Stop-motion animation, once a thriving artform, has all but disappeared and it’s all Steve Jobs’ fault. Not only is he the driving force behind Apple, but he’s also one of the co-founders of Pixar. With films like Toy Story and Finding Nemo, the animation outfit made old school cartoons pretty much obsolete.
Smoovie brings things satisfyingly full circle. Using your digital camera or web cam, you can make your very own stop-motion animations in true Wallace and Gromit style. Best of all, the results are instant.
If you’re used to using tools like Flash for 2D animation, or even 3D tools like Maya and Blender, you’ll find Smoovie hilariously simple. You just plug in a camera, start the software and create a new project. Point your camera at a scene of your choosing and take a picture. Move things a bit, then take a picture. Move things a bit more, then take another picture. You get the gist.
The tool allows some fine-tuning in Editor mode, where you can select a frame and drop in new shots if required.
You can also choose to shoot your image sequence in advance, then drag and drop the results to the library. If you have a fast firing digital SLR, we can envisage some really creative uses of this feature. When you’ve finished the video side of things, you can add music direct from your iTunes library and click a single button to upload the results to YouTube.
With Smoovie, stop-motion animation is updated and simplified for the consumer computer age. The tools aren’t fancy, but they don’t need to be. The only real limits here are your imagination. Oh, and your patience.