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131 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real winner!
So, I read some of the other reviews. And, obviously they are from people who really know and understand computer animation.
Not me! I know absolutely ZIPPO about computer animation. What I DO know is that this program is a blast! It's very simple to use, intuitive, and makes ME feel like I understand how to create animation!
I would go much more into detail,...
Published on September 16, 2010 by D. Vance

versus
135 of 162 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Spiderman Project: Anime Studio Debut 7: A Critical Review
Customer Video Review     Length:: 3:41 Mins
* Pre-review comments
** Installation, Inspection and Tech Support (or, lack thereof)
*** Spiderman
**** Conclusion

* Almost a year ago, I received and reviewed Anime Studio Debut 6. At the time, I mentioned that it was an entry-level animation software that was a good buy despite its limitations and high learning...
Published on September 23, 2010 by Andre Lawrence


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131 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Real winner!, September 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
So, I read some of the other reviews. And, obviously they are from people who really know and understand computer animation.
Not me! I know absolutely ZIPPO about computer animation. What I DO know is that this program is a blast! It's very simple to use, intuitive, and makes ME feel like I understand how to create animation!
I would go much more into detail, however my 12 yr old granddaughter saw this and took it home with her! She sat down with her laptop in my living room, and within 10 minutes was creating much better animation that I had done. She absolutely LOVES it! This would make an awesome gift for a teen.
It's not a professional program, nor is it meant to be. But as an introduction to the joys of computer animation, it completely succeeds.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flash lite, September 24, 2010
By 
Dinubabear (Landover, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The tutorial on this is very good, and it will have you making flash-like 2D cartoons in a few hours. It is more limited than Adobe Flash, but is easier to learn in my opinion, because of this. And it is very affordable instead of spending hundreds of dollars for real Flash. The "bones & joints" to articulate the carton figures are very nice and make animating a lot easier.

Realize that nothing will provide you with patience and artistic talent, and both are required for making cartoons in any medium. But if you want to see if you can make popular internet cartoons, I would buy this to find out, instead of investing a lot, only to find that you think it is too much work.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, but a great tool for artists, November 19, 2010
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've been tinkering with this program for a couple of weeks and have decided it's just not for me. It's too difficult for me to make a great animation.

The program isn't at fault. You can set joints and manipulate them, there are included textures and body parts and mouths, and it's very straightforward to move, frame by frame (similar to an audio editor like Audacity) and change what each of these segments do. There are a couple of samples that make it pretty easy to tell how to pace.

However, very little of the animating is automated. You have to painstakingly adjust what your characters are doing.

I also have Adobe Flash, so I want to note that it's quite clear Anime Studio Debut 7 is a much easier and straightforward way to make cartoons. But you still have to do quite a bit of work to get results that are anywhere near the demonstrations. It will take time. Don't buy this program expecting it to be a piece of cake... buy this program expecting it to make it possible for you to animate. This program's main benefit is that it takes much less skill. You don't really need any computer skill beyond the most basic... you just need patience. Imagine you have a stop motion camera and some models that you need to manipulate from frame to frame. This serves as extremely good and easy to make models. You still have to do the manipulation.

The program was reliable and I think it's fun to use. Don't interpret my remarks as negative... this is great software. Just keep your expectations realistic.
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135 of 162 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Spiderman Project: Anime Studio Debut 7: A Critical Review, September 23, 2010
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 3:41 Mins

* Pre-review comments
** Installation, Inspection and Tech Support (or, lack thereof)
*** Spiderman
**** Conclusion

* Almost a year ago, I received and reviewed Anime Studio Debut 6. At the time, I mentioned that it was an entry-level animation software that was a good buy despite its limitations and high learning curve.

I mentioned that ASD was, in my opinion, a strip-down version of Adobe's Flash and Illustrator software but at "95% off." What they needed to do, I suggested, was to simplify the interface and provide proper tutorials on how the software works because the 3 two-minute tutorials were woefully insufficient. They did somewhat better this time offering two instruction manuals in pdf and a series of vignette tutorials on what the tools do. Herein lies the problem. Unless you're into silly nonsense like dancing stars and bouncing balls, you don't have any clue as to what the program can do. So, this year I decided to take a very big leap to see just how well the software works in connection with what they ("Smith Micro") say their product can do. I gave myself a small project: to make a 3 minute cartoon. The software totes itself as being able to make traditional 2D cartoons as well as "jig jag" -- a mixture of photographs and illustrations. The software DOESN'T work as it should. This cartoon is basically what I had in mind if I could just use Anime Studio alone. Since it's incapable of utilizing jpg's, and only has one (1) audio channel, I was forced to use four other softwares to get close to what I thought ASD-7 should do by itself.

