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Which Version Of Anime Studio Is Best?

I often get asked which version of Anime Studio is best or which version I recommend someone should buy.  There’s no one answer that fits everyone, so let me ask you some questions to help you choose.

What is your dedication level to learning animation?

Are you willing to work hard to learn how to make your own cartoons, or do you just want to try it out to see if it’s for you?  This is important because a lot of people think that learning animation is something that’s simple, and then they get frustrated and give up when they realize how much work is involved. 

If you’re just trying animation out to see if it’s for you:

I recommend finding a new (not used) copy of Anime Studio Debut 6 on Amazon.com.  It’s outdated, so you can usually find a copy for under $10, and you really aren’t out much if you find out it’s not what you want to do.  Debut 6 is capable of making great looking cartoons, and you won’t be disappointed with the end result.  Plus, while you could get a free program like Synfig or Creatoon, with Debut 6 you won’t become frustrated nearly as easily as you would with those, and it renders much faster.  Plus, it’s one of the most intuitive programs on the market.  If you’re thinking of giving up with Anime Studio, don’t bother trying any other programs – animation probably isn’t for you.

If you know you’re going to pursue animation no matter what:

…then you should probably decide between one of the Pro versions.  Here’s a little guide to help you spend less by getting exactly the version you need.  If money’s an issue, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Will you be animating a lot of text?  I ask because version 6 didn’t do text very well.  It crashed a lot with cartoons that were rich with text.  Version 7 change some things, and the result was a program that could handle text without version 6’s issues.  If you’ll be doing lots of text, get Anime Studio Pro 7 or Anime Studio Pro 8.  If you don’t plan on doing text, version 6 may be right for you, but read on…
  2. Do you need the physics engine or 3D features?  If so, they weren’t introduced until Anime Studio Pro 7, but in all honesty, you probably don’t need them.  The physics engine is really designed for true 2D animation with 2D perspective (think Super Mario Bros. on the original Nintendo Entertainment System).  Once you add a 3 dimensional perspective to your 2 dimensional animation, you really have to get creative and know your stuff to make physics work for you.  In any case, you’ll probably be so far along you’ll be ready to upgrade to a later version of the software anyway.  As for the 3D tools, I almost never use them, unless it’s just for a simple vase, box, or shape that can be extruded or made with the lathe feature.  You can probably get away with not having them. 
  3. Is money an issue?  If it is, then look to Amazon for an outdated copy, and rely on the previous 2 questions to decide which version you want.  If money’s no issue, read no further.  (I guess I should have posted this first.) Just go with Anime Studio Pro 8.  It really is so much better than 7.  The character wizard and the ability to turn images into vector layers means you can cheat as you learn to use the drawing tools.  You don’t have to wait to learn how to animate.  You really can just dive right in.  Plus, as you grow as an animator the software still has all those other features that you can begin to implement (but that aren’t necessary for a beginner).

I hope this helps you make the right decision.  If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section below.

Happy Animating,

Eric Moore

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