Toon Boom Animation has announced the upcoming release of Toon Boom Animate 2, a new version of its vector-based professional animation package. The upgrade offers more power and flexibility for creating traditional, digital, cut-out, and Flash-style animation.

New features include: fast distribution of character parts to layers; easy adjustment of velocity on multiple character parts; efficient creation of richer-looking ambiance; full SWF export with effects; direct import of scanned drawings via TWAIN; and text capability.

As a unified package, Toon Boom Animate lets you to draw or import scanned drawings, color, animate, synchronize sound, set camera moves, apply effects, and render your projects in popular output formats. Changes can be implemented in real time at any time during the production process without having to switch between applications.

The new upgrade offers advanced Flash animation features such as symbols, pegs, morphing, hierarchy-based rigging, forward and inverse kinematics, and advanced lip-syncing. In addition to its Flash shortcut set, Animate is designed to fit nicely with Adobe products and animation techniques. Animate's smart Color ID system, palette management, and painting tools are significant time-savers, according to the company. The program also features an integrated camera tool that lets you animate over time and create depth effects.

Toon Boom Animate 2 is available at a pre-launch price of $550 (about £365), which is valid until March 21. Beginning March 8, 2010, all new clients can receive a Toon Boom Animate 1 product code. Their Animate 2 product code will be automatically registered and emailed to them upon product release, enabling them to download the new package. When the pre-launch price expires, the program will revert to the regular price of $700 (£465) for the full package, and $300 (£198) for the upgrade.

The software runs on Intel Macs running OS X 10.5 and 10.6.