|Developer(s)||Smith Micro Software|
|Written in||C++, Cocoa, Carbon|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux|
|Website||Anime Studio homepage User forum|
Anime Studio is a proprietary vector-based 2D animation software for animators originally distributed by LostMarble, later by e frontier. Since November 2007, Smith Micro Software has distributed Anime Studio. The software comes in two different versions, named Anime Studio Debut and Anime Studio Pro, the first being restricted in terms of possible length and image size, as well as not having all the functions of the Pro version. Anime Studio is available for the Windows and Macintosh operating systems; as well as the English, German and Japanese languages. (Spanish in version 9.2 upgrade) Anime Studio Pro is no longer supporting the Linux platform.
The software was originally developed under the name "Moho" since 1999 by Mike Clifton at LostMarble, Mike currently works for Smith Micro as the lead engineer on Anime Studio. The last Moho version 5.4 was identical with the first release of Anime Studio Pro in 2006. The name change was commissioned by Fahim Niaz who served as Anime Studio's original product manager from 2005 to 2007. He cited the reason for changing the name to relate the product to the Japanese style of animation and to market the product to burgeoning anime fans who needed a creative outlet. Fahim left e frontier in late 2007 only to return to Smith Micro in 2011 to once again serve as the senior product manager of Anime Studio. The current release version is 9.0. (Upgrades include version 9.1 and 9.2 as of December 2012.) LostMarble is still the home of Papagayo, a free lip sync software which works with Anime Studio, and also home of the Anime Studio forums. LostMarble has over 12,000 members dedicated to discussing all things related to Anime Studio. The forum is moderated by a combination of Smith Micro staff members and several advanced members. An alternative independent group which is not affiliated with Smith is the 'Animators Forum'. (http://www.kelleytown.com/forum/animators/default.asp)
Anime Studio is also capable of other styles of animation and not solely for anime. It can export its animations as flash cartoons, create cutout-style animation, and, within its restrictions, mimic some pencil-drawn animation. Since it features some basic 3D functionality, it can be seen as a 2.5D program. Short films, especially those which tell their story in one scene, can be produced relatively quickly compared to other programs, because of the usage of vector morphing instead of frame-by-frame animation.
On Wed June 9, 2010, Smith Micro released Anime Studio 7, which added features such as Physics, 3D creation, and improved interface. Approximately, one year later, on Wed June 8, 2011, Smith Micro released Anime Studio 8, which added features such as the Character Wizard, layered Photoshop import, and real-time media connection. The first major update of Anime Studio 8, version 8.1, also supported the new Poser 9 SDK and integrated the Wacom Multi-touch API. The latter feature made Anime Studio 8.1 the first graphics based software product to work natively with Wacom's Multi-touch Wacom Bamboo and Wacom Intuos tablets. On Monday, September 10, 2012, Smith Micro released Anime Studio 9, to date it is the most professional oriented upgrade to the Anime Studio product line since Moho. All of the new features were in response to the growing needs and requests of its professional users. New features include Smart Bones, Editable Motion Graphs and Bézier handles, and major enhancements to the timeline, key frames and onionskins.
Most recently the technology has been adapted to work on the iPhone and iPad in the form of an application called Sock Puppets. See link below. While the functionality is similar in that the objects on screen can lip-synch and can be animated through changes in screen position and resizing, the core of the Anime Studio functionality—i.e. the "Bones"—is not implemented. This is however an expansion of the application into yet more areas and styles of animation.
- Anime Studio features layers of different types for artwork as well as for grouping and switching assets. Layers can be animated in perspective.
- Layer ordering can be animated (since v5.6)
- Camera movements.
- Pressure-sensitive tablets in combination with brush shapes can be used to create natural-looking strokes. Artwork created in Anime Studio is resolution-independent.
- The animator can create a skeleton of Bones to which pieces of artwork are attached. The skeleton works with inverse and forward kinematics and makes it easier to animate characters.
- Tweening of all layer, vector shapes, and bone animation.
- Physics engine to simulate reality.
- Styles for outlines and fills.
- Masks are possible.
- Anime Studio has some 3D abilities, useful for multiplane camera effects and even complex set building.
- Anime Studio supports auto lip synching, where an imported sound can be automatically added to a mouth to make the mouth move as if it is talking in sync with the audio.
- Anime Studio supports several file formats to import pictures and video. Alpha channels of PNG and video files are recognised.
- Multiple soundtracks can be added. In combination with Papagayo Anime Studio provides automatic lip sync.
- Anime Studio exports films to .swf, but without certain effects which are not part of the .swf file format. Export to video or image includes everything and can be done in any resolution. Videos can be rendered with an alpha channel.
- Most tools are completely scriptable (in Lua (programming language)).
- Smart Bones technology improves workflow.
- Editable Motion Graphs with Bézier handles for more control.
- Onionskins have been enhanced.
- Supports layered Photoshop files.
- Includes Timeline with keyframes.
- Anime Studio Microsite
- User forum
- Papagayo, the lip sync software
- Sock Puppet Application based on Anime Studio technology
- Content for Anime Studio
- Anime Studio Tutorials