see is the numbering in the x-sheet. And the ability to enter the drawing number. What I hate in TVPaint is that when you press enter, you don’t go directly to the next frame. I love the x-sheet system in Pencil Check, it’s very intuitive when you know what a real x-sheet looks like. You can extend the drawing exposure by dragging the little arrow, you can pre-fill the numbering, you can create cycles.

        I’m a big toon boom animate pro, harmony fan, except for the price…

        But from what I’ve seen of Paper Animation’s interface, it’s a lot more intuitive than PAP without any tutorial.

  11. A friend shared your site with me today and I immediately signed up. I have 10+ years experience using Flash for animation (only) and over the last couple years I’ve been looking for alternative software solutions.

    The selling point for me with your software are words like “streamlined” and “ease”. The tools for 2D animation are pretty finite. Frames, layers, onion skinning, etc. There doesn’t need to be a lot of features and add ons. 2D animation itself isn’t evolving (beyond that of the artist doing the drawing) the way 3D animation and technology have been. So it seems very clear and easy that someone just needs to wrangle the NEEDS of animators and make the tool functional to support the needs.

    That all said, seemingly the only additional thing I’d like to see is a way to color/fill with solids. Nothing fancy. No shadows or gradients or anything tricky. But if I can add layers on top of my roughs to clean up/ink my lines, I’m just one step away from calling it “done” by adding color. Even if I have to do it frame by frame.

    I guess the problem is that opens up a can of worms: trapping fills, gap recognition, self color lines, managing swatches, etc.

    supporting coloring/fills is just my initial suggestion/reaction. But it isn’t a deal breaker! I’m looking forward to this either way!

    Oh – another thought/suggestion: Is the imported audio “scrubbable”? It’s kind of the best feature in Flash for animation in my opinion. I’d want to scrub/flip through the X-Sheet seeing my drawings and hearing the syllables in some dialogue.

    Alright – enough blabbing’. It’s all encouraging! Thanks again!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Boob (?) – Nice name!

      I couldn’t agree with you more. Very well said. Thanks.

      You are perfectly right about having a simple way to fill with color would be very handy. It is something we want to do.

      Also scrubbing with sound is a sure thing. We had it in the old PAP too.

      Thanks for your comments – and your encouragement. πŸ™‚

  12. Hi, I’m really excited and interested in this project. I’ve been looking for a simple animation app that I can use alongside Toon Boom. I’ll be very interested in a Windows version.

    The most crucial bit for me is will the pencil tool have the texture of a proper pencil? Or will it be customizable? I’m getting fed up with the overly clean lines that are standard in Toon Boom and Flash etc. A realistic pencil texture would seal the deal for me!

    Thanks, can’t wait to see how this develops!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi George,

      Yeah it will resemble a pencil line – however the details of how to technically do the line (coding those parts of the program) is still to be settled on. This includes the level of customization. Your point is noted. Thanks.

  13. What about windows users, ice been using this handy tool as well but I’m a windows user, do you plan to release one for windows as well again?

      1. I am super excited to hear this, it would be so sad to not have access to something as great as what AP sounds like! I just signed up, and seeing the UI makes me so happy! I have previous experience on Flash and TVPaint and though they both can do the job in their own ways, the limitations of Flash and the clutter of TVPaint are sometimes more than a little annoying. Thank you so much for doing this, I can’t wait for the Windows port!

  14. Exciting news to hear. Everything looks great, I haven’t been through all the comments but it sounds like you have most of my wish list managed. If there was one thing I would be curious about it’s your approach to drawings in production -> rough, tie down, clean up. I’ve played around with TV paint, can’t afford it myself, but what I loved in their approach to this was the use of color pencils, choosing one color like a blue line to rough in and then a black line to clean up you could draw right on top of the original rough without the need for new layers or levels and once you were happy one click removed the previous blue line. Brilliant implementation and something to consider. Best of luck I’ll be watching eagerly to see how this comes along.


      1. Wonderful, I thought I might have remembered that but wasn’t sure. Will there be the ability in timing the drawings by using a number key such as selecting a drawing and pressing 2 holds the drawing two exposures and holding the 2 key down would move down the layer setting each subsequent drawing to two exposures as well until the key is released?

