by honestech Application: Capture images using your digital camera, webcam, DV camcorder, and create stop motion video characters with a variety of built-in features. Official Website: honestech MSRP: $39.99 Purchase: Purchase From Amazon.com
honestech does a pretty good job with their products, and when Claymation Studio crossed my desk, I was interested in seeing just what their latest creation was all about. Claymation Studio is a rather straight forward application, where you create stop motion videos with captured images, and use the various features such as Chroma Key, Rotoscope, and other options which make creating videos from captured images, easier to control and design. Claymation Studio, to the advanced Adobe user, will probably be nothing new, as you can create the same effects, but at a significantly higher cost of Adobe's software. And this is the big difference. Claymation Studio offers an affordable way to create stop motion video, without the added baggage of a large application and a large wallet. One feature not found on the more expensive software, is video capture. By using a webcam or DV camcorder, Claymation Studio can capture still images, and overlay them for a more fluid effect.
Here are some of the more notable features:
Supports WMV, AVI, and MPG formats
Simple Frame Editing
Claymation Studio Example
Below you can view a very short--and very simple--clip. Having a more steady hand, and using a webcam, you could certainly get a much better stop motion video. This particular clip only took a few moments with my digital camera, and I had no problems whatsoever in processing the clips into a WMV format.
If you don't have or use IE 6.0 or 7.0, you might not be able to see the embedded video. In this case, you can download the Claymation Studio Stop Motion Example and view it with your own viewer.
Supports capture devices such as a webcam or digital camcorder
Now supports MPEG formats, as well as AVI and WMV
Custom quality output
Capture images with your webcam
Onionskin allows webcam overlay with next image to keep the subjects more stationary
Chroma key allow background color changes
Claymation Studio did not open some JPEG files--not sure why
I had a great time over the Thanksgiving weekend playing with Claymation Studio. Importing still images was quick and simple. I did notice Claymation Studio would not import some JPEG files, and I have no idea why. In this case, I saved the problem JPG file to a BMP and Claymation Studio recognized it with no issue. I've contacted honestech about the issue and will update this review if any new information is provided.
Other than the JPEG issue which was rare, Claymation Studio performed just fine. Installing this on the DigitalDingus PC System #1, I observed no major slowdowns, even when other programs were running (such as Photoshopt CS2), so Claymation Studio is definitely a stable program, and reliable on older computer systems.
Unfortunately, DigitalDingus did not have a webcam lying around, so all of the features of Claymation Studio could not be tested. However, a webcam will certainly make your still motion picture life easier. And if you by chance have a digital camcorder which can capture images, this is even better.
honestech does offer a 30-day free trial, which might be helpful in case you're wondering if your particular webcam or DV camcorder is compatible with Claymation Studio.