Early Access – few weeks away!

Niels Krogh MortensenUncategorized79 Comments

Earlier this year I mumbled about reaching beta this August (aka now). This is NOT going to happen (booo!!) A certain problematic feature took much longer to do than anticipated. Great things take time (apparently). And we still have a bit of distance to go.

HOWEVER (yaaay!?) We really want to still do the pre-release! So, while we press on, working on the remaining features, we are soon letting you take Animation Paper for a spin! - We need it to be fully tested! Draw! Animate! Give it a good beating! ... and then give us your feedback.

Technically it's an alpha (just means it is not finished, missing planned features). This pre-release, as well as the following alpha and beta updates, - will be free!

Give us a few more weeks and I will be back with download links to all who signed up for the early access/beta/pre-release - emailed directly to you.

I am very proud of Animation Paper - and I can't wait to show it to you!!!
Niels Krogh Mortensen


UPDATE (October): So. What does "few weeks" actually mean? It turns out that "many weeks" is probably more accurate! πŸ˜‰

We're going as fast as we can. Must... resist... too many... extra ideas and improvements. We are busy and having fun. But we want to have you test it! I know!

Alright, back to work. I'll keep you posted. Niels

79 Comments on “Early Access – few weeks away!”

  1. Scott Robinson

    Could it be possible that United Airlines might look at your Animation Paper app and have some animators use it to make a Disney-style hand-drawn animated commercial for United Airlines with George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue playing in it?

        1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

          Yeah, it won’t be long now. Still loads of things for us to though before we can go public with it though. The alpha pre-release will be coming your way in a matter of weeks. Pretty soon. πŸ™‚ The final finished version will be next year.

  2. Mark Fearing

    Excited to try the final application. I think it will work great for some projects of mine. Looking forward to trying out the Mac version. I realized only recently that there is not a great hand drawn solution for the Mac. I’ve been using Photoshop to get some timing and roughs done but the frame-by-frame tool is pretty unstable if you build up a large file. iOS has some better hand drawn animated apps, but they are too limited for what I am working on. I’ve used After Effects, Flash (back in the day) but doing hand drawn was always a pain as it required several steps and made altering and revisions even more tedious.

  3. Guillermo Hernandez Cordero

    PAP was already one of the best software for hand drawn animation. Now AP with its use of color and X- Sheets and more will be the best software ever all over the world. I’m sure that animators such as Patrik Smith, Sylvain Chomet and others will dont think twice to use AP. And maybe even the great Bill Plympton too who knows!!! πŸ˜‰

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Michael,

      We can’t tell yet. We are going to do a lot of testing to determine this. Testing on Raspberry Pi is in our plans too.

      But without having tested it, I would guess it will work just fine on Raspberry Pi 4. πŸ™‚

  4. Michael Mannall

    Thanks Niels,

    That sounds hopeful for my current situation.

    Furthermore, I offered to test AP on a Linux-based PC, which obviously is currently impossible. However, I can test it on a range of RPi’s covering most of main devices used in homes (the original Pi, the B+, the 3, and hopefully a 4 very soon).

  5. Todd Dolce

    I’m very excited and nervous at the same time. I mean I hope its user friendly enough for a rookie like me who wants to try and take a dip into the world of animation with one of my static characters. I understand that it will take some serious learning and adjustments on my end having to learn the world of xsheets, lip synching etc.

  6. Michael Mannall

    Todd, if you want to get some practise in before Animation Paper’s release download Plastic Animation Paper. The User Interface may appear and feel rather odd, especially compared to AP, but it will provide you with something to do keyframes and inbetweening, as well as preparing the timing for when AP is available.

  7. Julien Rashti

    Hi Niels,

    I just saw the very popular Procreate is coming out with animation capabilities soon. I know you’re planning to do an iPad app which I’m sure will be awesome also. Just wanted to make you aware so you can tweak your marketing accordingly!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Thanks Julien, I know πŸ™‚ Procreate is a great art tool. I like it a lot. But as I understand it, the animation capabilities are very limited. This could change with time of course. πŸ™‚ But focus of Procreate and focus of Animation Paper are very different. You can’t really compare the two I think.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Andy,

      For some reason I missed your comment and only approved it now. Sorry about that.

      I’m glad you’re excited. I am too! It will be a few more weeks still. If you signed up at the front page of this site, you’ll get an email with the link as soon as we are ready (so you don’t need to check every day) πŸ˜‰

      Best, Niels

  8. Patrick Wilson

    I tried to sign up to get early access, but a ‘page not found’ message came up.

    What I’d like to know is whether there will be ‘bones’ in Animation Paper, or will one have to redraw many frames in order to get movement?