** I installed the software and didn't do any work on it for a week while I poured over the User Manual and the Quick Start Guide and video tutorials. I took extensive notes on my newsprint pad as I sketched out how the story would look. I collected jpg's, sound files, recorded actor's voice-overs (at my expense) in the meantime. I also started sketching out the characters.

One of the things I initially found exciting was that the software can allow you to import various image, sound and movie files and afterwards export them in a number of different formats including a .mov file and an .flv file. The software DOESN'T handle all of these formats flawlessly nor was there any explanation offered as to why it doesn't.

One of the problems I got stuck on was the transition from one image to another. "Peter Parker" is recovering from a devastating fight with "The Green Goblin." He's at the point in his life where he knows he has to decide is he going to continue being a superhero or is he going to settle down and have a normal life with his on-again/ off-again girlfriend, Mary-Jane ("MJ") Watson? For that initial deliberation, I imagined him in his bedroom recovering, but I wanted to see and hear him thinking about his choices. A simple transition from sitting on the bed to walking to the window was all that's called for. For almost two weeks (I still have the movie files for my records, btw) I was unable, through the user manual and unfortunately by tech support to understand WHY doesn't a jpg image make a simple transition ("dissolve") into the other. That is a standard in slideshow formatting. The software is supposed to offer two (2) different ways in which to accomplish this. One, (after importing all images at Frame 0), setting keyframes at the respective places and, after opening the layer menu, adjusting the Visibility setting. This should, according to the User Manual, show a change in transition at the desired point. Another way is to use the Opacity setting. If you set the opacity at 100% and at a later keyframe, set Opacity at 0 (keeping the Visibility column checked), you'd see a gradual invisibility happen while the visibility of the image on the second later begins to appear concurrently. But this never happened.

Repeated calls to Tech Support resulted in a waste of cellphone minutes. Let me make a recommendation that will be of some support. Chris Georgenes produces a series of books about animation that is cross-software How to Cheat in Adobe Flash CS5: The Art of Design and Animation . It is phenomenal. Originally produced as an accompaniment for Adobe Flash, it shows you the basics through very complex exercises that can be done with competent software, so even entry-level softwares wouldn't be a problem. DON'T buy into Smith Micro's ploy to get you to buy lessons or a book that they're producing for the software. They haven't fulfilled their basic obligation as it is.

BTW, reading other reviewers' experiences with ASD and tech support, my situation is not unique.

*** SPIDERMAN
After I had drafted out the storyline and created a storyboard for the project, I was disappointed that ASD7 was unable to do a simple, seamless transition between layers. This, after changing the jpg images to the identical png made no difference. So, I used the following software to get the effects of the animation.

Anime Studio Debut 7 (for lip synching, although the mouth in one scene had a life of its own!)

Adobe Photoshop CS3. (for image creation.)

iPhoto 09/ iTunes (For sequencing. After I created the slideshow, I brought it into ASD and added voice and lip-synching. iTunes enabled me to take a voice file and save it as an mp3, which then went into ASD.)

Audacity (for audio mixing. ASD and AS Pro only allow you 1 channel for audio. I thought about a particular scene, for instance, in Mary Jane's living room. I thought about her in the shower getting ready for the date while having music play in the living room and the phone starts to ring. So, I mixed the sound of the shower along with the music and telephone and Audacity mixed it into a single audio file that I just uploaded into ASD.) By the way, Audacity is free!

iMovie 09. After I created all of the episodes from ASD and iPhoto, I was able to assemble it all here and add the closing credits.

21 days +300 file folder items +1 GB of storage + 1 week of frustrating conversations with Smith Micro = a lot of fun, nonetheless.

**** Pro's and Con's

Pro's
+ Software is relatively inexpensive. (But if you're able to hold off and buy during the end of the year holiday season, the price of the software drops to less than half of retail.)
+ Much, more instruction provided when compared to ASD 6.
+ Installation was less than 3 minutes
+ Simple vector (not bitmap/jpg) based animation when used with Bones and Voice tool really does work fine.
+ Best suited for teenagers.
+ Separate Mac and Windows installation cd's.

