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Animation Software Review: Anime Studio Debut 7

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Animation Software Review: Anime Studio Debut 7

Since this little bugger clearly isn't ugly enough, lets' play with the vectors and add freaky arm-growths.

The Bottom Line

Anime Studio Debut 7 does an admirable job of bridging the gap between beginner animation software and more advanced animation programs by offering an accessible toolset with comprehensive features and smart tips for animators of all ages.

...but I'm docking points for that hideous interface.


  • Comes with access to an enormous set of free characters and tutorials.
  • Lets you choose modes for beginners or more advanced users.
  • Very affordable at $19.99 for the upgrade, $49.99 for the full.
  • Categorized, searchable content library organizes your animation. Allows favoriting.
  • Beginner's Mode tools come with comprehensive tips explaining their use.


  • Why am I looking at a distracting, bright yellow ad ticker on paid software?
  • I can't seem to open more than one file at a time.
  • Has to be the ugliest interface I've seen on a major app in a long time.


  • Timeline-based 2D cartoon animation program with bone systems and vector art.
  • Comes with multiple automated effects for shading, animation, and style.
  • Advanced content library and tutorials help beginners get started.
  • Connect with other users using StuffIt.
  • Export and publish to multiple popular presentation formats.
  • New tools and styles provide more all-in-one functionality.

Guide Review - Animation Software Review: Anime Studio Debut 7

I'm not going to pull my punches here: Anime Studio Debut 7.0 is one ugly piece of work - but it's also proof you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. Although the blue...purple...slate...whatever-that-color-is interface looks chunky and unprofessional, the software still delivers the functionality I've come to expect from Smith-Micro.

Intended as a low-end version of Anime Studio Pro 7.0, Anime Studio Debut 7.0 still provides essential animation tools such as bone-based animation systems and keyframe-based animation timelines. With bone systems being the tool of choice for easy, fluid animations, Anime Studio Debut's definitely keeping on the competitive edge with Smith Micro's particular bone animation technique. The software also introduces new features such as the Follow Path Tool, which is similar to Flash's motion paths. Create a path, assign an object, and the object will follow that path. Not bad for a program that costs less than $50.

You can also record your own sound directly in the program - an advantage over many other animation programs, though after some experimentation I wouldn't recommend it for more than just basic voice or effect recordings. Other new additions are frankly a bit overdue, such as image masking and filters.

One thing that will interest novices is Beginner Mode. You can easily toggle Beginner Mode on and off; turning it on will simplify the toolset available and activate basic tooltips that teach you how to use the tools as you go. When you're ready, turn it off and dive into the more complex functions. There are also plenty of tutorials and samples to walk you through creating more advanced animations.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about Anime Studio Debut 7.0. On one hand, it's not doing anything special or new; it's just upgrading to keep up with the dozens of other animation programs out there. On the other hand, it's doing what other programs do for a much lower cost, with a beginner-friendly approach that makes it a great stepping-stone tool for more advanced software without dumbing things down to childish levels. It's a good program, it's cheap...but for some reason, it's leaving me a little underwhelmed.

Maybe I'm just not a big fan of purple. Indigo. Seriously, what color is that?

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