There are a couple of programs that can be used to create cartoons. They range in complexity though, so let's talk about the specific programs in a bit more detail.
Toon Boom is our favorite program, and is well known for its depth and quality of their technical support. It's a solid application that is made for animators, by animators. This makes it a perfect choice for creating original cartoons.
The depth of Toon Boom comes at a price, however. While the interface is clean it can appear daunting to a beginner. There is a set of Toon Boom tutorials that will help walk you through the interface and show you the ropes. I highly recommend using these instructive videos with the trial download to best determine if Toon Boom is right for you.
Toon Boom Studio is normally priced at $399.99, but more often than not there is a sale going on listing the program at a more reasonable $249.99.
Toon Boom Studio Express is a light-weight version of Toon Boom Studio, as reflected by its price of $99.99. Don't underestimate this slimmed down application though, Studio Express can drop the hammer when it needs to.
Adobe Flash has been around for a long time in one form or another. It has the benefit of being easy to use, but is missing some key toolsets that would truly benefit animators. That's why Flash does not currently get top billing from most animation studios.
It also doesn't help that Flash includes a hefty price tag of $699.
If you don't balk at that number then you'll find that Flash can provide a great interactive experience but is not ideal for cartoons. Use it if you must, but Toon Boom is a much better choice for making cartoons.
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Calico Monkey discusses animation programs, cartoon software and the art of making your own cartoons. Occasionally I release a new cartoon that has inadvertently made somebody chuckle. Such an outburst is purely accidental, I assure you. All animations were created with Toon Boom.
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