Stykz

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Stykz
StykzHead64.png
StykzEnvironment.png
Stykz 1.0 running on Mac OS X
Developer(s) Ken Ray (Stykzman)
Written in LiveCode (was: Revolution)
Operating system OS X, Microsoft Windows, (Linux coming soon)
Size 9,283 KB (Windows Installer)
Type Stick Figure Animation Software, Graphics software
License Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License
Website

http://www.stykz.net

Stykz Forums

Stykz (/ˈstɪks/ STIKS) is a freeware multi-platform stick-figure animation program, developed and maintained by Sons of Thunder Software, Inc. It is similar to the popular Pivot Stickfigure Animator and builds upon many of the features from it, also adding its own functionality. Version 1.0 for Windows and Macintosh has been recently released. A version for Linux is being developed and is in an internal beta phase, and will be released as a Public Beta when it is ready. However, a version hasn't been released since 2011.

Development[edit]

Stykz in early development stages

Near the middle of 2007, Ken Ray, a freelance software developer and consultant, began writing Stykz after discovering the limitations of Pivot, and the fact that there was no solution available for Macintosh users (forcing them to have to resort to using an emulator or virtualization program to run Pivot). Pivot was also no longer under active development (its last "release" being in 2005), so the fixes/additions that Pivot users were asking for were likely not coming any time in the near future.

Ken had been creating software using Revolution for a long time and knew the benefits of its cross-platform development and deployment capabilities, along with built-in drawing and painting tools that could be scripted to allow the end user to implement them. So he decided that it was time to develop the first cross-platform stick figure animation program that would address the limitations of Pivot and also continue to be actively developed and influenced by feedback provided by its end users.

Development continued off and on through 2008 until December 25, 2008, when the first Macintosh Public Beta was released. This date, affectionately dubbed "Stykzmas", became the first time the public had ever heard about Stykz. Ken decided to release the Macintosh version first because of the needs of the Macintosh community, plus the fact that Windows users already had a stick figure animation tool.[1]

Usage[edit]

Stykz is a frame-based animation system where a user creates and manipulates stick figures composed of "segments" (limbs) and "nodes" (joints). Segments can be created and manipulated directly on the Stage (the main window) through the use of the tools in the Tools palette:

Features[edit]

Because Stykz was built based on Pivot, they share many similarities. Stykz has almost all the features in Pivot except sprites and background image support.[2] More features will be included as the software develops.[3]

Tools[edit]

The Select tool lets the user move figures and pivot segments around nodes, and can be used to create, distort, or stretch segments while the Subselect tool lets the user select individual segments for the purposes of changing just the selected segment's properties such as color, thickness and angle. Figures can be created, distorted or stretched directly on the stage.

The PolyFill tool lets the user fill in areas of a stick figure by creating a polygon which is "attached" to several nodes of a figure. The Add Line and Add Circle tool lets the user create new line or circle segments to an existing figure.

Figure Manipulation[edit]

Once a figure has been created, it can be scaled, rotated, colored, and moved to wherever the user desires. Individual segments can also be modified, changing the stacking order of segments, or changing the individual segment properties.

Document/Figure Management[edit]

Stykz also allows for working on multiple documents (animations) at the same time, and figures can be transferred between documents through the use of copy and paste. Stykz animation documents are saved with the "stykz file" format (*.stykz), and hold all the frames of animation within. Stykz documents can also store certain meta-information about the document like Owner and Description.

It also features a Library where the user can store figures for later reuse. Figures in the Library are stored in a "styk file" format (*.styk), which can be transferred to and shared with others.

Pivot Stick-figure Importation[edit]

Stykz also lets the user import Pivot 2.x,3.x and 4.x "stick files" (*.stk) and can convert them with almost 100% fidelity (although there are some differences between how Pivot and Stykz manage circles that could require certain rare figures to require some sort of "tweaking"). Figures containing sprites can be imported, but the sprite in the figure will be ignored and the rest of the figure will be imported. There are future plans to support sprites in Stykz; when that happens, sprites in Pivot figures will be imported.

Playback/Export[edit]

As the user creates their frames of animation, they are represented in the Frames palette. The animation can be played back inside Stykz, and the frame rate can be adjusted anywhere from 1 to 33 frames per second. When the user is ready, they can export their animation to one of several formats: QuickTime movie (*.mov), Animated GIF (*.gif), or series of sequenced GIF, JPEG, or PNG images (one for each frame). These formats can then be moved to a movie editor or Adobe Flash in order to add sound or special effects if desired.

Bugs[edit]

As with all new software, Stykz still has some bugs. Some are (but not limited to) a save glitch, inability to hand type numbers and use arrow keys, removal of the task bar, shutdowns, and others.

Major Milestones[edit]

Stykz 1.0 (pre-release versions)[edit]

These versions were released at various stages to validate features and identify bugs to be fixed for 1.0's release. The first public beta release for Mac was on December 25, 2008[1] and the first public beta release for Windows was on February 22, 2009.[4] Several Beta and Release Candidate versions followed.

Stykz 1.0[edit]

This is the official release of Stykz 1.0, and was released on November 26, 2010.[5]

Stykz on DarkDemon.org[edit]

On November the 26th, Adam Davis of DarkDemon.org[6] announced Stykz 1.0 and created a separate forum for Stykz on Darkdemon. Users feel that this may replace Pivot in the near future, however the Stykz section is not as active as the Pivot sections of Darkdemon.org.

On April 7, Elliott Bear of DarkDemon.org announced that the forum would no longer support the software,stating that the program had not integrated with the community[7]

Media Coverage[edit]

Stykz was reviewed by Chris Pirillo (of TechTV fame) on his video blog, live.pirillo.com, on July 14, 2009.[8]

On October 5, 2009, DAWN.com, an independent Paktistani web-based news service, covered Stykz in their 'YOUNG-WORLD' section.[9]

On January 24, 2010, NCS-Tech (a site dedicated to providing information about K-8 educational resources) reviewed Stykz as a resource for kids to use to expand their creativity skills.[10]

MakeUseOf.com reviewed Stykz as one of three stick figure animation programs on June 24, 2010.[11]

In addition to the above, Stykz has been reviewed on several software application download and review sites, such as FreeDownloadaDay.com[12] and The Kim Komando Show.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]