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Cambridge Animation Announces Mac OS X Version of Animo

Animation Software Shapes Up for Mac OS X By Dave Nagel
The strongest support for Mac OS X to date has come from developers of animation software. Early on--even before the official release of OS X 10.0--3D software makers had their ports in the works, and now every major piece of 3D software has found its way onto the platform. This includes NewTek LightWave, Electric Image Universe, Maxon Cinema 4D XL and, most recently, Alias|Wavefront Maya. But the 2D animation space is beginning to shape up as well.

Cambridge Animation Systems will release a Mac OS X version of its Animo 2D animation suite Dec. 1. The release marks a return to the company's roots. CAS had originally developed Animo for NextSTEP, the operating system upon which Mac OS X is largely based. CAS says the Mac OS X version will offer the same features as its Windows and SGI Irix counterparts.

Animo will be the second complete animation system making its way over to Mac OS X. The first was Toon Boom Studio from Toon Boom Technologies. Toon Boom had been released for Mac OS X 10.0 but encountered difficulties with the release of OS X 10.1. It's currently in version 1.0.1 to address some of the issues encountered with OS X 10.1.

But where Toon Boom Studio is targeted largely toward small shops and Web animators (Toon Boom Technologies' USAnimation is targeted toward high-end 2D animation), Animo is geared more for large studios. It will become the first major piece of 2D software for large studios to be released for the platform, leaving behind both USAnimation and Retas! Pro.

The latest version of Animo, like many 2D software packages, offers limited support for 3D, including the ability to import animated 3D models from Maya and Discreet's 3ds max. It also provides support for scanned pencil drawings and images painted directly within the program. Major features of the modules include:

  • Scanning (via a TWAIN driver) with automatic registration of pegged drawings, peg editing and TIFF import.
  • Background, overlay and layout scanning with automatic registration, oversized scanning (in multiple parts), color correction and alpha generation.
  • Conversion of scanned images into vectors, including support for Flash output.
  • Color styling, which includes specifying colors and line thickness with support for multiple palettes and color correction.
  • The InkPaint module includes support for automatic gap fixing and includes trace brush tools, autofill, onionskinning and simultaneous access to multiple levels.
  • Several compositing features, including automatic links to keyframes, exposure sheets, Bezier timeline editing, scene graphs and immediate viewing of a composited piece.
  • Special effects, as well as EPS and text import.

Animo is sold with a floating license, so it's not tied to any one particular machine. Pricing varies based on the modules and plugins purchased. For more information, including evaluation options, visit

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Related Keywords:animation, OS X, animo, Cambridge

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