I've been experimenting with Anime Studio Debut and will post my first two renders. This software started in 1999 under the name "Moho", developed by Mike Clifton at Lost Marble, which is where the user forum and free Papagayo lip syncing program are now situated. Mike currently works for Smith Micro as the lead engineer on Anime Studio. This is how Anime studio is described on the website... I have a lot to learn.
• Revolutionary Bone Rigging system takes the work out of tedious
• Intuitive animation timeline simplifies complex animation tasks
• Physics Engine allows for super realistic movement and collisions
• Auto Trace your own artwork and then animate it
• Work with vector based art for maximum control and scalability
• Import or record audio and automatically lip-sync to characters
• Work in 2D or 3D space and import 3D objects
This was my first attempt at bone rigging, which is a shortcut means to move certain linked fields of the animation through inverse and forwards kinematics which were developed for robot control. I have made a very simple tick-like creature to experiment with because I want to keep my designs out of the cartoon figure stereotype at this stage of learning. Once you set up the internal bone rigging, it can be manipulated from a distance, without touching the figure, which is convenient.
Here is the second animation I have done with Anime Studio. It is to test the movement and overlap of multiple layers. All of the layers are hand-drawn and manipulated, no bone rigging or set shapes were used. I was amazed at how smooth the tweening appeared, because I really didn't use that many key frames for the length of the animation. I trashed the first render of this because I had misjudged the time it would take and it ended up too fast and jerky. I went back into it and was able to adjust the timeline to make it longer although it did get a bit muddled when I did that. It is good to be able to highlight and slide the keyframes. The other adjustment I made was with the transparency of the shapes. I had to increase the opacity on the two pink shapes so that the provided more of a contrast to the other washed out tones.
Considering the very limited experimentation I have done, I am very pleased with the way this program works. I find it much more intuitive than the more expensive programs I have tried at the university. It works smoothly with my MacBook Pro and Wacom Bamboo tablet. For a very cheap setup I feel that I should be able to get some very interesting, complex results.