Saturday, October 27, 2012
Software Review - Anime Studio Pro 9
Anime Studio Pro is perfect for professionals looking for a more efficient alternative to tedious frame-by-frame animation. The intuitive and affordable feature set offers a solution to traditional animation tasks. With an intuitive interface, a visual content library, and powerful features such as a bone rigging system, bitmap to vector conversion, integrated lip-syncing, 3-D modeling, physics, motion tracking, a character wizard, and more, Anime Studio Pro delivers advanced animation tools to speed up your workflow.
Bone-rigging is a fast and efficient alternative to tedious frame-by-frame animation. Add a skeleton to any image by pointing and clicking to create bones that overlay the parts of your image, to control arms or legs for example. Then bring your image to life by moving any individual bone point to create the pose or motion you want, while keeping your project organized with the sequencer and timeline.
Revolutionary Smart Bones
New in Anime Studio Pro 9, Smart Bones is an incredible feature that reduces or entirely removes distortion around your character's joints - specifically around knees and elbows. Group a set of points and use the Smart Bones control levers to create 3-D looking motion that you can easily repeat with the turn of a dial. For example, with Smart Bones you can control facial expressions and head-turning on a character with simple lever movements instead of having to touch each bone point. Smart Bones makes it easier to repeat complex movements and control your rigged elements.
Import Photoshop Files
Import your existing Photoshop files with all layers intact. Changes made in Photoshop instantly appear in the imported file in Anime Studio, allowing you to continually refine your Photoshop document. Many Photoshop features are supported in the imported PSD files, including blending modes, layer opacity, smart objects and smart filters. Groups are also supported and can be set up in Photoshop to automatically get imported into Anime Studio as switch layers for quick animating.
Real Time Media Connection
The new Real Time Media Connection in Anime Studio Pro automatically updates image, movie, and audio files in your imported Anime Studio files when edited in an external program. This is a great workflow enhancement for individuals and production studios alike.
Editable Motion Graphs
The single most requested feature that our users have been asking for is finally here. In Motion Graphs, the animation channels of the current layer are displayed graphically, rather than just as points along a line. Now get maximum control of your animation with Editable Motion Graphs. You can now edit motion curves with Bezier handles directly instead of relying on tweening, ease-in and ease-out.
Hundreds of new characters. Quickly design ready-to-animate characters using the built-in Character Wizard. Select preset, dial-in body proportions, and choose from dozens of predesigned 2-D components such as hands, feet, mouths, eyes, noses, and heads.
Audio Recording, Sound Effects, and Automatic Lip Syncing
Add a soundtrack and lip-syncing to your animations. Record your own sound clips inside Anime Studio and adjust the pitch from high to low to fit your animated characters or import existing audio files into your project. Anime Studio will automatically insert them into your timeline, where you can adjust the timing and length to fit your scene. Using the Sequencer, freely move multiple sounds along the timeline to adjust syncing. Anime Studio supports WAV, AIFF, MP3, and M4A formats. Built-in lip-syncing in Anime Studio can help you save time. Simply load a sound file, and from the layer options of the layer you wish to sync, select the sound file from a pull-down menu. Anime Studio does the rest. Easily synchronize characters' lip and mouth movements to a sound file through a simple and intuitive process.
Automatic Image Tracing: Use Your Own Artwork
Import your scanned drawings or existing images and photos then convert them to vector drawings with the click of a button. Trace as black and white or edges only and adjust a number of settings to style your vector image. Color your vector art, resize without loss in image quality, and animate it using bones.
Export multiple layers individually with one click. Layer comps are useful if you want to export only selected items in your scene so that you can composite them externally in third party software. For example, you can create a layer comp that relates to background elements, another that relates to characters, and another that relates to foreground elements or titles. Turn groups on and off until you get elements that logically belong together. Then create a new layer comp from that group. At render time, you can then choose to render specific layer comps as a movie file.
Global Rendering Styles
Global Rendering Styles allow you to quickly change the overall design of your animations. Choose from various presets such as sketchy, cutout, crayon, and more to easily transform the look and feel of your entire animation. Create your own custom combinations by mixing and matching different styles for fills and outlines.
Flexible Import and HD Export Capabilities
Anime Studio can import several kinds of other media files into an animation project. Import QuickTime, AVI or MPEG-4 video, or even 3-D scenes from Poser. Image Based Modeling allows you to create 3-D objects from 2-D vector layers, and the included Content Library contains hundreds of ready-to-use characters, props, and more.
Follow Path Tool
The Follow Path tool allows you to have any character or object follow and bend itself along a pre-drawn path (like a snake), making tons of animation posibilities easy.
Add an object to an imported video that will follow the position and rotation of something, like a person's thumb. Just add tracking points that identify the item on the screen you want to follow.
Wacom Multi-Touch Support
Wacom Multi-Touch support allows you to use Wacom's new generation touch tablets with Anime Studio. Easily edit characters, scale, rotate, pan, zoom in and out of the canvas with simple finger gestures. Available on Bamboo, Intuos, and Cintiq touch-based tablets.
Patch Layers were designed for constructing characters and are similar to masks. They allow you to hide certain parts of a layer. Create each body part separately and then hide the overlapping lines. Adjust the size of the patch to perfectly blend the layers to get the desired style.
My Take on the Product
This was an amazing piece of software that will take you to the next level in regards to creating anime. I did also try the Debut version of the software and though it had some of the functionality of the Pro version, this version by far was superior. The program, though a bit complex to learn at the front end, truly takes off once you have mastered the controls, and makes the task of animation much easier than the frame by frame animation of the past.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most on this program was the automatic figure image tracing functionality. In just one click you have the program doing all of the work to develop the vector drawing that you need to move forward.
As I said the manual for this is a bit cumbersome, but there are definite parts that I found to be more helpful than others. All-in-all though it does take some time to master the controls and the skills needed to be successful in this type of program, and I found this out the hard way as I slogged through my initial learning within the program.
If you are like me and have a passion for drawing comics, this is a program that will definitely blow you away!
All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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