Is Toon Boom Studio Overkill for a Beginner to Learn Animation on?

So I am a complete beginner who’s never even touched an animation program. I have researched this a ton, and have of course read many forums discussing this very thing.

But my question is this, for a newbie like me who’s never animated…and isn’t really good at drawing, is Toon Boom Studio over-kill for someone who just wants to make funny, animated cartoons on Youtube? I would love to create something like How It Should Have Ended (HISHE).

So I’ve narrowed it down to TB Studio vs Anime Studio Pro.

When comparing Toon Boom to Anime Studio Pro, I definitely like the output of Toon Boom better. I love that old school, Ren and Stimpy look. (Although, Ren and Stimpy was made with Flash.)

But my concern with Toon Boom is that the learning curve is much steeper, and I’m more likely to give up due to frustration. (the frame by frame approach does sound intimidating.)

Anime Studio Pro looks to be more newbie friendly, to have me up and running more quickly…because of the bone rigging approach.

Anyway, I was wondering if anybody had a suggestion for a newbie like me who’s prepared to learn the principles and animation and drawing…and then get more into animation, but for fun. I don’t really have aspirations to work for an animation studio.

Thank you very much!

Personally, I wouldn’t say so…
Many years ago I started with “Moho” now called “Anime Studio Pro”…
Then went to Toon Boom Studio and now I am using Animate 2…
Waiting for the chance to upgrade to Animate Pro 3 very soon…

It might look like “overkill” at the beginning of your adventure into animation…
Developing your skills over time you might appreciate those extra features…

Whatever you choose, Toon Boom Studio, or Anime Studio Pro…
Both are exceptional powerful packages…

Doing “Frame by Frame” animation Toon Boom Studio would be still my favorite.

Download the Demos and look for yourself…
Many Tutorials are available online for free for both packages.

Learning a new software might be daunting and challenging at first…
Working in any Animation Package, how advanced it might be,
still involves lots of work and hours of concentration…
But the personal rewards are sometimes beyond imagination….
Seeing your characters coming alive and doing well is just the greatest pleasure of all.

Still unsure, you might like and have a look at those links:


To help you decide you can check these free tutorials covering Toon Boom Studio 7:

I sincerely appreciate the advice and links. Yeah, I’ll go ahead and try out the free tutorials and go from there.

Thank you!!

I too started with Moho that eventually became Anime Studio Debut/Pro.
It was very similar to a 3D app I was using as far as the bones. I had always known about Toon Boom Studio but never took the plunge. I downloaded the demos and thou I thought ASPro would be easier, it really wasn’t. It’s not hard software to learn but neither is TBS, then again it does depend on your background. I switched to TBS 7 and haven’t looked back. I bought Tony Ross’ video tutorial for $99 and it was well worth it. The great thing about TBS is that if I decide to get Animate or Animate Pro one day, a lot of the tools and interface are similar.

Best of luck,

PS: If you have an iPad, check out RIchard William’s app, Survival Kit. It’s his Survival Kit book with the animations of his drawings. It’s about $35, but it is worth it if you really want to learn animation. And btw, I’m a hobbyist too.

Hi Pesto,

Thanks for the additional advice. Admittedly, I am leaning towards ASP because it seems like the easier program to use for a newbie like me. I’m also under the impression that I can produce an animated short more quickly on ASP than I can on TBS because of the smart bone system compared to the frame by frame animation. I read that frame by frame animation is more tedious and takes longer when compared to ASP.

But, sounds like I could be wrong about that?

My ultimate goal is to create something like the show Shorty Watchin’ Shorties which is an animated show on Comedy Central that animates stand-up comic routines.

Here’s a brief clip:

I think that show uses Flash (and maybe Photoshop for the drawing)…but I was thinking I could create something that looked and moved like that show on Manga Studio (for drawing and coloring) and ASP-9 (for animation)…and the idea is that I could learn to do this more quickly and animate it more quickly on ASP-9, when compared to TBS or Flash.

But again, I don’t have any experience using these programs…this is just my thinking from the tons of research I’ve done.

Pesto, thanks for the book advice on those two titles. Right now I have an intro to drawing book that I’m learning the basics on, on good old pencil and paper. I plan on reading the Survival Kit when I’m through with these intro books that I have.

But, since you have experience with ASP…do you think I could create something like Shorty Watchin’ Shorties (depending on my talent) on Manga and ASP…or is TBS or Flash/Photoshop better for my goals.

Thanks again for the advice!

p.s. I was really inspired by the videos animated by Freakish Kid. Especially Cluckee the Vampire Chicken.

I know they use ASP-9, and it looked super awesome. Of course, they have insane talent, and could also probably create wonderful animation on Toon Boom or Flash if they chose to. I’m not sure if they also draw/color in ASP-9, but none-the-less, their videos made me think that I could create something like Shorty Watchin’ Shorties using ASP-9…and it’d be easier and quicker to use than TBS or Flash.

Again, haha, this is just my speculation from all of the reading and research I’ve done!

Hi Michael,
I don’t have a ton of experience with ASPro because I gave up on it after using its’ drawing tools. I have used flash and wanted something where I could create (most, if not all) content in the same program. ASP drawing tools compared to TBS, Flash, etc… are not very good. But if you are going to use an outside drawing program and bring your content in, it might not be a big deal.

I looked at the links you cited and I doubt any of it was created in ASP, thou I could be wrong. I bet they either used, Flash, Toon Boom Animate/Pro, or Harmony.

I think you might be getting hung up on the bone vs frame-by-frame thing. I learned character animation on Maya and did quite a bit with it. Before Maya I used a little program call Animation Master by Hash. Their bone system seems to have been the inspiration for ASP’s bone system. While bones make some things easier, it does not give you better animation, time and practice does. If you really want to do 2D then you will probably want to learn bone animation and non-bone animation. Each is valuable and can yield different and interesting results.

If you want some great drawing stuff go to I have several of the tutorials, and one of my favorites is the “Slim Male”. I also learned how to create vector illustrations from Justin’s stuff on CartoonSmart. The guy is very talented.

A couple of last things…The new version of TBS is almost out. I would wait and see what is in the new version. I know I am excited to see what they do. Also, remember, it’s only software. ASP doesn’t make it easier and neither does TBS. Animation and the creation of content (characters, etc…) is not easy. You will be learning and improving everyday, just be sure to pick a tool you can grow with, and a tool that is constantly growing.

A couple of more resources are Tom Bancroft’s 2 books and Michael Mattesi’s books and website

Best of Luck,

Hi Chris,

Thanks again for the additional tips and guidance. You’re absolutely right. Haha the frame by frame rendering vs smart bone rigging is definitely hanging me up. I guess I think that if I can do and make anything in ASP (only limited by my imagination and talent)…why not go with the easier animation program to use? Especially if I’m combining it with an excellent drawing program like Photoshop or TVPaint.

But yeah, good point, I should probably learn both methods at some point.

And ideally, I’ll just do a trial run of both TBS and Anime Studio Pro to see what suits me best.

Well, I’ll also check out those links you sent.

Much appreciated!



Is the new Toon Boom Studio release that you mentioned the 7.1 that’s on the TB site? Or is there an even newer Toon Boom Studio coming, like TBS 8? And if so, do you know when that is? I can’t find any info on that.

Check out the homepage of Toon Boom, there is a video on it. The new version coming out very soon is TBS 8.
I am really looking forward to it.


Awesome, thanks!