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Should You Buy or Upgrade to MOHO 13? *Spoiler* Yes. Yes You Should!

MOHO 13's New Character Set.
Smith Micro released MOHO 13, their all in one, 2D animation studio, this week. The question is should you buy or upgrade to the latest version? Obviously I've already spoiled this in the title, so the actual question is why do I think you should buy or upgrade?

To be clear, I'm only talking about MOHO 13 Pro. If you're considering MOHO 13 Debut be aware that you're missing out on some of the new features, and a lot of existing features that are only available in the Pro version. Debut is fine if the budget doesn't stretch to Pro, but, if you never want to be disappointed about not having a feature, it's Pro or nothing!

The other thing I need to be transparent about is I'm not, by any stretch, a frequent MOHO user/animator. However I took the time to learn MOHO 12 Pro fairly extensively, blogging about my process and sorting out 104 free MOHO training videos into a logical viewing order in the process. I think I have more than enough insight to let you know if the upgrade is worth it.



MOHO 13 Pro has three core new features that Smith Micro is promoting.

  1. Bitmap Freehand Drawing Tools, Frame by Frame Capabilities (not all bitmap features available in Debut).
  2. Enhanced 3D Object Light Manipulation and Materials support (not available in Debut).
  3.  New 'Actions' Window Interface (not available in Debut).
(That list right there is reason enough to buy Pro over Debut if you can).

I'll talk about these from least to most interesting to me, beginning with number two, Enhanced 3D Object Light Manipulation and Materials support. For me Object Light Manipulation is a great inclusion. MOHO has a true 3D camera and can import 3D objects. It makes sense to add more control to how things are lit. If you like to create 3D environments that you render to look 2D like your characters this will be extremely useful.

That's not the only 3D new feature. You also get 3D Object Materials Support. If you know what that sentence means (and I do), I'm very excited for you if that's something you need.

Item three, the new 'Actions' Window is essentially a more organised UI specifically for creating a searchable library of reusable saved actions for whatever characters you're rigging. From what I can see from the demonstration video each character rig has its own Actions Window. That is, if you select a character rig and open the Action Window, only the actions for that character will be shown (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

Whether it shows just the actions for the selected character (or maybe it can show all actions in the current scene if no character is selected) it's definitely a welcome addition that will save you time.

For me, the number one reason you should buy or upgrade to MOHO 13 Pro is item one on the list, Bitmap Freehand Drawing Tools, Frame by Frame Capabilities. Previously MOHO has been almost entirely Vector based drawing, which is terrible for sketching characters and ideas.



Essentially this means you can literally create frame by frame, hand drawn animation right inside MOHO 13. In my view that truly makes MOHO 13 Pro worthy of the title, the All-In-One 2D Animation Software for Professionals.

You can pretty much do every type of 2D animation in MOHO 13 Pro from Traditional to 3D enhanced, 2D animation. The only way it could be more inclusive would be if you could actually build your 3D models in the studio as well.

Bitmap drawing support is what was missing from previous versions of MOHO. You even get support for freehand bitmap brushes. Previously if you wanted to do any kind of rough sketching you'd have to fire up a third party drawing app and import your images into MOHO. Now you can sketch and rough out ideas, create animatics, draw frame by frame animation, and use those bitmaps as a base for your vector drawings as well.

If MOHO 12 Pro had bitmap support I feel I may have stuck with it more simply because I'd be able to sketch ideas right in the studio itself.



To sum up. If you're completely new to digital animation MOHO 13 may not be the easiest place to start but persevere. If Smith Micro's history is anything to go by you'll still need those 104 free videos to learn the software completely (noting that some of those tutorials go as far back as MOHO 11 and were rebranded and sold in a combo video training course for MOHO 12 by Smith Micro - I know because I bought that combo course). Stick with it and you'll become a formidable (and probably very employable) animator.

If you're already in deep with MOHO 12 Pro, it really depends on how much you want these new features? The only thing stopping me upgrading right away - and I've continuously upgraded since version 11 despite not using the app all that much - is that I feel I'm in too deep with another animation app now, that better suits my needs, to warrant the upgrade this time.

An animation of my original Alvin Owl
character that I did learning MOHO 12.
However, in an animation studio that has always had vector drawing tools (at least for as long as I've known about it), bitmap drawing tools are really an essential companion. The ability to sketch in bitmap and 'ink' in vector all in the one app is reason enough for me to upgrade if MOHO was my main animation app.

That's what it comes down to for me. Ever since I bought version 11 (then known as Anime Studio 11 Pro) I've maintained that MOHO is a really good animation studio, capable of quality animation. It's a steep learning curve because it is so feature packed, not because it's hard to learn. It's one of those studios that'll grow with you as you gain confidence with it.

 That's why I think you should buy or Upgrade to MOHO 13 Pro if it is something that you're looking at as your next investment in your animation journey.

MOHO 13 is available in both Windows and Mac versions. #NotSponsored

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