Toon Boom is CRAP!

I recently posted with regards to toon booms policy of charging separately for program & manual… I did however try out the trial version, and several others as I was in the market for animation software. Firstly, I still think the software is standing on editorial blurbs and brags from the company who markets it. Secondly, the software did not meet my needs or maybe the learning curve is just too steep (especially without a manual). I found it difficult to use, understand and without a manual, impossible to truly try out to any degree, which was a disappointment in itself. Thirdly, I think customer service is terrible, although they were very prompt in responding, because when I inquired about a manual they wanted me to purchase a $40 manual, even though I was not sure or whether or not the software would meet my needs. Well, not to worry, I located a much better animation software (it is a little more expensive) it comes with a manual in the trial version (30 day) which is a plus, the hardware requirements are about the same, it is also supplied with a getting started pdf which was, too, very nice. It outshines toonboom without a doubt, it is much easier to use, understand and get started (although this may be due to the manual being supplied!). It does require a usb dongle (after the trial expires)… but a friend of mine says that this can be disabled, as he is using an earlier version of the same software… they also give educational discounts. If any cares to try it out – it can be found at and the software is entitled Mirage Studio v 1.5a. And lastly the customer service, although not as expedient as toon boom - they took a whole day to respond!!!, was none-the-less outstanding. Toon Boom should really start to think about the way they do business – not supplying a manual with software of this nature is just plain ignorant. The least they could do is put a markup on the software and package both software and manual together… I mean really! Who would want to BUY a manual if they are not sure if they even WANT the software??? Are the people at Toon Boom total idiots or WHAT??? My hard-earned bucks will be going to the individuals at bauhaus software. OH, my bad, I just recieved an email saying that the folks at Toon Boom ARE CANADIANS – they must not understand the way that the rest of the world WORKS!!!

Mirage cost more and I played around with their demo …and gave up because I wasn’t about to get back at the bottom of the learning curve hill again.

And your right …I mainly learned TBS by trail and error … many times their manual do a poor job of explaining things. In addition there are many simple features TBS fail to add to their drawing tools.

But correct me if I’m wrong …Mirage is not vector based … and Mirage does not have as extensive a PEG tool (if any) as TBS…right.

Still it may suit your needs …and may even be better for you than TBS. TBS owners are Canadians all right …but they are as American as can be. They believe in putting on the act …'till they get your money!

Perhaps is might be appropriate and even courtious to not use the term “crap” particularly considering these forums are hosted by the people who work very hard to produce a quallity product. Each of you certainly can have an opinion and you can express it although I have to wonder about your motives.

I keep hearing people complain about the cost of a printed manual. Even if you buy TBS and you buy the extra printed manual the total price is still less than or equal to any comparable product. Also the anti-American and anti-Canadian remarks are way out of line.

I have only been active in these forums for a very short time and the only thing that I have seen here is that there appears to be two misperceptions. One is that there are some people who expect to pick up a complex animation application with no prior background or understanding of the simplist basics of animation and they get frustrated because the manufacturer didn’t teach them those basics. When you buy PhotoShop they don’t teach you the basics of being an artist. When you buy Word they don’t teach you to be a writer. You have to bring those skills to the party yourself or learn them elsewhere.

The other is people expecting a level of hand holding that isn’t even given to customers of much more expensive software and they expect this hand holding for free.

These forums are provided as a free service to anyone who wants to use them. Their purpose is to provide a place where users can help other users and potential users. Their value is only achieved by people asking questions and other people attempting to help them discover the answers. If you want your hand held that’s why they provide these forums. Post your questions and participate courtiously and respectfully and there are plenty of people who are willing to help you. We owe you nothing, we do it because we enjoy helping people who truly want and appreciate that help.

There are many of us here who like this application and use this application and also freely vollenteer to help others learn to use this application. -JK

Its called frustration and impatience. TBS …as will many other applications … will do that to you. But please don’t try to censure anybody … its a free country.

I was introduced to TBS after reading Chris Patmore book (The complete Animation course) … a book I’ve read several times … and would recommend to anyone new in this area.
The only issue with the book as with all technical books is that they cannot keep up with the technology.

I too got impatient with TBS …especially when they had bugs in the program. At one point during those frustrating periods I decided to look elsewhere …dabbled a bit with MOHO, TABS and Mirage … read the book again and came back to TBS.

They have corrected many of those bugs since …and as I become more and more comfortable with it …I start to see how versatile it can be. You just have to know how to use it. Also … I don’t think that TBS will be the end all … depending on what your trying to do TBS may be something you use in conjustion with or as a supplement to other applications.

