Review: iStopMotion 1.9

Simple animation creator for video or flipbooks (February 14th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Boinx Software

Price: $39.95 US

The Good

  • Easy to use. Help menu is very good. Great price. Demo version on the site. It is compatible with Power Macs and the new Intel Mac.

The Bad

  • It needs iMovie or some other movie editing program for the final version of your video. The use of a still camera requires a $20 plug-in.

iStopMotion is a tool for Stop Motion Animation and Time Lapse Recording, such as used in claymation projects. It is a Universal Application, so it runs natively on the Power PC and the new Intel based Macs.

Creating your project

First, attach your video camera to your Mac, then open iStopMotion and click on the camera button to capture video. How easy could it be? You view your work through the document window's full screen to see how your animation is progressing frame by frame. Import your footage into a separate video-editing program, such as iMovie, to create your finished product. You can export a single image in a TIFF or PICT format or save a sequence as a QuickTime or DVD movie. To add music, just import a WAV formatted sound file into your final iStopMotion document.

It is easy to capture animation. Create a clay figure or use your favorite Super Hero action figure to create an animated sequence. Capture a short section, move your figure's arm upward a bit, capture a bit more video, move your figure's arm up a bit more and capture that, than have our figure wave its hand. Capture the figure in a variety of poses, with each movement documented on video. After capturing a number of video clips, import your video into iMovie and put it all together. Add a voice track and it appears that your clay figure is waving its hand and saying, "Hi, my name is Sid," or whatever.

screenshot
Boinx iStopMotion Interface

Good Feature Set

The Onion Skinning feature lets you follow the action of your animation. Just view the last several frames to show you where the next sequence should start. This is very helpful in keeping your motion moving smoothly. Blinking lets you see your image in a rapid strobe light like fashion in the preview window. As you flip through the images, you can see if your animation is smooth or jerky due to gaps in positioning.

iStopMotion lets you edit frames in your sequences or movie. You can delete, paste, or copy a frame to your movie's time line. You can also drag and drop a frame into your document. You can also make a time lapsed sequence. Set the easy to use controls and with your video camera attached to your Mac, you can capture activity covering a period of time. You'll need to set iStopMotion to make a video capture every so many seconds, minutes or hours. Watch a rose come into bloom or the workers at the construction site next door as they complete their tasks during the day.

For an additional cost, you can purchase a license to the Still Camera Plug-in, that lets you load single images from your digital camera. View and select from thumbnail images in your still camera, and import just those images that you need. Just for fun, you can print out the iStopMotion frames and create a flipbook.

Overall this is an interesting tool for your AV arsenal. It helps you create smooth animation and time-lapse movies for a reasonable price.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Rick Curran


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