Con's
- Software's layer capacity DOESN'T work well with non vector-based/ png images.
- Interface is still too crowded and is in desperate need of a make-over. The pale grey theme and tool icons look a bit too childish for a paid product.
- Tech support is, as other reviewers correctly stated, disinclined to directly answer questions without bringing up that there's a teaching fee for "that" information.
- On the Spiderman project, the audio effects the position of the mouth and occasionally, despite no keyframing, the mouth moves as high the nose when a character is talking.
- Only 1 audio track. (There should be at least 5.)

Considering everything the product is worth 2.5 stars.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars only 2 minutes, December 7, 2010
By 
Aaron Smith (Bloomfield, NJ, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
i bought asd7 and was really excited when it got to me. i was pleased with the easy interface and easy to follow tutorial. what i was very disappointed with was the limitations of the program. while asd7 is not a profesional program i was expecting to be able to make cartoons, not 2 min shorts. the program maxes out it's frame capacity at 3000 frames which is about 2 mins of animation. the only place you will get this info is on the smithmicro website. i personally feel this limitation is not mentioned by the company(smithmicro) everywhere they sell asd7 because then no one would buy it. if you have a child that wants to see what animation is all about then spend the $40. otherwise spent the money on Adobe.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good program for a beginner, November 8, 2010
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a anime newbie, this program looked easy enough for a beginner to use to produce some fun videos for my hip young toddler granddaughters!

Install and set up went smoothly. I found the Beginner's Mode to be well organized and great for someone just starting out in animation. It wasn't exactly intuitive, but was easy to follow for someone who is first approaching this media. There is more than enough pre-made content to build your confidence before you venture into total creativity!

Don't expect to install this and run with your first major program in minutes. You will need to take a little time to look around, use the tools, and become familiar with the quirks of the program. Once you've managed to master the beginner mode, the fun begins with using advanced anime! I had so much fun with this that I'm looking into getting a more complex version and taking the next step towards more professional productions.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Be Careful...Very Careful, August 2, 2010
By 
Exchronos (Canton, OH USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Although this software allows Bone Rigging in order to get Bone Physics you have to buy the Pro version.

When I compared Debut VS Pro on Amazon I didn't see much of a difference other than Pro allows you to create in 3-D. When you go on Smith Micro's website it gives you a much better comparison.

It's a hard program to learn. Right now, everytime I move a bone my whole character either implodes, or splits in two while becoming headless. It isn't a program for the easily impatient or easily infuriated!

It does allow you to import artwork, but BEWARE! If you scanned your sketch book or created an image that's flat (like bmp or jpeg) you might have to disassemble your character and make files for separate body parts. I made my characters in MS Paint and because I use a copy and paste method (while saving everything I make for later use) it's easier for me to save an arm or a leg here or there, but on my scanned art? Not a very good prospect.

The instructions on imported artwork is negligible-there's hardly any. While I waited for my software in the mail I dilligently made characters in MS Paint, only to find it hard to use them in the program. Deconstructing the characters to their body parts might make bone rigging easier, but if the imported image is too big you have to scale it down, and then lining up all the body part layers and resizing them to the right porportions is a huge hassle.

Smith-Micro customer service won't help you either. After you register your product, you can get tech support, but when you call they aren't allowed to help with any program questions...even if they know how to solve your problem!

I'm weary of buying the guides because there isn't one for this specific version yet.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Capabilities - Easy to learn, Difficult to Master, November 8, 2010
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really didn't have many expectations when I received this product, but quickly learned that this product has some serious capability. They include a short video learning tool to get you started. It seems straightforward at first, but then you realize the teacher is covering a lot of ground and at a rather quick pace. And this is only for you to work in the basic mode. They have two levels, basic and advanced. I'm still in the basic mode. I would have been perfectly satisfied even if the basic mode was all this software offered. But I'm really glad they put it all into this product. One of the most fun and unexpected features is the voice synchronization. You can record your own voice and either use it as it is or select cartoon voices. Then the mouth of your subject moves in synchronization to your voice - and much more. Also, I really like the time line where you can select a path for your cartoon figure to follow and let the software fill in the time between the start point and the end point. That is a real time saver.

