Anime Studio Pro 6

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Anime Studio Pro 6 is billed by its maker, Smith Micro, as an “all-in-one animation tool for professionals and digital artists.” While it may not give Lightwave 3D a run for its money anytime soon, for its price Anime Studio Pro gives users an impressive array of features.

Anime Studio Pro 6 allows Macintosh users (and Windows users as well) to create various animated 2-D pieces, ranging from short animations to full length films. The software is designed to simplify the traditionally tedious job of frame-by-frame animation creation.

The newest version of Anime Studio Pro features a fairly long list of features that can be found on any animator’s wish list, including lip-syncing, onion skinning, motion tracking, vector-based drawing tools, scripting tools and layer-based auto shading (new to the latest version). It uses a bone rigging system that allows users to create fairly realistic animations, and boasts a number of special effects that allow users to tweak their creations.

After you’ve created your animation masterpiece, the software allows you to output it in a variety of different formats, including HDV and HDTV 780 p and 1080p, Flash and NTSC/PAL D1/DV standard and widescreen.

When it comes to high end digital animation software for the Macintosh, professionals have a few choices out there, including Toon Boom Animate Pro and Adobe After Effects. While Anime Studio Pro 6 may not be able to offer all the features found in some of these high end (and high priced) software packages, it does a good job of providing a solid set of tools for basic professional animation. Furthermore, at a $199 list price, Anime Studio Pro 6 is good value for your money.

While Anime Studio Pro 6 isn’t the hardest piece of software on the market to master, if you don’t have some background using animation programs, don’t expect to be able to install it and immediately begin producing the next South Park with it. There is a learning curve, especially for the novice. Having said that, any amateur animator looking to upgrade his or her toolbox and move to the next level of digital animation wouldn’t go wrong by buying this package, while professional animators would be advised to at least check it out and see if it fits their needs.