Hi All. Probably sounds like a silly question, in the sense that a frame grabber's a frame grabber, but I am interested in what you people think based upon your experience with these software options. I'm running Windows 10. I'm interested (as part of my current research process) in what people think of one versus the other.
In particular, the rig removal in stop motion pro sounds great, but also sounds a bit "beginnery" in the sense that I might be right in understanding that comping and painting out rigs will lower the image quality? Or is it ok and works fine? Or am I overthinking it? I'd like to set it up so that the stuff I shoot is fit for film festival entry and that sort of thing, not just uploading to Youtube. And if I can comp and clean up in stop motion pro, that would be great. But I am not averse to Dragonframe with an After Effects subscription for post work when I need it for comping etc. I just don't think I need BOTH Stop Motion Pro and Dragonframe, and they are about the same price.
Also am I right in understanding that Dragonframe will talk to Arduino for motion control, and can shoot 3d, while Stop Motion Pro can't do either? (or only the former?)
Thoughts, feedback, words of caution and recommendations very welcome.
I worked on a film that was using Stop Motion Pro (Not Eclipse, an earlier version) to control a 3d stereo slider, for taking left and right views, and that worked fine. He used a Mark Roberts slider first, then a differnt one made in Germany while the first one was being fixed, and SMP controlled both. So I wouldn't be sure SMP can't work with Arduino. Don't know, that motion control stuff is outside my budget. *** Hang on, just checked their site, it does work with Arduino: http://www.stopmotionpro.com/index.php/software/eclipse#buy-now-fea...
I've used SMP more, but Dragonframe for the past year, since my old PC died and was replaced by an iMac for frame grabbing in the studio. (SMP have had delays getting a native OSX version out, and I didn't go with Mac to run windows on it, so that left me with Dragonframe.) My post production had already been done on a Mac since 2006. So I was using my old Pentium 4 just for frame grabbing with SMP on Win XP until it finally died and don't have any experience with later versions of Windows.
You are right, there is no point in having both, they are for exactly the same thing, which is capturing the frames and seeing how your animation looks while doing it. They organise how they do it a bit differently, but both can do pretty much the same things. Both of them can capture hi res images from a Canon or Nikon DSLR, and that is standard for stop motion feature films for festivals, theatrical release, transfer to Blu Ray, streaming, or whatever.
Because I don't have a working Windows machine, I can't check SMP, but in Dragonframe, it is not intended for doing all those post production things like rig removal and chrome-keying. I use other software like After Effects and TV Paint Animation for all that stuff. And then an editing program (like Premiere or Vegas on PC) to do the final edit and add sound tracks.
I do know that with DF, the chroma keying is purely there as a guide and is applied to your video live view only. It lets you roughly key out the green screen on your live view video to see how your animated puppet fits in with your background footage, but the hi res images are not affected. I think I read that rig removal in SMP Eclipse is the same, it helps you see if it is going to work, but then you do it again with your final images in another program.
***** Just checked again, looks like SMP exports the chroma key avi from the Live View, not from the final images. See this video: http://www.stopmotionpro.com/index.php/12-animating-with-smp-eclips...
Can't tell with the wire removal, that might be using the actual hi res images. It looks pretty clean, not like my noisy live view images. http://www.stopmotionpro.com/index.php/12-animating-with-smp-eclips... I do that in TV Paint, which is another $1200 or so to buy, so that could be quite a good thing.
I'm playing with the demo of Eclipse right now. Dragonframe looks very good, but is a bit over budget for my personal art use. I do not have any thoughts that I'll be needing motion control in the near future, but Eclipse is supposed to control the Arduino as well. That's well beyond my experience.
As to rig removal and paint on frame, I think those are nice features if you don't have a professional system like After Effects. As I am a subscriber to Adobe CC for my other projects, I will likely just shoot clean plates and then use the superior tracking and masking tools in After Effects. While as I understand it, Eclipse is using the full frame clean plate for the roto, the paintbrush is clearly first generation, and I think you can easily get a faster cleaner roto in After Effects. The same applies to the paint on effects. Basic glow, particles, lightning, etc. are easily generated and animated in After Effects on the completed shot. I grant that it won't have the hand painted look, but it really depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
Just my two cents. If I were outfitting a commercial shop, I'd probably go with Dragonframe, but for personal use, I'm likely to pick up Eclipse in a month or two.