Moho Pro 12

more mojo How suc­cess­ful is Smith Mi­cro in re­vamp­ing its ma­ture an­i­ma­tion soft­ware, the pre­vi­ously named Anime Stu­dio?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Smith Mi­cro has re­vamped the tools (and the name) of its pre­vi­ous hit an­i­ma­tion soft­ware, Anime Stu­dio. But how suc­cess­ful is the makeover?

The new Mesh Warp en­ables you to de­fine ar­eas of your art

The ini­tial feel­ing when launch­ing Moho Pro 12 is one of fresh­ness. Al­though the up­dated in­ter­face will be fa­mil­iar to users of pre­vi­ous ver­sions, it’s much more in keep­ing with cur­rent in­ter­face trends and should be less in­tru­sive as you work.

That said, you can ad­just the bright­ness of menus, as well as colours of high­lights. Sim­i­lar adapt­abil­ity is avail­able for win­dow place­ment and you can save workspaces, to aid ef­fi­ciency. Else­where, there have been re­work­ings of two key ar­eas. Both the Lay­ers panel and the Con­tent Li­brary have been over­hauled to make things eas­ier to use – much-needed changes.

Al­though it’s an an­i­ma­tion tool, Moho users spend a lot of time cre­at­ing ob­jects, and the de­vel­op­ers have upped their game in this area. Ver­sion 12 has a re­vised vec­tor sys­tem, which makes the task of draw­ing ac­cu­rate curves eas­ier than ever. New han­dles al­low for fine tun­ing while keep­ing things clean, with as few points as pos­si­ble to achieve best re­sults. Vec­tor im­port and ex­port is bet­ter too, with full sup­port for var­i­ous stages of your cre­ative process. If you like to cre­ate your as­sets in Il­lus­tra­tor for ex­am­ple, you no longer need to worry about what will make it through the trans­fer.

While the bones and onion-skin­ning tools have al­ways been strong, it’s good to see Smith Mi­cro adding to the fea­tures with some in­no­va­tive ideas. The new Mesh Warp en­ables you to de­fine ar­eas of your art, ei­ther bit­map or vec­tor, which can then be de­formed and keyframed. Uses for this are end­less, but it’s a good way of set­ting up selec­tive squash and stretch as aids for lip-sync­ing, adding to fa­cial ex­pres­sions, or cre­at­ing sway­ing fo­liage. It’s a de­cep­tively sim­ple im­ple­men­ta­tion which, with a lit­tle plan­ning, pro­duces some great re­sults.

An­i­ma­tors en­joy new goodies, too. Keyfram­ing can be given sep­a­rate chan­nels, to make con­trol­ling, edit­ing and nav­i­gat­ing eas­ier. There’s also a new IK (in­verse kine­mat­ics) con­straint to iso­late de­fined bones, re­duc­ing the need for un­wanted knock-on changes.

There are many, many more new fea­tures and tweaks, from real mo­tion blur to batch ex­port­ing, all of which make Moho Pro 12 a wor­thy up­grade. It feels like a fresh app that sits well with other cre­ative soft­ware, and has some ex­cel­lent new in­no­va­tions.

If hes­i­tant about tak­ing the plunge, you can trial the soft­ware, or pur­chase the cheaper Moho De­but 12 (£56), to get a good idea of what you can achieve with the pro­gram.

The new GUI is adapt­able, but the de­faults feel fresh and up-to-date with other art and de­sign soft­ware.

Achieve bet­ter lip-sync re­sults, with Moho’s new Mesh Warp tool.

In­verse kine­mat­ics gives greater con­trol over bones.

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