Are you an artist who wants to create animated 2D movies, cartoons, or one of my favorites, cut-out animation à la South Park? Anime Studio Pro 7 allows beginner or professional digital media artists to do some pretty cool stuff in a short amount of time. You can get your animations up to speed with your own designs, or you can use the packaged characters, props, video, and sounds to create cool cartoons quickly.

Current users will be excited to know that the folks over at Smith Micro have given us a good reason to upgrade to Anime Studio Pro 7. The new features are pretty robust and build upon the already impressive set of features in a low-cost package.

Number one on my list is 3D Object Integration. This new feature allows you to import 3D objects from other programs, and one of them is Poser. How cool is that? Some of the other cool new features include simulated physics options that allow users to set gravity, density, friction, and springness of objects. There’s also a new content library that improves the way files are organized and gives us new tools for importing Poser scenes. These are just a few of the great new features offered, and I suggest checking out the Smith Micro site for all of the goodies.

For the cost, this program is a hard one to top with its capabilities and features to produce animation. Anime Studio Pro is pretty easy to use and a great tool for designers who want to get into character animation. It will save you time and, with its feature set, it’s a must have for designers wanting to take their skills to the next level.—Bruce Bicknell

Company: Smith Micro Software
Price: $199.99
Rating: 4.5
Hot: 3D and physics options; professional toolset; motion tracking
Not: Drawing tools and compatibility with software other than Illustrator