          1. Timing exposures or how many frames the drawings hold for in the x-sheet. I draw my keys then start to time out my shot in the x-sheet I assume by dragging the drawings up or down in your interface to change the number of exposures, I’m asking here if the number pad keys might be used as a shortcut to speed up the timing by selecting a frame and pressing a key to set the number of exposures 1 holds it one exposure 2 two and so on, and the holding the key down would set the exposure then move to the next drawing allowing me to put keys I may have drawn on ones to a different timing like 2’s or 4’s for all of them just by holding a key down. Does that make sense? Thanks so much.

          2. Niels Krogh Mortensen

            Thanks for explaining. Yes, it makes sense. πŸ™‚

            In PAP we had a function setting all frames in a selected range on 2’s or on 3’s. Maybe that is even easier to do in one go, than to hold down a key.

            Anyway, your suggestion is noted. I’ll try to see if it could fit in. πŸ™‚ Thanks.

      2. I first heard about this over on the TVpaint board because someone brought up the idea of developing a linetest version of their software. Someone then wrote ‘this might be worth doing considering PAP is reborn’. They also accused PAP of copying TVpaint with the blue line and say linetesting isn’t considered professional…

        I have two questions and two suggestions!

        Is AP going to compete with TVpaint?

        Is AP for professional use?

        I’m left handed, one of the problems I have with some software is they have no option of changing the cursor, so I had to put up with this brush icon facing away from me for quite some time until it was added in that you could flip the icon. Since I use a Cintiq, I’d love it if you include a ‘dot’ cursor.

        What kind of file structure will AP use? it would be great if each frame was it’s own seperate image file or having the option to export each frame as seperate image files. That way it’s easily taken into Photoshop for colors or into Retas to ink or something. I have some software that can’t do that and try to be an inclusive package and other software that does.

        Thanks for doing this… I was (still am!) a big user of PAP. πŸ™‚

        1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

          Thanks for your comments Mark.

          Are we competing with TVPaint? Yes and no. I am sure a large segment of their users would see a clear benefit in changing to Animation Paper. Of course I wouldn’t mind that. πŸ˜‰ Animation Paper has its own niche. Overlapping with TVPaint. But just as Animation Paper will be preferred for certain things, TVPaint will be preferred for other things. Animation Paper is a more specialized software – focusing on the drawing and actual animation – and therefore is more light weight with less complicated functionality and less clutter. This is why some will love Animation Paper – and others will like TVPaint better. Each will have its purpose. And that is how it should be.

          Funny how some claim that the blue line was stolen by PAP, when it can only be the other way round! PAP had the blue line already from the beginning in 1995. When we stopped developing PAP many of our users switched to TVPaint because it was a new program doing a lot of the same stuff PAP was well known for. In defense of TVPaint, the blue pencil is of course something traditional animators have been using way before any digital animation technique came along, like PAP and TVPaint. Animators used a blue pencil for the rough and did clean lines in black directly on top, – then you could photocopy these drawings and the blue lines would dissapear “automatically”. (they wouldn’t pick up as easily and therefore get lost in the copiers high contrast output) πŸ™‚

          Yes, Animation Paper is certainly for professional use. But having said that, it will be so intuitive and easy to use, that beginners, students and hobbyists will find it perfectly fit for their needs as well.

          The cursor-icon in Animation Paper will be a small crosshair (check it out in the screenshot at the top of the above article). This will work equally well for left handed. πŸ™‚

          Animation Paper will save both its own animation file format as well as a number of others. These include Quicktime movies and of course sequentially numbered single image frames in standard file formats such as PNG.


        2. “They also accused PAP of copying TVpaint with the blue line ”

          Mark Lee , you are reporting misinformation. No one on the TVPaint forum accused PAP of copying TVP’s blue pencil sketch panel tool. Please don’t stir up ill feeling where it does not need to exist.

          (in fact it was Niels who used the word “stole” in accusing TVPaint of lifting the idea of the blue pencil tool from PAP. What caused some concern on the TVPaint forum is that the idea of sketching in blue line and cleaning up in black is not exactly proprietary … it is an idea which comes naturally from the traditional animation workflow , which is exactly as Niels mentions to you in his follow up comment. )

          The recent conversation on the TVPaint forum has made it clear that they do not feel it is in their best interests to develop a “pencil only” lite version of TVPaint . So I don’t see that there needs to be any rivalry between TVPaint and what Niels is attempting to do in developing a reboot of PAP. They can both co-exist.

  15. Looks great, but don’t forget about left handed people. It would be awesome to have a preference where the GUI is flipped for the lefties.