Thats why I would recommed TBS …its a great program and its relatively cheap for anyone with more than just a curious interest in Animation.

tbs was my deliberate choice among some 7 or 8 animation tools.
i was determined to use tbs, so i won’t change my mind because of a few obstacles.
every software has them, btw.

Dear Sandy,

Being also a Mirage and a TBS owner, I don’t understand how you can compare those 2 very different products… One is bitmap, the other vector, its like comparing apples and tomatoes ! I can do many things in TBS that I can’t with Mirage (and versus). Farscape post sounds very infantile to me.

Moreover, if I’m not coming anymore to BH forums, its because ToonBoom does not censor posts like the great BH guys do constently. Also, BH did not fix ANY bugs and did not release ANY new version of Mirage since 1.5 (April 2005), they claimed that MacIntel version was done last summer, but today there is still nothing ! And finaly I would say that a product which cost 895$ one year ago, then 695$ and now 349$ sounds concerning to me (and don’t tell me its because BH guys are more about art than money, that’s bullshit).

MadCow !

is the $200 student version of mirage supposed for professional work? i mean, may one earn money with it?

Physical manuals are becoming a thing of the past. Typically software is shipping with .PDF manuals and are often available to anyone online. I would suggest ToomBoom make the .PDF manuals available prior to purchase. I’ve bought products before based on the manuals info. I think this would be a GREAT idea!

I will admit TBS is not the easiest pill to swallow, but every other animation package I’ve tried/learned has a similar learning curve including Mirage. I do use several animation packages as no one peice of software has every feature.

Having used other packages I can verify TBS is NOT crap and as a US American born and raised, I can say Canadian Americans are way COOL !

Oh and by the way “farscape”, you mentioned a “Dongle”. If you read that stuff that you agree to when you install software, you will find that by disabling a “dongle” you are in violation of the law! Dongles are used to protect software from Piracy, which is THEFT and also against the law. I’m not saying you or your friend are doing anything illegal but you might want to watch what you state online as it CAN be used against you in a US cort of law and probobly Canadian as well!

Hello everyone. Well, this is my first exposure to animation, my first post to this forum, and my first two hours of reading the ToonBoom website.

The first thing that comes to my mind LOL is what the heck it TBS, what the heck is “disabling a dongle” and where is the glossary.

I’m working with my daughter on a school project that is supposed to teach basic computer use. Originally we were going to incorporate Camtasia and Snagit screen captures with camcorder shots of her narrating. Then we got the idea, maybe we can make some kind of animated cartoon character to narrate the tutorial since it was for kids. My intention was to blend everything together with Adobe Premiere Elements NLE.

I don’t mind spending some money on this for the kids, but I’ve found out I’m totally lost. I just want to buy the right software, I dont care about a few hundred bucks difference either way.

I’m so lost, I don’t even know how objective this forum would be in suggesting a software, but I ask the question anyway. Is there a better …(check that) BETTER and EASIER package?

We are no artists … lol… guess thats going to complicate things some :slight_smile:

I had some great fun making this:

after I read the original post. I just got the software and have spent just a few hours playing around with it. I can’t wait to improve my skill in using Toon Boom! No manual to consult here but I did look at Steve Ryan’s tutorials!

I really enjoyed this -
beautifully drawn - nicely animated -


There is a lot of opinion stated about this application VS that application. But little of the comments actually talk in terms of features you like or dislike and specific reasons. I recently switched most of the production work in our studio from Flash to TBS after evaluating TBS V3.0.1. I won’t bore you with my personal opinions but it might be useful in any discussion to focus on those things that you specifically like or don’t like about any application. Blanket statements like the drawing tools aren’t good are misrepresentative or at best misleading.

In my opinion, if this discussion is to be useful to interested readers it would benifit from being more specific. I certainly can post specifics as to why TBS is an excellent tool and more animator friendly and animator oriented than Flash. If that’s the direction people want to carry this conversation then it might prove useful. -JK

I agree, like telling us what a disconnected dongle is as I asked about a few posts up. I suppose everyone has to start somewhere, but this is the part that is always been most frustrating for me.

You can’t read the information, because the terms make no sense to you. I dont know what a TBS is and whats worse, I’m still trying to figure out if I can use this OR any other animation program without having drawing skills like Always Sketchy seemed to have and need to create what he just shared.

I sure would appreciate someone responding to my original post with some basic BASIC explanations of what if anything can be created if you cannot draw. thanks!

Very well said JK!

