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Stop Motion Central Best Software

Recommendations on the Best Software to use for your stop motion Animation.

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Stop MotionMaker

Our Rating: ***  (Good)

There are two versions of Stop MotionMaker - "Stop MotionMaker HDMI 2.1" and "Stop MotionMaker Advance 2.7".  The HDMI version is quoted on their site as  "a basic framegrabber which has all the required tools used by professional animators, without any ‘extras’ to get in their way, ...which supports the current USB Webcams, firewire and analog capture card video interfaces, but  also the new high definition (1920 x 1080) HDMI video interface (which is now available on some video and still cameras) via a ‘Blackmagic’ interface card in the computer."

The HDMI version of Stop MotionMaker is unusual in that it claims to be a basic framegrabber when in fact it is far from being basic. There are many features in this version that are not in other products which claim to be for semi professional use! Features such as

-  variable size live/playback display,
-  Hot keys for main functions (changes are saved)
-  Go to Frame edit box.
-  Frame averaging,
-  Time lapse,
-  playback to live,
-  playback last 15, 24, 25, 30, 50, 60, 90 or 100 frames to live.
-  onionskin,
-  Loop (flip) live/last frame,
-  Sound synchronisation (can play past captured frames and track playback area to last frame),
-  Instant Preview Playback at selected framerate (even at HD sizes)
-  Produce AVIs or use compatible compression codecs when available (HD - DivX)
-  Record live video,
-  Play back video Window (also handy to play back a reference video. Eg a person walking etc).
- Save project in JPG or BMP image format, and
- Export in jpg or png image format.
- Export JPG or PNG at different HD size 1280 x 720.

We also like the import to frames of any AVI file. The sound import only supports WAV files however.

The Advanced version goes even further with a plethora of features on top of those mentioned for the HDMI version.

 

Learning Curve

For beginners the learning curve is steep. Some of the more basic functions are not self evident and have to be found among the extensive menus and submenus. The sound synchronisation tool for example again needs a quiet a bit of time to master. A younger animator or even a newcomer to animation will find it confusing initially. However if you have used framegrabbing software before and are familiar with Chromakey, rotoscoping etc.. then this product for the price is good value.

 

Other features of the application worth mentioning include a time lapse capture and  onionskinning.

Pricing table taken from the Stop MotionMaker website April 2008

 

Publisher Stop MotionMaker
File Size Stop MotionMaker HDMI 2.9mb  / Stop MotionMaker Adv 2.7  10mb
Version HDMI version 2.1  / Adv. version 2.7
Last updated Not known
License HDMI 40 Euro  (63 USD)     - Adv 80 Euro (126 USD)
Windows XP/Vista
Requirements
  • Microsoft Windows XP and Vista  
  • Mirosoft DirectX 8.0 or later
  • 512 Mb of RAM /  Recommend 1 Gb if using large digital still images
  • Compatible USB Webcam or IEEE 1394 (firewire) camera, or television camera and interface (analog capture card).  Recommend that a analog-to-digital (firewire) converter be used with the newer mini DV cameras that do not have a firewire video port.

    The system can also be used without a video camera if required.

  • For some Digital Still Camera (DSC) functions, a DSC that can export directly to a computers hard-drive
  • P4 2.8G  or equivalent CPU
 
Trial Limitations  

Watermark in grabbed frames  - 50 Frames limit

 

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