Product Review: Page (1) of 1 - 09/12/06 Email this story to a friend. email article Print this page (Article printing at page facebook

Moho Reborn

Lost Marble software becomes Anime Studio By Ko Maruyama
A robust, although lesser-known animation application called Moho has been in the pocket of many vector-based animators.  With the ability to create tons of animation styles with more features than similar software, Moho's metamorphosis into a studio-style package is no mystery.  It's pairing with other eFrontier software however, is a surprising, but interesting match.

Moho was first created in 1999.  Creator, Mike Clifton, wrote the application to make animation accessible to all.  Although 2D animation has always been popular, a swing towards 3D animation was on the rise (and still is).  Moho was designed to allow animators make compelling movies without requiring huge amounts of money and time.

Listening to user feedback and comments, Moho quickly changed, growing through several versions.

Moho is now Anime Studio (and Anime Studio Pro), available for both the Mac and PC.

Anime Studio Pro holds a "version 5" name because it contains all of the excellent features of Moho under the new name.

There were several features that interested me.   The first feature that caught my eye was the ability to import 3D objects.  Almost every 3D application will export an object as an ".obj" file.  Now, under the umbrella of the e-frontier familiy, you can be sure that Shade, Amapi and Poser will support their new sibling.

Under Anime Studio, you can create a 2D/3D environment as your animation canvas.  As many 3D compositors know, the ability to create this type of stage will allow you to make a much more dynamic animation.

While many of the other tools in Anime Studio are those which you would expect to find in any high end vector art / animation-stand style application, there is one more tool that stands out above other popular software.  Anime studio comes with a bone systems which allows 2D artists to use tools similar to those found in 3D applications to control character animations.

Anime Studio Pro also comes with Papagayo.  Papagayo is a software available from Lost Marble, but also bundled with the new Studio Pro software.    In a previous interview, Mike Clifton indicated "Papagayo is a relatively recent piece of software."  When asked why it was created, he noted, "Over the years, Moho users have taken different approaches to doing lip-sync.  Instead of making animators perform lip-sync in one particular way, we wanted to let them keep working as they have been, using a variety of third-party programs.  Papagayo fits in as on choice amoung these thid-party lip-sync programs."  Now that Papagayo is an integrated tool, it's an obvious choice.

While many 3D compositors take particle system engines for granted, some 2D cel animators don't have that luxury.  Anime Studio comes with dynamic particle generators that can make all kinds of custom emissions.

There are several other features that have migrated from Moho to Anime Studio which are worth checking out.    New content will be available on e?frontier's Content Paradise site.

You can purchase Anime Studio Pro for under $200.  If you already own Poser or Manga Studio, you can purchase it for under $150 until November 15, 2006.  If you only need a few of the tools in the animation package, you can pick up Anime Studio standard version for only $49.99.  Both are available for Mac or PC.  Check them out at the efrontier site, by clicking here:  ANIME STUDIO PRO LINK.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:moho, lost marble, papagayo, anime studio pro, vector animation, efrontier, ko maruyama

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