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Draw to Animate - Cartoon Animator 4.1 Integrates Leading Graphics Apps and Becomes More Intuitive for Artists

Now it's easier than ever to animate
your rough artwork with Cartoon Animator 4.1
Reallusion released its first major update to Cartoon Animator 4 since its launch, adding improved integration with several leading graphics applications. Likely a direct response to criticisms that CA4 isn't as functional as some of its competitors due to a lack of drawing tools.

While you could already make your favorite graphics app with .PSD support the default editor that would launch whenever you exported an image from CA4 for editing, the 4.1 update takes this idea much further.

Once you've set up your preferred graphics app (Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Affinity Designer, Krita, or PhotoPea) it will have an icon tool on the main CA UI Toolbar (technically it's the 'Add-On toolbar' but you can position this on the main toolbar if you wish).

Now you can click on this directly whenever you want to just start drawing a new prop, scene or bone character from scratch. Once launched a link will be maintained between CA4 and your app, with whatever you're drawing updated in CA4 whenever you save.

Essentially what this does is reduce the number of steps between drawing an idea and rigging all the scenes, props, and characters ready for animation. It also lets you continue to refine your artwork, effectively allowing you to rough out and animate ideas, then refine those same drawings to something more finished without losing all the animation you may have done.

It works really well as a fairly streamlined workflow that makes creativity more intuitive with fewer steps to properly rigged assets. See the official demonstration video below to see these concepts in action.



A really quick demo of an animation created
from my own drawings. I don't know what this
guy is doing but you get the idea.
Personally I'm enjoying the workflow and was able to create this really rough muscle guy, G3 character, with a 360 degree head, and podcast studio scene fairly quickly.

If I wanted to I could keep refining these sketches into color images with an overall more finished look.

What I like is that the integration with your favorite drawing app means you can literally start drawing right away, with an app you're familiar with without having to learn a whole new set of drawing tools (as you would in some competitor apps).

On the negative side, this integration only works with raster based .PSD files. This is fine if raster based G3 characters, scenes, and props meet the needs of your productions. For those of you looking for vector support so your productions can be resolution independent none of this new draw to animate workflow is going to be particularly useful, except maybe for rough animatics.

Reallusion's focus on .PSD has opened up Cartoon Animator to a wider market of independent and hobbyist artist/animators. Which is a good thing, but I do hope the company will begin to bring vector integration, perhaps with a focus on .SVG for users who want to produce higher, broadcast quality animation (and maybe fix the bugs with their Vector Render Styles system which is a feature that was ahead of its time).

For now this 4.1 update is a welcome upgrade to Cartoon Animator that is yet another step in the right direction for making the application both user friendly and powerful.

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