Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

General Moho topics.

Moderators: Fahim, Distinct Sun, Víctor Paredes, erey, Belgarath, slowtiger

EHEBrandon
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 2:16 am

Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by EHEBrandon » Thu Sep 04, 2014 2:43 am

Sorry if this has been posted before but Anime Studio Pro 10 is very cheap and I have no idea why. The program seems to be worth a whole lot more then what they are selling it for... You could really do anything in Anime Studio.. You could make animations very easy and every kind of style as well... Anime Style, Toon Style, Disney Style, etc...

I mean the Anime Studio Pro is the best software for animation in my opinion of course.. You could do frame by frame, point animation, complex rigs, and the list goes on.. Also I get the drawing tools could be better but to me they are actually really good since I usually draw key frames on paper, scan, then trace in Anime Studio. Basically the drawing tools are quite easy for me to use and same with coloring.. Its very very simple once you get use to it.

It has a lot of features and a lot more get added in each update.. I just don't get why this software is only $299.99 for the Pro version... To me I would pay $599.99 maybe even more.. To me this software is the best and I just don't get why its just as cheap as it is..

Also my other concern is.. Why does everyone refer to this program only doing cut-out animations? I personally do the Japanese anime style and it looks great and when I redo scenes it looks identical once I add color correction.. I mean any kind of style could be done in the software but why do people look down on it and only see it for very basic animations and mostly for cut-out?

Tell me what you guys think! Also tell me how much you think this software should be worth. ^.^ That is my little rant.
User avatar
synthsin75
Posts: 7240
Joined: Mon Jan 14, 2008 11:20 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by synthsin75 » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:46 am

Yeah, AS is under-priced. But until it becomes a professionally accepted tool for production animation, it is probably good that it carves out the hobbyist (one-man studio) market (while most of its competitors are either over-priced for or lacking in features that help the hobbyist transition to professional work). For me, the drawing tools are more than adequate, even for freehand (you just can't expect to animated fully freehand drawn artwork the same way you can precise vector art).

And AS has always been pigeon-holed as a strictly cut-out animation tool, probably because its bone tools are leaps and bounds beyond its competitors (even those costing almost ten times the price). That is also probably, at least partially, due to the free content provided with AS, which (while great quality overall) is geared toward animating immediately and does not showcase much beyond cut-out. With the addition of smart bones this is starting to change a bit, but still almost completely lacking on an frame-by-frame examples.

But I agree with you. AS is capable of any style and workflow, even if not optimized for every one (which none of its competitors are either).
User avatar
heyvern
Posts: 6964
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:49 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by heyvern » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:55 am

I've been using Anime Studio since it was called "Moho". Back then there was only one version and it was developed by one lonely guy and sold for the staggering price of $99. Even back then without all of the amazing features added over the years it was worth way more than its price.

I think price or "value" of anything is relative. I think it's silly to judge something based on the price;
If it's too cheap it can't be good
If it's very expensive it must be REALLY good

Those two statements are obviously not always true. Sometimes yes (cars, houses, chairs), but many times value is relative to what the user gets out of it and is willing to pay. For software specifically, price doesn't always indicate value or power. There are many people using Anime Studio who probably would pay a higher price but there are those who simply can't afford to or feel a higher price wouldn't be justified.

Another issue is marketing. Moho in the beginning and continuing with Anime Studio has been marketed as an affordable program with professional features that anyone can learn and use to create whatever they want. You don't have to be a pro animator to buy and use it.

Professionals have not been the primary focus of the marketing specifically but in spite of that many professionals have been using it since it's Moho days for commercial productions. This happened not because of marketing or price, it happened because people found the program, tried it out and realized it would do what was needed for a fraction of the cost of other similar programs.

I suppose that Smith MIcro could change the direction of Anime Studio. Raise the price, market it as "professional" software. This has risks though. It would raise the stakes for the developers to create new features and meet the demands of professionals who would expect more for that higher price. It would also change the "spirit" of the program. One of the great things about it is the community feel of it. We have users of all skill levels, pros and hobbyists both sharing and contributing to it. If the price goes up then the hobbyist community using Anime Studio would shrink.

At its current price, I believe that pros and hobbyists alike workaround and accept things they wouldn't if the price was double or more.

Cut out only
Over the years this has always bugged the heck out of me. It's always been said since even the Moho days. I think people who make this broad judgement haven't really used it enough to see beyond the most simplistic use of Anime Studio. A lot of people don't like the drawing tools and feel the only option left to them is "cut out" animation. If they can't rig bone layers for smooth control of properly drawn vector layers then Anime Studio can only do "cut out" or "puppet" animation. I've seen on this forum over and over and over, beginner users who say it isn't THEM it's the PROGRAM. If they can't learn or don't like the drawing tools then it's a problem with the application.