  16. Signed up & can’t wait.

    Few things: Can the shift key be used for drawing straight lines? Manga Studio uses the shift key this way: you make a dot, hold down the shift key, where ever you move the cursor to will be connected to the origin point when you click.

    while I do understand the emphasis on “hand drawn” animation, sometimes good geometry (straight lines, squares, triangles and circles) is important for props and backgrounds.

    Also, how would one go about inking and coloring the animations? Could Corel Painter be used, I wonder…

    Looking forward to this. Will it only be sold via the app store? As nice as the app store is, the wait for updates is too long (for Apple to approve them) and there’s no system for upgrades. So a different venue would be great.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks Mike! Holding a key to get a straight line is a good idea I think. Noted. I’ll give it some thought.

      Inking will be fully doable inside A.P. Coloring will maybe come too in a simple form. But yes, taking frames elsewhere for coloring is a fine option too.

      It is undecided at this point in time if we want to release through App Store, through own website or both.

    2. I second Mike’s line tool request. The way Photoshop handles this is similar (by holding shift) but seems to only allow a straight line to be placed on 45 degree increments, which is almost useless. The ability to plot a start point and a subsequent end point to the line would be very useful for a lot of reasons, such as the obvious need to lay down perspective guide lines.

      Niels, have you considered re-opening a forum for AP? This comment section will become huge and hard to follow! πŸ™‚

  17. Wow, you are just a Prometheus for all animators. This is the kind of solution that the artists need. I just have one question. I believe that a great animation tool not only has to have all the features involved with movement and reproduction, but it also needs to be an amazing drawing tool. I am a fanatic of Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro. For me, an animation program with that kind of responsive pencils will be the greatest program of them all. For your passion on the project I know you are catering for that kind of features. Please count on me to buy the program as soon as it is on sale. Thank you so much for your enthuiasm.

  18. This is awesome, I know so many 2D animators just starting out that have been begging for something like this to come along. The only option at the moment is TVPaint (and old PAP of course!) but that is jaw droppingly over priced (in the sense they force you to pay for features you simply don’t need). I like where you’re going with AP, simplicity.

    I’ll spread the word as much as I can – though after being featured on CartoonBrew I think you’re golden!

  19. A great feature would be “peg bar hole alignment” so that if you imported scans of actual paper animation they could automatically be rotated so that they are all aligned? That way you could bring physical drawings into the digital realm to add/enhance them. Just an idea! Thanks for working on this project, I’m very excited to use the app!

  20. Great promising program. Can’t wait to see the final version. I spread the news about this on the Animation Forum and hope you get more supporters from it.

  21. I am intrigued. This looks great so far; simple, to the point, doesn’t even look like there’d be much of a learning curve.And its got a very reasonable price. The only thing I’m worried about is the color. Fills would be nice, but what about brushes, shading and lighting? I guess most of that could always be fiddled with in Photoshop and After Effects, but it would be a bit of a pain to have to export it and all. Do you have any plans for this or do you think that might just tack up the price tag.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks for your comment.

      We might decide to have some basic filling functionality. But shading, lighting and other stuff like that seem to me to be better done in compositing (like After Effects or such). The point is to keep Animation Paper simple. Keeping it a plain drawing tool. Technical stuff at a minimum.

      I hope you see what I mean. (?)

  22. I’m so excited to see this software out! I was, and I am, a huge fan of PAP and now I cannot wait to play with Animation Paper! I’m so happy that you decided to come back with a great software like that, and for OsX!! that’s super great!! From the preview it seems really great and clean, exactly what I expected from you, I have no suggestions though, your style to keep it simple and straight forward for pencil lovers artists, is just what i dreamed about this kind of software, so keep it going! πŸ™‚ and +1 to see a Linux version on it in the future that could be super great! Again thank you a thousand to come back for good!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Since the price of the new software is much lower than the old one, and it will be completely rewritten and new – we are not planning on that. But make sure to sign up at the front page, then you’ll at least get that discount.

      It’s not that we wouldn’t give the old users a discount, but the systems are different and it is many years since the last customer bought a PAP license. It would mean a lot of manual labor to open up for that. We would rather just set the price of Animation Paper low. Hope you see what I mean.

  23. Are there any plans to include the ability to place background images/video “under” the canvas, to make it easier to animate characters within environments? Simply as guides, no compositing or anything.

