Blur effect please

If this is the wishlist for TBS, there are three things that I think are not too much to ask And I know what you’re going to say: “buy Digital Pro”, but I think the price difference is a little too much for my budget.

1) A simple blur effect. I know that Digital Pro has a good number of effects, this one among them, but Studio could benefit greatly from JUST THIS ONE. I think it is something that gets used a lot by any animators to simulate depth of field, and the feather edges feature works fine with simple shapes, but does a terrible job with characters for example. The workaround is to have things blurred in photoshop or the like, but it gets too complicated when it is a moving element (say water flowing in the foreground). The idea would be a blur effect (peg maybe), with a simple x, y axis slider to control the direction and intensity of the blur, and the possibility of applying it gradually over time (for example, someone gets blurrier as she/he walks towards the camera).

2) A simpler previewing tool (and I guess here, it’s more of a vector engine thing; you can tell it’s not as good in TBS as it is in Flash, by selecting the fishing deck background from the background templates and trying to drag it aroud and wiggle it; flash doesn’t blink with complicated backgrounds -like Adam Phillips’-, TBS takes a good 2 seconds to render in position, which feels like an eternity, :p). I like flash because, no matter how complicated your scene is, regardless if it has blurs, embedded movie clips, gradient colors, etc., it’ll still play within seconds, once you hit Ctrl+Enter. With the sceneplanning_final file from the tutorials in TBS, for example, first of all, you don’t get a good playback in previewing mode, even with antialiasing deselected, unless you check “force frame rate”, and if one exports for playback, one can well go and harvest some coffee beans, toast them, grind them, brew them, and get a cup of coffee, before one can see the final product. (And this with a Core2Duo machine at 2.3Ghz, 2 gigs of RAM; and a freaking 512 gigs NVIDIA graphics card) Maybe you can move away from QuickTime as a previewing render engine. Of course, QuickTime stays as a final renderer, because I must say, the final product does look gorgeous.

3) I think this would be a great idea. How about a “CYCLE PEG” that you just drag and it adds an incremental frame of the preestablished animation (say, from the local templates) for every frame that you extend it and starts from the first one once it reaches the last. One would stop worrying about complicated animations that loop continuously, because one wouldn’t have to figure out the exposure just to be able to set a number of “cycles”. Just click and drag!!. Great for water or fire effects. Have the PEG figure out the number of cycles by itself.

I have yet to see a breathtaking animation where they used TBS, and TBS alone. Of course, there are very good ones, like Will’s http://www.calicomonkey.com, for example, but I mean something of the quality of Bernard Derriman or Adam Phillips (and saying they use Digital Pro doesn’t count, because the TBS is definetely not a stripped down version of Digital Pro, it’s different altogehter). It seems that whenever you see an interesting piece where they used TBS, a good five other programs have helped. I guess you would see your “quality” user base grow much larger with these simple additions. There are many things that are really awesome with TBS, like the cool-of-coolest 3d environment, the great array of output formats, the light table features, the oh-so-productive-pegs, and that incredible color management; I will surely upgrade to v 4.5 if you solve the performance issue alone. Remember, vector should be easier on system resources than bitmap; not the other way around.

I decided I want to make my spooky shorts solely in TBS, because I love some of the tests that I’ve done with less effort than with other software (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPNqzIuNNbc, of course in youtube it looks a bit crap because of the original fps), and I want people to go “wow, what programs did he use”. -Programs you say? Nah, just ONE. I’m determined to do magic with TBS, but you guys have to help us out a bit.

An excellent wishlist rindolphus, I could not agree more. I know what you mean about hoping TBS can become the only solution. It’s fine for simple animations but for true awesome we still have to deal with Flash or After Effects. Bleh.

The blur effect seems so common these days there must be a way the Toon Boom engineers can add it as a new effect? Feathering is useful but is far too limited. We need something we can change over time, as well as apply to an entire layer (not just one cell at a time).

Your cycle peg suggestion rings true as well. It wouldn’t be as frustrating if I hadn’t already seen it done elsewhere on crappier programs. The Tab was an awful little application that crashed every 45 minutes. However it did have that neat feature:
1. Select multiple frames (over one or many layers)
2. A handle appears that you can use to drag those selected frames, automatically duplicating the chosen frames

While I agree that hitting enter to play an animation does not work quite right (especially for timing sound), I have learned to avoid Preview Scene and Preview Movie in favor of Quick Preview (I’ve even assigned it to Flash’s ctrl + Enter shortcut). Give that a try and I think you’ll feel better about the previewing power.

Ugo, rindolphus speaks the truth. Any chance of these topics making their way in front of an engineer? :slight_smile:

Rock on,
–Will


Hi,

First of all thank you for the request. We do read them all and even though we might not put any specific comment they are all taken in consideration when new versions are defined. Here is some comments I have about those request:

1. For the blur at the moment this may seem to be a simple feature to implement but the involvement it would require for our engineer team it quite large. First there would need to be some major optimization for Toon Boom Studio support of bitmap (considering it is as full vector software, TBS currently as no bitmap engine to general any effect (P.S. Toon Boom Studio and Digital Pro work on 2 completely different engines)). Still it is a quite high priority feature which was partly addressed by the feather edge.

