Toon Boom vs. Flash: What’s the Best Choice for Animators?


Industry heavyweights Toon Boom and Flash are clearly the main players in the animation software market and the advertising strategy of these competitors has led to continuous debates as to which software package is better for digital animators. Whilst some argue that Flash is better for interactivity, this arguably confuses Flash’s better capabilities for interaction in dynamic web page creation for online user experience. From a digital animation viewpoint, Toon Boom has steadfastly become the animation software of choice with many animators jumping ship from Flash to Toon Boom. (Click here to read my Toon Boom Review)

Which Is More Intuitive?

The main reason for this defection has been frustration with the limited animation capabilities of Flash. In contrast, animators have fallen in love with the animator specific friendly tools in Toon Boom, along with its ability to compete with Flash on price. In particular, the animation consensus appears to be that Toon Boom is an extremely intuitive animation program, which is user friendly and cuts down hours of animation work whilst supporting traditional animation workflow methods. (Note, it is possible to do some very advanced animation techniques with Flash, as shown by many great short animations that you can see on the internet…however, the consensus is generally that the methods are less intuitive for the traditional animator and require a number of workarounds).

Whilst Flash clearly has amazing multimedia capabilities, Toon Boom better accommodates every aspect of animation. For example, when drawing from scratch, the Toon Boom interface is better in giving the current view of the creation. Additionally, the various tools offered by Toon Boom facilitate multiple animation methods through the cell animation features, regardless of drawing capability. Furthermore, the inbuilt help tutorials completely outshine Flash’s help section for animation specific queries and guidance.

Below are a couple of videos I found on YouTube that go into a lot of depth the Toon Boom vs Flash battle (article continues below the videos):



Similarities Between Toon Boom and Flash

There are nevertheless distinct similarities between Toon Boom and Flash and both include the fundamental basic features necessary for animation such as paint, editing and texture tools. It is also important to highlight that Flash undoubtedly has some great features such as the armatures, 3D movieclip translate/scale/rotate, the Motion Editor, Spray Brush and the new motion tween model, which can create some amazing animation effects. However, there have been persistent criticisms of Flash’s audio and video format exports along with gripes regarding brush sizes, colour management and the Timeline feature compared to Toon Boom.

Therefore, whilst the underlying features and capabilities of Flash and Toon Boom may be similar, the consistency of Toon Boom and the way in which Toon Boom enables animators to work is the distinguishing factor that places Toon Boom ahead of Flash as the software choice for animators. For example, the timeline feature in Flash results in clips being embedded within each other. Conversely, in the Toon Boom software, the timeline panels operate together, which is much easier to work with.

Camera Work and Audio

Furthermore, the Toon Boom features are more consistent with regard to movie creation and audio capabilities. Whilst Flash’s Motion Editor and Spray Brush can create some great effects, Toon Boom’s Screen Capture and Multiplane Camera Feature surpass Flash in consistency and capability. The Multiplane Camera Feature enables animators to create any effect and action with their characters, along with multiple angle shots. Additionally, when combined with the Lip Sync features, Toon Boom can reduce hours of animation work whilst creating professional animation movies with amazing effects. In contrast to Flash, the Toon Boom movie creation features and capabilities have been consistently reliable. However, the only downside to this feature is that it is really only suitable for experienced animators.

Verdict and Conclusion

In conclusion, both Flash and Toon Boom have their particular strengths and Flash has some great features for animation. However, whereas Flash is arguably a more comprehensive multimedia tool, Toon Boom’s features are more intuitive to an animator’s needs and clearly outshine Flash. Additionally, Toon Boom’s ability to compete on price clearly makes it the software of choice for animators.

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Are you a user of Toon Boom or Flash? What are your thoughts on this subject?…I’d love to hear them below, so please feel free to leave a comment