Price tag hefty but so is potential return – Linker Systems Animation Stand 3.2 for the Power Mac animation software – Software Review

Price tag hefty but so is potential return – Linker Systems Animation Stand 3.2 for the Power Mac animation software – Software Review – Evaluation

Cliff Cunningham

The basic premise behind Linker Systems’ Animation Stand 3.2 for the PowerMac is to automate some of the tedious tasks involved in the skills of traditional animation.

Animation Stand uses a spreadsheet approach to building an animation. Traditional animators will be familiar with this since its appearance is similar to that of an exposure sheet.

The exposure sheet gives the user a quick and visual breakdown of what is taking place in the animation. Mini representations of the animation elements can be seen in the sheet, and a precise screen location is also displayed for each element.

This current version has some bugs. I had to disable all other extensions in order to keep the application from freezing up.

The manual lists a number of extensions that will not work properly with the software, so it is important to check with the manual before beginning the application.

It also comes with a dongle, a small copy protection device that attaches to the Mac desktop bus. Being an avid hater of (bangles, I’m pretty sure that most of the computer problems are associated with this device.

The drawing tools are extensire but I found that using my traditional animation table and scanning the drawings into the computer is the best approach.

A graphics tablet is a must should you consider drawing directly in the application; once in the computer these drawings may then be cleaned up.

Animation Stand has a rather novel feature that will close any of the open lines: where two lines do not touch to complete a shape, the application has the ability to dose tile gap to allow color to be placed into the shape.

Adding color is pretty much the same as in most other paint packages. You have the standard bucket tool as well as a wide variety of other choices. The application also has a multitude of other tools, so many in fact, that I recommend working with a dual monitor setup.

One monitor could easily fill up with all the tool choices, while the other monitor can be used for actual work and displaying your animation.

One of the package’s most useful features is a wipe tool that creates a variety of anti-aliased wipes from a circle, oval or rectangle. You can also set the acceleration and deceleration rates of objects on a perframe basis, and cycle segments of animations as many times as you like by entering a number in a dialog box.

It will support resolutions up to film quality (60 fields per second) but at that resolution don’t be in a hurry to do anything fast, even on a 100 MHz PowerMac.

Personally, ! feel that attaching a large price tag to any software – in this case $7,000 (U.S.) for a desktop application – is just a little over-zealous. At that price this software had better wash my clothes and iron my socks.

But on the other hand once you get over the learning curve and are in the animation industry, this software can be a great time-saver and moneysaver.

If you are a small animation company that can afford to spend this kind of money and want something more that just a pencil test software, my advice would be to take the plunge and go for it.

If you are just interested in doing two-dimensional animation on the computer, Macromedia’s Director is far cheaper and easier to learn.

There is a demo version of this software available with an electronic manual in hypercard format.

For information contact Linker at (714) 552-1904 or (714) 552-6985 (fax).

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