17 Replies Latest reply on Jul 1, 2018 3:52 AM by pizzagamingp23005360

    (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?

    RoboSnacks Level 1

      Anyone have recommendations for another app than Animate CC? Still draws terrible and now incredibly crashy and buggy with 2015.1.1.13. to the point that now I'm regularly losing work that was already a paint to produce with their lackluster drawing tools.


      I know harmony, but I miss the flexibility of Flash's nested timeline architecture.

      Anime Studio seems even more geared toward puppet style, not drawing/traditional animation.

      TVPaint is actually incredible but not having vectors really makes it hard to use the tool for pre-planning...without additional pre-planning. Also no symbols/nesting w/o major headaches.


      Just want a vector based app with Flash's timeline/symbol architecture but the sketch accuracy/quality of ToonBoom Harmony.


        • 2. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
          RoboSnacks Level 1

          Thanks for the referral. Unfortunately that site is down. I did a google search and only saw .exe versions. Any for OSX you know of?

          • 3. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
            Asymetrical Adobe Community Professional

            Sorry but other than Harmony no. Flash is pretty unique.

            • 4. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
              Asymetrical Adobe Community Professional

              And I just checked that site now and it's definitely not down but yes it is PC only.

              • 5. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                gperry91 Level 1

                There is no alternative to Animate CC besides Harmony, it's one of a kind.


                Animate/Flash CC hasn't crashed on me in years, seriously. I don't understand how everyone is capable of making it crash so easily. I use it on at least 4 different machines, all stable, no crashes.

                • 6. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                  rayek.elfin Level 4

                  I am aware that this is an old thread, but I thought I'd mention here that there's finally a true open source alternative now besides Animate CC and Toonboom Harmony for animators who require vector-based animation drawing: OpenToonz.


                  OpenToonz has great vector drawing tools, is geared towards both paperless and paper-based traditional animation workflows, and includes nested timelines (similar to Animate CC's graphic symbols). The latest (beta) versions also have similar bitmap painting tools like Photoshop and TVPaint, and a horizontal timeline option besides the Xsheet. And unlike Flash, but like Harmony Premium, OpenToonz features a complete nodal compositor with a wide range of effects, including particle effects.


                  It's been used for the newly released feature-length animation film "mary and the witch's flower", and thus production proven. The latest versions are available on Opentoonz's Github. Documentation is not yet available, although many YouTube tutorials are.


                  • 7. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                    Asymetrical Adobe Community Professional

                    Opentoonz is nothing like Flash and neither is TVPaint. Yes it is possible to do animation with them but they are nothing like Flash. There are many other animation programs out there, PIP, Pencil and even Sketchbook Pro to name a few but what makes Flash special and unique is it's symbol based timeline of a timeline within a timeline. No one else has this feature and they probably can't because it's owned by Adobe.  I'd argue Opentoonz isn't even good animation software. Useable yes, but it's cluttered and confusing interface hardly makes it easy to use.

                    • 8. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                      rayek.elfin Level 4

                      OpenToonz actually has nested timelines - as I said, almost identical to graphic symbols. Those can be edited either in-place or separately, like Flash's graphic symbols. They work pretty much the same. Yes, movie clip like symbols are not supported, although those are a real pain to use in an animation workflow in Animate/Flash, and often avoided because they won't play in the view.


                      Whether OT is "good" or not, let's just agree to disagree. Have you tried it lately? Many improvements, and it now comes with nice looking new themes and a quick-start dialog upon starting OT. The community's been very busy improving OT in the past year, and the original cluttered GUI and badly thought-out workspaces have been replaced by much better ones - up to the point of replacing the old icons with more modern looking ones.


                      Even a horizontal timeline is now implemented for those who dislike the Xsheet (which Animate CC lacks, btw). On top of this, the MyPaint bitmap brush engine was integrated a while ago, which means excellent bitmap painting tools as well as great vector drawing tools in one package. You and I know that bitmap painting in Flash leaves something to be desired.


                      For a paper-based workflow Animate CC is quite unsuitable: OpenToonz, Toonz Premium (the commercial version) and Harmony offer excellent paper to vector scanning options. Of course, Animate CC completely lacks a compositor and visual effects, and a third-party application like After Effects is required to perform this job, which is not the case with either OpenToonz or Harmony Premium.


                      Animate CC is not quite on the same level for animation production (anymore) when compared to OpenToonz or Harmony in my opinion.


                      I do agree that OT's workflow is different from Flash - but that has more to do with production management.


