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flipaclip vs. animation desk

Flipaclip vs. Animation Desk

Wondering what’s best between Flipaclip vs Animation Desk?

There’s something about hand-drawn animation that captures people’s hearts. 

Software packages help you with animation.

They range from free flipbook-type apps to expensive desktop solutions for filmmakers. 

Nothing can take away the patience required to creating a frame-by-frame animation.

But software tools have certainly helped by allowing revisions and previews of your frames as you go. 

Animation Desk and FlipaClip are both 2D frame-based animation programs that capture the motion of your characters with each frame.

Both Animation Desk and FlipaClip are free with premium upgrades available.

They’re both more comfortable to use than a sophisticated desktop program. 

And they’re also both initially designed for animation, not drawing apps that have bolted animation on.

Let’s dive deep to see what’s best between Flipaclip vs Animation Desk.

What Is Frame By Frame Animation?

The easiest way to visualize frame by frame animation is as a flipbook.

It has its roots in the earliest animated movies.

In the early 20th century, artists like Walt Disney and Max Fleischer had to draw each frame from their scene onto solid material like paper.

Then they would take a picture of each frame and then slot each image together to make a film.

Now, the software takes a lot of the manual process away, but each movement in the scene still has to be drawn. 

FlipaClip and Animation Desk are both designed for 2D animation and don’t have any motion libraries.

You’ll need to create each movement yourself. 

What Are You Looking For?

Animation software has never been so readily available as it is now, and it keeps getting better and better. 

But one problem that’s unlikely to be solved is that if you start a project in one app, you’ll need to finish it in the same app.

You can’t import animations created in different software. 

Before committing to an animation app, you need to think about what you are trying to achieve.

Are you an animator, or wannabe animator, working on getting your movies out into the world?

Or are you a professional organization that wants to add to its brand identity? 

The animation is so versatile and isn’t just for individual use. 

More On Animation

According to HubSpot, 54% of consumers think brands should put out more video content.

Animation can capture your brand identity and communicate it to your customers.

Professionally, 2D animations can also be used to make explainer and informative videos.

How long do you want your animation to be? 

If you want to make something longer than a few minutes, you’ll need a way to organize your scenes and make changes or edit the sequences quickly.

What device will you be drawing on, and will you use any other tools like a stylus?

Drawing on an iPad has a very different feel to using a PC.

If you don’t have a stylus, you’ll need something that can accommodate you drawing with your finger without it looking like a child using Paint for the first time! 

Will you be making your video solo, or do you want to collaborate with others?

Sometimes you own your movie and use it to give life to the ideas in your head.

Other times you want to collaborate with more artists or your professional team to create something even more significant. 

Do you want to collaborate in the sense of being part of a community that supports one another and helps you learn.

Or do you already know your audience and just want to get to it?  

What other elements will you want to bring in, will your animation be enhanced by adding sound, video, or photos? 

Do you just love drawing and want to share your creations on social media? 

Introduction To FlipaClip

FlipaClip was created by the Visual Blasters studio, which is owned by three brothers: Marcos, Jonathan, and Tim Meson. 

Between them, they have extensive computer science, user experience (UX), and design experience.

The studio has two apps: their first was XiiaLive, a radio app, with FlipaClip being released 18 months later.

FlipaClip is available on Android and Apple phones and tablets. 

Visual Blaster’s design capability comes through in the app.

It’s easy to use, intuitive and has sensible locations for menus, and starting a project couldn’t be simpler.

Using FlipaClip

When you open the Home screen, a click on the plus symbol starts your new project. 

One of FlipaClip’s best features is the inbuilt page backgrounds. 

Sure, you can start with a blank page or favorite color.

But if you need a little inspiration, you can choose one of its preset scenes like the living room or garden.

You can also import a photo from your camera roll and bring it to life with your characters! 

We think the favorite is the paper textures,

It gives your computer-generated animation an authentic feel, taking you back to early 20th century animators. 

When you start your project, you can also set your canvas size for YouTube, Instagram Stories or grid, Facebook, and more depending on where you want to publish it. 

FlipaClip is designed to be social.

It wants you to share your animation with the world and set your ideas loose. 

An important choice to make in any animation is the number of frames per second. 

You’re choosing the number of images you’ll need to draw for each second of your Movie. 

A cinema-release movie has typically 24 frames per second.

But a more straightforward way to start would be to choose between 7 and 12, which will still give you a smooth look to your animation without taking so long to build.

When choosing fps, FlipaClip shows a handy animation demonstrating just what each one means.

Once you’ve chosen this, you’re ready to get animating! 

More on FlipaClip

FlipaClip has four brush styles, which can all be customized with brush size and transparency before putting pen to paper.

The app is designed to mirror traditional pen and pencil strokes, but extra cleanliness can be added with a straight line, circle, and square tools.

There’s also a text tool and paint fill, which are apparent.

You’d be surprised that the paint fill tool isn’t available in all animation apps, so don’t take it for granted! 

When you add another frame, you see a ‘ghost’ version of the page before, called an “onion skin.” 