  24. I am a big fan of the streamlined responsiveness of PAP 4.0, and have used it for hundreds of my rough animations and tie-downs. I’m very excited to hear that you’re working on this new version; I’ll be spreading the news! Also, thanks for responding to our questions; I do have some suggestions regarding the handling of cutouts and frames.

    1) With PAP 4.0, at least as far as I’m aware, the only way to move a frame to a later point in the X-Strip is to either set it in the range brackets and copy it to the new location, then delete the original, or else to very carefully position it on a new blank frame using the cutout tool. Would you consider adding a more thorough functionality to the animation frames, so that for example the user can somehow select and drag a frame or range of frames to a new location (in some way that doesn’t interfere with the wonderful drag-to-clone feature), or copy / paste them within the X-Strip, without having to mess with ranges or cutouts? Maybe this could be a modification of the Slide Mode, which almost fits my description, but currently does not allow a frame to be dragged beyond the frame in front of it or behind it, and doesn’t have copy / paste or range selection.

    2) On the subject of cutouts, I love having the ability to use the cutout tool to reposition a drawing element over a specific range of animation in PAP. However, if I want the whole range to move precisely to the same new position, this can become painstaking very quickly, as I need to put down the stylus and carefully position the cutout using my mouse, and then step through one frame at a time, clicking the mouse for each frame and hoping I don’t accidentally move it. For example, while frame-by-frame positioning is useful for putting a walk cycle into motion from left to right, it can be tedious if I only want to reposition a talking face two inches to the right. Could there be a tool that moves the whole range with a single tap of the stylus?

    Briefly, some other issues I’ve had: Perhaps this is a bug or I’m just missing something, but in PAP 4.0, some functions such as Delete Frame or moving a frame in Slide-Mode cannot be Undone. Also, I have occasionally had an issue where I could only export super-high resolution animations to JPEG sequences. Other formats such as PNG would distort the frames.

    I still love your software and I think it’s one of the best out there for its intended purpose. Looking forward to the new version. Thanks again!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Ben, thanks for your comments and questions.

      These copy/paste issues are amongst the things that need modernizing. In the new Animation Paper it will be easy to copy or move whole frames around in the x-sheet.

      About your cutout problems in the old PAP: Did you know that while you have your cutout picked up, you can always hold down the “o” key to snap it to its origin? This way you don’t need to find the correct spot and painstakingly position it.

      Also when you want to stamp it down, you don’t need to press with your pen – it can be done by pressing return on your keyboard (if I remember correctly). But if you use the “o” trick you can stamp down with the pen, since it doesn’t move. πŸ™‚ – Just a few “hidden secrets” for those who still use PAP. πŸ˜‰

      Anyway, all this functionality will be much more elegant in Animation Paper of course.

      1. Hi again Niels,

        While I am reminded of it, I wanted to mention that a “Paste in place” function would be very useful. I’m not sure how its implementation would differ for raster/bitmap compared to vector, but this is one of the few capabilities I found very useful in Flash.

  25. Dear Sir,

    Have you make a plan to sell Animation Paper 5 on Mac App Store worldwide ?
    I am really excited about the software but I am not a holder of credit card.

    Applause from an island country of the Pacific.

      1. Dear Sir,
        Excuse me for twice post when I did ( I thougt its failed).
        I have some question for New AP function on MacOS.

        1) It will be feasible ; non-stage zoom pixel image and smoothing by Apple CoreImage technology like “”.

        – It means such as Corel Painter X3, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, Celsys CLIP STUDIO PAINT and paint tool SAI, Japan.

        2) It will be feasible ; turn off anti-aliasing supplement at export PSD, PNG, Tiff and TGA with alpha channel.

        – It means 1-bit image of the abozzo to coloring by other software.
        For example, Corel Painter performs ignore anti-aliasing fill mode called “Cell filling”.
        Celsys PAINTMAN and CLIP STUDIO PAINT give priority to a low color of luminosity chroma and can paint over every adjacent line.

        3) It will be feasible ; adjust indication of peg hole every layer.

        – It means indication peg hole (top or bottom per layer).

        Please llook at an animation of Youtube.

        In the Oriental animation workflow, they use peg hole on top for ajust drawing of motion picture : Only ToonBoom supports the function by the Western animated software I understand.

        4) Have you planning for other languages localization?
        I like software in deference to the language of each country that want to know even the function in Danish, Français, Italiano and others.

