I have been using Anime Studio for about six years, since it was called Moho. I was starting my studies as a journalist when a friend showed me the demo. I was looking for good animation software. I had no idea of the theory of animation and all I wanted was to be able to move some ugly drawings. I played with Flash and other software, but all of them were clunky to me and very unintuitive. Every task was a hard task on them. Then I met Moho (Anime Studio). It was so easy to have something animated the way I wanted so it rapidly became my main software. At first, I was amazed with the bone system. As an amateur, I thought that was would be the end of animation; bones would let me make anything I wanted. Fortunately, with the months I started to understand that there was a huge world behind the bones.
My first relatively serious animation was for a class at university. I animated the coup d'etat of 1973. That event was very sad and marked the future of our country. Today we are the children of that history where the bad guys won and still winning. When I was a child I started animating with Fine Artist, a classic piece of software which came with our first computer. It was very Windows 95 and very powerful for my littleexpectations. My father is painter of letters, so he got the computer to make the designs easier. He always pushed me to try with CorelDRAW! 4 and, finally, I gave up Fine Artist and really loved the Corel software. Until now I preferred Corel's interface rather than Adobe's Illustrator and Photoshop and I still use Corel a lot. I tried Flash for animations but never was totally convinced about its power. Then CorelDRAW 7 (if I remember well) put Rave on its suite. In a few words Rave was the power of Flash inside the CorelDraw interface. I was totally amazed and thought I finally got the software I always wanted, but with time I understood even this hybrid wasn't what I was looking for in animation.
I use a lot of software. I'm always looking for new software. Generally, I don't like the established paradigms in the design industry. I prefer Corel Photopaint over Photoshop; I chose velocity and smart interface rather than looking cool for my pals. I make my drawings on Sai Paint Tool, an awesome program, fast, full of options and with no more than five megas of size. And it opens in less than a second! It's like a writing software class made a program. For frame by frame art I use Plastic Animation Paper, a very clean and well designed piece of software. When I'm working with psd files I use ASPconv to pass them to Anime Studio. ASPconv is a little user software lost on the internet.
My workflow generally follows this way: I receive the project drawings and I trace them in Anime Studio using vectors. For a more natural feel I use a lot of textures and brushes, but always maintain the freedom that vectors give. I animate the character in the funniest way I can think and then I render each scene as a video with alpha. This video finally pass to After Effects, were the characters get a background and some special effects.
I have the luck of working with very talented people, so the final result is always better than I imagined. That makes it great to be the character animator, because it pushes you to always try to be better than the talented sound, illustration and composition guys. We secretly press control+z on each other trying to break each other's projects. It's a dirty ego competition.
I like the simplicity of Anime Studio. It makes art feel handmade, like clay craft. It wasn't like an entire corporation trying to sell you a huge shinny useless slow piece of software; it was a guy, called Mike Clifton, who was trying to offer you what he thought could be a good animation program.
My first Anime Studio animations were very fluid. I never felt any software limitation; nevertheless my animations weren't as good as I wanted. Soon I understood the limitation was me, I didn't know anything about animation. I thought it was just about moving drawings around. It was frustrating I couldn't even make a good walkcycle. Then, I started to study animation by myself. I discovered there was even a Theory of Animation, this opened my eyes.
One of the best things I did was to register on the Anime Studio forum. There were a lot of fantastic people there, always helping on technical and theoretical themes. Today I'm one of the veterans there and I try to the new guys feel as fascinated as me. Of course I'm still learning and asking questions in the forum and there are always new guys with interesting ideas. I think that forum is one of the biggest features of Anime Studio.
Last year I worked on animating the character on four shorts about Mapuche's myths. Mapuche are the more important indigenous people of Chile. We are all descendents of them, nevertheless they have been tortured since the Spanish first came. As Chileans we are horribly racists with ourselves and Chile has always maintained a war against their own people. You can see that war right now on news. These animations are about our own myths, our ownS history, the history we don't learn at school even when it's painted on our skin.
My inspiration is almost always a political. I wanted to put the best of me in my art because through these animations I felt I was representing all of our América. We need to look more at ourselves, history has made us feel embarrassed about who we are, always pretending to be European, North American or from whatever place, but never from our own land. I think our minds are what we need to change, maybe that's my inspiration.
What I most like about Anime Studio is that there is not only one way to get the desired results. Many times you have no idea how you will get what you want, but you always you find a solution. It's great, for example, that there is not a "head turn tool", you can make a head turn using switches, moving the points, flipping the layer, using blend morphs, using actions, etc. That flexibility is awesome in software. It makes animating feel a little like being a mad scientist. If you look on forum or youtube you will discover a lot of really mad scientists making absolutely amazing crazy stuff. You can see more at my YouTube Channel.