An overview of the DigiCel FlipBook program for creating animation. Is this the best solution for classic animation?

The company DigiCel released the first version of its app FlipBook for creating animation in the early 90's of the last century, which immediately became one of the most popular tools for creating animation both among professionals and amateurs. Gradually, the app managed to get the status of one of the best and most popular programs for 2D animation among all the offers available on the market.

From the very first day, the DigiCel Company was committed to make their FlipBook app intuitive and as easy to use as familiar to everyone pen and paper. Running the latest version of the app, we can confidently say that the developer remains true to his principles.

You must admit that the program for 2D animation, which was recommended by such great and famous people as Eric Goldberg (it was he who drew Genie for Disney cartoon Aladdin), Andreas Deja and Don Bluth deserves your attention, is not it?

Well, let's get acquainted...

First impression

First of all, it is worth noting that the FlipBook app was created for traditional frame-by-frame animation, and allows you to both decorate your scanned drawings and make amazing creations right in the app. Moreover, the app is equipped with a frame capture function that allows you to create animated videos (frame-by-frame animation).

In other words, if you plan to create Flash-animation, wireframe animation or other techniques, it is safe to say that FlipBook cannot meet your expectations. I recommend taking a look at such aps as Toon Boom Harmony or Anime Studio Pro.

Once you start the app, you will immediately understand how carefully the DigiCel Company works on creating a simple and intuitive interface, where there is no place for confusion and bunches of similar elements. The drawing area is quite large, as well as for the icons, which are very clearly marked. A noteworthy detail is that you can always customize the workspace of the app at your own discretion.

I’m absolutely sure that we are facing probably one of the most simple and understandable paid programs, which allows you to master the basic principles of animation, and get down to work as soon as possible. In addition, this program is one of the best animation apps for children and animation world amateurs.


A set of drawing tools

I was really impressed with the FlipBook app features and drawing tools, and there has to be separately mentioned the high quality of the lines, as well as the amazingly accurate pressing force transfer (when using graphic tablets which I highly recommend to everyone). Thus, it gets you very close to the quality of paper drawings. Moreover, by changing the pressing force of the stylus, you can create more faded lines thus bringing your drawing to perfection.

DigiCel FlipBook interface

Very simple and intuitive interface with an exposure sheet on the left and an extensive set of drawing tools

The X-sheet is created in the style of a classic paper sheet and looks extremely clear, as well as it has miniatures for each of the drawings which allows you to accurately determine which part of your animation you are in and act in accordance with the original plan. Moreover, the app supports a large number of layers, allowing you to add sounds, backgrounds and additional animation. Please, note that the number of additional items is limited depending on the version you purchased, so make sure that the option you chose is suitable for your tasks before you make a purchase.

The app offers a large selection of various drawing tools, as well as an awesome function that allows you to change the item color simultaneously in several frames. Imagine that you used the wrong orange shade for the belly of your main character in the last 200 frames! With this function, all you need to do is change the color in the palette and apply the new settings! That's all! The app will automatically change the color of the selected item in all frames at once.

In addition, you can use the drag fill of the cursor. Thus, you do not have to click on each area you need to fill. You can click and drag the fill tool to the areas you need, while the app will fill the areas you selected. You can save precious time, as well as avoid injuries occurring as a result of small movements’ repetition.

I want to specify that I really admired the AutoMatte feature available in the FlipBook app professional version. By using this function, you can add up to 10 additional layers to add such stunning effects as lighting, backlight, glow and shadows. The app allows you to create a large number of effects in an automatic mode, eliminating the need for manual drawing of each one. Thus, you can save a lot of time, and give your animation a pleasant gloss with a minimum of effort.

The latest version of the FlipBook app allows you to use gradients, textures and even patterns that open up creativity, allowing you to use something more than the usual colors of celluloid films.

Camera setup

Just like most programs created for 2D animation, the FlipBook by DigiCel offers its users basic panoramic modes, scaling, rotations and blur that allow creating a three-dimensional space illusion. Nevertheless, the choice of instruments can hardly be called rich, as, for example, in the Toon Boom Harmony app, which offers a multidimensional footage and a three-dimensional camera. However, FlipBook offers enough functions and tools to work with most of the animation scenes.




Sounds

You have to agree that the animation cannot be considered complete without a sound track or recorded dialogues. The FlipBook app has something to offer for that purpose. The presence of several sound layers (two in the FlipBook Studio version and three in the FlipBook Pro version) allows you to import sounds and recordings directly into the program, clearly adjusting their location, which guarantees perfect synchronization with the mouth movement of your animation characters.

In the latest version, there has been improved support for imported sounds, as well as has been added support for not only WAV, but also MP3 with AIFF.

Are there any disadvantages?

In my opinion, one of the main disadvantages is that in order to export your work in high quality you will have to purchase the most expensive version of ProHD, while other versions simply do not support the output of animation in high definition mode. However, if you do not plan to create an animation that will be used in live streaming mode, then this disadvantage should not affect your decision. Otherwise, you should spend a little more money, and purchase a version of ProHD.


Verdict

Overall, I'm really impressed with the FlipBook app by DigiCel, and I can say with confidence that it is my favorite program for creating classic animation. That is a digital version of the old-fashioned hand-drawn animation in front of you, which offers a set of useful tools and functions that save precious time, and which you could only dream about.

The app has a simple interface, and you do not have to spend valuable time learning its functionality, reading forums, and watching educational videos, which make FlipBook by DigiCel an optimal solution for both beginners and advanced users.

If you are going to create Flash-animation, or you need a more "universal" solution, I’d rather advise you to look at Toon Boom Harmony. If you plan to work only with classical animation, then the FlipBook app by DigiCel is exactly what you need.

Besides, a large number of app’s versions allow you to find the optimal solution for your budget and existing skills.