I found Harry's animation humorous and over the top. I do understand his point of view if you team it up with his animations description, reproduced below.
For the record I am indifferent to the software. I have no problem with people wanting to create animation with it for fun as long as those with loftier ambitions aren't letting their skills stagnate. I spent a lot of time with 3D movie maker as a kid because I didn't know how else I could create animation and I really wish I had discovered flash sooner. Brad Bird began his first animated film at 11 years old so you're never too young to start!
So please remember that my animated counterpart is a caricature in more ways than one; I didn't really jump on a horse when Skyrim was announced and I'm not about to go postal on someone who wants to use some gimmicky animation software, just consider the alternatives.
- Harry Partridge
What is surprising is the amount of borderline, venomous and trollish comments against GoAnimate by so called purist animators or animation fans - it's hard to tell how many of the commenter's actually do create any kind of animation.
You can read the comments on Harry's Youtube posting to get a sample of what I mean. Similar comments also appear on the video on Newgrounds and even more surprisingly, Cartoon Brew.
I haven't weighed into the discussion on these sites too much because I feel many of the people reacting negatively to GoAnimate have very closed minds and aren't really open to having their perception of GoAnimate changed from their limited experience of the site.
I did, however leave the following comment on Cartoon Brew:
I've read so many negative comments towards GoAnimate from so called animation 'purists' in support of Harry's video that I'd be embarrassed to stand along side any of you and support what you do.
Any real animator would recognise GoAnimate as just another tool and just another way to create an animation (and YES it IS animation). All those characters on GoAnimate were animated by talented animators so that people could use them to create their own stories, music videos, jokes, social commentary, series etc. etc.
Sure kids can use GoAnimate to create animations. Just like kids can pick up a pencil and draw animations frame by frame. It's not about the tool, it's about who uses the tool and how far they can push it to it's potential.
Most of you bagging GoAnimate have barely spent any time with it to really know what it can do. Most of you don't even realize you can use real voice actors and you can make the drag and drop characters seem less wooden if that's what you want to do.
There are people on GoAnimate who spend months on their animations to create something entertaining and worth while. It's not all quick, easy and poorly conceived. Look a little deeper and see what it's really about.
You all eventually embraced Flash because you realized it could get your work done easier and quicker than you used to make it. GoAnimate is the same. In the right hands it can get an idea animated easier and quicker than you might otherwise. Sure you wouldn't use it to make a feature film but to get down a quick idea that you never intended to take to a full drawn animation... you might use it for that.
I also made my own video response to Harry's video, which is getting similar negative comments about GoAnimate. My video is embeded below. I included Harry's clip in full as part of the video so that more people on GoAnimate would see it - I really think that is what Harry would have wanted.
I've been accussed of not putting any time or thought into this video by commenters who really have no clue about what it takes to make a GoAnimate video.
Excluding all my research (i.e. reading all the feedback Harry's Video has been getting on all the sites mentioned) I spent a good five hours creating my response. I know that's probably nothing compared to the time Harry put into his original video but it's hardly 'quick, easy and ill conceived' either.
First off, I know the animation in my response is not impressive to anyone with any real skill at hand drawn animation (including myself). I could have done a lot to make this better with a few custom mods of my own. I could have got rid of the canned computer voices and invited the featured GoAnimators to voice their characters (heck the main character is me. I could've done my own voice). However Harry is protesting against drag'n'drop, lifeless animation so I wanted to make this as much like the very thing being protested as possible.
The main threat that GoAnimate presents to 'traditional' flash animators online is speed. The animation doesn't need to be great it just needs to be responsive and have dialogue that resonates with the intended audience. The quicker you can respond to a trending viral topic the more you can take advantage of that audience before it fades and moves on.
This is how sites like GoAnimate and Xtranormal are being used by content creators like Tiny Watch Productions who have capitalized on the success of their original Xtranormal Video iPhone4 Vs HTC Evo (12,966,608 views to date).
That is why my response to Harry focused on speed. There is in fact a market for this type of quick, animated video. The internet's attention span is short and many people won't read a long blog post like this, but put some humorous, sharp, satirical comedy into a mediocre animation and people will watch regardless. Not only that but they'll share it around too.
The times are changing for animation and Youtube knows it. That's one reason why they've partnered with both GoAnimate and Xtranormal. Both sites do what Youtube does - empowers anyone to make video and find an audience.
Moving on to the Family Guy references in my response. The same people reacting negatively to GoAnimate also seem to dislike Family Guy (and other animated shows from the same production team). Obviously the Comedy World theme (used in my response) is not only influenced by Family Guy it blatantly copies its look and style from it.
GoAnimate is more than just one theme. GoAnimations can look nothing like Family Guy if you choose a different theme but what better way to irritate detractors more than to use that theme (plus it's my favorite GoAnimate theme).
Finally I put my version of Harry Partridge into the clip because it provides a good contrast to the 'Lazy' GoAnimators on the couch (another reference to the detractors who think GoAnimators are lazy). For the record it took me a good 45 minutes to try and get Harry's likeness using GoAnimate's Comedy World Character Creator. Harry definitely didn't use GoAnimate to create his GoAnimate likeness in his clip. Few of the facial features he used exist in that form on GoAnimate
I'd be very surprised if Harry ever makes a direct, animated video response - or even a part two. Why would he invest that kind of time in something he's already covered so well?
What would be really cool is if he took a closer look at GoAnimate and recognised how it might enable him to be more prolific. I'm sure he has plenty of ideas that might stand a chance of being realised via GoAnimate that wouldn't get beyond an idea otherwise.
The Bottom Line
At the time of writing, by GoAnimate's own stats, they claim to have over one million members. That's a lot of people who quite possibly found the site because they had an interest in animation.
It is beyond me how professional flash animators can bag the site so much without realising the potential audience it creates for their work (especially independent animators like Harry).
Many of GoAnimate's members are under 20 years of age (and even under 10 years) and really appreciate good work when they see it.
GoAnimate handles Flash imports fairly well. Rather than bagging the site these animators could embrace it with their custom work and really inspire people to look beyond the site at where they could progress to.
GoAnimate is a great starting point for animators who are looking for a career in the field. Especially an indy career like Harry's. Serious GoAnimators conceive almost every part of their animation, script, direction, storyboarding, editing, sound, music, visuals etc. Many even add their own graphical customizations that range from simply importing an image to completely creating their own animated flash characters, props and backgrounds from scratch.
The few professional animators who do use the site are doing some really great work with it and encouraging people to look beyond and discover Flash - because even on GoAnimate, people know that you need Flash Animation software to do the really cool animation.
Harry isn't actually telling most GoAnimators anything they didn't already know.