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Anime Studio Debut 6

by Smith Micro Software Inc.
Windows Vista / XP, Mac OS X Intel
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 49.99
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Technical Details

  • Complete Animation for Digital Artists
  • Create and Import Content
  • Bone Rigging Saves Time
  • Advanced Timeline Control
  • Share Everywhere

System Requirements

  • Platform:    Windows Vista / XP, Mac OS X Intel
  • Media: CD-ROM
  • Item Quantity: 1

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Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon.ca

The fun, quick and affordable way to create animations, Anime Studio is the ideal solution for first time animators, hobbyists and digital enthusiasts.

Create your own cartoons and animations--the ideal solution for first time animators, hobbyists and digital enthusiasts. Click to enlarge.

Complete Animation for Digital Artists

Create and Import Content
Create your own art using intuitive vector-based draw, paint and fill tools. Easily import artwork from popular graphics programs and use pre-built content to get started fast!

Bone Rigging Saves Time
Point-and-click to attach bones to your characters for easy manipulation and reduce production time over traditional frame-by-frame animation.

Advanced Timeline Control
Inverse Kinematics moves your character naturally between keyframes for smooth animations. Add sound, special effects, and preview in real time with multiple layers to edit your animation.

Share Everywhere
Export your creations to the most popular web and video formats supported by FaceBook and MySpace, or upload your animation directly to YouTube from within Anime Studio.

Anime Studio Debut Gets You Started Right Away

Import and animate your own video and artwork. Click to enlarge.

Simple interface makes animation easy. Click to enlarge.

Customize your workspace to your liking. Click to enlarge.

Free Characters
Anime Studio includes Jace, Thorn, and many other exclusive, royalty-free, vector-based characters you can use for your own animations.

Free Tutorials
Tutorials and sample files show you how to maximize Anime Studio's powerful features and get you animating right away.

Import Your Art
Import your own illustrations or create unique characters for your cartoons. Animate anything within the reach of your imagination.

Bring Photos to Life
Give life to your favorite photos. Import digital camera images, attach bones and easily turn your photographs into animated movies.

Features

  • New--User interface makes animating your creative vision easier than ever
  • New--Anime Studio's Sequencer gives you the ability to easily combine Video and audio, with animation
  • New--Upload your creations directly to YouTube from within Anime Studio
  • New--Improved drawing tools make creating original artwork a snap
  • New--Quickly make characters talk with built in Lip-Synching
  • Includes lots of ready-to-use content such as characters, actions words and props
  • Import Quicktime or AVI video
  • Import layered Photoshop documents
  • Pen tablet support lets you draw naturally with a pen tablet and recreate the sensation of drawing on paper
  • Incorporate audio files such as WAV or AIFF
  • Built-in tutorials and sample files get you up and running quickly
  • Special effects like motion blur and shadows
  • Export SWF, AVI, MOV, plus image sequences for the web, short or full length films
  • Render up to 720x720 resolution
  • Track, zoom, roll, pan, and tilt the camera

Product Description

Complete Animation for Digital Artists: The fun, quick and affordable way to create animations, Anime Studio is the ideal solution for first time animators, hobbyists and digital enthusiasts. Create and Import Content: Create your own art using intuitive vector-based draw, paint and fill tools. Easily import artwork from popular graphics programs and use pre-built content to get started fast! Bone Rigging Saves Time: Point-and-click to attach bones to your characters for easy manipulation and reduce production time over traditional frame-by-frame animation. Advanced Timeline Control: Inverse Kinematics moves your character naturally between keyframes for smooth animations. Add sound, special effects, and preview in real time with multiple layers to edit your animation. Share Everywhere: Export your creations to the most popular web and video formats supported by FaceBook and MySpace, or upload your animation directly to YouTube from within Anime Studio.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Andre Lawrence TOP 50 REVIEWER
*First impression
**How the program works/ comparison to Adobe Flash & Illustrator
***Additional on-line material recommendations
****Pro's and Con's
*****Final impression

*There seems to be a never-ending supply of 2D vector-based animation softwares competing for our
artistic dollars. And, from a casual look at quite a few of them, they all are pretty similar
in producing South Park-quality movies. The more recent seems to be geared toward
emulating Manga graphics, however.

