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My Tools

I’m often asked what tools I use to produce my work, so I created this page to reveal the answer in a way I can keep up-to-date.


1. Imaging, Animation, Video

Adobe Photoshop

Raster image editor, background painting, vector fx, sketching, thumbnailing, storyboarding, raster illustration. There are simpler tools, I’ve tried many of them (Pixelmator, Affinity Photo/Designer, GIMP, Procreate) but nothing beats Photoshop for these things in my opinion. In the toolkit since 2002.

Clip Studio Paint

Another raster image editor, but streamlines inking and tile work, as well as colouring. All-round great tool for illustrative work. A perpetual license means I 'own' my license for good. In the toolkit since 2022 (added to streamline illustration via Photoshop).

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro

Storyboarding and animatics. This software is a great place to 'be'. I love how it enables me to flow from storyboarding to animatic, scripts in tow, and hand-over to Harmony in one continuous, smooth workflow. A perpetual license means I 'own' my license for good. In the toolkit since 2022 (previously, Adobe Photoshop & Bridge)

Toon Boom Harmony Premium

2D animation. This tool does things its own way, and I love the unique environment it provides. Organised, the deformations/rigging is fantastic, makes both cutout and paperless a dream. A perpetual license means I 'own' my license for good. In the toolkit since 2022 (previously, Adobe Animate/Flash since 2002)

DaVinci Resolve

2D animation compositing, promo reel vfx, video production, final animation composition, audio editing. In the toolkit since 2022 (previously: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro since 2007)

Handbrake

Video compression. In the toolkit since 2009.


2. Writing, Development

VIM

For general writing, web development, and animation screenplays. Used VIM since 2014; it’s light, timeless, and endlessly powerful. Currently using the drop-in replacement NeoVim variation. (Previously: ST2, Espresso, DW)

Slugline 2

While VIM has fountain plugins, Slugline has automatic screenplay formatting and scene management that I adore. The fact it supports the fountain standard is also a huge win (John August’s work on Highland 2 is also fantastic). (Previously: iA Writer since 2010)

Godot

My game development engine of choice. I love the node system, and since I hop between game and toon all the time, jumping from Harmony’s node system to Godot’s node system feels like less of a mental shift. (Previously: Phaser, Vanilla JS, ActionScript3, GMS since 2001 back when it was with Overmars)

iTerm 2

My terminal of choice. Great config out of the box. Used since 2014 (previously: Terminal.app)

GitHub

Where all of my production code lives. In the toolkit since 2010.

Jekyll

Simple sites use this in combination with a GitHub Workflow to auto-deploy daily. This keeps media flowing on schedules, fast load times, and minimal moving parts. I can keep things simple, I can host this anywhere, and I have Ruby (and Liquid) at my disposal when I need simple templating. In the toolkit since 2011.

Netlify & DigitalOcean

I wish SSG site hosting had always been this easy and fast. Commit to a repo master branch and Netlify takes care of the rest. In the toolkit since 2019. DigitalOcean’s droplets are great for things that can’t be static, and require a virtual machine to take care of.


3. Communication, Organisation

Superhuman

I’ve Gmail since around 2005, and I love it for its familiarity and customisation. Superhuman makes it faster.

Basecamp & Asana

Where all of our teams manage projects, assets, and ourselves. In the toolkit since 2011.

Harvest

How my teams manage time, projections, forecasts and budgets. In the toolkit since 2014 (previously: Freshbooks)

Clay

I tried so many CRMs over the years. I used to like Highrise when it was actively maintained, but since it discontinued, all of the options I found seemed to over-complicate CRM. I used a homegrown one until I found Clay, which is wonderful for helping me remember to stay connected with people across all of my different social networks.

Zoom

My teams try to avoid meetings as much as possible. But when they're required, we use Zoom. In the toolkit since 2017 (previously: Skype)

Xero

Bookkeeping and accounting. It’s great for those things, and easy to share with our accountants. In the toolkit since 2012.


4. Hardware

Mac Studio + MacBook Pro 16"

The Studio is my main machine. The MBP is for on-the-go. Used Macs since 2005 since they give me a great development environment (like Ubuntu or OpenBSD) but they run Toon Boom and Adobe products (unlike Ubuntu or OpenBSD). I use macOS mostly like I did 20 years ago, preferring file systems and terminal access over new-fangled Stage Manager type stuff.

Wacom Intuos Pro M + Wacom Cintiq Pro 24 + Wacom Intuos S

I love Wacom tablets. I’ve used loads of them over the years, for drawing and also as a mouse replacement since ~2008. I use a few tablets depending on whether I’m doing line work, painting, animating or I’m "on the go". My primary machine has both the Cintiq and Intuos Pro hooked up together, so I can draft linework upright then rest my arm while painting.