Expect the movie news to come in a flood, because it is now officially less than a year away! We have some new information gleaned from one of the animators on the project, Michel Gegne. This has been rumored pretty heavily for a while now, but now everything is completely confirmed. The My Little Pony Movie will be using Toon Boom "Harmony" instead of the usual Flash we see with the show.
What does this mean? Lets dive into it below!
Since the beginning, at least as far as we know since early interviews revealed, pony has always been animated in a heavily modified version of Flash 8. It's old, but also incredibly familiar and easy to navigate due to how much every version of Flash has been used over the years. Both amateurs and major companies work with the program regularly, leaving behind a humongous amount of resources for anyone looking to either learn it from the ground up, or learn to do something within it.
Despite this, Flash has it's limits, and newer, more robust programs have started gobbling up it's market share for anyone willing to give it a shot. While many initially see Harmony has more complicated and somewhat unfamiliar, it does unlock a lot of things that make the final product much more robust once mastered.
You have probably noticed that most theater level movies based on an animated TV series look far better both visually and spatially. This is what Toon Boom will accomplish, as Michel Gagne points out, leaving behind the "cheap" feel of flash:
There are plenty of resources and debates on the pluses and minuses of Harmony out there, but for the sake of not losing everyone, I'll answer what most actually care about. What does this mean for the movie? Will ponies look drastically different?
So far we only have possible ideas on what the final models will look like. While they can actually flash puppets over to Harmony, it's looking like they have created completely new assets. We don't have confirmation on this one yet, but the Twilight Sparkle below was spotted with Tara Strong voicing lines for something in the future:
Despite the image being from a weird angle, we can note that the head is a bit rounder, and ear much more detailed. Overall, it's the same general design we are used to with a few minor improvements and shifts. The only other "Art" we have was a tiny little thing on the my little pony website:
Again, we have 0 confirmation that this is actually the style the movie will run on. It's a pretty good guess though.
On top of that, expect the actual animations themselves to be much smoother, with more detailed backgrounds and environments, and a more advanced "3d" feel for your 2d ponies. While DHX's "heavily modified" Flash can probably do a lot of these things, Harmony should technically just do them way better right out of the box.
Of course, the biggest thing that changes with a movie vs a TV series is budget and time, so a lot of the "Upgrades" will simply be thanks to the increase in everything going into it. Hopefully closer to it's release we can land some interviews with a few of the people working on the project to see exactly what has changed in the crossover!
Thanks to Jordan for the heads up!