The bones concept is very clever. Essentially you can have control over the bones and joints to create a semi-realistic body or animal. They have a fairly extensive library on-line, some of which is free. But you can get carried away purchasing some of the material, which I did. I think I downloaded some things that only work with another of their products called Poser. Somebody has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into the library material. And some material is in such detail that maybe you don't want your children looking at it. However, it is just amazing to me that all this capability exists. I just didn't know that all this functionality existed in such an inexpensive product. I think the price for this software is an incredible bargain considering what you get. Now you can spend many times the cost of this software if you purchase the on-line library items. But the library is a real time saver if you don't want to do everything from scratch.

If you purchase this product, be prepared to spend a lot of time learning and even more time actually doing the projects. While this is an amazing product, it can sure consume a lot of time. This is probably less of a problem for kids, because they live for this sort of thing. As an adult, I just don't have enough time to devote to doing this. It is fun and creative, just eats up a lot of time before you realize it. But it sure beats the old way of drawing on paper! I really like this product a lot, especially for such a bargain price.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Animation Software - Highly Recommended!, September 19, 2010
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We upgraded to "Anime Studio Debut 7" from "Debut 6" and like that they left everything that was good and added some much needed features! This is a very good animation application that gives you a lot of power if you are willing to spend the time to learn the software. There is a bit of learning curve that is greatly helped by going through the tutorials and both my son and I were able to get up to speed with a few hours of playing around.

The use of virtual "bones" that can be embedded into drawings or imported picture objects and used to bend and warp the shapes makes the animations fairly easy once you get the hang of manipulating the strength and range settings. The included library of props and characters are useful and let you jump right in with the improved controls, which takes some of the guess work out of making your animations.

This is a fairly powerful program that is geared to the beginner through intermediate level user. It is also a great value for the price. My son (14) has made some very fun animations and he took to it faster than I did.

Recommended!

CFH
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to use but not intuitive? Yes and yes. Lots of potential (yours) here., November 14, 2010
By 
This review is from: Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] (Software)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an interesting piece of software, and I've struggled a bit to reconcile my feelings about it. The reviews I've seen follow many of the same conflicts with which I've struggled, and I think my approach in this review is going to be to focus on what this is and what it's not, while trying to be as precise as possible about the language used, lest I sound like I'm contradicting myself from one sentence to the next.

For example; Anime Studio Debut is NOT intuitive, it is, however easy to pick up and use. An odd statement, that. I'm an experienced (but casual) PhotoShop user. The first time I fired that software up (many versions ago) I was a bit overwhelmed, but was able to accomplish basic tasks. Years (and years) later, I still discover functions, shortcuts, and tools that sort of blow my mind. Anime Studio Debut 7 is nowhere near that deep, nor does it need or intend to be. Where the comparison becomes relevant is that, unlike Photoshop, I was not able to really accomplish anything of value in ASD7 immediately firing it up. Instead, I had to take a few moments and really go through the introduction, then play around in Beginner's Mode. So let's back up to my first 'odd statement.' It's not intuitive. It is easy to pick up and use. Make use of the resources provided, even briefly, and you'll be well on your way to creating basic animations in a short period of time.

There are other (many other) resources out there that can accomplish the same thing. Without naming them (they're invoked in many of the reviews), I'll echo the same point made by most of my peers -- this represents (by far) the best value for the novice/hobbyist who wants to have fun, but still create (potentially) some pretty impressive effects. The bone rigging is a huge boon, as you end up manipulating a digital 'doll' as you proceed, rather than the much more laborious process of manipulating static or layered art. This sort of ease of manipulation extends throughout the software. Built-in lip synching to your own recordings is just another example.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone launched their South Park 'empire' with paper cutouts and stop motion photography. For the entirely accessible price of this software you or someone else (would make a good gift for a creative kid) can be creating your own masterpiece in a fraction of the time The Spirit of Christmas took them. What's left is your imagination, and if that's all that stands in the way, then I have to consider this a worthwhile piece of software. I'm torn between 4 and 5 stars. I'm going to give it 4 because I feel like there could (or should) be ways to make it more intuitive, make it so anyone can just jump right in and accomplish right off the bat (not that they haven't gone to some length to accomplish that already).

Fun platform, it's just a little intimidating on first load.
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Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION]
Anime Studio Debut 7 [OLD VERSION] by Smith Micro Software Inc. (Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger / 10.5 Leopard / 10.6 Snow Leopard, Windows 7 / Vista / XP)
$49.99 $8.18
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