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I had a friend raving about Mirage to me last night. It looks like a pretty nifty piece fof software. That blue sketch really does look like a blue col-erase drawing. Also... glad to see you posting again!

kevin barber

Wow. Love the look of Mirage and would like to see more. Since leaving Disney i've been using Flash and After eEffects for animation. Does Mirage have some of the nice manipulating tools and time saving features as these programs ? What's the learning curve. Complex, plug and play?

David N

Hi, Kevin,

to answer your questions:

I'd say the learning curve for just doing basic drawing and animation within the Mirage interface is minimal. You'd pick it up fast .

That said, Mirage is a lot more than just a drawing program and so it woud be worth spending some time with the tutorials and the instruction manual to get the most out of it for doing painting, compositing , and effects. It's packed full of functions that I have only begun to scratch the surface on.

I suggest registering at the Mirage User forum :
and downloading the 30-day free trial of Mirage . One of the things you don't get with the free trial is a very useful optional plug-in called The Animator's Toolbar , which creates some essential shortcuts on certain functions within Mirage.

To me there is no either/or to Flash "vs." Mirage . They are both good programs for what they're intended to do. Mirage is intended as a progam to replicate the traditional hand-drawn animation experience in a digital environment. You're still drawing out all your animation, roughing it first , then doing clean up. The actual drawing time is the same as if you were drawing on paper. The time savings would come from the fact that you don't have to scan it , and you can instantly preview your work without having to do a video shoot or a scan of the roughs . Mirage Ink & Paint functions can handle anything from very tight, clean ups to "rough" '101 Dalmatians' style of sketchy line animation or even looser scribble-mation.

You can save animation (like a walk cycle , for example) and reuse it at different sizes or flopped over and you can use parts of drawings as custom brushes to reuse in different parts of the scene , so that is a little bit like the Flash symbols library, but other than that it's not too similar to Flash. Again, the best way to get to know it is to download the free demo and hang out at the Mirage users forum. If you download the free demo one of the first things you'll want to add on is the freebie called "Blue Pencil Case" and another set of pencils called "Real Pencils". These will allow you to feel like you're drawing in a traditional animation environment. If you download it you can email me and I'll help you set it up. I'm getting Janelle started on it next week . Like I said, it works good with the regular Wacom tablets (graphire and Intous) but it really sings with the Cintiq or a tablet PC . Rough animating a scene with a regular Wacom tablet is no problem, but doing tight , Disney-style clean up is a lot more difficult with the regular Graphire or Intous tablets. Cintiq is the way to go if you're going to do traditional, feature animation quality .

tom bancroft

Man, Dave, this looks really awesome! Rob and I have been seriously talking about doing some animation again and this program looks really exciting! Thanks so much for all the info you've put up. As usual, you are a master researcher of things. So, how much is the program? I wish we lived by each other again, I'd love to see how you use it first hand- oh, and share a cookie.


I cant find your email address what is it?

peter wassink

Cool stuff here,
i love the Tartakovsky photo's, funny to see how he has put up a screen to prevent the lighting from the ceiling reflecting into his cintiq

by the way did you know the latest version of mirage (called TVPanimation) has a rotating project window so no need to physically mount it into a disk, it also has multiplane camera and animation panel included. the demo can be downloaded at tvpaint.com

David N

Hi, Peter,

I've used a demo of TVPaint and greatly appreciated the rotating drawing window within the program. I think it is one of the most requested features for Mirage , so hopefully Bauhaus Software will incorporate it into the next version of Mirage . If I didn't already own a license of Mirage I'd probably get TVPaint , which as you know is essentially the same program , but with some added features that Mirage does not currently have.

Do you use TVPaint with a regular Wacom tablet (Graphire,Intous 2, or Intous 3) ? I don't currently own at Cintiq at home , though I get to use one at my work. I've been wanting to buy a Cintiq to do my own animation at home with Mirage , but if TVPaint works just as well with the rotating feature then I may decide to stick with my trusty old Intous tablet rather than buy the very expensive Cintiq. I find that I need the rotation (whether "real" with the Cintiq or virtual rotation within the digital program) to be able to put down a fine line quality for doing traditional style clean up . I'd appreciate any insight you have on this based on real world experience using Wacom tablet with TVPaint .


Peter Wassink

Hi David,

I use TVP animation with an Intuos3 A5. To control the rotation of my project i use a 'powermate' (which is a simple USB dial).
To me its the perfect set-up. Its like having the lightest turning animation disk in the world ;-)
other advantages over the cintiq (apart from the price):
-there is no need to physically rotate anything, and menus stay horizontal all the time
-the drawing surface doesn't get warm
-the drawing surface does not get obscured by your drawing hand (i find this one of the most overlooked advantages of drawing with a tablet) you can work on your drawing or painting without ever having to block your view of it!

So although i can see the atraction that the Cintiq has, lets admit... the thing is sexy! but rationally i don't see it has a great many advantages over a nice dual screen setup in combination with an Intuos (Wacom now has these great widescreen models)

So i would advice anyone who has the money for a cintiq to instead invest it in a top notch widescreen monitor (or two!) + an Intuos3 + powermate
+ tvpaint, and then make a nice vacation from the money that is left ;-)

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