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The following advice about software for creating animations was contributed in discussions on the RNLD list (January 2010):
Anime Studio is a very different product: vector based - in some ways easier, in some ways harder than the above - good for more stylised films (can make a longer, 'abstractish' movie much quicker in this than in FlipBook. Currently US$49.99 but, confusingly, seems to still be available for US$39.99.
Blender looks like the best heavyweight (3D, scriptable) choice. It works for mac, windows and linux. This looks to me like the best choice if you're planning on making animation a significant part of your life's work. There's tons of documentation for it and it's free. The only problem is that it takes a while to understand how the program works since it's kind of counter intuitive.
Boinx Istopmotion for stop-motion film creation (Mac). The software is for Mac, not free, but you can download a trial. Not too expensive for the express version (< $250 AUD for the 5 user family licence). Here is a quick ‘how to use’ and overview of the software program.
iStopMotion is being used by Gail Woods, Margaret Carew and others at Batchelor Institute in central Australia. Margaret notes that you need to create the artworks yourself (the items that are animated) it doesn't do this for you, like say Marvin does. However, lots of flexibility in what you can create, we have had a number of workshops where small groups of individuals create people and animals in plasticine and paper, spend a half-hour or so moving and photographing them, them adding a voiceover. Quick and easy on the technical level, the hard work is in the artwork and ideas (as it should be really). Also need a camera that talks to the software, most (all?) recent dv cams, and many, certainly not all digital still cameras (Nikon and Canon are best - there is a list of compatible cameras on the Boinx site). Other gear required - tripod, lights audio gear if recording later (can also use preexisting recording). There are a few tricks in getting light, focus and white balance with the camera, basically, use manual settings on the camera.
Final Cut Pro ($$$) does animation.
FlipBook for frame by frame animation. Currently US $78 for basic version (Windows only).
Marvin Some readers have used Marvin but a) it is Windows only, b) some people have found it doesn't work well for language animations, c) it has very rigid parameters and can't even export it to dvd format, making it pretty useless as a way of distributing resources.
Pencil looks adequate if you're going for simpler, 2D style animation. This basically lets you place pictures (in layers) along a timeline. It depends what you're doing, but you might want to consider stop-motion animation too. There's a little bit more fiddling around with hardware (puppets and so forth), but you can get straight in there and do it.
Processing is free, open and cool if you want to do beautiful, abstract, code based (Java subset) things (i.e. how Flash should be). Have a quick look at some the samples at least (e.g. http://processing.org/learning/topics/tree.html or http://www.complexification.net/gallery/machines/substrate/).
xtranormal is Windows only.
At the LSA in January 2010 Tamrika Khvtisiashvili showed "Coyote and Frog", a claymation which is part of the Shoshone Revitalization Project 2009.
to Michael Dunn, Felicity Meakins, Gail Woods, Jeremy Hammond, Colleeen Hattersley, Margaret Carew, Andrew Margetts and Murray Garde for info.