VIEWS: 15 PAGES: 8 POSTED ON: 11/14/2011
Software Review: Claymation Studio 1/8 Software Review Review for the Baldwin Public Library: Claymation Studio Review Prompt: Librarians at the Baldwin Public Library expressed interest in a multimedia animation software program that the students and other patrons could be instructed on. Claymation Studio developed by Honestech was a software title that was brought up. Although there are several programs out there that perform “Claymation” animation, Honestrech is the industry leader and has developed a very fine tuned program – Claymation Studio. Software Overview / Claymation Overview: Claymation bills itself as a user friendly program that enables them to create STOP MOTION video. Capture images using a digital camera, webcam or DV camcorder, create characters, apply small changes, and add background images and music to create claymation movies. (http://www.honestech.com/main/claymation_10.asp?path=Graphics%20%26%20Video) Review Process: I. Subject Matter Experts a. Local educator b. Staff developers c. Instructional designer d. Student feedback II. Areas of Review a. Software Content b. Software Overview c. Technical Needs III. Formative Analysis a. Focus Questions b. Final Analysis Focus Questions for the Review: • Is Claymation Studio a program that should be purchased by the Baldwin Public Library? • Is the Claymation Studio a program that the library should provide instruction for? • If instruction is to be provided, what is the overall time frame and number of sessions required for sound instruction? • Does the library have the technical capabilities to run Claymation Studio on a daily basis? • Is there a general need or interest from library patrons to use Claymation Studio? I. Subject Matter Experts: a. Local Educator from Waterford School District a. Taught a year-long class in graphic editing and Claymation studio b. Provided useful information on overall function and instructional value of Claymation Studio. b. Staff Developer from Romeo School District. Software Review: Claymation Studio 2/8 a. Discussed any instruction requested and or provided to teachers regarding Claymation Studio. b. Provided information on staff software instructional requests, focus questions, and criteria used in evaluations. c. Instructional Designer a. Review any Claymation instructional requests and focus questions. b. Compared Claymation Studio with other software animation programs and discussed the instructional time frame required. d. Student feedback from Waterford School District a. Reviewed final projects from students. b. Reviewed some instructional support materials students were given. c. Received general feedback on Claymation Studio and the class overall. II. Areas of Review: Element Criteria Guiding questions Evaluation A. 1. Accuracy Is the content accurate? If the goal is to provide patrons with Software instruction and support for a program Content that works with multimedia animation, Claymation Studio is a very solid an complete animation program. 2. Consistent with Is the content consistent Claymation Studio brings stop motion objectives with the objectives? technology capability to the users. It allows users to use customized graphics and pictures and present them in an animated setting accompanied by music and customizable backgrounds. 3. Cultural bias Is the content culturally There is no cultural basis to Claymation biased in any way? Studio. Users can use their own pictures or can create their own characters to use. Character creation and even pictures can be edited and manipulated. B. 1. Purpose Is the purpose of the Claymation Studio advertises itself as a Software courseware well defined? user-friendly animation program and Overview allows users a variety of animation options. Once users get to know the program, the purpose is supported very well. Are the objectives stated The objectives of Claymation Studio clearly? are clearly laid out in the introduction Software Review: Claymation Studio 3/8 Element Criteria Guiding questions Evaluation and user’s guide. In addition directions for each objective are discussed, explained and demonstrated when necessary. 2. Structure Is the structure of the If the target audience is middle school content appropriate? to high school students, then the content provided in Claymation Studio is very appropriate. Students with basic knowledge of graphic editing should be able to pick up the structure of the program very easily. Is the structure of the With a brief introduction and previous content evident to the knowledge in graphic editing, users learner? should be able to pick up the different toolbar, viewing, and reviewing formats that Claymation Studio presents. 