Anime Studio 8 Debut has been "free after rebate" for over half a year on separate occasions at NewEgg and Fry's. Anime Studio 9 is out now, and it has been "free after rebate" around Black Friday from NewEgg.
The difference between the Debut version and the Pro is significant. The Pro version includes all of the tools needed to create 3D and 2D video renders, somewhat like Maya. The Debut version only has basic key frame and video rendering capabilities, missing certain aspects such as 'point-of-view" and axis rotation. The Debut version also cuts off recordings after 3000 frames (2 minutes).
HOWEVER. After watching a few tutorials on YouTube, I can see why this would be an amazing tool for beginners or people like myself. Rather than using a multitude of tools that starts with content creation in Adobe Illustrator, if I have this SmithMicro Anime Studio, I can bang out a quick vector render or even a rough-draft of an animation in about 5 minutes, rather than the 30 minutes it would take in a normal workflow.
For the price of "free", this looks like it will be a fantastic tool to play with. If it proves its worth, I'll purchase the "Pro" version for my workplace.
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