This onion skin means that the ‘ghost’ of your previous images get fainter and fainter as you add frames.

It shows you a static idea of what your animation will look like.

This also allows you to trace the previous drawing to keep the scale correct.

Remember that some of the charms of hand-drawn animation are imperfections in the drawings.

So don’t get too stressed about minor differences.

Onion Skins

Onion skins can be confusing to start with, but they give you a preview of what your animation will look lik.

With onion skins, you can add the right amount of movement to the scene, so it’s not jerky.

The number of skins you see can be amended depending on your preference. 

It’s effortless to change them, so at one point, you might want to see the skins from the beginning.

Other times you might just want to see one previous image.

The scene can be played at any time and switches between editing and playing with the touch of a button. 

An essential part of animating is the ability to add layers.

FlipaClip has a simple layers control that allows you to add Paint and keep the detail separate.

Once you’ve completed your animation, you can share it straight from the app to social media.

If you loved it so much, you may want to turn it into a GIF for Twitter instead of a YouTube video.

It’s no problem and you can change this when you click Make Movie.

The main downside of FlipaClip is the abundance of third-party apps if you don’t have the premium version.

Third-party apps can interrupt the flow of your drawing. 

Introduction To Animation Desk

Animation Desk is made by Kdan Mobile, a company founded on bringing creativity back to modern professional life. 

They’re a SaaS company focussed on adding a playful personality into beneficial applications.

In Taiwan, they’ve created NoteLedge for organizing notes, Write-on Video for creating video slideshows, and numerous other tools for a workplace setting. 

Animation Desk is available across Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Windows.

The fact that it’s available across so many platforms means that you can continue to edit across all of them. 

You can move seamlessly from animating on your iPad to adding audio on your PC!

This is a great feature, but the app isn’t the same on all platforms, and the desktop apps have features that aren’t available on mobile.

Using Animation Desk

When you start a project in Animation Desk, you’ll begin with a blank page.

The software allows you to import and edit videos as part of your animation, creating a visual effect beyond hand-drawn animation. 

Kdan’s background in creating apps for the workplace means that Animation Desk is super collaborative.

The program’s compatibility across devices means you can capture middle-of-the-night inspiration on your iPhone and share it over the Cloud-ready to build on with your team next in the office.

Animation Desk is less intuitive than FlipaClip and will take something like 3-4 hours to master the controls rather than a few minutes.

But this is because while the tools may seem the same, Animation Desk takes everything to a deeper level.

Instead of 4 brushes, there are over 40!

These extra features give Animation Desk a potent trick up its sleeve that will give your videos a professional edge: creating storyboards.

Storyboards are a staple of professional animation for film, TV, and commercials.

They allow animators to collect the sequences of their animation, make changes to them, rearrange them or add them to a completely different storyboard.

It also allows you to duplicate a whole sequence, so your character could run through a forest for several courses without you having to create each frame.

More On Animation Desk

Another example of the added complexity of the Animation Desk is the more advanced layering system.

Using more layers, you can create ‘drafts’ of your characters or scene, ensuring that you get the anatomy correct for each frame for smoother animation.

For example, you can add outlines in one color, another layer with a bone structure to develop accurate movement and a final layer with detail and correct colors. 

The primary drafts can be removed from the final scene, but they allow you to keep consistent imagery through the drafting process.

Verve has a great demo of how she uses layers in Animation Desk to create a smooth animation. 

Kdan is constantly updating Animation Desk, and they reach out to different animators, from professionals to amateurs, to learn which features their users want next or what problems they face.

They particularly want to become more intuitive to use.

You can even be a beta tester for new launches!

Animating For Beginners

If you have a love of drawing and the drive to create your first animation, it can be daunting to look at a software and know where to start.

With the rise of tablet computing, we’re getting used to using touch screens and an ‘intuitive’ way of working. 

For people who have been using Apple or Android, FlipaClip will feel very familiar. 

While it lacks an initial tutorial, the controls are laid out in a way you’d expect.

Simple buttons, plus signs to add a new frame, onion skins are on automatically to show you how to begin the animation process.

The more detailed controls are where you’d find the settings in any app. 

Animation Desk is harder to pick up and become familiar with within one session. 

It’s like the difference between using Microsoft Paint and expecting to be able to master Photoshop. 

We exaggerate that it’s not that complex, but it could introduce a tutorial you use to help new animators. 

As it stands, you need to find the instructional videos and work your way through. 

Once you have the hang of it, you have a powerful tool to unleash your imagination. 

For both of these, you can find animators on YouTube who will show you how they use the apps. 

This is great to watch how a real animator uses the tools rather than viewing a sponsored post. 

I love Sketch Together’s Flipaclip–Hand Drawn Animation of a Cupcake as a tutorial.

Animating With Children

Are you thinking of getting an app for your son or daughter? 

If you are or think you’ll work with him or her on a video, you’ll need to consider their ability with technology and how easily they pick up new skills with software. 

