Progress! Getting there.

NielsUncategorized49 Comments

Development of Animation Paper is in fantastic progress! Every day I am jumping with excitement as our programmers finish more and more of our planned features and details. I couldn't be happier!


Should I give you a little sneak-peek? 😉 Sure! - Feast your eyes on this small selection of "secrets"...

Animation Paper will be available for both PC, Mac and Linux. Mac version shown here.

If you study the menu items in the last part of the above video, you'll get a glimpse of pretty much what Animation Paper is going to have included.

- And here's a bit of sketching...

Video has been sped up. Animation Paper for PC shown here.


So, what's the exact development status? All the most important and challenging functionality are (almost) completed. We have picked up speed going from 1 to 2 full time programmers (Frederik and Denis), besides director Bo and my self as product owner. Thanks to these hugely skilled people I can proudly say that everything about Animation Paper - all the features, responsiveness and ease of use, that I envisioned (and bragged about) - we are nailing!

These days we are reaching our first alpha milestone. That means, we have an unfinished version ready for actual internal production usage. Still missing features, yet to be implemented.

Can I try it, pleeease? Sorry, only a few, already selected, people get their hands on this internal test version.

When then? After a series of alpha versions, we will finally get to beta stage. All features must be done by then, but unfound bugs will still remain. When we get closer, only some months from now, we will let everybody know how to get your eager hands on it. I am still asking for your patience - but we are slowly but surely getting there! Thanks so very much to all of you!

Leave a comment, if you like, and let me know what you think. Did you find any interesting details in the above videos?

Yours,
Niels Krogh Mortensen

49 Comments on “Progress! Getting there.”

  1. This looks really cool and simple! can’t wait. could we have a free version for students?

    I found this site by looking for actual animation paper as I’m planning animation curriculum right now and this looks super simple.

    1. Thanks John – good thing you found us! 😉 There’s actually already a free version for download (old one though). And I would believe the cost of the new Animation Paper of $79 USD is affordable for even students. (How we handle schools/students and discounts are still to be decided at this point in time).

      Cheers,
      Niels

  2. This looks like a very interesting piece of software and could indeed go far in the animation industry.

    But I want to ask, will it be compatible with other animation software like TVPaint, Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe Animate, Moho, Retas, Cacani, Toonz, and Opentoonz? Also, could it be used with illustration software Photoshop, Paint Tool Sai, Clip Studio Paint, Corel Painter, Krita, GIMP, Illustrator, and Inkscape if you want to clean up, ink, and color without using a dedicated animation program?

    1. Hi Colin, thanks a lot! 🙂
      About compatibility: All the software you list, as you know, all have their own proprietary file formats – and so do Animation Paper. However, one of the points of AP is to have it fit well into any pipeline. So it will import and export the most common image and movie formats (like frame stacks of png’s, psd’s or svg’s – or mp4 or QuickTime ProRes with alpha). Also I hope to create (or support if such a file format exists?) an open xml-like timing/x-sheet format for interchanging timing info between competitive software.

      1. I’ve recently been imagining what to use if I made my own complete animation studio. I’ve been thinking using TVPaint for rough animations, but this would seem like an excellent alternative since it’s way cheaper. I would then use either Toon Boom or Toonz for cleaning up the roughs, inking and coloring, etc.

        Will it have a robust selection of brushes that would compete with TVPaint?

        1. Why not do the inking and coloring in Animation Paper?

          It is a more focused (simpler) program compared to TVPaint and Toon Boom, however, it will be much better in the areas it was made for, like the actual animation, drawing, inking, timing, etc. Also it is much easier to use, uncluttered, unbloated and very fast. My choice any day.

          I would couple it with a good compositing software for doing stuff like blurring, shadow effects and moving camera work.

          1. The best compositing software you could use it with are After Effects and Node based programs like Nuke, Fusion, and Natron.

          2. About your first question.

            My studio would do what studios like Disney, DreamWorks, and Ghibli have done. I would use AP just as those studios used physical paper for the animation, and I would use it to smoothen the lines. However, those studios have also used high end software like CAPS, Animo, Toon Boom, and Toonz to scan the drawings and them finish them up.

            Given that they’re vector based, they offer a more cinematic look. While I would use AP for everything in regards to frame by frame animation, Programs like TB and TZ have very much to offer in different features (if Animo was still around, I would’ve probably used that one instead).