2. Here again we might have to code a whole new engine to really get some optimization. Although the speed at which your animation is rendered is also affected by the animation and the tools you have used to make it. Weirdly enough, selecting all your artwork and turning them into brush lines instead of having pencil line should greatly increase the responsiveness of the render and the preview. I have seen improvement of 10 times in some scenes where everything was done in pencil.

3. To me this one is probably the one you have most chances of seeing in the next version (it is most likely easier to slip through). There are currently some ways to cycle both pegs (Change Loop) and drawings (Create Advanced Cycle) but having a feature to get it done for both could be pretty interesting.

Be aware that I am not one who takes decisions on what is in and what is not but this is the current situation I can see at the moment.

Best regards,

Ugo

Thanks for backing me up Will. Rock on. Thank you too Ugo for your honest response, but I do feel I have to say something about it. It seems that Toon Boom Software has gone through a great deal of effort to advertise itself as THE software to use when it comes to 2d animation. And you certainly charge the customer for that. The whole marketing engine behind it is really overwhelming, and quite clever too, but I don’t see Toon Boom Studio delivering accordingly. You do give the impression that the “award winning technology” behind TBS is just a stripped down version of TBDP, and consumers just assume that they are going to have to do a bunch of things “by hand”, but that’s it. Far from true. One later realizes that they are indeed different and rely in different technologies altogether. And reading responses like “we might have to code a whole new engine” and “considering it is as full vector software” are a little frustrating, because flash is a full vector sofware and can easily blur and guess what, coding is a software company’s job. One gets pissy when one finds out Anime Studio Pro 5 can do a lot of the things one asks for here, with less effort, a smaller resource footprint and a fraction of the cost (not that it is better, but you even see advertising done with it). I know customers have choice, but I hope you don’t tell me to screw myself and go to Adobe, because I could easily do that quietly. I want our relationship to work. I seriously do ;). What I mean is that if this software could address these things, revenues would rocket for the company, because the larger base of creative customers can’t afford the big one, but would seriously dump flash in favor of all of the great things TBS has to offer. Myself included, of course if it was a little more flexible.

Talking about rewriting code, I say DO IT for god’s sake. I think is time for the Toon Boom board to sit down and think and re-think about not leaving this one behind in favor of TBDP, because you would see revenues hit the sky if you address the portion of the aficionado and wannabe market that can’t quite afford the big one but have the greatest creativity in store, serving as an immense showcase (you would sell it in bulk, duplicating your capital rotation speed and thus generating more money for selling lots and lots of cheaper ones as oppossed to selling a few pricey ones. Needless to say the amount of people upgrading to Digital Pro would double in a couple of years of constant work coming out in the amateur category). And one can tell that TBS isn’t there yet. Just type “Toon Boom Studio” (with quotes) in youtube and you will not get one decent animation, aside from that cool music video (but they used a bunch of software). Just crappy tests and such (mine included ;D). And from reading a few of the posts around, I see people feel a little neglected by the company and don’t think that they got their money’s worth.

This time, I’m not ranting, it’s a legitimate discussion about the future of the software. I hope that the company listens because I do think amateur work could revolutionize the industry with this software.

Hi Rindolphus,

I fully understand your request and they are indeed legitimate. We are trying to push those big features in as much as we can and the more the people will call for it the better the chances are that it gets in.

If the whole community rise up and request a full bitmap blur effect the feature request gets much more impact in the feature decision then single request.

I don’t want to get in too much details whether this or this should be in since the final decision is not taken at my level though if you have great ideas and strong points to defend them continue to post them or send us direct mail.

In any case keep them coming, the more reasons we have to get a feature in the easier they will be to defend and push when the features are decided ;).

Regards,

Ugo

I’ll add my voice to the chorus requesting a blur effect. I’m very happy with TBS except for the glaring omission of this one feature. I ended up buying Anime Studio to complement TBS because, among other things, it has a blur effect. For me personally, this would be a major enhancement to TBS.

Ron

Thanks Ugo for your prompt response. That’s a good thing to know. Maybe you can show this one thread around at the company. And Ron, I’ll be posting a request for a blur effect in the general category where people can join in on the request. You are more than invited to post your support over there as well. If we get enough posts, I’ll write a formal letter to Toon Boom Animation Inc. and maybe we can get away with it.

Have a nice day!

Add my name to the list as well, it would be nice to see more quality animations done start to finish in TBS, & I think this would be a big step towards seeing more of them. I don’t have much to add that Rindolphus & Calico Monkey haven’t already said, but I most definitely agree & would love to see the feature added in the next release of TBS.