When I say "beginner users" that includes professionals as well. Everyone who uses Anime Studio for the first time is a "beginner". If you don't learn how to draw with it and how the points behave differently from other vector applications and then proceed to judge the quality of that application based on limited knowledge and skill with it, then that's not a failing of the software, but a failing of the user.

It would be like someone who just learned to drive writing a review for a high performance super car. A 16 year old with a learners permit is going to HATE driving a Bugatti or McLaren. Some of those high performance cars don't even have AC or mp3 player. (Not comparing Anime Studio to a McLaren.) ;)

---------

I do think possibly the marketing could be modified. Keep the Debut and Pro version as it is but change "Anime Studio Pro" to simply "Anime Studio" as a middle tier "prosumer" version at the current price, then offer a PRO version at a higher price with more powerful features that target the pro users SPECIFICALLY. The higher price of the pro version could be used to add more powerful studio project based features. You would also have a smaller group of users to cater to with the pro version. You wouldn't need to "dumb down" the features for hobbyists.
EHEBrandon
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 2:16 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by EHEBrandon » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:27 am

heyvern wrote:I've been using Anime Studio since it was called "Moho". Back then there was only one version and it was developed by one lonely guy and sold for the staggering price of $99. Even back then without all of the amazing features added over the years it was worth way more than its price.

I think price or "value" of anything is relative. I think it's silly to judge something based on the price;
If it's too cheap it can't be good
If it's very expensive it must be REALLY good

Those two statements are obviously not always true. Sometimes yes (cars, houses, chairs), but many times value is relative to what the user gets out of it and is willing to pay. For software specifically, price doesn't always indicate value or power. There are many people using Anime Studio who probably would pay a higher price but there are those who simply can't afford to or feel a higher price wouldn't be justified.

Another issue is marketing. Moho in the beginning and continuing with Anime Studio has been marketed as an affordable program with professional features that anyone can learn and use to create whatever they want. You don't have to be a pro animator to buy and use it.

Professionals have not been the primary focus of the marketing specifically but in spite of that many professionals have been using it since it's Moho days for commercial productions. This happened not because of marketing or price, it happened because people found the program, tried it out and realized it would do what was needed for a fraction of the cost of other similar programs.

I suppose that Smith MIcro could change the direction of Anime Studio. Raise the price, market it as "professional" software. This has risks though. It would raise the stakes for the developers to create new features and meet the demands of professionals who would expect more for that higher price. It would also change the "spirit" of the program. One of the great things about it is the community feel of it. We have users of all skill levels, pros and hobbyists both sharing and contributing to it. If the price goes up then the hobbyist community using Anime Studio would shrink.

At its current price, I believe that pros and hobbyists alike workaround and accept things they wouldn't if the price was double or more.

Cut out only
Over the years this has always bugged the heck out of me. It's always been said since even the Moho days. I think people who make this broad judgement haven't really used it enough to see beyond the most simplistic use of Anime Studio. A lot of people don't like the drawing tools and feel the only option left to them is "cut out" animation. If they can't rig bone layers for smooth control of properly drawn vector layers then Anime Studio can only do "cut out" or "puppet" animation. I've seen on this forum over and over and over, beginner users who say it isn't THEM it's the PROGRAM. If they can't learn or don't like the drawing tools then it's a problem with the application.

When I say "beginner users" that includes professionals as well. Everyone who uses Anime Studio for the first time is a "beginner". If you don't learn how to draw with it and how the points behave differently from other vector applications and then proceed to judge the quality of that application based on limited knowledge and skill with it, then that's not a failing of the software, but a failing of the user.

It would be like someone who just learned to drive writing a review for a high performance super car. A 16 year old with a learners permit is going to HATE driving a Bugatti or McLaren. Some of those high performance cars don't even have AC or mp3 player. (Not comparing Anime Studio to a McLaren.) ;)

---------

I do think possibly the marketing could be modified. Keep the Debut and Pro version as it is but change "Anime Studio Pro" to simply "Anime Studio" as a middle tier "prosumer" version at the current price, then offer a PRO version at a higher price with more powerful features that target the pro users SPECIFICALLY. The higher price of the pro version could be used to add more powerful studio project based features. You would also have a smaller group of users to cater to with the pro version. You wouldn't need to "dumb down" the features for hobbyists.
Ah I see about the cheap price thing.. But also your idea for a regular and pro versions aren't bad either. Also I have to agree with on everything... It really irritates me when people say its only good for cut-out or cheap animation... It makes me want to say something but I hold back because I don't want to start a war. :p But over all it really could do anything it just depends on the person and how well they work with Anime Studio like you stated. Hopefully Anime Studio will head to professional studios and stay for the hobbyist as well so everyone is happy. ^.^
User avatar
Greenlaw
Posts: 4664
Joined: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:45 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Contact:

