My priorities in working with animation software are:
1. Will I be able to learn the software in a reasonable time frame?
2. Can I make a professional grade production using the software?
3. Is the software something that is usable creatively? Is there a creative flow to the software? This is difficult to measure, but when you find it, you know it.
4. Is the documentation good? Is it REALLY good?
5. Are there tutorials? Are they also really good?
6. Features are nice, but I don’t want to drown in a sea of endless features. Other artistic programs often add so many features they make the program unusable.
My conclusions about Toon Boom Studio 4:
1. The software is very logically laid out for conventional 2-D animation. If you are used to working with old fashioned animation and are fans of techniques describes in classic animation texts, you will find Studio is very well organized.
2. The upgrade continues to improve the interface.
3. You can make anything from a web production in Flash format to Film or HDTV quality animation output. You can also output the full spectrum of production from the same project with a few clicks to simply change settings.
4.I find the software provides the best environment for creating animation. The workflow is very conducive to productivity. Amazingly, the upgrade has improved the workflow further.
5. The documentation is incredibly good. In fact, Toon Boom’s documentation with Studio is the best I have ever seen with an animation program. Manuals are sold separately, but a “pdf” file of documentation accompanies the software. I would advise printing out sections on a color laser printer for study. The quality of writing and artwork in the documentation is excellent.
6. The tutorials are very good and give you a fast of the program. Later tutorials give a deeper knowledge of the program. All are very doable.
7. I did not yet investigate the latest features of the program. My biggest concern is always: “How usable is this program?” I did not drown in the added features, so nothing about the upgrade has harmed overall usability. On the contrary, it is even better.
8. The program is solid. On my older Tablet PC, I needed to tweak some settings, but it worked very well.
9. The price point for this program is very generous. No other program of this quality is priced so affordably. This is better than the “professional grade” products of other companies. For anyone interested in animation, this program is a “no-brainer.”
10. Toon Boom is on top of this program and constantly working to provide improvements.
I am very excited and pleased with this product. I would rate it as an extremely strong “Buy.”