    Is there a way I can register to get early access before full release, please? I’m on Mac.

    Thank you, Patrick

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Patrick,

      Yeah, I know about the page not found thing. Getting fixed. However, you and others experiencing the same problem did get registered, so no worries. You’ll get in on the early access versions.

      Animation Paper is based on the art of traditional hand drawn animation, which doesn’t lend itself too easily to artificial inbetweening or complex bone rigs. But going forward into future versions we plan to dream up more clever and useful functionality. So bones are definitely not out of the question – as long as we find a super efficient, simple and user friendly design for it, so it fits our clean concept.

      Best,
      Niels

  9. Chris Collins

    oof, sorry everyone. I think I figured out what “feature” is slowing down a beta release of AnimationPaper. Now this is just speculation but i think the “feature” is actually LINUX. Being a little trickier but also the obviously superior operating system, it would make sense that Niels would switch his focus onto the release of that version of the program. :p

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Haha, thanks for guessing Linux Chris! (and for the subtle reminder! ;))

      It’s actually not Linux. πŸ™‚ Lot’s of small things are just taking slightly more time than anticipated. Especially making use of the GPU for line drawing, introducing paper-texture on pencil strokes and not least none destructive scaling has been tough. But we are concurring it all – and we are getting there!

  10. Scott Robinson

    I found out on the internet that Walt Disney Animation Studios plans to return back to hand-drawn animation and I think they will need the Animation Paper app that you are making once it’s finished to make the return to hand-drawn animation return. Could that be?

  11. Hans Jacob Wagner

    Hope that you have adopted some of the fill commands from toonz.
    I have found them extremely efficient, and for some reason not developed into any other program.
    Look into selective fill in toonz.
    And ibispaint/ AI paint. If you could control and animate your colors with an algorithm like that 😁

    Ses ..

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hej Wagner πŸ™‚

      Thanks for mentioning this. I am actually aware of both. We are doing a nice fill tool including functionality similar to selective fill of Toonz. But in AP we try to make it much better UX πŸ™‚

      The first version of AP will have these simple but effective coloring tools. For one of the coming up future versions we will add some kind of semi intelligent/automatic coloring.

      Coloring is, as we speak, the one part we haven’t started implementing yet (everything is planned in detail though). Our soon to come pre-release is an alpha, which means, as you know, not everything is done yet. Coloring is the one big area that is still on the todo for the final release. An exciting area to dive into for me designing it. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for your comment – comments like yours help form Animation Paper. Tak! πŸ™‚

      Best,
      Niels

  12. Martin Shellabarger

    I am excited about the upcoming release! Kudos to you and your team, Neal, for not only being professional, but also being a real animator, and being super-friendly. I am using TVPaint Pro and wonder if AP will import files from this program.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      No worries, Martin πŸ™‚ It’s a common mistake πŸ™‚

      To import from TVPaint or any other software just do a framestack (a sequence of numbered png’s or other format) – and that will go right in to AP.

      If you are thinking of something specific going from TVPaint to Animation Paper, let me know and I will have an answer for you – or be gifted with a new idea for input functionality! πŸ˜‰

      Best,
      Niels

  13. Scott Robinson

    I am sick of Walt Disney Animation Studios making only computer-animated films. I would like it to start making hand-drawn animated films again. Could the Animation Paper app make it possible once its final version is finished?

    1. David Nethery

      But , Scott , the reason Disney does not make hand drawn animated feature films has nothing to do with a lack of the proper software to make hand drawn animated feature films. I’m sure Animation Paper is going to be a wonderful animation app when it is released , but Disney currently lacks nothing in terms of technological resources . If they wanted to make hand drawn animation they could do it now . Rather , it is a lack of interest and lack of vision on the part of the Disney corporate leadership. They simply are not interested because they believe that they can make more money with CG animation. (and if everything that is important to you is only about making more money , then they are probably right to stay on that course … ) There are plenty of artists working at Disney Animation right now (and others who would gladly return) who would love to make hand drawn animated movies if given the opportunity , but that decision would have to come from the corporate leadership of Disney. If you can make a clear distinction between what the Walt Disney studio used to be under Walt Disney and what it has morphed into over time to the present day, it will ease your frustration. The two are not the same thing. The earlier studio was a direct extension of a creative visionary entrepreneur ; the latter day company (of which the animation studio is only one division) only uses the earlier “Walt Disney” for nostalgia , for marketing purposes, when it suits their purposes. There is no one currently running the company who has anything to do with Walt Disney. When Roy Disney Jr. passed away , that was the end of that connection. The only reason the late 80’s – to- late 1990’s “Disney Animation Renaissance” happened was because of Roy Disney’s insistence on keeping the Animation Dept. open as the “heart and soul” of the Walt Disney Co. Eisner and Wells gave every indication of wanting to shut it down otherwise. Then the animated movies started to actually make some serious money … Who Framed Roger Rabbit , Oliver & Co. , and most of all The Little Mermaid changed the mind of the corporate leadership and they were glad to keep traditional hand drawn animation going as long as it made money . When it stopped making money they were willing to kick it to the trash heap and move on to something else.

