Adobe Flash VS Anime Studio: Which Is Vector Animation King?

As both an animator and an instructor, I get many questions regarding Adobe Flash and Anime Studio Pro. Which software is more affordable? How does each utilize animation? Is Anime Studio easier to use? And overall, which software is better? The clear answer is this: neither of these pieces of software are better than the other. However, there are differences that may or may not benefit users, depending on the circumstances. I will list five main points in this article regarding the pros and cons of each software.

  1. Bone VS frame by frame animation. While AS can do frame by frame animation, it was built for bones. Bone animation is the technique in which you draw out a skeletal structure and animate an object based on it. Flash has a basic bone and tween system, but it doesn’t hold a candle to Anime Studio’s. However, Flash is more usable as a frame by frame animation software. There is no right or wrong here, it just depends on your style.
  2. Anime Studio is more user-friendly. It’s true, especially if you have never dealt with animation before. The software is pretty straight forward (especially the Debut version) yet deep enough for professionals to get some real mileage out of it. AS was designed to be an animation solution. Adobe Flash is an overall more robust package, allowing for programming, web design and more, so the focus isn’t strictly on animation. If you’re new to animation, and don’t want to become overwhelmed, Anime Studio may be your best bet.
  3. Adobe Flash costs more. If you’re on a budget, you may want to consider the cost of these software. Adobe Flash can cost upwards to $500 USD while Anime Studio can be snagged for $100 or so, depending on where you buy. There is, however, a trade off to this…
  4. Adobe Flash does more than just animation. Interactive websites, games, mobile applications and the list goes on. Flash is used by many in the industry for more than just cartoon animation. Plus, it integrates well with the entire Adobe Suite. If you want more than just vector design, Flash may be your best bet.
  5. Try them for yourself! I could go on and on about the differences between these two pieces of software. At the end of the day though, it all comes down to personal preference. Ease of use VS more features, bone animation VS traditional animation, cost VS integration, etc. These are all things to consider before plunking down money. Take some time, download the demos and try them out for yourself.

The Shojo Anime Videos – A Must-See For All Animation Lovers

Anime, the classy animated form of storytelling from Japan, has become quite popular with people across different countries around the globe. If you are an animation lover, you must certainly not miss the various Japanese animated series featured on the Cartoon Network or at a local blockbuster in your city. But, if you think these series are meant exclusively for boys, you are wrong.

The unique ‘Shojo Anime’ is made exclusively for a young female audience. Unlike other series that focus more on violent battles and politics, it places more emphasis on personal relationships. In fact, it is the best choice if you are looking for a gift for your little daughter, sister, or a little female cousin.
Here are a few must-see series for kids:

1) Fushigi Yuugi

It is a story of a young girl, Miaka, who accidentally falls through a portal in a book and gets transported to ancient China, where she is declared a priestess who is required to invoke a particular god and call the Celestial Warriors to save the world. At the same time, she must deal with routine things like exams in her own world!

2) Fruits Basket

One of the hottest sellers in the US, the Fruit Basket series is a story of an orphaned high school girl, Tohru Honda, who bumps into a cursed Sohma family. Owing to the curse, the members of this well-to-do family transform into animals of the Chinese zodiac when hugged by a member of the opposite sex. The story is all about Tohru’s struggle to break this curse. Strong plotlines, side-splitting situations, and charming characters have made this anime popular and worth watching.

Other must-watch Shojo anime videos include ‘Angel Sanctuary’, ‘Princess Tutu’, and ‘Here is Greenwood’. These Japanese series are not only entertaining, but also very useful for kids. So, next time, when you plan to get your kids something really entertaining, do consider buying a set of ‘Shojo Anime’ videos.

Animation Style – The Attraction of Anime

Before I discovered anime, I was a child of the Warner Bros, Hanna-Barbera, A.A.P.(Associated Artists Productions) and Disney generation. I was raised on Bugs, Jonny Q, Popeye and Mickey. My understanding of basic physics came from Professor W. E. Coyote. My early understanding of people came from B. Bunny. Yogi encouraged us to visit Yellowstone National Park and taught us not to feed the bears. Jonny Q made it cool to have a dad who was an international scientist. The Disney studio gave us the unforgettable mix of Hollywood spectacle, choreography and musical and also taught us the value of marketing, plus giving us a theme park or two. Anime has brought a whole new generation a different set of style, script, color palette, sound effects and cultural perspective.

Strong Female Characters: If you haven’t noticed, the characters I have mentioned above were male. In anime, female characters are prevalent, strong and held in esteem or respect. The anime film, Princess Mononoke is a classic example of a story with strong female characters. Two of the three main characters are female; San a.k.a. Princess Mononoke (female), Lady Eboshi (female) and Ashitaka (male). The films’ tag line of; “the fate of the world rests on the courage of one warrior”, gives thought as to who of the three that one warrior is. Within this group each individual is a warrior with great qualities and strengths within their own scope within the storyline. If you have not had the pleasure of watching the movie, it is not my intention to spoil your experience by further discussing the plot. I only encourage you to view the film for yourself noting the roles and interactions of the male and female characters.

Timeless Story Themes: The timeless nature of the anime story theme is not merely the classic superficial good versus evil conflicts, but rather the deeper conflicts that arise in differences of opinion or point of view. Anime scripts have a tendency to reveal visually more information on a character’s background which then gives the audience a more meaningful understanding of that character’s personal struggles. In many instances the audience will feel a reflection of that conflict within their own soul.

Social Commentary: Traditionally much of Japan’s writing has had a slant regarding the negative outcomes of technology outpacing cultural or social development or wisdom. The fact that Japanese anime has such a following in much of North America and the world at large suggests an importance in those concerns being expressed. In the film “Princess Mononoke”, the conflict between the old traditions of agriculture and the holistic or animistic beliefs pitted against the progress of Iron Age technology has meaning in many areas of today’s global issues. Anime stories traditionally expose and question the lines of progress, commerce, loyalty, honor and culture all within the graphic nature of animation.

Less Dialogue – More Meaningful Acting: North American movies in general use a lot of dialogue in scripts. A lot of traditional anime will “show the story” rather “than tell the story”. As a directing style, the visuals usually concentrate on a close-up of a hand, the weather or environment, clouds changing and normal life scenes like people eating, gathering or building. The most famous style is the focus on the characteristic anime “trembling eye”. Anime uses lots of eye, hair and clothing motion to express emotion in a scene. Anger is indicated as a flash across the close-up eye. Flushed cheeks and graphic expression lines are used to indicate embarrassment. (As a cultural difference – in American animation this indicates anger.) These and other techniques are used in the graphic novels from which the anime form evolved.

Strong Style and Color Choices: Anime style is beautiful to watch. It has a sense of poetry, it has a rhythm. Anime is not afraid to be art. You don’t even need to have the speakers on to appreciate the story, the motion and graphic splendor. 3D animation always tries to push the envelope to be completely, believably real especially in the field of special effects. In my opinion, art should be allowed and encouraged to be art. Whether the anime film is a story of whimsy or a science fiction battle or anime vampire movie, I love to see where the director has taken their film that further embraces and complements the story.

The Future of Anime: As long as there is an appreciation for anime, the form will continue. There is a sense of craft, tradition and pride in this visual story telling technique which is the backbone of this genre. With the continuing development of flash animation software and 3D to 2D conversion software (to emulate anime) the creative edge is always progressing, making it accessible for the new generation of filmmakers. My only concern is that oversaturation of the market with anime products may turn the audience away. The silver lining to this is that the best films will always find their audience and have a following continuing to be classics for many decades to come.