updated 02:55 pm EDT, Wed October 17, 2007
iStopMotion 2 complete
After two years of development and a lengthy public test phase, iStopMotion 2 is ready for Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X Leopard operating system. The stop-motion animation software features virtual stages that allow animators to place objects into a pre-recorded background, as well as "rotoscoping" which supports loading a video that guides animators in the animation. The update also enables users to record a certain number of frames in real time, and boasts support for high-definition (HD) cameras. The software comes in three varieties designed for different users which include the Home edition ($50) for families, the Express edition ($100) for serious hobbyist animators, and a pro version ($500) for animators who aim to or who already earn a living with stop-motion animation.
iStopMotion 2 Virtual Stage
"Our goal was to add new capabilities that appeal to professionals while keeping it so easy that kindergarten kids love to use it. It was an ambitious goal, but we think we achieved it with iStopMotion 2," said Florian Albrecht, who is responsible for iStopMotion's development at Boinx.
Chroma keying serves as an example virtual stage, enabling children to havfe their toys walk on the moon or explore a coral reef deep in the ocean. Boinx says virtual stages are flexible enough to bring ambitious movie ideas into reach of hobbyists and pros.
Taking a cue, real-time recording
"Instead of painstakingly planning your animation and creating an 'x-sheet,' simply load in a cue video to guide your animation," Boinx suggests. "This video is displayed alongside the animation window or composed into the animation video transparently. Before this, one of the biggest challenges was to animate dialog and get the mouth movement right."
Animators can record a sequence of a specific number of frames in real time with iStopMotion 2, supporting quick and easy creation of zooms and pans with a motion controlled camera.
Non-square pixels, keyboard and voice commands
"As video pixels are not square in many video standards like DV, support for non-square pixels ensures that a circle remains a circle regardless of video source or destination format. Keyboard and Voice commands are customizable. Animators can configure their own keyboard commands or attach a programmable keypad to create a control console."