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by Greenlaw » Thu Sep 04, 2014 4:13 pm

I'm always baffled when people say 'cut out' style like it's a bad thing. When it's done well, it's quite a beautiful, and the technique can be every bit as nuanced and sophisticated as well made frame-by-frame animation.

Cartoon Saloon's 'The Secret of Kells' immediately comes to mind, which, by the way, was Oscar nominated for Best Animated Feature a few years ago.

Animation is only 'cheap' when it's budgeted and scheduled that way. Quality has less to do with the cost of software and more with the talent and experience using the software.

G.
D.R. Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Little Green Dog Channel on Vimeo | Greenlaw's Demo Reel 2019 Edtion
Lead Digital Animator, Dreamworks Animation

Image
bleep
Posts: 84
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:34 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by bleep » Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:12 pm

:mrgreen: cheap! if you need an even cheaper replacement try Draw plus. Last time they were selling it as low as 25 pounds in special offers.

Notable feature:
- Animated Gradient Mesh!
- Pencil like drawing tools!
- Illustrator type brushes!
- A good replacement for some of Illustrator features!
- Cut out and FBF animation!
etc........... :mrgreen:
hayasidist
Posts: 2195
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:12 pm
Location: Kent, England

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by hayasidist » Thu Sep 04, 2014 10:46 pm

I largely agree with Vern here.

I look at it not so much on the box price but at the total cost of ownership over (say) 5 years. AS has a major paid release every 18 months or so, and that means 3 lots of $300. Whilst I agree you can do a lot with it, sometimes you have to work hard to make it do stuff that others do at the click of a button, so there's the cost of time to take into consideration. Those 5 years are 1000 working days. If you only spend an extra 10% of that having to make work-arounds or whatever that's 100 days (yes - a total guess, and the number can't be justifed as such). However, as a pro studio, even at a modest $200/day as the cost of employment (=salary plus overheads) for a good animator that would be $20,000 per desk spent on work that could be used on other projects, bringing the TCO per desk to about $21,000 in those 5 years. Which is also to agree completely with Greenlaw about the importance of "the talent and experience [of people] using the software".

IOW, whatever the the box price, "value" needs to take into consideration the cost of operating based on AS compared to that of operating based on other software; and it also needs to take into consideration speed of production (slowed down by needing to apply clever work-arounds) which can also be a contract winner.

IMO, if AS wants to get into the big league, and big league pricing, there are features that are "missing" that have to be included (take a look at viewtopic.php?f=5&t=19689 for a few ideas -- plus all the other ones submitted via formal channels to SM).

So no, I don't think ASP (as it presently is or with incremental enhancements on what is now labelled "pro") is cheap; for what I get it's **NOT** worth $300; and certainly not the $600 suggested in the OP. I buy off amazon (UK) which right now has ASP10 at less than GBP100 (about USD160) and that is a fairer price. But I DO buy it (have done since (only!) AS6) and I DO like it.... and I DO want to help make it better. And I do agree with Vern that a real "pro" version could be sold at a higher price - but that would need some serious enhancements.



All that aside, higher price (better functionality) will most likely mean lower volume of sales. SM's business model (AS is listed as consumer not professional s/w on their site!) may be to keep the price/functionality low but sell in volume - that way they make more money than if if ASP were priced higher and only aimed at the higher-end market when the volume would drop.
User avatar
slowtiger
Posts: 5492
Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2006 6:53 pm
Location: Berlin, Germany
Contact:

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by slowtiger » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:04 pm

Uhm, this is the first time I've ever heard users of a software complain that it's too cheap. Hey, I like it cheap!

The main question is not how much you pay, but what you expect your software to be - and how it eventually fulfills these expectations.

In my case, I know that AS is a limited toolbox, compared to other animation packages. But the existing tools are great, or at least very useful for me. In some areas it's much better than any competitor I know. Example: I use AS for all my camera moves, since no other software gives me this speed of rigging a scene, the ability to handle large input files (video) without blowing up AS' file size, and reliable rendering.