3. Presentation Is the content presented Claymation Studio has evolved from in a clear and logical previous beta versions to the existing way? version that they market. Research and feedback has made Claymation Studio a very student-friendly and user-friendly program to use. 4. Exploration Does the courseware Since Claymation Studio focuses on provide appropriate one slide at a time in its Stop Motion opportunities for student format, it provides students a lot of trial practice? and error opportunity. Does the learner receive Claymation Studio does not appropriate feedback for troubleshoot problems that designers their responses will encounter. Again, it is mostly a trial and error process but with stop motion format, users are able to go back and tweak or fix what was done previously. 5. Guidance Does the courseware The instructions that are provided are provide adequate and not very user-friendly for beginners. appropriate guidance to The program really takes for granted the learner during the the user have a basic understanding of practice sessions? graphic editing as well as multimedia formats. Users need to know how to incorporate .mp3, .wav, and .avi formats. Software Review: Claymation Studio 4/8 Element Criteria Guiding questions Evaluation C. 1. Hardware and Is the product compatible Claymation Studio currently is only PC Technical Operating System with both PC and MAC capable on a Windows 2000 or newer Needs Requirements: systems? operating system. It is ideally written for XP systems. A new Vista-friendly version was just introduced. Is the product able to run Windows 98 is not recommended for on Operating Systems use with Claymation studio. greater than Windows 98 for PC? Is the product able to run Claymation Studio is not capable of on Operating Systems running on Macs. However there is a greater than OS ?. for MacWindow version that is being MAC? introduced. This version has not been evaluated by many. C. 1. Hardware and Is the product able to run The program calls for at least 128 MB Technical Operating System on computers with a of Ram to run effectively. SME in the Needs Requirements: maximum of 32 MB technical field recommend at least 256 memory? MB though. Is the product able to run Claymation Studio can be run through through a CD with a complete install or partial install. It is maximum of 50 MB of highly recommended to run off hard drive space complete install. This requires about reserved? 200 MB of hard drive space. Is the product able to run Claymation should be installed off of a 12x speed CD- completely off the hard drive. The most ROM? recent version of Claymation Studio is available to be downloaded through the manufacturer. 2. Installation Does the product need Updated sound drivers are required if Criteria updated sound drivers or users want sound to be incorporated program? into the video / animation. Does the product need Updated video drivers are a must for additional video drivers Claymation Studio. Often video and and programs? sound are incorporated together so it is crucial to have updated video drivers for integrated and plug-in video cards. Does the installation of There is a short overview booklet the product come with provided with most versions of paper instructions? Claymation Studio. There is also a pdf Software Review: Claymation Studio 5/8 Element Criteria Guiding questions Evaluation support file embedded in the installation packet. Does the installation of The installation is self directed and the product offer checks for updated drives for sound and computer help guides video. In terms of computer help throughout the process? guides, the program offers very little. Does the installation of Earlier beta versions tried to install the product try to load additional evaluation programs but the evaluation programs? new Claymation Studio program is a stand alone program and does not try to install additional beta or evaluation copies. 3. Navigation Does the user know Claymation Studio overall design and Path where they are in the layout allow the users to know where program at all times? they are working, where the toolbars are, and where additional guides and help are located. Does the user have During the review option, users can use access to help options at different screens to view their work. all times? Using higher pixel or larger screen formats does not allow users access to everything. However, users are able to exit out of the review session when needed. Is the navigation between Unless users are using onion screens, screens consistent from the screen layout and format are screen to screen? consistent from slide to slide. When using onion screens, users are have before, current, and next screens to view all at once. Are the text and images If users are confused as to what button that are links throughout does what, there are pop-up windows the program clearly that quickly describe individual buttons. marked? Most buttons are clearly marked and users can become familiar with them very quickly. Is there a main There is a main command bar for navigation bar that saving, printing, editing, etc. allows users to go to the start, print, and other main functions? Software Review: Claymation Studio 6/8 Element Criteria Guiding questions Evaluation 4. Ease of Does the program Users can print out the .pdf document Operation provide paper that outlines setup, instructions, and documentation to troubleshooting. However, users are introduce user to the encouraged to use the search tool