            My works wouldn’t be just plain 2d animations, I would also use various 3d software to accompany them (along with composting and editing software), just like other big budget 2d animated films.

          3. I understand. But be aware, that AP will be just as high-end – and even superior in certain ways. Don’t let the price tag fool you. 😉

            I’m not trying to be a smart-ass about it, I just want to make sure you understand what AP is, and will be.

            Aaanyway. Thanks a lot Colin. Cool to get your thoughts on all this.

            Best, Niels

        2. We plan to have Photoshop compatible brushes (or similar if not possible). This is top prioritised feature in the first update after this one.

    1. Hi Jose, well, there’s no current plans to make it horisontal. You see, it is made to work a bit like the old analogue x-sheets – vertically. The way it works with clone drawings and all lends it self to being best in vertical. However, we do have the horisontal timeline at the bottom, even though it is for overview, scrubbing and setting the range of frames to work with. It makes very much sense to me – hope it will for you too. 😉

      Thanks,
      Niels

  3. Yay! My twin and I are so happy that you all are able to make great progress together.
    😀 So excited about the visuals and how far this project has come for you all. wish we could have tried the test for this one in its early stage, but we can wait. Patience is the key 🙂 We will continue to support you all and wish the best for you and your team.
    Take care.

  4. This software looks intuitive, easy to learn yet comprehensive, and fun. The price is affordable when so many other animation softwares are becoming cost prohibitive for many.

    I’m looking forward to Animation Paper’s grand (second) debut. Good luck, Neils, and thanks for your all your passion and efforts.

  5. I love the clean look and cohesive macOS design you’re catering towards. Those menu features have given me lots of excitement. Good work and good luck! These are exciting times.

    Will a Lazy Brush feature (from TVPaint and in the open source Krita software) make its way to Animation Paper in the future? I believe it is on GitHub (hence it being included in Krita as well).

    Cheers,
    Mika

    1. Thanks a lot Mika! Lazy Brush is certainly a likely possibility. Coloring is one of the last things on our todo list for this version, so everything about coloring is still up in the air and undecided at this point. But if we decide to go that way, it will be included in this release already.

  6. Hi Niels!
    Looks fantastic, really looking forward to it. My only concern is that now the brushes look very clean, almost like verctor brushes in the early toonboom.
    I like to use TV Paint for rough animation since i can use very rough crayon or soft pencil like brushes there to sketch out the first roughs.. if you look at master animators rough animation like GlenKeanes Rough Anim you know what I mean. Somehow the rough natural pencil helps me to feel the drawing before I precise it in the 2nd Rough or Cleanup.
    Would be great to know that there are also Pencil like Brushes planned, i think I read somewhere above that you want to make Photoshop compatible brushes later?

    Cheers,
    Wolfram

    1. Hi Wolfram, thanks. Yes, you are right. Such brushes are our very first priority and most important feature planned for the next smaller update. In the first version, in development now, we focused on implementing the basic “clean” lines, with perfect antialiasing, stabilizing and vector info used when scaling, painting with bucket fill, etc.

      We had to draw the line (hehe) somewhere for the scope of this version. I hope you understand and agree with our prioritizing?

  7. I really love the simplicity of this design, and I truly hope it stays that way. Animation software such as TVPaint are excellent packages, but can get too heavy on features that are better left for the paint and effects phase of production. Animation Paper looks to be more appealing to a traditional animator’s workflow. Looking forward to its release!

  8. Can I just say that it’s been fascinating watching this project. I’ve been interested since… Oh gosh, two years ago? It’s so exciting to see such progress and nearing an alpha build of the software!

    I love the clean and minimalist design. Some people aren’t a fan of that kind of UI, but to me it seems perfect!

    A question of curiosity: Will the UI be locked in place, or have movable/dockable elements? Such as moving the tineline/xsheet from the side to the bottom or vice-versa?

