Progress! Getting there.

NielsUncategorized87 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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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?

Niels Krogh Mortensen

87 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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).


    1. Thanks Alain – tell me about it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But nevertheless we will get there eventually. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  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! ๐Ÿ™‚
      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 pngโ€™s, psdโ€™s or svgโ€™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. Donโ€™t let the price tag fool you. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            Iโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. Yay! My twin and I are so happy that you all are able to make great progress together.
    ๐Ÿ˜€ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

    Iโ€™m looking forward to Animation Paperโ€™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).


    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?


    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 โ€œcleanโ€ 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, itโ€™s been a while ๐Ÿ˜‰

      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. Thereโ€™s not a lot of interface in the first place – so it is pretty simple ๐Ÿ˜‰

  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 Gรถteborg

    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.

  10. Na minha idade, muito se tem para fazer, e se uma das coisas que gosto de fazer, รฉ entreter-me com animaรงรฃo. Muito jรก ouvi falar sobre este programa , da sua eficiรชncia. Portanto estou interessado.

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

      Hereโ€™s how google translated your message:
      โ€œAt 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.โ€

      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! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Best, Niels

  11. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

  13. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ I do think I mention this in the front page video actually.
      You are totally right, the first video in this post doesnโ€™t use pressure and the second one does. The first one I recorded using a mouse ๐Ÿ™‚
      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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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


  14. Hi Niels,
    Don’t know if this was mentioned before. Will it be possible to import an audio track to animate on a soundtrack? Just one audio track would work.

    1. Hi Alain – that is exactly how it is going to be. You can import a soundtrack (an audio file like a wav or mp3, etc) for animating to dialogue, music or something else. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Hi again…Ok. I noticed in the video that there is an audio track.
    You can disregard my former email.

  16. I just had another idea for what software my animation studio could consist of.

    I could use Celtx for scriptwriting, Audition for voice recording, Storyboarder for storyboards/animatics, Animation Paper for 2d animation, Photoshop for backgrounds, After Effects for compositing, Maya or Blender for 3d, Premiere for editing, Cubase or Reaper (with plugin instruments and effects) for music, and various sound libraries for sound effects.

  17. Hello,
    Custom shortcut keys?
    Eventually later on if this is not planned for the first release.
    We all have our own method of working. I tend to have the same shortcuts, when possible, over my different applications.

    1. Hi Alain, – so you do not like me excellent mapping of hotkeys?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hehe – I understand what you are saying. It is undecided if we will include custom hotkeys in this version, but it is certainly a thing to consider for the next updates.

  18. Watching the production of this software over the past few years has been incredibly exciting! I’m looking forward to the beta.

    1. Thanks for saying so Barry. Glad you and everybody are so patient. This kind of project takes time. Very excited about it though. It turns out exactly as we have envisioned it. Good things come to those who wait. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. Been patiently and hopefully checking for updates on what looks like its going to be a near perfect combination of sketch tools and animation tools. My daughter and I are going to be all over this when it’s finished up. Thanks for all your work and devotion!

    Very excited for the release!

    1. Thank you very much Tom! Looking forward to being able to show it to you and everybody else. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Hello Niels. Are we close? How’s it going with the Alpha stage? I now have a monster sized Dell Canvas Graphics monitor and really ready to give this program a go!

    By the way, just because I like to get things right,…is your name pronounced (NILES) or (NALES) or (NEELS)? Even if I pronounce it in the silence of my mind,..I would like to know that I’m at least doing so correctly!

    1. Hi Todd, yes, we are VERY close with the alpha. But please remember that the alpha is not public (only a very few internally selected animators are going to test it and provide feedback). The beta will probably be up for grabs somehow. We are still to decide on how to do that exactly.

      And yes, my name is pronounced “Neels” – “Neels Crow Mortensen”. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Very good! Thanks for the reply. Totally aware of the restricted Alpha stage…just was trying to mark a spot on my Calendar for when perhaps the public Beta might be available. I know this will be a really great piece of software and it will be great to give it a whirl. I also hope that it will have the same strong engine that allowed PAP to have a really smooth and responsive pencil tool. I recall that there were only 2 programs that had an incredibly smooth and realistic pencil tool and along with Sketchbook Pro, PAP was the other one.

    1. Thanks a lot Todd. It will be a matter of some months – whatever that means exactly ๐Ÿ˜‰ before we are ready for the beta launch.

  22. Heyo Niels,

    I’m very sorry if you’ve already fielded these questions, but I couldn’t find them anywhere.