                      Anyway, it's good to have options, don't you think?

                      • 9. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                        JoãoCésar Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        There's really nothing like Animate CC.


                        I've been using a lot of different drawing and animation applications throughout the years and none can offer what Animate offers.


                        The tight integration between drawing, animation, and coding makes everything so easy and powerful.


                        I know my text sounds like some kind of ad trying to sell the product, but believe in me that I do think this.


                        I'm a designer and, like many today, I should be using Illustrator and Photoshop to do most of my art, but I still prefer Animate, because I can simple draw, loosely or accurately, without worrying about panels for adding or subctracting shapes, grouping shapes to add color among them etc.


                        I can draw vector characters and backgrounds and animate them right away without constantly importing assets from external softwares.


                        I can draw a hero, add code to him and make a game without ever leaving Animate. I can even export to a lot of different formats and platforms.


                        Animate is incredibly amazing and at the same time incredibly underrated.

                        • 10. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                          rayek.elfin Level 4

                          Well, that is the difference: you are viewing Animate CC from the perspective of a designer/coder. I completely agree with you that Animate CC is unique in that respect: vector tools, a timeline, and built-in coding is indeed not available in any other dev environment.


                          I, however, look at Animate CC as an animator, and from that perspective Animate CC is lacking. Flash used to be 'king of the hill' in broadcast animation, but that ship long sailed. Adobe let it linger, it fell behind competitors, and currently Adobe is mainly focusing on web publishing. Which is understandable, since broadcast/feature animation is a relatively small niche to operate in, and web is far more lucrative as a market - it is quite obvious that Adobe is focusing on the advertising market, for one since the demise of Edge Animate.


                          We only have to open the New from Template dialog to find out the obvious: Adobe is just not that interested in making a comeback in the professional 2d animation business with Animate CC. Not even a template for 4K output. Heck, the category is named "Media Playback"!


                          Aside from all this, Animate CC is missing some very basic functionality for both drawing as well as animating, which are sort-of a given in alternatives such as OpenToonz, Harmony, and TVPaint. The very basic onion skinning, the terrible and hardly-functional bone tools, the clunky animation timeline, lack of proper bitmap painting tools, no effects or compositing, no versioning support, lack of proper external file referencing (for animation production), no audio export, no paper scanning with pegs and conversion to vector option, no Xsheet, the list goes on and on.


                          Not saying Animate CC doesn't have good things for animators, of course - it does. There are certain things I would like to have in OpentToonz and Harmony that are available in Animate CC.


                          But at this point Animate CC just isn't playing on the same level anymore as the alternatives that focus on 2d animation. I still use Animate CC for the odd web animation, and have switched to OpenToonz for my other animation work. Before that I worked in Harmony, and I also use Moho and Blender for various other animation work. I left Flash a long time ago for any serious animation jobs, though.

                          • 11. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                            Colin Holgate MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                            Asymetrical is live now, if you want to get his opinion on any of this first hand:



                            • 12. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                              rayek.elfin Level 4

                              That's actually pretty cool. More power to him.

                              • 13. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                                rayek.elfin Level 4

                                For anyone interested in learning more about the current state of OpenToonz. This is a portable version, so unzip, and test!


                                • 14. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                                  JoãoCésar Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                  Hey, rayek.elfin, I agree with you.


                                  From an animator perspective, Animate lacks tons of new features and improvements.


                                  Like you said, the competitors do so much more and also do better, like bone animation that, right now, is almost a joke in Animate.


                                  OpenToonz, Toon Boom Harmony, Moho, Spine, Live2D, among others, are simply light-years away from Animate in everything that is related to animation tools and workflow. I think there's no doubt about it.


                                  My point is that there's no other software like Animate that blends so perfectly drawing, animation, and coding.


                                  In my opinion, Adobe could do so much more for animators and developers.


                                  It's simply not possible now to create a really fast and smart game inside of Animate CC IDE taking advantage of the best frameworks, like Starling and Feathers. You have to choose between developing your game using graphic tools, but losing performance and convenience stuff offered by the frameworks, or using pure code, but making the development much more complex and less creative.


                                  For animators, there's a lack of a really professional and easy-to-use bone tool, mesh tools for animation, smarter shape animations, and so on.


                                  About OpenToonz, I tried it the first moment it was released. But things were very buggy and the IDE is really geared towards people who have already worked with some industry standard feature film.


                                  OT has power, but it's not easy.


                                  But I have to say I got really impressed with the shape inbetween. Really cool! Animate needs that!

