Lately I’ve been flirting with animation programs again. It started when I picked up a copy of Moho 12 for $30 somewhere in June. Since then I have upgraded to Moho 14 for $200 around Black Friday. I haven’t gotten too deep into it, I’ve experimented with rigging characters but haven’t really done anything with it. Yesterday after a couple of my industry friends told me how much they love it, I fooled around with the demo of Toon Boom’s Storyboard Pro for about two hours ($590/y subscription) and made the stupidest thing I’ve ever made in my life.
I found myself really impressed by a lot of SBPro’s tools, I don’t love its drawing tools but it’s really laser-focused on turning a script into a storyboard in a studio environment in some really interesting ways.
Before doing that I also spent an hour or so fucking around with the current version of
Flash Adobe Animate, relentlessly bouncing around the drawing tools, trying to see if I can convince it to have the same core workflow of ‘draw a shape, have it appear as a filled shape with no outline and various effects’ that I’ve honed in Illustrator. I couldn’t. It went back on the scrapheap. And while I was thinking about Adobe’s tools I knocked my subscription to their suite down to $30/month for “everything” by using the discount they offer when you go to cancel the $55/month subscription I’d let it slip into. And put a reminder into my calendar to do this next year. $360/y for Illustrator and the possibility of using the rest of their stuff when I need it is a lot nicer than $660/y.
I am both toying with and dreading the idea of playing with an Illustrator/After Effects workflow. But before I do that I am probably going to fuck around with Toon Boom Harmony ($230-1000/year, depending on which of three editions you get, I’d be getting the priciest one because the cheaper ones put a sharp limit on how many effects you can use, and my Illustrator practice is all about piling up effects).
I don’t know why I’m doing this. I kinda don’t actually want to get back into animation. But I feel this need to explore different tools. Part of it is that I feel like I’m simply hitting the limits of Illustrator’s Appearance palette and want an environment where I can quickly draw vector shapes and have the computer apply a bunch of effects to them automatically; being able to animate them is a bonus. I’ve been specializing in this one tool for the past twenty years and I guess it’s just time for a change. Maybe it’s also because I’ve decided to do my new comics project in a format that’s very much “accidentally an animatic” in an attempt to make it mobile-friendly and I’m just doing a lot of things that’d be a lot easier with a timeline. I dunno. I was hoping that writing this out in a blog post would help me see why I want to do this but I have no idea. I guess I just keep on experimenting on and off and see what happens.
This isn’t the first time I’ve done this since leaving the Hollywood animation scene. But pretty much every other time it’s ended in about a week, after I end up opening up
Flash Animate, fucking around with it for a bit, remembering what I hate about it, and going back to Illustrator. This one’s been persisting and it’s weird.
Anyway. Epiphany was the other night, which means it’s not a sin against all the gods we call up during Mardi Gras to eat a king cake, and I think I’m gonna get dressed and leave this freezing house for the merely chilly outside world and get a king cake, and figure out what I’m doing with the rest of today.