Trying to achieve the much talk about A Scanner Darkly effect is long and windy process. Imagine tracing bit and many details of your characters to vectorized it, whew is all that I could say. Although there are several programs available to make your rotoscoping chore easier, attempting to recreate the A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life feel into your movie is both an arm-numbing and patience grappling experience. Since these effect has strongly gained popularity among VFX professionals and amateurs, Digital Anarchy Inc. has released its plugin that can give your video footage the sought-after cartoon look.

ToonIt, the brainchild of Digital Anarchy Inc has been released, not recently around June.

Quoted from Digital Anarchy's Official Press Release:

"With ToonIt!, users can easily customize the ‘toon’ effect for almost any footage in a variety of ways. There are four filters in the set. The Roto Toon filter creates flat shades of color and gives you full control over details like outlines, shading styles and halftone effects. The Outlines Only filter uses edge detection to produce cartoon-style edges, removing color altogether from the footage for a black-and-white comic-book style. Goth Toon makes use of internal color rotoscoping to create a high contrast effect, while Blacklight Edges’ edge detection creates a fun, customizable set of neon-colored edges.

One of the key features of ToonIt! is its ability to minimize temporal artifacts. Other cartooning software frequently produces an undesirable ‘vibrating’ image that is the result of color regions and lines jittering from frame to frame. In comparison, ToonIt! filters reduce these graphic issues and produce very consistent, pleasing results from one frame to the next. This temporal noise reduction and visual consistency drastically reduce the need to make adjustments via rotoscoping or other manual editing methods.

Great features in ToonIt! for Film/Video include:

  • Beautiful Variety of Styles. Create a number of sophisticated looks including Flat Cartoon, Graphic Novel, Line Art, Stipple and Pen & Ink.
  • No Resolution Limits: ToonIt! will work on footage of any resolution or size, from web to film.
  • No Hand Masking or Rotoscoping: Each toon effect is generated automatically. While there are customizable controls in the plugin, no manual or frame-by-frame work is needed.
  • Customizable Looks: With 40 different parameters available to adjust the plugin results, there are many possible approaches to get the best result for different types of footage.
  • Temporal Noise Reduction: ToonIt! keeps the results consistent over time, frame-by-frame. There is no jittering when played back at full speed, which is a common problem for software trying to achieve the cartoon effect.

Digital Anarchy CEO Jim Tierney commented about ToonIt!, “We saw a need in the market for this product and have been trying to develop it for quite some time. Thanks to the Toonamation guys, we’ve finally created a plugin that creates a beautiful cartoon look automatically.”

Pricing and Availability

Regularly priced at USD $299, ToonIt! 1.0 will be available for USD $249 through July 4, 2007. The filters work in After Effects 5.5 and higher, Final Cut Pro 4.5 and higher, Motion 2.1 and higher, and Premiere Pro 2.0 (Windows only) and higher. ToonIt! for Film/Video supports all variants of Macintosh OS X and runs natively on Intel Macs. The product supports Windows 2000, XP Home, XP Pro and Vista 32-bit systems. Demo filters and samples are available at

A second package of ToonIt! will be released for use in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements later in the year. The same sophisticated algorithms will create a cartoon look for still images and photographs."

Just an Update on this post:

I found a really helpful thread in Toolfarm that provides you an insightful user feedback on Toonit.

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