                                  • 15. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                                    Asymetrical Adobe Community Professional

                                    Sorry dude but I know nothing about coding so yes I AM speaking as an animator. I can only speak about television production though so I don't know everything but I do have a quite a bit of experience within the TV animation industry


                                    I am an animator, director, producer, writer and storyboard artist who for the last 30 years has been actively working at literally every studio from WB to Disney to Hanna Barbera to Cartoon Network to Titmouse to Universal to Nickelodeon and as far as I've seen in all that time Harmony is not used as often as you think it is. The only studio that uses Harmony full time is Disney and that's because the head of their IT department used to work for them and made a deal with them. Other than that it's not used widely in the TV market.


                                    Flash on the other hand is FAR more widely used at least in TV production, which is really the only place 2d is implemented any longer anyway since there are no 2d features. Yes Harmony is used to paint animation but most animation studios in the Orient still draw on paper, scan in and digitally color and that's where most of it is made. Flash has many more tutorials and extensions which make it far more powerful than it is out of the box. Harmony? Not so much. You get what you get and if you've ever dealt with Toonboom you find they think their pretty awesome and do not listen to user feedback much. anything wrong with the program is user error not the software which I find arrogant and frustrating. It's ridiculously expensive, (while Animate is not) has hardly any tutorials and you can't even see a preview of the layers buy default. The drawing tools are nice if you want to draw in bitmap but you clean up in vectors anyway. I can draw just fine using vectors so I don't really care much.


                                    And honestly for all that extra cash I can still tell a Harmony show very much like I can tell a Flash show. Rotating symbols look the same in either program. The major differences as I've seen is that you can add particles (which I don't think anyone uses anyway since After Effects is FAR better and allows 3rd party plugins) , that you can put deformers on art which is is the best part of the program (But is NOT easy to use) and that you can change pencil widths which you can also do in Animate.


                                    Moho? For games at best. Spine? Eh same difference to me. Never heard of Live2d but if I haven't heard of it it's not widely used.


                                    I currently work at Warner Bros directing a new series there and trust me when I tell you Flash production WIDELY still in use here I can count three series running using Animate to both board AND animate. Flash is also widely used at Cartoon Network where all their pilots are done in Flash. Before this I worked at a studio called Renegade who does Tom and Jerry for Cartoon Network which is entirely done in Animate as well. Before THAT I directed a series for Disney at Titmouse all done in Flash where the studio also had at least 6 series being animated for Adult Swim. Before THAT I worked on Fairly Odd Parents and while it was done traditionally, the next season they laid everyone off, and sent it all up to Canada where they did it in... guess what... Yes FLASH! It may not be used everywhere but trust me when I tell you it's FAR from dead. And for the record there is a fantastic dev team programming Animate these days and the actively DO listen to their users.


                                    Join the beta team and see.

                                    1 person found this helpful
                                    • 16. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                                      JoãoCésar Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                      Really good to know that Animate is still widely used by major studios! I knew a few TV shows, like El Chavo and Wakfu.


                                      But, speaking for myself, I said Animate is behind competitors more on what is related to animation for games, web and small productions.


                                      I'm sure Animate is all this good for traditional, frame by frame animation for the TV animation industry.


                                      But Flash didn't come to existence to supply this kind of demand as far as I can tell.


                                      I guess Flash ALSO made its name helping indie and small developers who don't work to big and rich studios that can hire hundred of professionals, spend thousand or millions of dollars, and can keep a project running for years.


                                      At least in my reality, devs need to create "optimized and flexible modular 2D and bone-based sprite animations for making games". Small studios or individuals generally don't have the time, money, and expertise to rely only on frame by frame animation. We use this kind of animation too. Of course. But in most cases more than one technique need do be used to achieve the desired result with low cost and with a short time.


                                      How many times did I have to finish a 1-3 minutes animation in less than a week?


                                      As I said, Animate/Flash is underrated. And it's unfair. Because it's powerful and easy. But it has room for a lot of additions and improvement.


                                      And don't think I'm a member of the "Flash is dead" troop.


                                      By the contrary. I've been using Flash/Animate for years and I do believe in this software. If not, I wouldn't be here talking about it.


                                      I'm still even building an extension for Animate that I think will greatly help game developers!


                                      Flash is dead? NO!!! Can Flash be better to attract current Spine and other animation tools developers? YEAH!

                                      • 17. Re: (Flash) Animate CC Alternatives?
                                        pizzagamingp23005360 Level 1

                                        its not good for sprite animations tho