        Build by Xcode Software is not difficult to localize by language resouce data.
        There are many translation volunteers on the internet who can reflect a different technical term and production process per each countries.

        Thank you for reads.

  26. Dear Sir,

    Have you make a plan about to sell at Apple Mac App Store worldwide ?
    I am really excited the software but any have credit card for pay.

    And may i ask you a quiestion about required spec for use by MacBook Pro or Mac mini ?

    Hopefuly I will pay and drawing with AS on the latest Mac OS X Moutain Lion and iPad.

    Applause from a island county of the Pacific.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Mishima,

      Yes, we hope to sell through Mac App Store world wide. We may also decide to sell through our own website (this one). Still to be decided.

      It is too early at this point in time to say anything about the required specs. I can say, however, that the old PAP was running very well on small systems. The focus is on speed and responsiveness – which of course will pay off on any system. Keep an eye on this website for more about specs when we get to that in a number of months during development…

      Thanks – and say hello to Tsukuba in your little island country! πŸ˜‰

  27. Greetings from London! This package looks truly promising, I wanted to know though, is the application raster-based, like TV Paint/Photoshop, or Vector based, like a lot of Toonboom’s products?

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Greetings London!

      It is raster/bitmap based. We do experiment with maybe having some kind of vector data stored internally for use when scaling and such. But as a user, you only need to think about drawing lines (with various line size and opacity).

  28. I remember flipping back and forth with actual paper when I animated in 2D, and I loved the feeling of precision when I switched between frames when flipping. I mapped my scroll bar on my Wacom to perform this with a few programs, and although it worked, it didn’t give me the physical feedback or precision that I enjoyed.
    One technique I liked was to map the numbers 1-4 on my keyboard so that they have the frames I’m working on, and an additional scroll-bar to adjust where the frames are mapped. It’s like tapping your fingers on a desk!
    Just placing your fingers on the numbers 1 2 3 4, and fake-tapping them will give you a strong idea of what I mean.

    I love the old PAP, so I’m really looking forward to the new one!

  29. Hej Niels,

    I skimmed the descriptions of the features and the comments pretty quickly so my apologies if you are already doing these.

    There are 2 features you usually don’t see in digital 2D animation software that are essential in my opinion.

    the ability to hide drawings in the timeline/xsheet – so you theoretically could hide all but the first and last key, flipping directly from one to the other, to check volumes, model etc.

    and the ability to take drawings ” off the pegs” place them wherever you want, flip, draw, resize, zoom, etc. and then easily return them to their original position on the pegs, for adjusting volumes and model and place-and-trace and off-the-pegs-inbetweening.

  30. Adding to the “off the pegs” idea… I finally got a cintiq and the first thing I wanted to try and do was work on some hand drawn animation. I used Flipbook. A fine program, but what I noticed I missed most about drawing on pegged paper was how often I use place and trace to get my arcs correct in my tweening.

    In case you are not familiar with “place and trace” – You place one key over the other, typically you have to rotate the paper to get things aligned correctly, then you place third sheet on top but place it so that it inbetweens the actual holes of the paper. Then by simply tracing the overlapping key’s shape you will get a perfect inbetween already on an arc once you place the sheets back on the pegs.

    So the actual peg holes are a very important part to traditional animation.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      I do understand this. And the value of it. Question is – could this be archived using the cutout functionality? I mean, you could draw a mark of some sort close to the edge of the frame (as a replacement to the peg holes) – and then simply pick up the drawing temporarily and rotate it to check the lines. I guess the limitation of doing it this way is that you wouldn’t be able to draw on the cutout (while the drawing is rotated) and that is the point of this technique. Just thinking out loud here.

      So what you need is the whole frame to be repositioned (and rotated) temporarily, to be drawn upon, and then be able to snap back to where it came from. Must be doable… Maybe it is a more advanced feature that we could introduce in one of the following upgrades. We need ideas for the further development and keep the first version from having too many functions, you know, – so we can get Animation Paper done and let people start working in it. πŸ˜‰

      Anyway, thanks very much for your request. It is noted – and I will think about how to implement it…

