• Price: 1400

  • Company: Kinemac

  • Pros: Simple interface, with a powerful engine, intuitive workflow. Supports a wide variety of source files.

  • Cons: Product available as a download only.?There’s no PDF manual (all help is HTML-based), and no cross integration.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 6 out of 10 We rate this 6 out of 10

Kinemac is 3D real-time animation software that runs on Mac OS X. The software is available as a download only and suffers a slightly convoluted install procedure. After copying the application to the relevant folder it must be authorized by dropping a registration text file in the Kinemac folder. It’s no great labour, but not exactly slick. At present, there are no plans for a Windows version.

As a new piece of software with no user base, printed literature would be a massive help to anyone trying Kinemac out. It’s a shame, then, that the company has neglected to provide a downloadable PDF of the manual for those who would rather print off and have all the information easily accessible.

These minor gripes aside, once installed, Kinemac is refreshingly simple to get to grips with. Anyone who has used a timeline-based program will instantly recognize the usual conventions. The interface is split into four main areas – the Stage, Sprite, Inspector, and Bezier windows. To create animations, you can drag-&-drop image, movie, audio, and text files onto the stage window. The application supports a wide range of file formats.

You can manipulate or amend imported objects directly using keyframes in the Sprite (timeline) window. Detailed adjustment of objects is done through the Bezier window (below), which also allows you to manipulate curves.

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<b>Box of tricks</b>
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Cleverly, 3D objects can be automatically created from importing grouped graphics. For example, you can create a 3D box made up of six separate 2D images (front, back, top, bottom, left and right) just by dropping a folder containing all six images onto the interface. Kinemac automatically interprets these files into a single 3D object. It’s also simple to map video files onto the 3D objects and resize them as necessary.
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Despite import being a simple drag-&-drop operation, it would help if the program had its own ‘import’ command. This would prevent users having to continually minimize the interface every time they go off in search of a relevant file. It also lacks the ability to create templates.
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Kinemac suffers from its lack of filter support, too. As with many 3D animation applications, it is sometimes difficult to prevent a sequence looking like it hasn’t been made on a 3D animation tool. It’s nearly always necessary to pass a project through filters and effects in higher end programs anyway. Some basic filter support within the application would vastly improve its usefulness. 
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