As for you Jj4…you can still do some stuff with tb without being able to draw…i mean in version 3 i think theres the text tool so you could animate text and stuff. You could also animate shapes like squares circles etc, but really, asking if you can animate without being able to draw is like asking asking if you can work for NASA without knowing about Maths/Physics etc :wink: Maybe thats a bit extreme but the idea is the same. Animation is about drawing frame after frame after frame so to create something good you really will need to be somewhat decent at drawing…I mean ive spent 3 years at university learning this stuff, it would hardly be fair if you could just pick up tb and be a master animator now, would it :stuck_out_tongue:


thanks for your reply. LOL although mastering new things is always a fantasy goal for everyone for anything they are interested in, I’d be happy with a few stick figures talking, so my daughter can complete her project. We can take it from there at a later date.

I didn’t know if there were some basic characters that I could change premade features of to come up with something semi original to use. I didn’t know if that was a part of the software.

As I said, this animation thing was simply a thought to replace my daughter as the narrator in a kids tutorial project.

I thought about drawing some simple character and place it on a chromakeyed background drawing that I might find some place on the internet. Other than mouth movement, I don’t really have to have the character do too much.

I like the idea of making the mouth move with talking. That would fit in with what she is doing. So, baby steps here is all I expect. I don’t even know if this is the correct program to be experimenting with.

BTW, please, what is a dongle and a TBS LOL :slight_smile: The week it takes me to find out those answers, I could be wrestling with the program instead. :slight_smile:

thanks for the help

A dongle is a hardware key (it plugs in to your computer)used to produce a one to one relationship between installed software and the computer system on which is installed. Simple put it enforces the “you can only use your copy in one instance at a time” requirement of software liciensing. You could have a copy of the software installed on more than one machine (home, office) but with only one key (the dongle) you can only use one copy in one place at a time.

TBS is simply the abbreviations for Toon Boom Studio. It is just easier to say TBS rather than the whole name. -LOL-

As to using animation software with out being able to draw. Here is a suggestion. Go to a magazine and cut out some pictures (IE make some paper dolls) Then scan them into your computer and put them into TBS (Toon Boom Studio). Now you can apply the basic principals of animation to these cutouts. You incrementally move the parts of the doll in each successive frame of a sequence of frames to produce the illusion of motion. No real drawing required, you are just manipulating a cutout doll puppet. -JK

Looks like JK got there first :wink:

Just like to add, if you drew a simple character, say, a face on 1 layer without the eyes or mouth…then the eyes and mouth on another layer. You can add the soundtrack and TBS (since you know what that means now :P) will show you the mouth shapes for the sounds in the sound file. Then you just draw a simple mouth shape for each of the sounds and tbs will work it all out so the mouth fits to the voice. It doesnt work perfectly, but maybe it would be ok for your daughters project! I have an example here but i have no webspace to post it so i cant show you lol. Anyway hope thats of some use to you!


i dunno if applying layers really means ‘baby steps’ :wink:
layers are various elements in the exposure sheet (columns to the right) and they appear also in the timeline (the bars under the drawing area), and can be either drawing (vector), image (noneditable bitmap), media (.swf files, for instance) or sound elements (audio files of various formats).

you can have many drawing elements one on top of another one and you can ‘see through’ all of them if you switch the light bulb on. this is what talk2cotton meant with having mouth and ears on various layers. to see them all in a preview you must select all of them and then press ‘enter’, which starts the preview window, that can also display your sound, if not un-checked as an option.

you can have many sound elements, and one of them you can stream, which makes it synchronized with the images flow. this can be done in the sound editor, after selecting the sound element, under right click menu.

you can have many image elements, but they are opaque and they fill usually the whole frame, so you can only access them separately using the camera manipulations, which is the advanced functionality.

Sorry oh godlike rob, you’re right, maybe i should have explained that more clearly, but i thought you in your infinate wisdom would be able to do a better job than me :wink: lol


thanks a lot all. I’ve been playing with computers for quite a while and I’ve never run across a computer program that used a dongle before. I’ve seen the run from copyprotected CD only method, and of course the registration key codes, but I’m envisioning what you explain as a kind of USB hardware plug in. When I purchase TBS :slight_smile: will it come with one of those?

I am familiar with layers as they apply to video editing. I use the Adobe Premiere program as well as a chromakey program from Serious Magic. I’ve just never got involved with animation or the jargon that goes along with it. :slight_smile:

I saw on the Adobe site their Illustrator program and the Flash program, but I was not sure either or both were what I was after.

I do want to output if possible in dvavi 720x480 so I can bring the clip into Premiere and put everything together.

Since I started looking around I also saw a freeware program called Blender … Now that looks like it could take a few minutes to learn. :slight_smile:

thanks all for your patience!