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Stop-motion animation can be an incredibly fiddly and time-consuming process, as you must move the objects ever so slightly for each frame to creation the illusion that they're moving of their own accord. And that doesn't even include the step of adding your photos to an editing program to see the results.
But in porting its Mac program, Smoovie, to the iPad 2 (the original iPad isn't compatible), Open Planet Software has made the process of creating stop-motion animation much easier to learn and perhaps master. All you have to do is find something to animate, prop up your iPad, and you’re good to go. The SmartCover works very well to stabilize the iPad, but you can also go high-end and get yourself a special tripod mount for it; or just grab a stack of books.
Smoovie's interface is incredibly easy to use: simply get your scene ready and tap on the camera icon to start. Next, move your objects slightly and take another photo, then continue as needed until you've completed the scene. The best part of the interface is the onion skinning slider, which lets you overlap the previous shot onto the current one, and helps you see what needs to be changed. It really makes a difference in speeding along the creation process.
Scenes can be reordered, so you don't have to shoot everything in sequence, and moving individual frames is simply a matter of tapping on them. However, without transitions included in the mix, you can only work with straight cuts. Music can be easily added from your available library, and when you're all done with your creation, simply save it to your camera roll or export it to YouTube.
The bottom line. Smoovie's ease of use makes stop-motion animation a joy, rather than a painful or time-consuming struggle, and filmmakers and families alike should have fun bringing inanimate objects to life for hours on end.
iPad 2 running iOS 4.3 or later
Incredibly easy to use. Can animate a scene in minutes. Reordering, copying, or deleting entire scenes is a breeze.
Works on iPad 2. Compatible only with the built-in cameras. No fine-tuning of your edit possible within the app.