    Just a few questions about how Color will be handled:

    Are there any plans for a Smart-Coloring feature, wherein multiple similar frames could be filled in at once?

    And will the software use a Pallet system for coloring; that is, registering a color so that you can change it in the Pallet and subsequently change it for all frames simultaneously?

    Just some questions of curiosity. I completely understand that the program is in early stages, but since coloring is often a long and painful process of animating, these are some ideas for future features that would be incredibly useful!

    Cheers and best wishes!

    1. Hi Nathan, Thanks a lot for your points.

      At this point in development we are not yet begun to do the coloring. This means it is still open for change and ideas. ๐Ÿ™‚ Actually both of your points are on my list and something we hope to implement. I am well aware of the importance. If all goes well you will have both in this next version. ๐Ÿ™‚


  23. Awesome!!! I’m sure Bill Plympton will use this incredible software as soon as it is available, and thank you very very much Niels!!!

    1. Hehe ๐Ÿ˜€ He is very much into old school analogue media – but with Animation Paper I hope I can convince him ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. I’m sure you convince him!
        and I would not be surprised if you also convince many others of the old school, like Johanna Quinn, Silvain Chomet and even the great Richard Williams because Animation Paper is amazingly excellent !!!! Animation Paper was already the best software before, now it will be the king of animation software !!

  24. hey Niel THANK YOU! Thank you for not giving up. ive been waiting years now. i want to say i have had my pleasure of fun with tvpaint, sai, krita, sketchbook pro, toon boom, photoshop and many more out of all those that i have the most productive animations are PAP and TVPAINT. but advantage PAP has is it has no bloat. So i am looking forwward to a advance version of that. thank you!

  25. i been revisiting this regularly 2years for sure, best wishes from greece! hope it eventually happens! sometimes i just still use the old version !!!! we need it!!!!!!!!!! be well all and thank you niels!the project really matters!!!!!!!

  26. Hey Niels, glad you are making progress finally!

    I would ask you to take a look at my youtube channel blendedplanet as soon as convenient. I have been developing an anime property almost exclusively in opentoonz, mainly bc it’s emerged as the most capable and least buggy option compared to, say, blender GP, Krita, Clip Studio. PAP has been in my toolkit for quite some time and I’ve looked forward to the new version.

    In any case, I am interested in testing and giving feedback about how it fits into a real-world anime production workflow. Let me know if this is something I can help with.

    1. Hi Davis. Thanks a lot for your offer. I’ll definitely make sure to check out your channel and then I’ll get back to you. Sounds interesting with the Anime workflow. ๐Ÿ˜‰


      1. is there any way we can assist as a communitty? i understand you must be feeling all the pressure niels! it’s only normal when you try to resurect a diamond! if there’s anything that can be done let everyone know somehow! remember, we have checked every 2d solution and decided yours is best and worth the wait! ๐Ÿ˜€

        1. Thanks very much Ilias. Best way to assist is to keep speakningen your mind (all of you) and letting me know what works and what doesnโ€™t. Especially when we reach the beta, you can keep an eye out for bugs and stuff that isnโ€™t optimal. And of course buying Animation Paper will help us to keep up the pace developing new features and updates. And one more thing: Spread the word! ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. can you imagine how horny a system running linux and pap will be ๐Ÿ˜€ proper porn! ๐Ÿ˜€ sorry but i just loved the idea ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. I can’t wait for the Mac version, it will sure beat drawing in one program than taking it to iMovie where you can’t get as many frames per second as you want.

    1. Yes, sounds like AP will easily beat that ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m looking forward to being able to release it on Mac too (as well as PC and Linux). Thanks Mara!

  28. You can’t imagine for how long I’ve been waiting/searching for a simple (yet powerful), responsive, stable, bug less, fast and a pleasure to use. I’m betting on Animation Paper ๐Ÿ˜‰
    By the way, I’m starting a new animation project soon, is there already an approximate release date? Thanks and keep up the great work!

    1. I’m betting you’re betting right! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks Silva.

      I am reluctant to set any concrete release date. But it should hopefully only be a few months from now that we can release the beta version.

      We are at alpha stage right now – which means it is actually usable for production and is tested as such from next week. Still features to come though.

  29. I wanted to thank you so much for creating this program. I am so happy to hear the progress and I thank you so much for working on this. Many amateurs have difficulty finding a good, cheap animating program and you’re opening many doors through. Thank you!

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