Other users expect other things. I suppose most amateurs like a software which does everything needed to complete a movie without switching to other software. Mareting supports this view, naturally, and these people are always a bit disappointed. You can see that from the questions they ask: why can't I edit my audio, why can't I have a complete movie (all scenes) in one file, etc. They don't share the more professional view of using different specialized tools for the job.

Professionals know a lot better what to expect from AS. They work with what's there, they might use the features in ways the developers never thought of. But most of all they need reliability, speed, and many ways to connect AS to other software.

Reliability: that's a must, a no-brainer, but still lots of software sucks in this department. Even Photoshop does. On my personal scale, AS (up to 9.5) is more reliable than recent PS versions, and that's pretty good.

Speed: this is not only program speed, like updating the screen, replay in project view, or render time. Much more this is about a clean and intuitive interface, the ability to bulk edit lots of elements at once, and the simplification of interaction sequences. In this field lies a lot of potential for AS - not to mention that I asked for certain GUI improvements for years now, some of those really bothering me.

What I don't need is a program which from release to release only adds more "functionality" - that's mostly stuff to blow up the feature list in advertising.
AS 9.5 MacPro Quadcore 3GHz 16GB RAM OS 10.6.8 Quicktime 7.6.6
AS 11 MacPro 12core 3GHz 32GB RAM OS 10.11 Quicktime 10.7.3
o0Ampy0o
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:01 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by o0Ampy0o » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:53 pm

There are essentially two flavors of release, updates and version upgrades although everything seems to get blurred these days, and most people consider added features and improved functionality worthy of version upgrade status while fixes and a few improvements to existing tools tend to comprise updates.

If any software offered significant enough advances in how easy and quickly quality results could be achieved they could be the catalyst that revolutionized the medium of animation. AS seems to have locked itself to a relatively low price. Given its current features and capabilities I don't think there is that much they could do aside from being such a catalyst that would justify a significant price increase.

On the other hand, I remember when Cinema 4D was relatively inexpensive considering what it offered. I stopped paying attention to 3D for a long time. Then when I looked it up again several years later it cost a lot more than I had expected.
User avatar
heyvern
Posts: 6964
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:49 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by heyvern » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:42 pm

There's another program with a very similar philosophy towards it's target customers; Hash's Animation Master. Both apps are marketed to "starving artists" or hobbyist animators.

Animation Master is the most amazingly powerful 3D program regardless of the price. It has lots of standard high end features, hair, cloth, physics. It is easy to use and one person can create an entire production if they choose, but just like Anime Studio, there are studios that use it as well for commercial work. Once again it proves that it's not the tools it's the artist.

There is an aspect of both Anime Studio and Animation Master that maybe... might... have something to do with acceptance by the "pro" community. Both Anime Studio and Animation Master have "unique" specialized "vectors". The file format is not compatible with other applications that use more standard and accepted formats. For Animation Master it's the lack of support for importing or animating "polygons". For Anime Studio it's the bezier vector issue.

I can't say with any certainty if this "unique" and non-standard format is the cause for lack of acceptance for both of these applications. I just think that some pros might look at integration of the application with other tools because of the need for a larger team and application workflow.

Animation Master has been around for a REALLY long time (1987?) but never really grabbed the top end of 3D production because of it's lack of direct support for polygons which was the standard, and possibly the price and the fact that it was developed by a VERY small unknown company.

Just to be clear, none of these limitations has any effect on me. I have used both applications for many years and love them both dearly. I have no problem but others might, especially those who have to work on a team or use other resources.
o0Ampy0o
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:01 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by o0Ampy0o » Fri Sep 05, 2014 11:57 pm

Amazing, Animation Master is still around? If I recall correctly it started on Amiga along with Imagine. There were others back then, like Caligari which became Truespace. Still others, some genius would manage to create a stunning sample image but in some cases actually using the software and getting anything out of it was not so easy. Bryce 3D does amazing stuff and is very affordable at $20. There was also Raydream that became something else but Macs were relatively expensive limiting it somewhat. A lot does come down to the incentive to push people to use a product. 3D Studio Max could just have easily been one of these smaller stories but it was pushed and funded for years and years. They have encouraged bootlegged copies to be spread around just to expose students to it so they would begin the process of thinking of how to use it. It is not an accident that it also integrates well with the gaming industry.
Tradley
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2012 3:00 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by Tradley » Sat Sep 06, 2014 1:05 am

All of this goes to show that it really depends on how much effort you are willing to put into your work, not the tools themselves.
You could make a beautiful piece of animation with just a pencil and paper, and I salute anyone who can do just that.
Anime Studio Pro has grown to a very fantastic animation software with many different features, and it's very well worth the money spent!
I hope more animators out there can see it and give it a chance.

