I just got the notice that Anime Studio Debut 8 and Anime Studio Pro 8 will be released next week, on June 8, 2011. The newest version has some amazing features, and I’ll be sure to post links to any of my tutorials and reviews right here, so stay tuned. After you’ve tried it, feel free to post your own Anime Studio 8 review below in the comments section.
Anime Studio 8 features:
- The Debut version will still have a beginner’s mode (introduced in Anime Studio Debut 7), which is a nice feature to make sure any new users won’t get overwhelmed.
- The best feature is the new character wizard, which allows you to choose presets and move some sliders, and you can get a whole new character in no time. Gone are the days of spending days to create characters (uh oh, I might be out of a job). The really cool thing is that the presets aren’t just for one view. You can export multiple views of each character, based on your slider settings and presets. If you have the Pro version, it’ll export certain actions with the character, such as a walk cycle, jump, and a couple of others.
- Another great new feature is the automatic image tracing tool. With this feature you can import a sketch and turn it into a vector layer (vectorize it). You also have the ability to move sliders to change the detail reduction, fatten lines, and adjust the threshold. This will truly be a game changer and a huge time saver. Gone will be the days of tracing images to get the perfect backgrounds. Now, you can take a picture of something, edit it to a transparent background .png picture, import it, and allow the automatic image tracing tool to turn it into the perfect vector layer to match the rest of your scene!
- The patch layers shown in the video below are only available for the Pro version.
Check out the videos below to see some of Anime Studio 8’s features.
If you’d rather watch in high definition on YouTube, check out the review below.
Video #2 is the same video as the first one, but not in high def for your viewing enjoyment.
Here are a couple of samples of the “Trace Image Tool.”
Problems with the tracing tool:
- There’s no way to change the sensitivity of the magic wand (that I know of) for masking parts of the photo before vectorizing it. This means your computer must work a lot harder or you must spend a lot of time masking individual pixels.
- While turning complex photos into vector layers AS Pro 8 never crashed, but I got a lot of “Program Not Responding” errors.
Details of the tests I did:
The praying mantis was a more complicated photo, and it took about 8 minutes to render into a vector layer. On top of that, I had to clean up the layer’s extra vector shapes that were added on account of the magic wand not masking enough stuff in the photo. I had to continuously wait for the program to process the information, much like if you imported a large video into a scene and had a lot of wait time. With the magic wand you can mask (or erase) parts of a photo from being turned into a vector layer. However, I haven’t found a way to change the sensitivity of the wand. It’s very sensitive, so it may only mask one of a hundred different shades of a color in a photo. What works a lot better is to use a layer effect in Photoshop or GIMP and turn a photo into a less detailed picture by posterizing it, or cartoonizing it. Then, import it into Anime Studio and trace the image. This is basically how I did the cartoon school bus below. AS Pro 8 turned the simplified cartoon school bus jpeg into a cartoon vector layer in a few seconds. Plus, I was able to magic wand the school bus to mask what I didn’t want to vectorize prior to using the tracing tool. Total time to go from photo to vector layer: maybe 5 seconds. Here’s the exported png of the single school bus vector layer.
Smith Micro has really outdone themselves this time. I honestly don’t know why anyone still uses those $2000 animation software programs like Toon Boom when programs like Anime Studio Pro 8 can do so much more than they can and can do it so much cheaper. Speaking of price, they Smith Micro hasn’t boosted the price to match the new benefits. Look for Anime Studio Pro 8 to retail at $199.99 and Anime Studio Debut 8 to cost around $49.99.