Anime Stu­dio 10

mov­ing sub­ject Can Manga Stu­dio pub­lisher Smith Mi­cro’s an­i­ma­tion soft­ware bring your draw­ings to life?

ImagineFX - - Hardware & Software Art Tools -

nsur­pris­ingly, Anime Stu­dio comes from the mak­ers of Manga Stu­dio, one of our favourite draw­ing pro­grams. An­i­ma­tion is no­to­ri­ously tricky, but Anime Stu­dio cov­ers all the ba­sics of turn­ing your static im­ages into mov­ing ones – and with a de­gree of sim­plic­ity. It’s al­ready found its way into fea­ture-length an­i­ma­tions, and it’s of­ten used for com­mer­cials and mu­sic videos.

‘Bones’ are key to the way it works. As their name sug­gests, they act a lit­tle like the metal skele­tons in­side clay­ma­tion pup­pets. The idea is that you take a vec­tor im­age, add bones and then the parts they’re con­nected to move around. You can add as many bones as you like, drilling down to fin­gers, and you can set fa­ther/child re­la­tion­ships, so mov­ing a fin­ger doesn’t end up wag­gling a whole hand.

It’s a sim­ple con­cept and tu­to­ri­als give you an un­der­stand­ing of how to use bones to cre­ate an­i­ma­tions. It also sup­ports Flash-style ‘tweening,’ for other ob­jects, so a cloud can move across the sky and change shape at the same time, for ex­am­ple. Ob­ject move­ments are spec­i­fied via the time­line, which makes it easy to see what’s mov­ing where and when.

Where it gets quite clever is in its abil­ity to turn Pho­to­shop PSD files into

Uan­i­mated char­ac­ters and scenes. It im­ports all your lay­ers across, and you can group lay­ers to­gether into a co­her­ent whole. It works bet­ter with vec­tors than it does with more de­tailed im­ages (sup­port for Il­lus­tra­tor is builtin, too), but it can work with your more de­tailed cre­ations. There are a few more things to bear in mind – you’ll have to con­sider an­gles and fill­ing blank spa­ces be­hind mov­ing parts – but it’ll work with a lit­tle el­bow grease and lat­eral think­ing.

There are a few mi­nor is­sues with the soft­ware – our an­i­ma­tions dis­ap­peared from the workspace on two sep­a­rate com­put­ers, but they’d reap­pear with a lit­tle click­ing. The learn­ing curve is a lit­tle steep, too, but the end re­sults make it worth per­se­ver­ing. Over­all, though, it’s a great way to find out about an­i­ma­tion and give your im­ages a lit­tle move­ment.

May 2014

Rudi­men­tary physics are new to Anime Stu­dio 10, so the beach balls in this slightly odd an­i­ma­tion lose

mo­men­tum as they bounce.

This may look a bit awk­ward, but it’s sur­pris­ing how fluid and real­is­tic Anime Stu­dio’s an­i­ma­tions are.

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