  14. David Nethery

    Niels –

    Will Animation Paper have a feature that allows for the old inbetweening trick of “shift and trace with drawings off the pegs” ?

    Like this: https://tinyurl.com/shift-and-trace

    Related to that , when using a Free Transform or Warp tool , will the line quality stay sharp ? I use TVPaint and I like it , but one of the things that TVPaint has never been able to overcome is that using the Free Transform or Warp more than once on a drawing will noticeably blur the pixels. This is not really a problem when doing rough animation , but it can become an issue for clean-up. I don’t notice the same amount of blurring when doing similar transformations in Photoshop , but they tell me I’m wrong about that and that any bitmap image will have some blurring when applying scale/rotate/warp. I wonder if you have experienced similar issues and if there will be something in Animation Paper to minimize blurring of pixels when applying transformations.

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi David,

      Yes! Let me document with a couple of fresh screenshots for you:

      This is how the off-pegs feature is looking…
      Off-Pegs feature

      NO BLURRING or degradation of any kind! Your line stays crisp with any transformation. Here’s an example (shown at 100%) – it is the small Wile E Coyote that was drawn, then lassoed and scaled/rotated to make the two larger versions: (I know, right? It is kind of magic! ;))
      No blurring!

  15. Nicholas Swenson

    Do we have any update on the beta release? I’m not trying to rush you guys, just curious where development is at the moment and if an ETA is possible anytime soon.

    Really looking forward to getting back into some proper hand-drawn animation!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Nicholas. We are going to release an alpha very soon. That is the pre-release. It keeps being only a few weeks away – because things keep popping up – things we need and want to include or fix. Sorry my ETAs (or lack of ETAs) are so damn fuzzy. The point is we just need to work our way through our long and growing todo-list. We are definitely getting there much closer to the release though! And everyday I’m excited about the latest stuff we implemented. AP is sooo awesome. At least I think so. πŸ˜‰ Can’t wait to let you and everybody else who signed up download and use it! It really is worth waiting for…

      So the pre-release is coming soon. That is an alpha (meaning working well, but some features are still to be implemented). We will keep updating with new alphas (probably roughly once every month) – all the way to feature complete. That is the beta stage. You will still be able to download and use it for free. Through a few beta versions too and then the completely finished version is released (some time in 2020).

      The first alpha release in a matter of weeks, though officially only a test version, will be quite stable already and even good for actual production.

      Best,
      Niels

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Claudio, yes there’s a good chance. But our todo list is still quite long, so I’m not completely sure unfortunately. We work as hard as we can – so really it depends if we run into unexpected obstacles or not. Fingers crossed. πŸ™‚

      Best,
      Niels

  16. Rusty

    Excited for this! Shame it’s taking a while, but if it makes for a better product then the wait is surely worth it.

    I have a question, though.

    Are there any plans to make a shortcut key to switch between your two most recently used tools? My preferred program for illustration (Autodesk Sketchbook) has this shortcut and it does wonders for my workflow. I assign it to my tablet pen to quickly switch between pencil and eraser.

    It’s not a deal breaker by any means, and I’m sure your program will still be wonderful without it. But I was just wondering if there were plans to include this feature.

    Thanks for your time!

    1. Niels Krogh Mortensen

      Hi Rusty,

      Glad you take the wait that way. It definitely is becoming a better product, and I’m sure you will find it worth the wait, once you get your hands on it. πŸ˜‰

      Yes, we already have shortcuts that does what you need. You can toggle between drawing and erasing using one key. Additionally, it also remembers your latest used drawing tool (pencil, marker or brush) or erasing tool (vinyl eraser, rubber or kneaded), so you can also hit D to Draw or E to Erase. Or you can use the “Speed Dial” and just gesture up for drawing or down for erasing. Further more many of the tools that work temporarily can be evoked holding a key while doing the thing (like quickly rotating the canvas, hold R and drag) then release the key and you’re back with the tool you came from. AP has many possibilities for optimising and focusing your workflow.

      And of course any of this can be assigned to your pen buttons as you are used to.

      Best,
      Niels

Leave a Reply