Smith Micro upgrades animation packages

Smith Micro Software has released Anime Studio Pro 7 and Anime Studio Debut 7, upgrades to its line of animation creation software.

Both programs let you create 2D movies, cartoons, and cut-out animations. Both feature a new content library, new integrated audio recording capabilities, and other new tools. Anime Studio Pro is targeted to professionals and digital artists, while Anime Studio Debut is targeted to beginners.

Anime Studio Pro 7

In addition to the new audio capability and content library, Anime Studio Pro 7 provides a number of additional new features, such as simulated physics, 3D shape design, and advanced animation tools.

The program alleviates the need for tedious frame-by-frame design through its bone-rigging system, which lets users create a character skeleton that moves the figure over time. This provides greater control, flexibility, and efficiency in the design process, the company says.

The new Simulated Physics toolkit lets users apply movement parameters to characters and objects so that they fall, rotate, and react naturally. Users can control the density, gravity, friction, and springiness of objects, and adjust how they collide.

“Our training and background is with the old-tradition pencil and paper animation,” said Jonathon Dower, former Disney animator and director of Tui Studios, creator of Little Bella and Monster Music Mash iPhone apps. “When we discovered Anime Studio Pro, we were blown away by its flexibility. We now have the fluidity and subtlety of traditional animation with a much more streamlined work process.”

Anime Studio Pro 7 facilitates the mixing and matching of traditional 2D cartoon images with 3D figures, photographs, and video, and also offers motion tracking. Once created, shorts and high definition full-length animations can be exported to various file formats, including AVI, MOV, and Flash.

Among other new features are: Poser Scene Import, which lets you import Poser scenes into the program to combine 2D and 3D animation styles; a Follow Path Tool, which makes animating along curves easier by letting you select any character or object to follow and bend along a pre-drawn path; a Gather Media Function, which collects all files (audio, video, and images) and creates folders for the collected media to keep you organized; and a file transfer function (with 2GB of free storage space) that lets you create and archive projects and upload them to the Web.

Anime Studio Debut 7

Targeted to beginners, Anime Studio Debut 7 also features built-in audio recording and lip-syncing, a new content library, and an accessible interface for the creation of 2D movies, cut-out animations, cartoons, and anime.

The software offers a new Beginner’s Mode—which can be turned on or off—designed to guide first-time animators through key animation tools and techniques. It gives users quick access to the program’s key features with short video tutorials, rollover instructions, and a streamlined interface to help users get started quickly.

You can mix and match your own drawings with stock content and photographs to build animations. Once animations are complete, users can share them via YouTube and Facebook.

“With the latest version of Anime Studio, we wanted to address the experience of many first-time users who dive straight into the program, but need a little assistance in getting started,” said Sarina DuPont, product manager of the productivity and graphics group at Smith Micro. “Designed for cartoon and film fans who are inspired to tell their own story through animation, Anime Studio Debut 7 is the ideal application for any user, regardless of experience or age.”

This version’s new features also include: a Toon Image & Video filter, which lets you apply cartoon-style effects; a variety of customizable freehand brush styles; an Image Masking Tool, which lets users select and remove unwanted background colors from photos; and more ready-to-use content such as characters, audio, and props. It also includes the same Follow Path Tool, Gather Media Function, and file transfer function (with 2GB of free storage space) as the Pro version.

Prices and system requirements

Anime Studio Pro 7 is $200; upgrades are $130. Anime Studio Debut 7 is $50; upgrades are $20. Site licensing and educational pricing are also available for Anime Studio Debut. Both programs work with Mac OS X 10.4 or higher. Both are universal, but the company recommends an Intel processor.

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