Claymation Studio by wuyunyi


									                                                        Software Review: Claymation Studio
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.

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
          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
                                Are the objectives stated   The objectives of Claymation Studio
                                clearly?                    are clearly laid out in the introduction
                                                      Software Review: Claymation Studio

Element   Criteria          Guiding questions            Evaluation
                                                         and user’s guide. In addition directions
                                                         for each objective are discussed,
                                                         explained and demonstrated when
          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
          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
                                                        Software Review: Claymation Studio

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
          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

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
          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
                          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

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
                       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
                       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
                       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

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
  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.

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