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Animation Paper V5.0 Alpha 2 Pre-release

Animation Paper V5.0 Alpha 2 Pre-release UI
Animation Paper V5.0 Alpha 2 Pre-release.
Animation Paper strives to be the best tool for digital hand drawn animation by not only recreating the traditional animator's table in a modern user interface, but also automating many of the more tedious processes so you can focus almost entirely on drawing.

At the time of writing Animation Paper V5.0 is only available as an Alpha 2 Pre-release, and still does not have all of its features implemented, such as the ability to add audio (due to be part of the Alpha 3 release scheduled for the end of May 2020).

Animation Paper has been completely redesigned and updated from th hand drawn animation app that was formerly known as Plastic Animation Paper (PAP) which, at the time, was easily one of the best apps for the sole purpose of creating hand drawn digital animation roughs.

You can still download PAP completely free from the Animation Paper website. If you look past the extremely dated 90's interface it's still a great tool. I wrote about PAP here and I wrote about the developers plans to begin developing Animation Paper here in March 2014 and here again in July 2014.

If you want to get hold of Animation Paper early, for free, you can sign up for the beta program. Once released a full license will be a one time payment of US$79.00.

Obviously it goes without saying Animation Paper (and PAP) works best with either a drawing tablet or pen display monitor. There are no drawing shortcuts like clicking and dragging out shapes or creating editable vector lines etc. This is purely a drawing app for creating traditional (but digital) hand drawn animation, the way old school animators worked on actual paper, but with modern automations that take a lot of the grind out of the job, as well as speeding up the process.


If you've never learned hand drawn animation - and let's face it a lot of newer generation animators have never needed to learn drawing skills - then Animation Paper's X-Sheet vertical timeline will be a bit of a culture shock. However, if you're learning hand drawn animation from what is considered the 'bible' for animators, Richard Williams, The Animator's Survival Kit, you'll really appreciate the close correlation between a traditional paper X-Sheet and Animation Paper's digital interpretation (which is much simpler and easy to use).

Since I've only tried Animation Paper's Alpha 2 release, it isn't really fair to give this app a full review here. However times have moved forward since 2014 and there are other apps that include hand drawn animation tools including; Clip Studio Paint, and several completely free apps. Blender and Moho have both added better support for 2D hand drawn animation as well.

If you've used any of those you might look at Animation Paper and wonder if you even need it?

All I can say is, if you just want the purest hand drawn animation tool experience, short of using actual pencil and paper, Animation Paper is that. It's an app that gets out of your way and lets you focus on just the drawing.

Primarily it's a tool where you can create all your animation roughs up to inking stage (currently but color is planned to be added soon), and then you can export those frames into whatever app you want for further processing etc. Or you can just export your scenes as movie clips as is.

Animation Paper will be available for both Mac and Windows PCs. I kind of hope some day they'll turn it into an app for tablet devices too because the simplicity of the entire app really lends itself to those  devices (and who wouldn't like to get away from a desk to create animation?).

If you want to get a complete overview of Animation Paper so far it's well worth watching the short tutorial videos on Animation Paper's Youtube channel.

No release date has been given but from what I've seen I'd speculate a possible 4th quarter of 2020 release wouldn't be unrealistic. That's a complete guess based on what I've seen and proposed features yet to be implemented. Regardless, if you have an interest in hand drawn animation this is one application to watch.


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