At Macworld | iWorld 2012, I had the chance to sit down with the folks behind Smith Micro's Anime Studio and discuss the latest update to its Anime Studio animation suite. Anime Studio 8.1 allows support for Wacom multi-touch tablets, the first of its kind for a piece of animation software. After Macworld, they sent me a Wacom Bamboo Capture so I could try the software out for myself.
Anime Studio is a vector-based program designed to make the transition to doing your own animation a bit easier. The program assumes you know very little about the animation process, and will ask if you want to enter beginner or standard mode.
I went for the beginner mode and was treated to a very nice, robust tutorial and a pre-made character designed to teach me how everything worked. There were guides cueing me into showing me what parts of the character I could move, and it took very little time to make a crude animation. The amount of flexibility in the program is impressive, and I even had part of my character's face separated from the rest for awhile!
Using the Wacom was especially nice in freehand mode to do doodles, but I will leave the majority of the serious artwork to my comics partner. I would love to see what Isa could do with Anime Studio. I wouldn't recommend the Wacom to a very young child who isn't quite sure of all the controls, but a middle-schooler would be absolutely fine. One of Smith Micro's goals is to get Anime Studio into more schools, and I wish there had been something like this when I was in school.
There's two flavors of Anime Studio: The Pro version runs $199.99 and the Debut version is $49.99. Both are available as 30-day trials, so if you're interested in flexing your animation wings, this is great animation software to help you get started.
Check out the video below from Macworld | iWorld 2012 to see the Wacom tablet in action in Anime Studio.