The Animation Workshop software, manufactured by Alchemy Mindworks is not exactly the typical software one might use for creating 2D animations because it doesn’t include in itself by default the tools necessary for creating a comic book or anything alike.
“Then what is it?” one might undoubtedly ask. This software has as basic feature the capacity to ensure creation in a matter of minutes without needing a long learning curb for the user prior to working with this software. The elements of each animation are considered as distinct objects and this is the reason why the necessity of learning the process behind the creation of an animation becomes futile. The user does not even need to have the images, the text and other animation because this software comes with an extensive library embedded in it in which one will find everything he needs to create a proper animation for the project he works for.
By using the software Animation Workshop, one can create banners, commercials, commercial animations and all of these in a short period of time because the software assembles itself all the elements taking into account the choices that the user makes. The huge library embedded in this software contains hundreds of special effects, animations, images and text, while the elements one chooses to use will remain in their editable form and not in the graphic form, which makes them available for editing even after the creation of the animations per se.
After finishing, these animations can be exported in formats like GIF, MNG, AVI, MOV and SWF (Flash formats). If the user needs commercial banners or sophisticated graphics that need to be highly clear for PowerPoint presentations or animations for screen savers, the software Animation Workshop is probably the fastest solution for creating such animations. It is very important to remember that this software targets, mainly, the beginner users in the field of graphic design. For those in the ‘professional league’, this software is worthless in comparison with professional graphic editing software like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
As main characteristics, this software offers the users the possibility of adding and removing images, texts, backgrounds, video frames and comments onto the animation project. All that the user needs to create in this software is the text – whilst all the other elements needed for a complete animation can be simply imported and animated – Animation Workshop does the rest of the job. The user only needs to add the images that he wishes to have in the animation, format the text and then simply press a button, as the software does all the ‘heavy lifting’ by itself. The only disadvantage is that, unlike the professional design software solutions, this program does not offer further options to customize de animation in order to add unique elements to the final project.
As far as import and export functions are concerned, this software is able to import images in formats like JPG, PCX, GIF, BMP, TGA and PNG and also video files in AVI, GIF, MOV and MNG formats. The software can export only in formats like GIF, MNG, AVI, MOV and SWF. It’s also important to know that the SWF format is the only one in which the software can export an animation containing both video and audio content.
As far as the easiness of using this program is concerned, Animation Workshop software is both a good software and a bad one. Even though the process of making the animations is an incredibly simple one – it also makes the users that aspire to the status of animators and illustrator crave for much more. This software aims to get the attention of the beginners in the field of animations and of those that are completely unfamiliar with the very complicated process involved in real time creation. On the other hand, for a professional animator that uses this software, this can be a problem and a disadvantage in itself because it contributes to reducing the motivation to learn new skills with regards to the animation and design process – considering that they all can be done so fast with the help of this software. The solution resides in finding an equilibrium at the individual level in order to maintain the balance for the user’s best interests.
As far as the tech support is concerned, the Animation Workshop software offers plenty of options from its own interface through the ‘Help’ option and the ‘Contents’ section which, in the moment the user selects it, will take the user to the web page of the company which contains a lot of links to video tutorials and lots of articles – most of them indeed useful for those looking for guidance for using this software. On the official website of the Alchemy Mindworks company, one can also find a contact form and an e-mail address, pluss a telephone number where the developers can be contacted for fixing technical problems. At a simple Google search, one can also find many discussion forums, online tutorials and FAQ sections where people can find the answer to any kind of questions one might have with regards to using this software.
In conclusion, the Animation Workshop software is a 2D animation software targeted to the beginner users in this very complex field of digital animation – and this is the reason why the software is overall very intuitive, very easy-to-use, contains an exhaustive library in which the user can find almost everything he needs and, most important, the software overall is highly efficient in creating animations. If, however, you are looking for a software that allows customizing every portion of your future project, you might need either to hire an animator or an illustrator, or to turn to other more advanced software in this field. But if you happen to be amongst the very beginners with little to no clue about this field of digital animation, this software is, most certainly, the software you were looking for to do the job without headaches and complications.