improving the line drawing tool ?

Hey all,

I’ve been testing the drawing tools from Retas Stylos HD lately, and I’ve been really impressed with its ‘line/curve tool’.
I found it way superior to the bezier curve aproach from TBA in terms of usability and control. With TBA, I would mainly stick to the ‘freehand’ drawing tool as the bezier curve tool is too time consuming and unproductive when under tight schedules (but maybe the newer version has this ? my ‘old’ animate pro doesn’t).

Retas really nailed it with their line tool, as it offers both speed and accuracy. watch these 2 videos for instance :

what do you think ?
Should we expect some improvements in this area or is this something no-one is interested in ?

I thought there was a way to curve the line just after drawing it using the line tool in animate pro just like shown in that video, but I just can’t remember how. I looked for it in the literature, but can’t find it…

Maybe I was mistaken.

Well, you could always use the Polyline Tool. The first click anchors the starting point of the line and as soon as you click to position the end point of the line if you click and hold and drag then you create Bezier handles to let you adjust the curve of the line.

thanks for the input, but as stated previously, I’m aware of the bezier curve (polyline tool) from TBA. It does indeed work as a ‘classic’ bezier tool with handles a-la Adobe Illustrator.
The thing is : I find this workflow to be slow, painful & counter-intuitive.
just compare this ‘official’ demo of the polyline tool from TBA to any of the links I’ve given in the original post :

this made my teeth cringe so bad… Just look how painful and slow the whole process is and it doesn’t even remotely match the underlying sketch.

I know you can create corner pins and refine the curves by editing points and adding new points afterwards, but as newer splines are dependent on the previous tangents/anchor points, you have to rely heavily on modifiers keys in order to create corner points, or refine your curves once they have been drawn.

from my point view, the current polyline tool is not suited for artistic drawing.
I want a tool that gives me both control (being able to draw accurate lines quickly and precisely) and freedom (drawing is not about predicting if the next point is going to be a corner point aka not having to deal with the technical inner-mechanics of how a bezier spline works).

After trying the Retas tool for 5mn I was sold on it, it’s so vastly superior and intuitive. The thing is, I’m not too keen on switching packages right now, so I’d really welcome an upgrade on our current drawing tools.

Has anyone here tried both workflows and share similar feelings or do you feel the opposite way and why (not considering the whole package, just the drawing/inking tool) ?

I agree with you that the Retas tool works nicely. I think it’s a great idea to request it as a new feature for Toon Boom software. It would be nice to have.

Is that what you’re using now, Retas? I took a look at their site and thought it interesting that they have a separate program for each stage of production. I wonder how that works? But I was even more shocked when I saw the prices for each.

Holy cow! Their online support and tutorials seems to be rather thin and it seems to be mainly for frame by frame animation, which is fine. Can you even do cutout animation with it?

You have that way of working in Harmony now. Use the straight line and before releasing the line press Ctrl and you will curve that line right away just like in Retas. No need to change to the Contour Editor. It is effectively quick. If you add the Snap to Countour with that you can easily connect to any previous lines.

Zebtoonz :
I’m actually considering upgrading to animate pro 2 or switching to another package (either TVpaint 10 or Retas). Retas is super expensive for an independent animator, but I can live with just using the Pencil module. the full Retas suite should be compared to Harmony, it’s more suited to a studio environment where each stage of production has its dedicated specialists.
And yes, Retas is definitely aimed toward transposing a traditional workflow to digital (frame by frame drawings and x-sheet). I don’t think they provide a bones/IK system for animation and it’s probably not suited for cutout animation at all.

>stevemasson :
good news ! I’ve tried it again in animate pro but the feature is not there unfortunately… but it’s good to know it works in Harmony. It’s probably easy to integrate the feature in Animate then. Any developer reading this or should I contact support directly ?

I did a small video of how it works. I should have speeded it up though. As you can see you can do the same as Retas except we don’t have the connect lines like they did but we have the Snap to contour which works to get the same result.

I never knew that you could do that with the line tool in Harmony! Thanks for the clip, Steve! Actually, I have no problem using the drawing tools in either Animate or Harmony so this is a non-issue for me personally. But it’s nice to know this function is available.