Pros / It’s a relatively easy program to use.
Cons / There are no bone rigging tools and no premade designs or templates.
Verdict / This software’s simple interface and tools make it perfect for hobbyists and children as long as they have the patience and dedication needed for creating stop motion animation.
Stopmotion Studio is different than most of the other 2D animation programs we tested since it focuses on animating physical objects instead of hand-drawn characters. There are no drawing tools, no bone-rigging tools and no premade effects or designs for you to use, which is why it scored so low in our comparison. It takes a lot of work to create films using this animation style so you’ll need to be dedicated if you want to make video clips. However, the software was designed for children, so the tools are easy to use and the program can be learned quickly.
Honestech sells this software for roughly $60. When we were looking, it was cheaper to purchase this software from the manufacturer’s website than from Amazon. Unfortunately, there is no free trial, so you cannot test this software before you buy it. It’s targeted towards kids so the interface is simple and easy to use. However, you might want to lightly supervise your children until they get the hang of the program.
Stop motion animation is a tried and true art form with film credits including older titles like “Star Wars” and “King Kong,” as well as modern shows such as “Robot Chicken,” “Wallace and Gromit” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.” Using Stopmotion Studio, you can create your own shows and shorts using action figures, Lego and other objects by capturing sequential images with a web camera, digital video camera or DSLR camera.
This animation software uses frames on a storyboard to create your animation. When you use stop-motion animation, you create the illusion of movement by moving your object a little bit in each individual frame. When these pictures are played back in sequence, it looks like your object is moving. This can be an incredibly fun experience for some, or a tiresome drudging process for others. If you plan on buying this software for your child, you might want to make sure they will be willing to put a lot of effort into their movies. If you're looking for easier animation software, puppet-based animation programs like Muvizu Play+ is a better option.
Stopmotion Studio uses a storyboard interface for animation creation, which shows all of the frames in sequence. You can also rearrange the pictures at any time by dragging and dropping them where you want them to appear in the sequence. The program has hotkeys you can use to merge, cut, delete, and copy and paste images with just a few keystrokes. You can also add intro or ending credits and onscreen text or subtitles to your video.
When we created a new frame in our tests, we took advantage of the onion skinning feature. This feature turns the previous frame into a transparent overlay to help you position your object perfectly for the next frame. The Chroma key feature makes putting a background behind your characters easy. All we had to do is take the pictures of our character in front of a blue or green screen and import background images from another source. The Chroma key removes the blue or green screen and replaces it with the chosen background image. Et voila, with just a few keystrokes and clicks our character was acting in outer space.
Stopmotion Studio works with BMP, JPEG, GIF and PNG file formats. The software doesn't import images directly from a scanner, but you can import them to your hard drive and then open them in the program. The software can import images from a connected camera. You can upload audio for sound effects and background music as MP3 or WAV files and record your voice for dialogue as well. We were disappointed to find that Stopmotion Studio does not have tools to edit any of these sounds, so you have to make changes in a different program before importing them into the animation software.
When your project is finished, it’s easy to upload it to YouTube or Facebook. You can also save your completed animation as a WMV, AVI, MPEG1, MPEG2 or HD MPEG file. If you need help, Honestech has FAQs, video tutorials and user guides on its website. Customer service or tech support is available by phone or email if you can’t find the answer to your question in the other resources.
Stopmotion Studio doesn’t offer many of the tools that you’ll find in other animation software since it focuses on animating physical objects instead of drawn characters. There are no pre-created special effects, no character templates for you to use and no lip-syncing tools. This artform takes dedication, as you will need to create all of your characters from scratch or use toys and objects you own. Fortunately, the tools are easy to use, so the software shouldn’t take long to learn. While you can record audio from within the software you’ll need to edit your sound files in another program.