Can TBS be used to create a "Family Guy"-quality show?

There is a pdf on the website that lists tv shows, films, commercials, etc, that use USAnimation. A few of the highlights from the list are: The Simpsons, Family Guy, King of the Hill, The PowerPuff Girls Movie, and Kim Possible.

It seems that the pro-level product offered by Toon Boom is somewhat of an industry standard. However, I found out today from a sales rep just how prohibitively expensive it is.

But I REALLY dislike the idea of paying for Toon Boom Studio if it’s not able to deliver broadcast-quality content.

I can’t tell yet if that’s the case. I did a little proof-of-concept piece in TBS Demo and it came out very nice, but I’m still hesitant to commit to buying.

I guess my question is this:

Pretend for a moment that the folks who make The PowerPuff Girls, who were used to being pampered by whatever bells and whistles comes with USAnimation, were forced to work in Toon Boom Studio all of a sudden.

Could they still produce the same quality show? What would be different in terms of workflow? What other specifics would be different?

Any help is greatly appreciated.


- Philip

HowdyI’ve been using Toonboom Studio to make broadcast animation for a couple of years and it does the job pretty well.I think the difference between Toonboom studio and it’s bigger siblings is a workflow thing. Toonboom, as wonderful as it is, only lets one person at a time work on a project. With sufficient organisation you could probably combine the output of a lot of single projects into one master project but I think that would be a little inflexible, especially on a tight deadline. We have tried to do a few small items where a couple of people have collaborated using Toonboom but the workflow pretty much goes like: design all the characters and backgrounds then one person does the first half and one person does the second half. I think the big Toonboom products like Concerto and Harmony offer a more flexible workflow where you all work on one master file (though I could be wrong here), plus a whole bunch of other features.I think it’s probably possible to make the Powerpuff Girls with Toonboom Studio but it might not be easy ( unless you were Gennedy Tartakovsky maybe) Just out of irnterest, how prohibitively expensive are the big fancy versions?.CheersKen

Great answer. Thanks for taking the time. To answer your question about the “prohibitively expensive” price of Opus, here’s a quote from a Toon Boom sales rep (you should be sitting down for this):"Opus software is priced above 10K US$ per seat, and we always go on a case per case basis to issue a quote based on specific requirements."Whew. If that’s not an independent film maker killer, I don’t know what is.However, he does go on to say:"FYI, later this year we will be launching a not-networked version of Opus to equip individuals, single professionals, freelancers, etc. with all the capabilities of Opus except for the powerful networked features and functions that might not be required. We will post more news [on] our web site in a few weeks."There are two problems I see with this though. One: I can’t wait. I’m making my purchase decision this week. Two: There is a loooooong way to go from $10,000 to anything remotely reasonable for "individuals, single professionals, freelancers, etc."Okay, back to the matter at hand…What about 29.97fps, interleaving, and .9 pixel aspect ratio for NTSC?[1] the closest i can get in TBS to 29.97fps is 30fps, yet when i export as DV (which may not be right in the first place; please advise), the resulting DV stream plays at 29.97 fps. Won’t this conversion (30:29.97) comprise audio and AV synchronization?[2] what width and height should i specify in the “Animation Properties” window? And how should I deal with the .9 pixel ratio of NTSC? Should the exported movie look squished afterward or what?[3] if i choose dv, i get what looks like an interleaved movie. well, that is to say, it looks fuzzy around the edges. i’m only assuming this means that it’s interleaved now. in any case, if i export in quicktime format, of course the movie looks clear as a bell, but the framerate is not right (30fps). How do i then prepare that non-interleaved, 30fps movie for broadcast without compromising any aspect of the piece?i have qt pro. that’s it.[4] i’m still not understanding how these fuzzy dv exports could look good on anyone’s tv set. when i compare my exported dv with a powerpuff girls dvd (on my ibook), the difference is huge. i can only imagine that the difference would be worse on a are some screenshot comparisons so that you can see what i’m seeing: for the help.- Philip

Greetings, Phil, it is normal for you to see the DV stream fuzzy. Your computer screen is using a square pixel and a progressive video display compare to a 0.9 pixel ratio and interlaced video of the DV format. When inserting a DVD into your computer, your DVD software/decoder is de-interlacing the video stream. The results will be in fact better on your TV BUT … DV might not be the best format for you if you want to play your animation on a NTSC television. You were talking about DVD. If you want to create a DVD, you could (a probably should in my opinion) export to a QuickTime movie (lossless compression) and then let the DVD authoring software interlaced the video while exporting to Mpeg. There is no need to compress to NTSC DV then re encode into MPEG2 format for DVD. The compression/encoding should be the last process in the workflow no matter how many applications your are using. Id’ like to clarify the Opus vs. TBS issue. Opus (Concerto and Harmony) has been design for studio where a lot of people work together as a group. The workflow is different with Opus then TBS. Opus also integrates a very powerful compositing and special effects module integrated directly in the pipeline making it much faster and easier to apply special effects without having to render or change application each time. This is the strength of Opus, it is able to manage all of this very well on a large scale. Now about pricing Phil, for a single professional like you it might seems expensive but for a major studio who is saving hours and hours (often weeks) of production time with our tools compare to other commercial animation packages, it’s a very good investment. On the other hand, Toon Boom Studio is the little brother of Opus. Using mostly the same vector engine and technologies then Opus, Toon Boom Studio integrates all the major animation concepts of Opus in an integrated and simplified application. There is no question that TBS can handle NTSC broadcast quality, in fact you can have a 2048x2048 camera and have the same line quality at the final render. This resolution is even much higher then the HDTV standard.I hope this information is useful to you guys! Cheers,

the problem is that i’m a student. i just don’t want to spend the rest of my academic career getting used to TBS and then be completely blindsided when i try to get a job after graduation, where (presumably) they’ll want USAnimation/Opus experience.i won’t have ever even seen the primary professional tool that all the studios will want me to already be familiar with… let alone be proficient with it.this is what academic pricing is all about–getting students trained on the professional tools of the trade so that they can enter the workforce gracefully, and at (of course) a price that a student can afford, which aint much. this also has a side effect of broadening your customer base, since the studio that hires me will have to pony up $10,000 for another seat of Opus for me to use, thus strengthening your bottom line.i talked to a sales rep about academic pricing, but it’s horrible… $1000 per year.a student can’t afford $1000 flat, let alone “per year.”/////////////in any case, i am very thankful for your response(s). you were very helpful. thanks.- philip