Anime Studio "Debut" is the novice/ intermediate version of their professional version,
Anime Studio "Pro." Although I've always loved animation and have wanted for quite
sometime to take my illustrations and incorporate them into a movie form, I just didn't
have the time to investigate where and what would be a fitting investment for me. And,
like Poser 8 that I just received, both programs and a slew of similar titles in both 2D
animation (Anime Studio) and 3D animation (Poser), were produced by SmithMicro.
What I found with both titles and especially Anime Studio is that the interface is crowded.
It seems as if it is a company wide decision to put all of the tabs and settings and drop
down configuration right on the opening/ default screen. This makes it, visually, a little
intimidating and reinforces the notion that these programs have a very high learning curve
to use all of the functions that are available. Is there a way to have all of the functions but
not crowding out the workspace? Well, yes. Adobe's done a great job of redesigning a
minimalist interface that allows one to go to the header and engage just the desirable
options.
Read more ›
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars incomplet May 23 2010
Je sais que le nom Debut est dans le nom de cet article, mais je ne m'attendais pas à ce qu'il soit de base à ce point....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  114 reviews
161 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to get started, difficult to master - all that a beginner/amateur needs to create very sophisticated 2-d animation! Oct. 7 2009
By Nathan Andersen - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
I've been playing with Anime Studio Debut in my free time for about a week now (on a Mac, though this package includes installation discs for both mac and windows), and I'm a complete beginner. I'm pretty happy with what I've been able to do after just one week. Anime Studio Debut is a lot of fun, and is a very sophisticated and flexible program. It's very easy to get started animating simple things, but for more complicated designs it can be fairly time intensive. This video, for example, that I created in order to practice my animation skills, took several hours to create. (I posted this in October, which is why I made it Halloween-themed. I'm not always inclined to the macabre!)

The program is focused around creating characters whose design is flexible enough that they can be molded and shaped in a number of scenarios. That means that, even though it took me a long time to create this short video, more than half of that time went into creating the skeleton and now that I've created him I can pose him any way I like. To create a character you first draw the outlines of the various components of its shape (legs, head, chest, etc.) and fill them in as you like. Then, you can put "bones" into these elements to form an invisible "skeleton" (not like the visible skeleton you see in my video - that guy has invisible bones within his visible bones!). Then, to move it about you just select a bone manipulator tool with your cursor and then you can rotate the bones around whatever joint you've established for them and whatever parts of the body are "bound" to that bone move with it.

Once you have characters, backgrounds and objects drawn (each one established as a different "layer" of your final image), you can animate a scene. How it works is that you create all your characters and all the elements of a scene in different layers, and then, on the time line, you can have them interact. How you do that is very simple: there is a timeline that is comprised of 24 unique frames per second of animation, and you can set each character or object however you like on frame one and then, maybe, at frame 12 and the computer then creates a smooth path for that object between frames 1 and 12, and it will traverse that path in the first half second of the animation. Whatever frames result from your direct manipulation become "keyframes" and the computer interpolates results between them. For the skeleton's mouth I had to set "keyframes" nearly every other frame (i.e. every 1/12 of a second - I know there's a way to do this more easily, but I couldn't figure out how to use the free lip sync software that they recommend in the instructions). For most other things I found I only had to place elements every half second or so (for the moon and the clouds it was every half minute or so).

I like that you can animate each layer separately - here I set up the clouds and the moon and the pumpkin first, and then I molded the movements of the skeleton around those. I animated the mouth very last - and even though it's not very precise that took a lot of time to do - once all of the other movements were in place.