    1. Hi Nathan, yeah, it’s been a while 😉

      It varies. The timeline is set at the bottom, the x-sheet is collapsable and can change from left to right side of the window. Tools can be set up into the Quick Select (the circular menu) which pops up only when and where you need it. There’s not a lot of interface in the first place – so it is pretty simple 😉

  9. Hi Niels!
    I’m wondering if it will be possible to import drawings from both scanner and camera? My wish is to draw most animation on paper and then downshoot everything with a camera so good that scanning isn’t needed. I have built a shooting stand whit a glass plate that presses the drawings flat, and I have even lighting to avoid all shadows, so if theres a way to get the drawings into the program and erase the white paper so only the lines is spared that would be awesome.
    Best wishes
    Adam from Göteborg

    1. Hi Adam!

      Sure, it will. As long as you just name your drawings in a sequential manner (like name0001.png, name0002.png, etc – or similar) then no problem. AP will recognise the sequence of image files as a frame-stack and they’ll load right in. You will have an option for automatically removing the white background (it will technically treat your image as an alpha channel).

      1. Cool!
        But will AP be able to (1) grab frames from a connected good camera that is not a web cam. And (2) will AP have such “scan cleaning” functions inside the program? That would speed up and simplify the production process a lot. I know TVPaint had issues getting their program to connect to different cameras, and the camera companies didn’t want to help the program connect to their models.
        Fingers crossed!

        1. I decided early on to not have scanning/grabbing capabilities included. I want to keep it simple and my hope was that animators using physical pencil and paper would benefit from using software bundled with their hardware – and then easily import the digitized frames for further work, timing, layering, inking, coloring, etc. The point of AP is to keeping it easily understood, uncluttered and fast.

    1. Hi Matheus, I hope it is OK with you that I answer in English?

      Here’s how google translated your message:
      “At my age, there is a lot to do, and if one of the things I like to do, is to entertain myself with animation. I have heard much about this program, about its efficiency. So I’m interested.”

      Sounds good! Thanks. One of the most important things when developing Animation Paper is that the developers and I focus on its efficiency, indeed. Looking forward to letting you and everybody else try it out! 🙂

      Best, Niels

  10. Niels,

    thank you for keeping us posted!
    Sounds interesting progress.
    I hope the development goes as planned and we would have the chance to beta test it as soon as possible.
    Last but not least, I really hope that an iPad port of it would also be available after the windows/Mac release, so this regard, I hope you have already invested time into how such ui would convert to gestures setup.

    In any case, keep us posted!

    1. Thanks 🙂 yes, an iPad version is the next thing we are doing. And yes, it requires its own well thought out (touch) interface. I have spend some time thinking about it, but I need to work much more on it before the interface is finished. Looking forward to it!

      If you have suggestions and ideas, you are very welcome to letting me know about them 🙂

  11. Arrgh! I’m dying with anticipation here!

    Cannot wait for this to come out. My Tablets are screaming for the animation to begin!

    Anyway, looking forwards to the release of this program. Stoked to say the least.

    Side note: Android version? I just got my hands on a Tab 4 and it would be killer to have this available while out and about.

    1. Haha, thanks a lot Bryan 🙂 Sure, after we release the desktop versions we go straight on to touch/tablet versions (for Android and iOS). Even though we need to redesign the interface for touch devices, all the core functionality will be the same (and fully compatible), so it will be quite quick to do.

  12. Niels,

    Being able to scrub the timeline/audio is a must have!
    Would that also be possible in the desktop version? Something that can be done with ease ? It is not obvious from the UI till far, but I think this is crucial to have.

    Last but not least, in the very first video the strokes seem to have no pressure sensitivity.
    On the second they seem to have. What is the case with that one? Should we expect fully controllable brush size/opacity according to pressure ?

    1. I agree, scrubbing the timeline incl audio is super important. And of course this is included. 🙂 I do think I mention this in the front page video actually.
      You are totally right, the first video in this post doesn’t use pressure and the second one does. The first one I recorded using a mouse 🙂
      And yes, brush size and opacity is fully controllable via the pen pressure and the interface you see in the first video. Notice the two sliders (size and opacity) – and they have minimum and maximum settings each of them.

    1. Hi Aram, I am reluctant to set a solid date, since you never really know. But our plan is to work towards the beta in the next few months – if all goes well, you will be able to try the beta before the end of this year. Final release will be as soon as we have fixed the bugs found in the beta. 🙂

      Both alpha, beta and final releases are for both Windows, Mac and Linux simultaneously.

      Thanks,
      Niels

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