  31. This is exciting and I have signed up.

    Just a few questions: will the individual drawings be identified by thumbnail only or will there be an option to number them? Can columns be named?
    I agree with others who would like to draw straight lines or regular curves occasionally (for animating props etc.). On paper I can use a ruler or french curve, and it would be nice to be able to have that functionality here too. Perhaps a limited bezier tool that would rasterize the line with the click of a button (and with thickness control)? I know, that’s asking a lot.
    I assume that final compositing with BGs is not intended in AP. (Focus on the drawing tools and let AfterEffects take care of the rest! But if so it would be necessary to output quicktime movies or images with transparency, i.e., an alpha channel.) This raises other questions too. Is it possible to dissolve between layers in AP (or set levels of transparency of the painted frames)? And if BGs can be placed for reference can they also be panned?
    Finally, I agree that some peg-hole recognition would be great for people who want to draw keys on paper and inbetweens on the computer!


    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Phillip,

      Thanks for your questions. Here’s my answers:

      Frames will of course be identified by frame number and it will have the thumbnail in the X-Sheet. The drawings themselves (as you are talking about) must be identified too, – and it might be most effective to just give them a number. This is something I am still working out, because it ties in with how the X-Sheet is going to work exactly. Also the column naming. Your requests have been noted. I will work it in.

      The straight line and bezier curves is a touchy subject for me, I must admit. I really don’t think it has its place in Animation Paper. And btw, if you can use a ruler and french curve on paper, what makes you think you can’t use it physically on your Wacom (or other tablet)? πŸ˜‰

      Yes, your final animation is best composited in a compositing program such as After Effects. You have so many possibilities with such a package. Naturally you would have to be able to output frames from Animation Paper with alpha, – this will of course be build in. Dissolves and panning is to be done later down the pipeline (compositing or editing). You must simply do your scenes (frame size) in Animation Paper large enough to make it pan-able. Your peg-hole point is noted.

      Thanks again for your input. I hope you appreciate my stand on things. πŸ˜‰

      1. Thanks, Niels, for your answers. I appreciate your desire to keep things simple. There is one other comment/request I have, and that is to be able to load or customize brushes for clean-up. Thanks again!

  32. This is rather promising I have to say. I have a question: Is it possible to have an option to export an image based on the thumbnail filmstrip in a format like a storyboard thumbnail?

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Troy, thanks for your question.

      That would be possible – but I’m not sure exactly how you would prefer that? It could be in the form of a PDF set up with a number of storyboard frames – with room for notes and numbers etc. Or you could simply export your frames in lower resolution to print and pin on a physical board? Any further thoughts to elaborate?

      1. Thank you for replying to my question. Those options can work fine from my perspective and it would be nice if either or both can be used. If what you said about the first option, it would look something like this: I am personally leaning to the second option, with a bit of the first option. The format I was referring is based on something like this:×4-04.gif. Just a simple thumbnail sheet that can be viewed like in .png and if any adjustments need to be made I can do that in photoshop (or physically in pencil). As long as the images is clearly visable that can get the point across, it would be no problem.

        This might be complicated to say and could be outside the main point of the program, but if the program is able to export the thumbnails and notes, is it possible to import those files back into the program in a separate layer? I think a more clearer example would be to say you have the storyboard thumbs in a .psd file with the notes and the image, and you import that to the program, which will load a folder that contains the layers of the notes and images.

        With that, it is pretty much I all I have say, pretty much lacked experience in the 2D area of animation but the program is promising in contrast to flash (simple interface, but disappointing in customizing the drawing tools) and toon boom (Intimidating workspace and probably always go back to this due to its more fluent control when drawing in a tablet).

        Hope to see more progress of this program!

  33. Hi Niels! This is really cool! Looking forward to it.
    I’m a great fan of PAP but I agree it feels a bit outdated, this new app will definitely be a tool we’ll use at RΓΆda roboten. And a nice price too!
    For anyone interested, we did a short movie ten years ago, entirely animated in PAP, which was blown up to 35mm with great result and shown at festivals etc ever since. It was colored in Photoshop and composited in AE. The coloring was a bit painstaking then, but with the video layers in newer PS versions, I think this workflow would be great. And alpha export from AP is great – you didn’t have that in PAP, did you?
    The simplicity and focus on animation in PAP (AP) is a huge advantage over other applications in this field.
    Check out “The Ballerina Frog” here:

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hey Staffan! I remember we have talked before many years ago. Thanks for your nice words once again.
      No we didn’t have Alpha export option in the old PAP. Thanks for showing your short movie! Nice – I haven’t seen it before. πŸ™‚

  34. Hi Niels –
    Out of curiosity does the old version play back stereo audio files only in mono?
    I’m having fun working with lip syncing. Hope your new program includes an option
    for simple paint fill! Thank you for your wonderful program!

