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.
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.