Toon Boom Harmony 12
It wasn’t so long ago that I was covering Harmony 11 from Toon Boom, when suddenly Harmony 12 is out with some spiffy new features along with enhancements to the features I already love.
Being initially trained as a traditional animator — yes, on paper — I find it a joy to work with the rasterized layers and bitmap brushes. The jump from Harmony 10 to Harmony 11 was amazing. But, the Harmony 12 brush tool set has expanded to include a ton of naturalistic brushes to get a more organic feel. The toolset lets you customize the brushes to taste, and even mix and match different brushes together. I love the feel and responsiveness to the brushes. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction watching my rough animations playback with the life that flipping through your paper felt like.
Lights shading has been added. How do you light a 2D image, you may ask? The old method was to go through on a second pass and animate shapes for the highlights and shadows. Not fun. So, Toon Boom has figured out a way to provide that by allowing you to generate a pseudo-3D object from your animation using normals to fake volume (a commonly used tool in 3D animation and games). Now you can dynamically light your character, giving it some dimensionality.
OFX plugins can now be used in Harmony. So, high-end image processing from places like GenArts, RE:Vision Effects and Digital Film Tools can be applied to your animations. Flares? Glows? Godrays? You got ’em.
Toon Boom released a Unity software development kit for free in conjunction with Harmony 12’s new simple bones and animation setups that provide a way to develop games on the Unity platform using all the crazy cool tools already in Harmony. If you have a game idea using your 2D animated characters, there are no more excuses.
Lots more stuff to look at and choose from to make animation easier and more pretty, but as of my last review, Harmony was out of the price range for those passionate animators who
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