  35. This is great news, Niels. I discovered PAP when you guys gave it for free, used in several personal projects, and I really liked it. These days I use mainly Toon Boom Animate, but keep returning occasionally to PAP, as I love its simplicity and directness: it is great for drawing, and it does this really well.

    If it helps, I’d like to share a couple of points about my experience with PAP:

    – In some cases the stroke is not completely clean when seeing through it using the lightbox, and this makes fine inbetweening difficult. It is ok if the line is defined and clean, but when it is more sketchy the transparency doesn’t work well.

    – I’d like the eraser tool to be antialiased so it can be used as a drawing tool. Carving negative spaces, refining shape by substrating rather than adding is a great advantage in digital sketching and a richer eraser will help.

    – Cut outs are great and I’m happy to read that you plan to keep this fantastic functionality, but when rotating or non-linear scaling a cut-out in PAP, the line degrades quite a lot. It is understandable a bit of destructive behaviour, specially when scaling, but it would be great if it is less.

    – About color. To add something to help out coloring would be really helpful. A simple filler per layer, like you’ve mentioned, that can be taken outside and reworked in comp could be enough.

    I hope all the feedback we users are giving here helps you somehow, Niels. I’m looking forward to try Animation Paper! πŸ™‚


    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Julio, thanks for your very relevant points.

      My guess is that what you experienced with the line when using the lightbox in PAP, was due to how we layered the drawings in the realtime algorithm in PAP. We couldn’t, at that time, afford the luxury to composite layers properly together for the screen-buffer, so it was just layered using a 1 bit alpha – so to speak (in order to make it fast). That made the light anti-alias edges of the lines visible on top of other dark lines on lower layers. This is of course a trick we don’t have to do today with modern powerful computers and the new Animation Paper. Also the eraser will be fully anti-aliased of course. So no worries there. πŸ˜‰

      With regards to your remarks about cutouts and color: We are working on, and hopefully finding, ways to do both none-destructive scaling/rotating of cutouts and a nice simple coloring functionality.

      Thanks again! πŸ™‚

  36. Animation Paper looks great, and I look forward to seeing its progression. I’ve never felt entirely comfortable with the stilted, confined design of software like Toon Boom Animate.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hello Albo,

      We’re only in the planning stages at this point in time. So it is hard to say, since we haven’t yet decided on what will make it into the program and exactly how it is going to work. But roughly speaking it will be around 10-12 months.

  37. This looks amazing! So happy to see notes on the X-sheet! Most useful feature ever! Very glad to see someone focusing on hand drawn animation and not trying to be everything to everyone. Thank you for making this!

  38. Niels, is this only being developed for Mac? I’m still going to spread the word all over my work and old school, but I run a PC. =-/

  39. Hi Niels, this looks incredibly exciting! I’m sure there’s a strong demand for a simplistic, bitmap-based animation program. Thank you very much for your efforts.

    Will the completed application be able to support retina displays?

  40. So far so good!

    I wish that we could change not only the opacity of the images in onion skin mode, but also the color.

    Exemple: turn the past images red and the next images blue. That would be great!

    Looking forward to see the software complete.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks Grisi. That would be a good feature. But what about the colored lines of your drawings? It would have a risk of mixing in with those in such a way that you couldn’t establish what was previous frames and what was just your current frame drawing in a red or green line. Any suggestions to overcome this?

      1. Well, i use to do all the lines first and apply the color after all the animation is done, so not a problem for me: Actual frame one color, previous and next frames two different colors. (God, how i wish for this feature!)

        But for the folks using color one way around could be the option to shift the color hue: Actual frame, actual colors; previous frames, shift hue to left; next frames, shift hue to right.

        Just reminding that color change should be able to be used together with opacity down πŸ˜€

        This additional detail, in my opinion, would make Animation Paper a killer Software!

        Hey, thanks for hearing!

  41. I second the opacity+hue shift for the light box! In TVP, I like to work with the before and after frames set to different color gradients, which makes everything easier to read and less confusing. This, combined with a pencil tool that acts like a soft pencil, and the ability to easily specify exactly which frames you want to see in the light box instead of just “X amount behind/ahead” (something that takes way too many steps to do in Toon Boom) was the deal maker for me. If Animation Paper could have something like that without the confusing interface and overabundance of functions and tools of TVP (“What did I just do?!”), it would be a real lifesaver of an animation program. A shift and trace tool (one that isn’t practically hidden in the program!) would also be a huge help.