I really like this program - it's a lot of fun even though it can be very time consuming. One thing I found while working on this project is that it really needs to have some time saver features built in. For example, I found that while animating I was constantly switching between tools: I'd click on one tool and then make a minor modification then another tool and the back and forth was a real pain. I expect there are ways to assign tools to keys on the keyboard but I wish there was some way I could jump between "recently used" tools with a mouse click, so I don't have to move my hands from the mouse to the keyboard and back again or move the mouse back and forth between the drawing and the toolbar so often. There were other minor frustrations I had, where things weren't quite as intuitive as I'd have liked. Some of that is just a matter of getting to know the program, but it is worth knowing that while this is very easy to start out with, once you try and do anything semi-complicated, there is a learning curve. Still, it's a very flexible program - and, while the animation I created to illustrate it is pretty amateurish, I've seen enough to know that with time and effort this has the power to create very cool and exciting 2-d animations (and can even simulate some 3-d type effects).

While this is ideal for the aspiring cartoonist, this would be great for any creative and intelligent kids - and I know my older kids (11 and 13) were fascinated by it and will get a lot of use from it. Rather than let them watch cartoons, tell them to make cartoons. It'll take time but that time will be used creatively and productively and will be rewarding, and they will be forced to learn about attention to detail (because the computer doesn't know anything you don't tell it). Highly recommended for geeks like me and kids of all ages.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An arduous learning curve, it's suitable only for the highly motivated Nov. 12 2009
By William W. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
QUICK SUMMARY: A richly-featured, low-cost program is a great introduction into animation, but the program doesn't do much to help new users learn the craft of 2-D animation.

I selected Anime Studio Debut mostly for my kids' sake (teen and pre-teen). Since earlier this year, they've all enjoyed using a digital camera and Windows Movie Maker to create movies, especially Lego-based movies using Lego-built characters, vehicles and movie sets. Anime Studio seemed like something they'd enjoy using. Okay, and I'll admit I was intrigued, too.

In reality, I think the program offers a lot of value for the money, but the implementation for a "Debut" program -- one where no prior knowledge of animation is required or expected -- left a lot to be desired. Although the makers offer a very thorough tutorial to help new users explore the program, I found it to be tiresome switching back-and-forth between the PDF-based, 41-page tutorial document and the actual program. I prefer the more elegant way of learning a new program where the program itself uses wizards to hand-hold me through the learning process. For instance, when I learned Sony Vegas Movie Studio earlier this year, its wizards got me using a program that is certainly no less complicated than Anime Studio, and perhaps is more so. Whereas I continue to enjoy learning how to use Vegas, my enthusiasm for Anime Studio waned quickly.

My older, pre-teen daughter and I were both frustrated at the lack of context-sensitive help or menus in Anime Studio. I like programs that let me right-click anywhere I happen to be, and a context-sensitive menu pops up with appropriate suggestions for what I'm doing at that moment.

I will credit Anime Studio Debut as being a "fun" program. My pre-teen daughter especially has enjoyed manipulating the template characters that come with this program, giving herself and her siblings a lot to laugh at. My daughter hasn't tried using the Users' Guide to learn the program -- her learning so far has been by trial-and-error. If the authors of this program could see my daughter interacting with their program, they could see why a PDF Users' Guide tutorial isn't what's needed for this "Debut" program.

I am concerned that Anime Studio crashed a LOT while we've used the program on an otherwise stable Vista laptop computer. If you install this program, I suggest monitoring the Reliability Monitor (in Vista and Windows 7) to see how reliable your computer currently is, and again how reliable it is after you've installed and begun using Anime Studio Debut. (To find the Reliability Monitor, click the Start button, then type "Reliability" in the Start Search textbox to find the monitor).

SUMMARY: I think Anime Studio Debut offers a lot of value for the money. I've spent nearly as much money on stupid kids' games that weren't nearly so interesting to play with. The functionality of this program is pretty deep. Where the program comes up short is not on the functionality it has, but in how new users must go about learning how to use those functions. For a "Debut" program, there is a lot that can be done to make learning Anime Studio Debut easier to do.
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun animation software, easy to get started, but not for true beginners Sept. 20 2009
By Natalie Mootz - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Bottom Line
If you already know a bit about animation techniques, Anime Studio Debut 6 lets you easily jump into making your own animated movies. On the other hand, if you don't understand terms like "key frames" and "walk cycles," you'll have a difficult time using it without some more study. When I was a beginning game design student, I used Maya and Photoshop to create animations. However, I think Anime Studio Debut 6 is much more fun and easy to use for animation than either of those programs and it also allows you to get up and running with your cartoons much more quickly. It's an extremely good value for the money if you want to start animating.