FlipaClip would be the obvious choice because it’s easy to get started, and you don’t have to wait long to see what you’ve created.

Similarly, adding fun audio that they record themselves will keep them energized to continue creating. 

But, if they’re a bit older or they’ve already spent a lot of time drawing, Animation Desk may be better for them to learn intellectually about the overall process of animation and explore a bit more about what it would be like to work on a film or video game with storyboards.

Children often put adults to shame when it comes to learning how to use software! 

Animating In The Classroom

The animation is a beautiful tool to engage students and allow them to demonstrate their learning creatively. 

One advantage of FlipaClip is that they can pick up a tablet in the classroom and instantly know how to use the program.

The downside is that the app only has one user log-in so that each child can delete the work of any previous user. 

Animation Desk’s collaborative design means teachers can import files to create engaging materials for students with the in-built library, school resources, or from scratch. 

Once the teacher has developed it, the tools can be sent out to students. 

Students can create drawing and animation projects to demonstrate learning in a fun way in collaboration with their fellow pupils.

It would be great if FlipaClip could set challenges or art-based tutorials to challenge users to begin to use the app more comfortably.

A blank page is not always inspiring!

Community

Part of the joy of animating is to see your creation out in the wild and get feedback from other animators. 

FlipaClip’s community is based on social media.

On Instagram, they have 65,000 followers and feature user animations on their grid every few days.

They also run competitions on YouTube every few months, including “Beat COVID-19,” “Love You All Over Again,” and “Dream Reality.”

FlipaClip themselves could be more engaged with its users, but the community as a whole supports one anothe.

They’re quick to answer a new user’s questions.

Because FlipaClip is so easy to use, and there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube.

Kdan has taken a different approach and has built its social site for sharing videos. 

The Kdan community is called Anizone, and being featured on their page can give your video over 25,000 views! 

Besides commenting on videos, though, there isn’t much offered for discussion, advice, or getting to know other animators.

It does run competitions, including one in 2019, with a massive $5000 giveaway.

Their current one is open for applications on the theme of Animal Party, and anyone can enter for free with an animation of between 15 and 30 seconds.

Animation Desk also has YouTube tutorials, but they tend to be aimed at people who already have some animation experience or are willing to go on a steep learning curve.

Premium Features

As we’ve mentioned before, both FlipaClip and Animation Desk are free to download but have premium features that you can pay for. 

FlipaClip is $4.99 for all features without ads. 

Alternatively, if you have a Google Play Pass, the FlipaClip premium is included.

Its premium version includes custom canvas sizes and up to 10 layers instead of 3.

Animation Desk has plenty of features available on the free version, and the only adverts are for other Kdan products, but for a monthly or annual commitment at $15.99/year or $3.99/month, you can access a lot more.

This is more expensive than FlipaClip, but you can connect seamlessly with Photoshop, annotate frames, over 20 brushes, onion skin preferences, and more. 

Premium also gives you access to 500GB of data in the Kdan cloud.

They’ve kept some in-app purchases available like seasonal stamps at Christmas and other holidays.

These stamps can save a lot of time and serve as inspiration for your piece.

Audio Features

Of course, animations can bring a scene to life without a soundtrack, but you may want to add audio.

You can do this within the FlipaClip app. 

FlipaClip allows you to add audio from your library, import it from your device, or make a recording yourself. 

This is great for adding a script if your character is lip-syncing or music to add to your video’s vibe.

Kdan has updated their app so that you can have audio layering in the desktop app. 

In the same way, you would layer your drawings; you can layer the sound with background ambiance, a whispered conversation, squeaking shoe, or shocking bang! 

Your characters can talk, or a narrator can be perfectly-timed with the animation sequence. 

In the mobile and tablet app, you will have to wait for this feature. 

You can only add audio after you export the video, making syncing difficult and meaning you’ll need to use another app like iMovie.

Usability

Animation Desk will take 3-4 hours to get to grips with the controls because it’s more complex, and its user interface reflects that. 

Also, it will sometimes crash, so it’s essential to save your work often.

Additionally, there’s no zoom feature, so you will need a stylus if you’re using a tablet rather than animating with your finger. 

A stylus will also help with the control because the icons are smaller.

On the other hand, FlipaClip is designed for ease of use on mobile and tablet. 

Flipaclip’s zoom feature allows you to draw effectively with just your finger, but for detailed work, a stylus would still produce a better effect.

The lasso tool on Flipaclip is handy; it allows you to select a shape to copy and paste it, resize it, or rotate it! 

What seems like a simple tool can make the difference in saving time and perfecting your animation.

One intuitive feature I love is that you can tap the screen to undo, making modifications quickly and easily.

Final Thoughts 

In the end, there’s no perfect app, just ones that best fit what you need. 

If you’re animating for business, then Animation Desk has the extra tools to create professional videos for corporate branding in collaboration with your team.

And if you have an imaginative idea that you need to get on the page, then FlipaClip is needed.

We hope that this article between FlipaClip vs Animation Desk has helped you choose what’s best for you.

Read our other helpful articles below.

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