Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nintendo DSiWare FlipNote Studio Review

REVIEW

I updated my Nintendo DSi system today, and found out that Flipnote Studio has been released and it's free!

If you remember Disney Animation Studio for Amiga a while back, then you know what this is: a program for making animation. There are several differences, notably, you can use Nintendo Touch Screen as drawing surface, which makes it very easy to use. Unfortunately, there's no zoom function, and lots of limits, including limited colors(black, blue, red. That's it!)

The program comes with built-in calendar, which is nice. You can use it as lightweight notepad. And if it's the date, a message on the bottom will tell you that there is "New Flipnotes found!" which is very nice for organizing activities.

You can change the settings, although why it asks for your birthdate, I don't know. It is possible that there is an EasterEgg associated with it. I pretty much turn on the Advanced Tools immediately, which is still simple and easy to use.

The help menu is on par with other DSi titles, and very helpful in explaining what the program does and what the various buttons are. I found out a few things by reading it. The functionalities are well though out, but the user interface is unique, and you should read the help file for thorough understanding of it.

A very interesting button is Flipnote Hatena. This is Ugomemo Hatena website for Ugokumemo Hatena-chou, which is the Japanese version of Flipnote Studio. Unfortunately, I couldn't view any of the animation? There maybe a different settings involved there. I know the animation is exported as GIF format, so sound is non-existent.

You can use SD card to store your Flipnotes. Furthermore, you can string them together to make one long Flipnote!

If drawing is not your strong suit, you can use the camera to import pictures. I find that black and white Graffiti sketches work best. Other pictures with high contrast also works well, but you have to remember that your Flipnote is strictly black and white (well, with blue and red) so black and white images are best.

And if drawing is your strong suit, you'll be happy that there is a draft mode available so you can draw guidelines without affecting your animation. Mind you, this is in addition to dual layer drawing pad.

It's a good thing editing mode is included. Otherwise, copying and pasting images would be extremely cumbersome, indeed. Realize, however, that it is strictly a simple cut and paste operation. Nothing fancy here. You can also set the frame rate from 2 frames per second to 8 frames per second. For your reference: Saturday morning cartoons run at 4 fps. Disney movies run at 12 fps.

You can also add sounds although music lasts only 10 seconds and sound effects only last 2 seconds. No long oratory here. Too bad. I was hoping I can use it as slide show movies.

Overall, I found it to be a useful addition to my Nintendo DSi library. It really shapes up as productivity tools. I hope ebook reader and movie player isn't far behind. BASIC programming language would be good, too.

1 comment:

Simpleton Geek said...

Update:

The Flipnote Hatena does work. You need a better web browser than the one on cell phone. It is also accessible through the program itself, once you have Internet connection.

I don't like they way they set up the filter from the web to the DSi. I know aardman produced an animation "The Sandwich Twin", which I wanted to download, but couldn't find it on the DSi connection. I did find it on the web version, though. So, that was disappointing.

Also, the frame rate was more flexible, I think. There are 8 settings, which I now believe as 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 15, 30 per seconds. Some of the animations are really fluid, especially the 3D ones.

The sound can take longer than 10 seconds, but it is still limited. I think the design practically forces you to draw the animation, then lip-sync to it, as opposed to the other way around. This method is common in Japanese animation production, where spoken words are temporal and rhythmic. There are ways around them, but that's how the program is designed.

I still haven't habitually use the Flipnote calendar. I wonder if I'll ever get used to it.