Strengths
* Easy to get started: The tutorials are one of the software's strengths. They are enjoyable, easy to follow, and very comprehensive in the use of the Anime Studio tools. However, the tutorials do not attempt to teach you much about important animation concepts. (You'll need to learn about rigging, timelines, walk cycles, etc., somewhere else. I recommend The Animator's Survival Kit or similar.). I animated a simple pre-made figure in about an hour using the Quick Start tutorial.
* The Bones System: It's a bit harder to create your first animation sequence from scratch than it was to use the Quick Start files, but it's MUCH easier than it was with Maya, thanks to the "Bones" system which makes rigging extremely easy and intuitive. (See my video demo.)
* Animate your own photos: Another cool feature of the software is the ability to animate photos or mix them into vector animations.
* Automatic lip-sync: Anime Studio Debut 6 has an automatic lip-sync feature that will instantly make your character's mouth move along with an audio file.
* You can create dramatic camera moves easily.

Other Notes
* It definitely helps to understand Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator concepts (layers, vectors, curves, channels, etc.). Although, I have to say, Anime Studio's method of making curves is MUCH more intuitive and easy to use than Photoshop or Illustrator.
* Be aware that the tutorials come in the form of PDF files rather than being software-based and are not included as a pre-printed manual in the box -- this means you'll have to alt-Tab between the PDF and the Anime Studio program to use them. Although the PDF tutorials are great, the online tutorials pretty much stink for this software since they are primarily geared towards the Pro version of the software, not the Debut version.
* Sometimes in the large User's Guide (231 pages) it's hard to tell which features are only for the Anime Studio Pro version instead of this version. For example, it covers using "Scripts," but there is no feature for scripts in the Anime Studio Debut 6 (non-pro) version.
* The software description makes it look like anyone can animate with this software, but you do need to have drawing skills or access to licensed artwork. If you can't draw a flower, it won't draw one for you. It also doesn't do cel shading for you or come with any textures or backgrounds. (You'll need the Manga Studio Debut 4 (Win/Mac) software for that.) You can create drawings with a mouse, tablet, or by scanning them in and tracing them.
* This software is a bit oddly named. You can make any type of 2-D animation you want, not just anime.

System Specifications
I did not test this on a Mac, but the software ran very smoothly on these two Windows computers with no slowdowns or freeze-ups:
- Vista Home Premium SP1 on an HP Pavilion dv2700 Notebook with an AMD Turion 2GHz processor and 3GB RAM
- XP Media Center Edition SP3 on a Dell XPS 410 Desktop with an Intel Pentium 2.8GHz processor and 4GB RAM

Don't forget to watch my 47-second video demo of how the Bones system works.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, fun, easy beginning animation program Sept. 23 2009
By Flaherty - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
My daughter had been asking for this software for about a month, so I was glad to have the opportunity to review it. For such a low price, the software worked better and did more than I expected. Any issues with my first animation are beginners mistakes and I'm confident I could improve my skills with a little practice.

I was able to get up and running with Anime Studio after about an hour. I liked the bones feature- by manipulating a bone the attached bones go with the others, allowing the software to render motion. The skeletons are pre-built for the Anime Studio characters, or you can create your own skeleton as well. That allows for complete control of where the bones are. The software also utilizes layers, as graphic artists know are very important.

The software allows for the importing of audio, addition of text (such as Ka-Pow!) in cartoons, and even lip synching. The characters and objects are also automatically resized as they move into the background, creating realistic depictions.

There are also a variety of output formats including widescreen, you tube, VGA, NTSC, PAL, web, and custom.

The software installed perfectly in 64-bit Windows 7.

I do have two complaints though, I'd like to see video tutorials like other software companies offer, and an indexed Users Guide. Since both the Users Guide and the Quick Start Guide are PDF files, I had to use the search function to find keywords related to what I was wanting to do. An index of the help file would be helpful.

