Best software for animated vector illustrations?
December 4, 2007 10:44 AM   Subscribe

What is the best software that can be used to create a vector animation of a business process for use in a video? (MI)

What is the "gold standard" software for creating animated vector illustrations? I'm creating a one-minute animation of a business process flow that will be used in a video? I have (via software lab) access to just about any imaginable program and (because of my current life status) the time and interest to learn how to do it myself.

The end result will be based on a cartoon storyboard, but I don't want it to look cartoon-y. It should be a slick illustration (and I'll do some post-processing on it separately).

I've seen Synfig in this context, but I'm not sure if it's simply the most popular based on the price (free).

By "gold standard" I mean the equivalent of Photoshop for still pixel images; Photoshop is the standard for that market, what's the standard for this one?

posted by thedevildancedlightly to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:54 AM on December 4, 2007

posted by jeffamaphone at 11:59 AM on December 4, 2007

Illustrator is the Photoshop of vector-based illustration, at least it was when I used to use it. But, ya, Flash is the way to go for animated vector design and exporting to video, be it for web or tape/dvd.
posted by chococat at 12:05 PM on December 4, 2007

Synfig is also worth a look, especially as it's both powerful and free (unlike the monopolistically priced Flash).
posted by wackybrit at 12:26 PM on December 4, 2007

And you can ignore my post, as I only read your first two paragraphs before plucking Synfig from my head. Sorry! ;-) However, it is certainly worth a try unless you feel you might end up outsourcing the work or getting someone else to do it (who is almost certainly going to be versed in Flash). Flash is also worth considering if you want to buy books, courses, and other reference materials, as these are available in vast quanity (see
posted by wackybrit at 12:28 PM on December 4, 2007

im not entirely sure what you're looking for, but you might have be able to achieve some of it with motion or after effects
posted by prophetsearcher at 2:31 PM on December 4, 2007

Flash is really well integrated with Illustrator in their CS3 incarnations, but it’s got so many functions besides simply animating vectors that it seems quite cumbersome and unintuitive to me. With access to “just about any imaginable program,” I’d be looking at Motion (easiest to learn but Apple only) or After Effects, probably using Illustrator as the main vector-drawing tool, (these are general-purpose Motion Graphics tools rather than specifically vector-creation+animation tools, tho you can certainly create vector images within them) as well as Toon Boom Studio or Anime Studio, which are dedicated drawing+animation tools, with the ability to add “bones” or invisible linkages to vector images, so that complex motions for complex images are easier to create. A video editor such as Premier or Final Cut will also come in handy as a layering and sequencing tool for your animations.
posted by dpcoffin at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2007

The wiki on Toon Boom.
posted by dpcoffin at 1:47 PM on December 5, 2007

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