  42. PAP totally needs to be out for windows. how long of a wait would we be talking about, for a windows version? I really don’t want to duel boot my puter.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks Diego. Just to clarify – PAP IS out for Windows. πŸ™‚ Hehe, I know what you mean. Animation Paper (the new version) is going to come out for Windows first thing after the Mac version is done. I am still in the process of finishing the exact list of functionality for the programmers to use as a recipe. But our estimates says we release the Mac version in 10-12 months. The Windows version will have a shared codebase with the Mac version for the core, so it will hopefully be much shorter development period for the Windows version.

  43. when exporting key frames while excluding clones, PAP should properly number the frames instead of skipping numbers. sometimes on PAP classic i want to export key frames without exporting clones but PAP numbers the frames weird like “001, 012, 023” all in that order. but when i try to import the key frames into Adobe flash for inking; i have to rename each frame “001,002,003” in order to import the frames as a sequence. Also the option for a transparent background should be available.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks again Diego. The numbering of the exported frames in the old PAP, was intentional. Many programs could import a framestack numbered this way. The reason for this numbering was of course to be able to keep your timing – so you don’t have to retime everything in Flash once you have done the coloring – as I can image you will have to – doing it the way you describe.

      Anyway, with Animation Paper, you’ll have more modern export options. I hope you’ll find it a big improvement. πŸ˜‰

  44. It does really look amazing!
    As I prefer working on paper with my Xsheet I’d just like to know more about it– e.g. will you have to add drawings to the frame or all a frame is ready to have a drawing.
    As well to the onion skin feature – will it have just onion or will it have some sort of, what you do when animating in paper, flicking with your fingers?
    Thank you for this project!
    I can’t wait for it.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Rafael. Thanks for your questions and nice words.

      I am not sure I understand what you are asking first? You will usually work with simply adding blank frames (like pieces of paper) every time you need another frame. Also you can easily drag down on a frame in the X-Sheet to add more – doing a hold. Does that answer your question?

      Regarding your second question, there will be several ways of flipping your frames – just like when using your fingers analogue style. πŸ™‚

      Basically you should have all you’ll need in Animation Paper! πŸ™‚

  45. Hey, I had a few questions regarding this program.

    First off, do you have an estimated price for the program? I would really love to buy this software but I currently don’t get a lot of money, and for a program that focuses on one this more than a set of features, I can’t imagine it being more than a $100 (And thats probably even pushing it). Also, will the program require a one time payment, or payment every time a new version comes out?

    Second, how much later after the initial launch do you plan to release it for windows, as I currently do not have a mac?

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hey Alex, I am happy to let you know that the final price of Animation Paper will be $79 USD.

      Upgrades will probably be free – unless new major features are introduced.

      How long you will have to wait for the Windows version is undecided at this point in time – but we will focus on making it quickly – and large parts of the code from the Mac version are to be reused, making it fairly quick to do. πŸ™‚

  46. Some cool ideas from our animation staff:

    Movie clips:
    having the ability to do small animations, that can be called as it happens in flash with movieclips. This would be helpful for secondary actions, loops, etc.

    a window with references that you can have on top of the working table.

    some bizarre ideas now:
    VECTOR INK and color:
    I know this must be far out, hard to program, or even out of your concept for the animation paper program, but it would be really amazing and new:
    A vector layer, with vector lines (like the one in Sai Paint Tool, or manga studio). It could be a nice inking system. Also vector shapes that could be animated (like the vectors in anime studio). A tracking system that recognizes the pixel lines, would help connecting the vectors to the sketch animation.

    SPHERE: a simple sphere layer that can be rotated and animated -squash and stretch) and used as a guide to check and keep the volumes all over the animation.

    thats all for now, we will think in more ideas to share…thanks for this chance!

  47. Really impressive software. YES YES YES.. keep it lumpy distracting cursers or UI clutter. Do check out ‘Duet’ (the making of) by Glen Keane they have some interesting features you might be interested in. I think much of the beauty found in animation are the smudges and tonal marks the pencil makes. Can animation paper work on this? Keep up the excellent work!

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