Anime Studio was originally developed under the name of Moho in 1999 by Mike Clifton at LostMarble. In 2007, Smith Micro bought the rights and began marketing Moho as Anime Studio, and it has since then seen seven versions released under the new name. Anime Studio's claim to fame is it's easy-to-use bone system. The software makes cut-out animation easy to achieve and has other features from competing software, such as the ability to tween (or interpolate) between two points on the timeline. In other words, the software does most of the heavy lifting for the cartoonist. There are two versions the consumer has to choose from: Debut, that is designed keeping beginners and hobbyists in mind, and Pro, that is designed for professionals and serious animators. This book will be using the Pro version of the software, as shown in the following screenshot:
Because Anime Studio's focus is on cut-out animation, frame-by-frame isn't a primary focus. With a little tweaking (and a lot of patience), this animation type can be achieved. However, for this book we will be focusing primarily on the use of Anime Studio's bone system. It should also be pointed out that Anime Studio is not used just for the creation of anime-type cartoons. In fact, the majority of cartoons created with the software are similar to what you'd see on most American television channels. The software allows you to create any type of animation. There's nothing limiting you but your imagination.
Anime Studio Debut and Pro can be purchased from almost any software store and online at www.getanimestudio.incredibletutorials.com. A 30-day trial offer is also available for both versions.
While Pro is the version we will be using to create our animation for this book, it's a good idea to go over the differences between the two versions that Smith Micro offers for its animation software. If you decide to go with Debut, just note that several of the lessons we will be going over in this book will not be able to be replicated on your end due to a lack of features. Both versions are shown in the following screenshot:
Debut, which is priced competitively at $49.99, contains most of the major animation features that the Pro version offers. The differences mostly lie in frame limits, the inability to export HD files, and limited layer types. The Pro version, which is priced at $299, gives you unlimited control over your animations. While the price is over double that of Debut, I believe the benefits you get outweigh that burden, allowing you to tap into the full potential of Anime Studio's architecture. The following is a more detailed breakdown of the major differences:
Debut limits project files to 3000 frames; Pro gives you unlimited durations.
Debut lacks many of Pro's layer types, such as Switch, Patch, and Note.
Pro gives you the ability to render out 3D objects.
You cannot use the physics system in Debut.
Onion skins are disabled in the Debut version.
Pro has introduced many useful features that cannot be found in Debut. These include Smart Bones, Patch Layers, GPU Acceleration, and Blend Morphs.
For a more comprehensive list on the differences between the two versions of Anime Studio, check out this handy chart provided by Smith Micro at http://anime.smithmicro.com/comparison.html.
If you decide to go with the Debut version, you can always upgrade to Pro at a special price through the official Anime Studio website. To do this easily, simply go to Help | Upgrade to Professional Version. Additionally, you can get great discounts through the official Anime Studio website if you are using an older version of the software and want to upgrade.