in the program’s basic setup, .pdf help file. Most programs use, and navigation? implement an online or .pdf form of documentation. Does the program have The only internal help program that internal help pages for Claymation Studio offers it he help the user to access button throughout the program? C. 4. Ease of Does the program hang Pauses or delays in Claymation Studio Technical Operation when loading pictures, can be caused by a combination of Needs sound, and videos? factors – hard drive space, available memory, video card capability, and processor. Using any kind of graphic animation program usually requires Claymation Studio to be opened as well as a basic graphic editing program. It is recommended to close down all other unneeded programs. Does the program allow Claymation Studio offers users to go to users to exit scenes and previous, current, and advanced slides. return to the current The program also allows for a basic scene later? graphic editing window to be open as well. Again, the overall system specs can play an integral part on how much of Claymation Studio can be used at once. Can the program be used Claymation Studio requires a much with knowledge of just deeper computer knowledge than just keyboard and mouse the keyboard and mouse. Users need to operations? be current with video and sound formats as well as graphic editing basics. Users are able to pause If computer specs are high such as the program and move memory, hard drive space, and between different processor, users can go between programs? different programs. It is recommended, however, that users keep open programs down to a minimum when using Claymation Studio. Software Review: Claymation Studio 7/8 IV. Formative Analysis – Focus Questions • Is Claymation Studio a program that should be purchased by the Baldwin Public Library? o Claymation Studio is an extensive program that requires a lot of instruction for beginners and intermediate instruction for those familiar with graphic editing programs. Claymation Studio also requires access to digital cameras, scanners, and media card readers. In addition, Claymation Studio requires updated video and sound capabilities. If headphones are provided, users can design without disturbing those working around them. o Individual license cost for Claymation Studio averages $50.00 per computer. Due to the low cost per computer, a site license would not be necessary. o Overall: Cost per computer is low, support for beginners and intermediate users are high. Training of support staff would be required. • Is the Claymation Studio a program that the library should provide instruction for? o Instruction would be necessary if Claymation was available at the library. Instruction for staff as well as an introduction, beginner, intermediate, and advance course or courses should be offered to library patrons. o Most schools who provide a Claymation Studio instruction, implement the entire program on a daily basis for a semester or a year long course. They integrate language arts, computer, art, and story board lessons throughout the instruction. o Overall: Instruction for the staff would require a one to two hour session. In that session staff would learn the basics of Claymation Studio and make a very simple animation as part of the hands-on training. Instruction for patrons, mainly middle school and high school aged students, would require about three to four hours of basic instruction and two additional hours for intermediate and advanced instruction. Even with just four to six hours of instruction, it would require students to have a great deal of background knowledge with graphic editing, sound editing, and video editing software. • If instruction is to be provided, what is the overall time frame and number of sessions required for sound instruction? o Overall: Staff instruction 1-2 hours. Patrons 3-6 hours. • Does the library have the technical capabilities to run Claymation Studio on a daily basis? o The library’s new computer lab will have most of the capabilities to run Claymation Studio. The peripherals required – digital camera, media reader, and scanner may cause some hang-ups. Getting all the computers that are running Claymation Studio to share those peripherals could also be an issue. o Overall: Computer systems are adequate, sharing peripherals to support Claymation Studio may be an issue. • Is there a general need or interest from library patrons to use Claymation Studio? o Claymation Studio is used mostly in schools to enhance graphic editing, language art storyboards, and art skills. Due to the wide scope that Claymation Studio Software Review: Claymation Studio 8/8 offers, it is a program that requires a great deal of time to learn and a great amount of support material. o Overall: A needs analysis should be done in the surrounding local school districts to see what software programs are being used and how the library can offer those programs or support for those programs. If Claymation Studio is commonly used in surrounding school districts, then the Baldwin Public Library should consider implementing Claymation Studio.