ToonBoom Harmony versus Clip Studio Paint

So back in the day I was looking for the industry standard in animation, and my research led me to ToonBoom, because at that time, anime wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. Right now, my stack consists of Adobe Photoshop, Premier and After Effects, as well as ToonBoom Harmony and a few others for audio.

But Clip Studio has me intrigued. I do all my art digitally and I don’t plan on changing that, (the paper, scanner, desk, etc, are all expensive and wasteful,) and I know that one advantage of Clip Studio is the ability to seamlessly integrate physical with digital. Besides that, is there some benefit to using Clip Studio over ToonBoom? If I get the trial, I want to make sure I have time to assess the exact differences and make an educated decision about whether or not I want to make the transition.

I would use clip studio if you want to make anime because its developers designed it for that task. Otherwise use whatever will help you make good animation. Getting caught up on the tools can be a pit fall and I speak from experience. Perfection doesn’t exist only less worse attempts.

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Thanks gouashua! I think I just have too little information to get caught up in the tools at this point, lol.

What I like about ToomBoom is that it paints expanded vector lines and doesn’t necessarily rely on strokes for line art (which can be a PIA when filling colors later) and it has line-smoothing options.

What’s interesting about ClipStudio is that it looks like it supports vector AND raster, so it might work better for layouts. As it is now, I feel like I have to pull anything non-vector in from Photoshop. Having visible lines for rough shading might be kind of nice as well, and I wonder how shading in OpenToonz compares to using a strokeless vector path for shading in ToonBoom. Does it have some auto-detection for reserved colors and delete them automatically while filling?

I don’t know all of OpenToonz features, but if it is good enough for Studio Ghibli it can probably handle the task.

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I’m still using Macromedia Flash 5 for my own animation :joy::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::joy:

I would say it depends on the employer. If you’re animating for yourself, use whatever lets you focus on the animation and not on the program.

If your employer requires you to use a certain program because of workflow or pipeline issues, it’s probably best to use what they ask.

At the same time, I’ve also noticed that if I ask if I can use the program of my choice, they’ll let me as I’m rarely the one doing clean up on my own projects.

As a disclaimer, all my clients have been western studios and nothing from Japan, where I think Toon Boom is just barely getting a hold. They seem to be dominated more by TV Paint than either Clip Studio or Toon Boom. It’s probably good to get experience with a wide range of applications if your goal is to freelance in Japan.

Benefits of Toon Boom: a dedicated Shift + Trace feature that allows you to manipulate any frame to line up with the current frame you’re working on without actually affecting the size or positioning of original drawing.

TVPaint has a similar feature, but only allows for the immediately previous and next frames to be used for Shift and Trace.

Not sure about Clip Studio Paint. Flash and Adobe Animate aren’t designed for traditional workflows, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to find work arounds. I’m constantly making and deleting new layers in order to keep my drawings as clean and accurate as possible.

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Thanks for the thorough response as always, SickAnimationBro.

To clarify, I think I’m a little past my prime to be thinking about a career, unfortunately. I have an unrelated but comfortable day job, this is just for me to make content and hopefully reach a big audience by myself. My big stupid dream is to open my own studio someday, so I’m trying to teach myself all I can about the industry.

That in mind, the technical and practical aspects of the software is what I’m primarily comparing. The version of ToonBoom I pay for doesn’t actually offer the shift and trace feature, so I don’t think I’d be losing much value there. I already pay for adobe’s master suite, but I’ve always had a frustration with flash. I’ve used it before, but I really didn’t enjoy it. Of course that was nearly 10 years ago, maybe things have changed.

The thing is, I have not used TVPaint nor ClipStudio Paint before, so I can’t actually make a fair judgment about which flow is the easiest for me personally. I’m trying to learn about everything and research ahead of a big investment like this, but my decision will indeed weigh on the easiest and most collaborative route.

I doubt you’re older than I am but if you’re happy in your current job, then that’s awesome, dude! Congrats!

Regarding technical aspects, technical aspects is a tricky term because it makes it seem like there’s an industry standard when there isn’t. It’s why my advice and that of @gouashua basically come down to use what you like.

So if you’re the boss, if you’re in charge of making decisions, I’d look at: needs of the platform or market you’re serving, your personal needs, software that fill those needs, and personal preference, in that order.

It comes down to personal preference again because ALL professional software come with the same basic functions, they’re just handled in different ways. So things like ultra high resolution, exporting and importing image and videos files, importing sound clips, etc are all pretty standard options these days,especially if you’re looking to more traditional style of animation and less cutout styles… It’s just a question of what feels more natural to you which usually comes down to what you trained on.

On the other hand, if you’re not the one in charge of making decisions, well the decision has already been made for you :slight_smile:

Software the last thing animators should worry about, imho. It’s like asking what car should you buy. Y’know? It’s a difficult question for others to answer. Even comparing different specs doesn’t necessarily mean anything without knowing who the buyer is or what they need. Having a racecar would be hell for a pizza delivery guy because of gas, maintenance, and monthly payments alone.

On the other hand, if he already had the race car, it wouldn’t make sense for him to switch to a pickup.

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Haha thanks man! I don’t mean to sound like I’m super old or anything, but I am 30, so a career shift at this point would be a step backwards. Plus, the ideal age is between 18 and 26 for anime, right? But who knows, maybe I can self train and get a freelance gig, that would be neat.

I think I can at least answer these questions, although my answers might sound naive and typical.

The market I’m serving? I just want to make a cool show and gather fans online, much like RWBY did for Rooster Teeth.

My personal needs? To meet that end with frame-by-frame traditional animation, I fully realize that I will likely end up outsourcing and collaborating with others. I need something simple for me and simple for them to pick up where I left off.

My preference? Again, it’s hard to make that judgment without any experiences to compare. But I did notice the whole blue line and red line strategy for highlights and shadows is not friendly with ToonBoom, and I’m really intrigued by that approach with ClipStudio and OpenToonz. Honestly, I feel like there’s an enormous amount of features in ToonBoom that I may never use, it feels over-engineered for the stuff I would be using it for. But I’m open to being wrong about that, because I’m coming from a position of ignorance.

So I think maybe I should reframe my original question. Instead of “should I use this or that” it’s more like “what is the difference between this or that” and the answers should help me decide for myself.

Honestly, I feel like there’s an enormous amount of features in ToonBoom that I may never use, it feels over-engineered for the stuff I would be using it for.

Man, I feel the same. It’s got so much in there, many of which I’ll never use. Not necessarily a bad thing, like how Photoshop can be used by illustrators, animators, and photographers, they probably wanted to extend the reach of their market.

“what is the difference between this or that”

That’s a great question! Looking forward to seeing those answers too.

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