Anime Studio Debut 7 review

Smith Micro has an eclectic range of software, offering Poser on the one hand — used by creative 3D artists the world over — and Mac StuffIt on the other. Anime Studio Debut 7 is very definitely in the former camp, offering a feature-rich package for amateur animators at a competitive price.

This is a timeline-based application that borrows a lot of paradigms from Adobe Flash, including the idea of symbols and a library. It challenges itself to make animation a breeze – and in the main, it works.

A key criterion is ease of use, and here it doesn’t disappoint. The default application state offers a choice of normal or beginner mode and also includes a fully modelled character ready for tweaking and development.

Perhaps one of the weakest points of Studio Debut 7 is the user interface, which looks like a badly designed application from Windows 3.1. It has a distinct lack of finesse and grace, and this makes the application feel a lot less usable than it actually is. Don’t be put off, however. The beginner’s mode demonstrates the basics and very quickly you’ll be creating simple stories.

A huge range of material ships with Anime Studio Debut 7, ensuring you have access to a full stage and range of props; it’s comfortably possible to create a serviceable animation within 10 minutes of first opening the app.

When you’ve created your masterpiece, you can export in QuickTime, AVI or SWF (native compiled Flash) – all are suitable for the web, and can quickly be uploaded to the likes of YouTube for sharing and feedback.

OUR VERDICT

Overall, Anime Studio Debut 7 is a very capable product, despite the diminutive price tag. Although it’s aimed squarely at amateurs, this doesn’t limit the possibilities and as such Smith Micro offers a clear upgrade path to Anime Studio Pro.

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