There are a vast number of different softwares out there that can help you with your animation. Some are animation specific and others are backdoor applications. By this I mean they were intended for something else but can be used for animation purposes.

Here’s a list of the one’s I’ve tried:

Animation Specific
An extremely efficient and cost effective software for all your animation needs. Very easy to learn and easy to use for some pretty complex situations (see my Flash review).

Primarily a Mac based software. I really enjoyed working with this program until I finally had to switch over to a Windows based PC. (I’m not really sure if this is still available.)

I hate this program. There, I’ve said it. It really should be in the Backdoor list. I had to do a short film using this software and it was nothing but problems.

Some people think it’s great and that’s fine for them because they’ve probably come at it from a “Flash point of view”. I guess if you use it specifically for what it’s intended to do, It’ll work. Coming at it from a classical stand point it was awkward and cumbersome. As an example, I needed to do a pan move with 5 overlays moving at different rates. It took me an hour and a half to do it in Flash (the scene was only 8 seconds long). I did the exact same scene in Flipbook in 10 minutes (if that).

It was so incredibly painful to work with. I could list all the things that went wrong but I don’t want to waste any more of my time on it.

This is a higher (professional) level software for full production applications. I haven’t used their most recent software but about 8 years ago I tried out the USAnimation suite and it was amazing.

CTP (Cartoon Television Production)
A PC based software very similar to CoreRETAS!Pro. It has everything you need to produce a film. (I’m not really sure if this is still available.)

Adobe Photoshop
Allows you to manipulate the drawings that have been scanned into your computer. You can change their scale, image type, color them, create effects, paint backgrounds, and lots of other things too.

I use this program after I’m sure the drawings I’ve done are the one’s I want to keep for the final production.

Adobe Premier
This is a great “all in one” editing suite. You can do pencil tests here, import your soundtrack and do breakdown, Import backgrounds and layer them with your rough or final animation, create transitions like fade in or fade out or cross dissolves, mix your sound and do final output to tape, DVD, web media, etc.

I love this software.

After Effects
Used primarily for manipulating artwork to create such effects as pans, truck ins or truck outs, rotations and stuff like that. You can also do this stuff in Premier but the controls are much finer in After Effects and you get a much more professional result for the complex stuff.

Sound Edit 16 is a great sound editing software that allows you to do all sorts of things with your recordings.

So, after all of this, I actually don’t really need to use any “Animation” software. I can produce a completely finished piece of animation just using Adobe Photoshop and Premier.

It really is all up to you. I know many people who will swear by any of the software listed above and that’s perfectly o.k. Whatever gets the job done with the least amount of trouble.

Breaking the Sound Down

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