Who says Anime Studio is worse than Adobe Flash?!
o0Ampy0o
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:01 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by o0Ampy0o » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:34 am

Tradley wrote:All of this goes to show that it really depends on how much effort you are willing to put into your work, not the tools themselves....
Ultimately, you make your point utilizing a suitable vehicle. A tool has its limitations. The sensible thing to do is to choose a tool that facilitates the process of reaching a goal rather than making the process itself the whole point, unless of course the process is your point.
Last edited by o0Ampy0o on Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
AmigaMan
Posts: 1017
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 3:40 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by AmigaMan » Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:45 am

I see lots of my favourite things mentioned in this thread. Anime Studio, Hash Animation:Master, Serif Software (their PhotoPlus is a great alternative to Photoshop and they have a brilliant video editor in MoviePlus too) and the film The Secret of Kells :D

I'm so glad that my choice of software packages are relatively inexpensive. I use the software that I enjoy using and gives me the results I want. It's also imortant for me, because I'm not particularly technically minded, that the software is intuitive and easy to use. I find Hash a lot easier to use than Maya for example. I could use Maya at home with a license from work probably but I enjoy using Hash much more and I can't think of anything that Maya can do that Hash can't. If anything, it's the other way round and at work I miss features in Maya that Hash does have like being able to flip a character pose by clicking one button!

Anime Studio is the 2D equivalent of Hash animation:Master to me as it is very powerful and I find it easy to use. I don't think it's too cheap because of the market Smith Micro are aiming it at. That's fine by me. That's it :D
User avatar
heyvern
Posts: 6964
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 4:49 am

Re: Why Is Anime Studio Pro So Cheap?

Post by heyvern » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:03 pm

Here's a story...

Years and years ago my first 3D program was Raydream Studio because it was affordable on my budget and produced great results. Loved that thing. Did great stills but SUCKED at animation.
Cost: $99

Raydream bites the dust, had to find something new. Tried a bunch of other 3D apps and found Animation:Master. A:M was cheap as all heck AND it was so freaking easy to use I was up and running in a few hours/days.
Cost: $199

Fast forward... <bssshhhhhhsspphhhht>

Years go by and I wanted 2D software (I was getting older. One less dimension to worry about, make animating faster right?).
I had used Flash for years but it is NOT a "fluid" creative animation tool for me. I am not an FBF animator. I am a create a character, build a rig, animate bones animator. Flash did not do this. I did use Flash for programming cool stuff, interactive interfaces, promotional CDs etc.
Cost: $800?

Then I found Moho. It was like it was designed EXACTLY for me! AWESOME! Cheap as heck and REALLY FREAKING COOL. Had the same bones and constraints as Animation:Master. Fell in love at first "demo". Learned it in hours. Never looked back.
Cost: $99

Fast forward... <bssshhhhhhsspphhhht>

Working with my buddy John who started our current company HubuMedia. Needed an "industry standard so called professional 3D animation software". We wanted 3D software that was "better" than Animation:Master, so he purchased 2 copies of LightWave at like $800 a pop. They had a sale for an older version because a new one was coming out. Still pricey.
Cost: $800

That was a few years ago... I did tutorials, studied the forum, spent hours training and learning the OVER THE FREAKING TOP key commands and bizarre menus... man I missed Animation Master! Had to deal with a complex upgrade process and a stupid annoying pain in the arse USB dongle (they eliminated that finally in LW v11).

Fast forward... <bssshhhhhhsspphhhht>... to this past Christmas...
Vern runs to see what Santa left under the tree...
My buddy skypes me a bizarre long string of numbers. Looks very much like some sort of serial number or unlock code. He says it's my Christmas bonus! It's the unlock key for my own copy of Animation Master!!!! $80 for a year subscription. (brand new version. I had been using a very old CD copy I still had from years back).

Lightwave is still gathering dust but calls to me. I will get back to learning it again someday I am sure. It's just not as "intuitive" to animate with. You need mad skills and a young, squishy brain without all of those Gilligan's Island and Charlie's Angels reruns taking up useful space. We keep getting the upgrades. But if I need to "animate" fast and efficiently, I use Animation Master for 3D or Anime Studio for 2D.

Those programs had some sort of direct neural connection right the creative centers of my brain. I tried MANY animation programs over the years and nothing had that magic.

My final evaluation... over the years I have been disappointed by the MORE EXPENSIVE PRO software than the so called CHEAP stuff. I always come back to the apps that work for me.
Post Reply