No real hard copy users guide is included, but the PDF files include a 231 page Users Guide, a 41 page Quick Start Guide, and plenty of sample images and characters to get you up and running in minutes. The software also works for 30 days before you are required to register it, which might be important if you want to make sure it will work on your computer.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Distractingly Easy Animation for the Every-man Nov. 2 2009
By Eric D. Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
Vine Customer Review of Free Product
It was tempting to post a video review of this product, because it was really *really* easy to create animations using Anime Studio Debut 6. However, I didn't, because the program is too fun to play with, and I found myself wasting valuable time at work rather than getting my job done. Hence the title of this review.

I'm not an animator by trade, but I did go to college, initially, for film production and animation, so I do know what I'm talking about. Kind of. That was a long time ago, when "computer animation" meant "drawing a computer on film cells and making it move." Regardless, there are some obvious pros and cons to ASD6. There are some limitations, too. The primary limitation is that it's a 2D animation tool, so don't expect the ability to create 3D rendered objects. However, that's also a benefit, as the tools available for 2D animation are simple and the lack of 3D keeps the interface simple. Well, simpler, anyway.

The app is built around layered images and 'characters' and of course a timeline. Build a character, plunk it onto a background (which could be a layer of several background elements, such as waving grass or flying seagulls), and move everything around. Import supported sound files (limited file types though - bad!) can be "lip synched" to a character's mouth ... assuming the mouth is built correctly ... allowing relatively easy speech animation.

Pros include:
- Intuitive skeletal system - where you can add 'bones' to shapes. The bones can be linked, allowing easy character positioning. So, if you drag a character's hand, the arm segments move appropriately.
- Lip synching works great - although I had a hard time building my own "mouth," using some of the stock characters showed how easy the end result is.
- Easy timeline - move to a place on the timeline and change something on one or more images and you get a new keyframe. Pretty easy.

Cons:
- Built in drawing tools are very basic. Expect it to be difficult to create anything 'stunning' ... without an outside image app like photoshop or fireworks.
- The "bones" are fit into shapes and joined easily enough, but I'd rather create a character the other way around: building a skeleton and then applying images to each "bone" in a more object-oriented way. The biggest downside to the current method is that it's difficult to re-skin an existing character, you basically have to create a new image of a character, and add new bones.
- The UI is sufficient, but I'm one of those guys whose been using a Mac long enough that I expect the application itself (buttons, widgets, etc) to look good.
- Lip synching - yeah, it's a pro, too, but I got frustrated trying to make my own mouth and had to resort to the one from the stock library.

My recommendations to the developers, should they ever ask (or read this review) is:

1. Instead of a library of images, work from a system of templates. A male and a female human torso, naked, from front/angle/side/rear, with appropriate bones in place, would be a great start. Then add clothing, etc to allow the stock characters to be easily built up. Then, I could concentrate on creating superhero outfits rather than trying to tweak the allowed angles of a human elbow so that it looks realistic.
2. Shift from layers to objects - For example, if I have a character, that character is an object. If the object is defined from several angles, allow me to set an angle change (from front to side view) as a keyframe, and back again. Have child objects change as well, so that lip synching could work seamlessly across that transition.
3. Improve the drawing tools by 7000%, or get rid of them entirely and build better integration into 3rd party apps. The drawing tools are really kind of embarrassing.

Okay - this review is sounding kind of negative .. so why 4 stars? because it's good for what it's good for - creating simple 2D character animations. If you opted for a simple character in the vein of South Park, you could probably crank out a short clip in under an hour, from scratch. That's pretty impressive. And, there's a Pro version of this app, so I can only guess that if you REALLY want the more advanced stuff, that's a good place to look.

The word "debut" in the title is very appropriate: for a first time project, this is a very low cost options, but one that you'll quickly graduate away from. For people like me, who are just looking to play around and maybe create a quick way to put funny video shorts on their blogs and such, ASD6 is pure gold. So, for its blend of simplicity and the most appropriate features for down and dirty animation, I give four stars.
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