WANTED: Cambridge Animation Systems "animo"

Started by mikeboss, August 11, 2013, 09:43:33 am

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anybody has a copy and is willing to sell or share?

The Desktop Cartoon Studio -> http://youtu.be/z1OFfs7geaw

drop me an e-mail mb(at)offworld.ch
October 12, 1988 Computing Advances To The NeXT Level


This software is still used by some of the big animation studios.  This software needs a dongle.  Would be very interested to know if anyone has a working copy of this software with the licensing dongle.


wow, really impressed, I would like to have a copy too, even a demo copy to see if these SW really works so fast on a Turbo Cube


The first step is to get the software disks but probably the biggest hurdle is to get the licensing dongle.  You can't use any of the features without the dongle.

Rob Blessin Black Hole

Hello: I set up the systems used to make the movie Spacejam for Warner brothers, they were intel boxes with Screen machines was not aware of any dongles but know the software was $40,000USD per seat.  I also helped on Prince of Egypt and Iron Giant.

The predesessor to Animo was Compose in Color written by Oliver Unter-ecker which later spawned Animo , Cambridge Animation was bought out and from my understanding they wanted to port Animo over to Windows NT this was before Openstep and I heard it was a disaster may be if they had made it Openstep compliant then used Openstep for Windows it may have worked. Then I did not receive any more news as to weather they made the port, I do have Jon Hoopers old drive and i'll take a gander as to  if it has Animo installed. Best regards Rob Blessin  8)
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  sales@blackholeinc.com http://www.blackholeinc.com
303-741-9998 Serving the NeXT Community  since 2/9/93


I met a Director and one of the Sales Team from Cambridge Animation in 1995 or 1996.  They demonstrated Animo 2D for Nextstep.  I was interested although the purchase price was £20,000.  I decided not to go ahead because of the £10,000 per annum maintenance fee.   The software definitely needs a dongle.  I know they subsequently announced a version for the first release of Mac OS/X.  I understand they sold all their intellectual property rights to another animation company and, in any event, development work had ceased some time before that.


Quote from: "Rob Blessin Black Hole"...I do have Jon Hoopers old drive and i'll take a gander as to  if it has Animo installed...

hi rob!

yes, please have a look at Jon Hopper's HD. he wrote me an e-mail a few days back and he mentioned having the floppies containing animo somewhere. unfortunately I didn't hear back from him since... there's a pretty high possibility that you'll find this software on his old harddrive. you wouldn't know where to find a dongle??

October 12, 1988 Computing Advances To The NeXT Level


from the webarchive.org

   Pentium Pro with 64 to 128 MB RAM
   Adaptec 2940 SCSI Card
   2 GB disk
   Matrox Millenium Graphics Card with 4MB RAM
   Cogent EM110 Network Card
   OpenSTEP 4.0 or NeXTSTEP 3.3

I don't know if there is a version for the cube,  :cry:


according to this blog post, there was an m68k version in the early days ->


Jon (Hooper) and I (Michel Gagné) started painting and compositing in his bedroom on his NeXT computer, sending feedback to Cambridge Animation every couple of days


OTOH: it's possible that Michel Gagné is talking about white hardware... I don't know.
October 12, 1988 Computing Advances To The NeXT Level


I hope a copy for black HW can be found, I hope alos Rob can give some indication if he had any luck with the HD



Ran across this discussion thread whilst randomly searching, and thought I'd chip in, since some people were interested in seeing what Animo was like.

I worked at Cambridge Animation Systems for about 7 years, and oversaw amongst other things the development of a demo version of the WindowsNT port of Animo.  It's Animo v2.5, so a bit old, but it still seems to be working on Windows 7 (it was designed to run from the demo CD, so should have no external runtime dependencies).

It's not the full suite of products, but contains the main workhorses: the Ink&Paint and Director (compositing) apps. It also contains demo materials, and a web-based manual. Note that any rendered output is branded.

It's worth noting that this release of Director supports the innovative vector & stroke animation capabilities of the very first version of Animo, which was missing from the original port to Windows (which focussed on the more traditional ink&paint capabilities).

You can download the ~275MB .zip file from: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10715620/animo2.5_demo_CD.zip
[Your browser will probably whinge about security risks of zip files: if  you're worried about this, using a virus scanner, or a service like http://www.garyshood.com/virus/.]

FYI, ToonBoom acquired CAS in 2009: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toon_Boom_Animation#Acquisitions


Just some additional info.

I worked at CAS from 1995-1997.

Animo 1.x was indeed available on NeXT 'black' hardware (680xx), before being ported to Intel hardware, then IRIX, NT and finally, MacOS X. My first workstation at CAS was a NeXT Cube with two large NeXT displays, a 24-bit colour and a crisp monochrome. I loved the way the colour windows would be dithered to monochrome as I dragged the windows between them!

I worked on various bits of Animo, including Ink & Paint, the Multi-plane camera in 2.x (AKA 'AxCel') and distributed rendering.

One of the main problems CAS had with the NeXT OS was finding hardware drivers; there were never any OEM drivers for NeXTStep, and every time a customer wanted us to support a new scanner, or other device, someone at CAS had to write a driver for it. This was as true of the Intel 'white' hardware, as the NeXT 'black'. The OS itself suffered the same problem on Intel, and we were always limited as the the compatible Intel hardware we could supply/recommend to customers for running Animo.

Animo 1.x was written using in C++ and Objective-C with Interface Builder components, and custom canvases. Much critical performance, e.g. in the Replayer app, was gained by hard-coding assembler, and short-cutting the ObjectiveC run-time. Oliver Unter Ecker was the wiz at this, having developed WetPaint (Photoshop before Photoshop) on NeXTStep. The distributed rendering used Mach ports and ObjC proxies, and thus had to be completely re-written when ported to other OSes.

Animo was originally envisaged by founder Andrew Berend to be a vector animation system, and a very advanced vector system was developed, with bones and tweening. It was a bit too early in the animation world for most animators to adopt this, and for commercial reasons, the traditional process was adapted to the digital age, with separate Background Scanner, Pencil Tester, and Ink & Paint apps. One of the nice things about Animo was the quality of computer rendered lines that could be overlaid on to the original lines of the scanned art-work.

Animo 1.3 had great support from animators and small studios, but when the DreamWorks and Warner Bros contracts were won, Animo 2.0's feature-set was targeted mostly on their requirements, and vector paint was neglected, as, sadly were the smaller animation studios.

Unfortunately, in 1997, the stresses of dealing with the big studios, the beginning of the shift to 3D, and the neglecting of the original Animo customers led to the company imploding under severe financial pressure. After much turmoil, much of the original team left (as did I).

Somehow the company kept going with a tiny but excellent team, finally releasing the MacOS X version before being bought out by ToonBoom, who then owned what was left of the 2D market.

If anyone wants to track down a copy, it's probably worth contacting Phil Barrett, one of the last devs (and MD!). He can be found on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/phil-barrett-79004ab


AFAIK, the last CAS employee was Cormac Slevin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/cormac-slevin-806a3a19) - he joined Toon Boom as part of the acquisition.


Hi did send various email to Toon Boom, and I had some emails back from them,  but they told me that this SW was too old and didn't have any copy on their archives :(

but if anyone can find the 1.0 version for the Cube, please share the glory :)