THEY DO EXIST! A mint-condition Autodesk Animator appears in the wild… and I wish I could buy it.
I don't know how many people had this software during their childhood, but for me, the 3.5 diskette with the copied version of Autodesk Animator 89 is the most epic piece of software I had. I mostly used it to make booger-worms crawling out of the noses and into the ears of the out-of-the-box photo images that came with the software. I don't imagine my friends and I were the only ones out there with this instinct.
According to THIS ARTICLE by Breton Slivka Home Movies, Science Court, and Dr Katz were made with this software. I am still looking for someone with knowledge of what software was used to make some of the animation in things like Lucasarts Adventure Games (Sam and Max; Full Throttle)… It is likely some deep addition of the SCUMM Engine, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was programming being excercised closely related to Autodesk, with at least some roots pointing toward code scribbled by Jim Kent, but this is only a theory based on a few scattered articles by hobbyists that cared to do deeper research than myself.
The programmer responsible for Autodesk Animator is Jim Kent. Seems like for Jim, my fave piece of software ever is just a goof… the guy wrote GigAssembler, allowing the Human Genome Project to assemble and publish the first human genome sequence. Has this guy written a book?!
Because of the annoying dosbox emulation, and bonkers flc file type, I choose not to use the software often, but as it is now open source, I'm known to fire it up on a rare occasion.
I now use what is often called a "Spiritual Successor" to Autodesk Animator (that wordage again comes from the excellent resource, AnimatorPro.ORG), Aseprite. I can't say enough about just the joy I get out of using this software. It gives a feeling that interacting with coloring books gave me at 7.
The funny thing is that while nobody was trying to use Autodesk Animator to create pixel art (because pixel art was not "a thing" until the emergence of eBoy if I recall correctly). It was simply that as resolutions increased, the aestheticization of visual constraints created a postmodern genre, the map before the model.