• May 5, 2022 at 8:12 pm #4683

    Hi, I originally had covered Plastic Animation Paper in a video from a few years ago, and had a comment to try the software out. Here were my first impressions.


    The main thing that stands out to me are;

    • The tools feel extremely nice to use. Hopefully there are more options for the brushes coming in the future, but what is there already feels extremely natural (that brush smoothness I don’t think I’ve ever felt in any app ever).
    • Maybe I’ve missed the option, but you should be able to remap keyboard shortcuts. There are shortcuts I don’t think are very helpful (such as Ctrl+ and Ctrl- to zoom in and out, as it requires your hand stretching really far across your keyboard!).
    • I love that the drawings work in a way where changing one changes the other copies of it across your animation (like Toon Boom Harmony does, the software I’m used to). I would only say that the link between drawing substitutions should be made more obvious, as currently down to accessibility purposes it’s a fail (contrast is not clear enough).
    • The backlight/onion skin window for functionality is great, but I personally would want that docked somewhere in the UI, and whilst you can leave it open, it’s just such a huge window it gets in the way (especially on a 1080p display).
    • ProRes export is always my favourite.

    So yeah, I’m considering doing a longer form animation in the app, just to see what I think on a larger project. As it stands now though, despite a few qualms, I’m fairly impressed.

    May 5, 2022 at 9:20 pm #4724
    Niels Krogh MortensenNiels

    Hi Lucassaturn!

    Thanks a lot for responding to my YouTube comment and for your time! And thank you for your critique and very nice words too! Much appreciated – all of it.

    Much of what you stumble across in your video is representing only one way of doing stuff. Like zooming as you mention with Cmd+/-, adding blank drawings by standing on the dotted rectangle, etc, etc. A lot of things can be done in multiple ways in Animation Paper, so every user can find his/her preferred way, or the most effective way in that particular situation. For instance, jumping to certain zoom levels is on Cmd 1 through 9 and Cmd 0 is Fit View and just hitting 0 is Reset View (to 100%). I mention these keys because I was reminded of them when you talked about the number keys in Toon Boom. I don’t know if it is exactly the same there, but at least it is standard like this in many other drawing software. To add a new blank drawing, there’s an icon in the Tool Bar or the 2nd Speed Dial (hold Shift S) – it’s called Add Blank Drawing (the icon with the + sign) and the shortcut is Cmd Arrow Down. Anyway, I recommend you check out all the drop down menus, which gives you a good overview of what is in AP. Also there’s a shortcut list linked to from the Help menu. And remember you can use both the left Cmd and the right Cmd in order to better reach keys (on PC it’s Ctrl left and right).

    To adjust pen size and opacity try holding D for the drawing tool or E for the erasing tool. Your selectors and sliders pop up right at your cursor. Also you can use standard PS shortcuts for many things, like decrease/increase pen size using the square brackets [ and ].

    Anyway, I do understand and appreciate what you say about muscle memory. I agree. As you discovered, we haven’t yet done user remapping of the shortcuts. This will come. But really, the shortcuts are quite well thought out if I may say so my self 😉 Hehe. And again, we have many alternative ways of doing all sorts of things.

    I think it is interesting, from an UX/UI point of view, why you would want the link for the clone drawings much more obvious/visible. I mean, we had it like that in the beginning of development, but I decided to dial it down. We also considered some kind of lines or something, from one thumbnail to the other, to show the linkage. However, at least in my mind, it is not really that important information. But what IS important is to keep the interface clean and not lighting up like a Christmas tree everywhere. It has to be uncluttered and pleasant – although, of course, important stuff must be easy to spot. So I ask, why is it important to have it scream this drawing is a copy (“clone”) of this drawing? If you flip back and forth over it in AP, you can easily see the linked drawings highlighting/blinking elsewhere. But maybe it is just me. I am genuinely interested in why more contrast is important? (maybe I missed something)

    Backlight window could be more compact I know. I chose to do it this way to make it easer to grasp. Also I did the A and B setting, exactly because then you wouldn’t even have to have it open all the time as you suggest. You can set both A and B as you like it and then only need toggle backlight on/off or toggle between A and B setting. And we don’t clutter things up with yet another window or pane. Again, that’s at least as I see it. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

    Anyway, thank you again! I hope you will keep using AP for a little while to get more used to it. I hope you will enjoy it!


    May 5, 2022 at 9:29 pm #4725
    Niels Krogh MortensenNiels

    I just checked and the pencil is limited to 15 px as you say, but the marker is 30 and the brush is 60. Still arbitrary I know 😀

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