Product Review: Page (1) of 3 - 11/25/07 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

FLIPBOOM v.1.0.1

New Software from ToonBoom By Ko Maruyama
I've used ToonBoom's Storyboard Pro, Adobe's Flash and EFrontier's Anime Studio for vector animation projects, but the price points on those software titles are for the professional's needs.  Flipboom is a great alternative for kids and anyone who wants to start to explore the world of cel animation and a paperless production.

My test for the FlipBoom software was done using a Wacom XD0912U (Intuos 2) tablet.  You can find other tablet options, and if this is your first time using a stylus to draw digitally, I strongly suggest checking out the Wacom website - especially the Wacom Bamboo Fun, a small tablet perfect for the hobbiest doodler.

First, I suggest that you head over to the Toonboom website to check out the walk through web page which describes all of the buttons.  They've already described them, but if this is your first time to this kind of drawing application, you may need them explained a bit more.  Here's my first project (about 10 minutes) in FlipBoom with a look at the properties used to complete the animation.

First off, let me say that I really love this software at $29.99 (the introductory price).  This is the perfect software for "ANY BEGINNER ANIMATOR".  It's not just for kids.  It's for anyone who wanted to start animating their doodles, but don't know how or where to start.

Although this is a really fun piece of gear, this is a "version 1" software, and I'm hoping that there will be improvements in the next version (see below).

My article amy seem critique-heavy, but if I wrote about all of the good stuff, this would be a tome too long to read in one sitting.


When you open a new project you'll note that there is a big white board to draw on.  While this is okay for most, it'd be great to be able to change the background color (or import a single JPG that would remain constant through all frames* - but white is a good start for us all.

click all images for larger view (popup)

One of the other things I notice is that the published movie (we'll get to this later) crops your work area, but we don't have any guidelines to tell us where this is going to be cropped (maybe this is just the demo version).  It could be resolved by providing a simple "safety" overlay.*

What you need to know is that we're going to paint FRAMES of an animation.  These frames appear as thumbnails at the bottom of the application window.

The paint tool - - yep - - is that big brush.  Select the brush by clicking on it, then choose one of the preset colors.  If you want to change the color in any of the little buckets, just double click on any color circle to bring up the "Pick a Color" window.  You're limited to a few selections, but I hope this will include more web colors in the future, access to the system color picker, or a HEX value dialogue box.*

There are no layers in FlipBoom.*  This is for DOODLING an animation.  But you can paint behind all of the existing elements on your canvas.    NOTE:  While there aren't any layers, the brush strokes remain exclusive vector shapes which can be manipulated individually (transformation: position/scale/rotation).  You can't move layers' priorities up/down, but with creative CUT/PASTE, you can rearrange them (newly pasted items go to the top).

I've started with a black sketch.

Starting this small is usually not a problem - - - until you realize that there is no zoom tool (magnifying tool)*.  Instead, select all then scale the illustration up to a size that's good to work with.

Use the selection tool, click and drag around the artwork.  Those handles represent the way you can modify the vector shape.

Next - it may get a little tricky....  but not too much so.

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Related Keywords:tutorial, product review, cel animation, vector animation, wacom Bamboo Fun, ToonBoom


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