Why Learn 2D Animation With Toon Boom?

If you think you might want to pursue a career in 2D animation, one of the most important things you need to learn is how to use industry-standard animation software. And in the 2D world, that means Toon Boom Harmony.

Harmony is a favourite among professional animators because it’s like having an entire digital animation studio in a single program. The program streamlines complex tasks and integrates easily with other pro tools, making the entire animation process flow smoothly.

In this post, we explore the reasons why Toon Boom Harmony is the preferred software for leading animation studios and how learning it at Herzing College can provide you with a competitive edge.

Read on to find out why you should learn animation with Toon Boom.




Toon Boom Harmony is powerful animation software used by professionals and studios to create animated content for TV shows, movies, and web series. Think of it as a comprehensive tool that allows you to draw, animate, add special effects, and composite scenes all in one place.

Harmony supports different animation workflows, including cut-out (puppet) animation, traditional frame-by-frame animation, and even paperless workflows where you can scan traditionally drawn frames into the software.

It also offers a wide range of tools to enhance your animations, including lip-synching technology, deformation tools for creating squash and stretch effects, 3D camera integration, and particle effects.

Many animators like Harmony because it integrates all these steps into one software package, making the animation process smoother and allowing for high-quality production values.

Key Features That Set It Apart

Here are some Toon Boom Harmony features that make it stand out from its competitors:

  • Vector and bitmap drawing tools: Harmony integrates both vector and bitmap drawing tools within the same project, allowing animators to choose the best medium for their work without switching between different software. This versatility is particularly useful for adding texture and detail that require bitmap capabilities.
  • Advanced rigging systems: Harmony features sophisticated rigging options, including deformers and bone rigs. These tools allow for more intricate character movements and can simplify the animation of complex characters and objects by automating movements.

    Cartoon character inside animation programHarmony has advanced rigging options
  • Node-based compositing: One of Harmony’s standout features is its node-based compositing system, which allows for complex effects and easy adjustments in the workflow. This system lets you fine-tune your animations without affecting other elements of the scene.
  • Built-in particle systems: You can create complex effects like rain, smoke, and explosions using Harmony’s integrated particle system. This feature is powerful for adding dynamics to scenes directly within the software.
  • Pipeline integration: Harmony excels in its ability to fit seamlessly into various production pipelines. It supports a wide range of file formats and is compatible with other software, making it a flexible choice for studios working with multiple applications.
  • Paperless animation: Harmony supports a fully digital workflow, which is great for studios aiming to go paperless. This includes scanning, drawing, inking, painting, and compositing within the same tool.
  • Multiplane camera: The software includes a sophisticated multiplane camera feature, which simulates a 3D environment for 2D scenes. This helps create depth and perspective, enhancing the visual appeal of animations.
  • Performance and efficiency: Designed to handle high-resolution projects with numerous layers and assets, Harmony is optimized for performance, supporting a smooth workflow even in complex scenes.



Toon Boom Harmony is used by studios all over the world. Shows like South Park, Rick and Morty, Bob’s Burgers, Archer, and the Simpsons are all produced using Harmony.

Why? Studios like the fact that they can handle everything from character design to final compositing within a single software, reducing the need for multiple tools.

Multiple images of a cartoon character

Character design can easily be done within Harmony

Harmony also integrates well with other production tools commonly used in professional environments. This compatibility helps maintain an efficient production pipeline, which is critical for meeting tight deadlines in commercial animation projects.

“Toon Boom Harmony is the leading 2D software in the world. It is called Harmony because all of the different animation departments can use it, whether it be rigging, animation, FX, or compositing,” says Herzing 2D animation instructor Gabriel Choquette.

“The other software that’s used along with Harmony include Photoshop for character design and backgrounds, Storyboard Pro for storyboards, and other 3D software for certain 3D elements. Harmony can work hand in hand with any department or software.”

As the industry standard, proficiency in Harmony is often a required skill for animators. This creates a self-reinforcing cycle where studios adopt Harmony because a large talent pool is already trained in it, and new animators learn Harmony because it’s what studios use.



There are many career benefits of learning Toon Boom Harmony. “You can do lots of different jobs with Harmony, so knowing this software really increases your chances of getting into the industry,” says Gabriel. “It takes time to learn and master, but that is like anything else in life.”

Herzing’s 12-month 2D animation program was specifically designed to train animators in Toon Boom Harmony. It’s laser-focused on turning out graduates who know their way around this software.

In fact, the focus on Toon Boom was the main reason graduate Megan Winters chose Herzing for animation training. “With other 2D animation courses, you have to wait longer to get your hands on the software. There’s a lot more theory, the training is longer, and sometimes there’s a greater focus on 3D animation techniques,” she told us.

“I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to learn Harmony right away, so I could get to work faster. Knowing this software is key to getting hired in the animation industry.”

A stick figure striking a poseAn example of the work Megan did with Toon Boom Harmony

What to Expect

Herzing’s program is all about doing. We don’t spend as much time on the theory and history of animation like in regular diploma or degree programs.

Instead, students jump right into animating, using Toon Boom and building the core skills every studio wants. These include:

  • Life drawing and solid drawing
  • Posing
  • Storyboarding
  • The 12 principles of animation using Harmony
  • Creating character model sheets
  • Simple and complex character rigging
  • Using the pose copier and master controllers in Harmony
  • Character and prop interaction

Rough sketch of robotsStoryboarding with Harmony

All skills are developed through projects that simulate real-world assignments. You’ll work with actual scenes and character rigs/props, and within typical industry deadlines.

“Overall, it’s a fast-paced, exciting, intense program,” says Megan. “We focus on real animating using the Harmony software. You get tons of practice, everyone shares their work, and we all help each other improve. Even people who started with zero experience really caught up and advanced throughout the course.”

By the time you graduate, you’ll have a professional demo reel you can show to potential employers. And you’ll be ready to hit the ground running in a real studio environment.



Herzing’s accelerated 2D animation course takes just 12 months to complete and includes a six-week internship at an animation studio. Students get thorough training in Toon Boom Harmony and graduate with both a professional demo reel and real work experience.

For complete program details, or to just explore your options, we recommend speaking with an admissions advisor. They can walk you through admission requirements, financial aid options, application procedures, and anything else you want to know.

Click below to get started. Browse the program, request free information, or chat online with an advisor right now. We’re here to help!

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