MonkeyJam digital pencil test software reviewed

        Category: Blog Drawn animation | Article posted on: January 30, 2010

MonkeyJam is a free digital pencil test program that runs on the Windows operating system. It lets you capture images from a webcam, camcorder, or scanner and assemble the separate frames into an animation. You can also import existing images and sound files from your computer. Although it is designed for pencil and paper, MonkeyJam can also be used for stop-motion animation. Once you have created your movie it can be exported as an AVI file.

MonkeyJam information panel (click pic to enlarge)

The MonkeyJam software downloaded and installed on my PC without problems. The program starts with a window containing an information panel and a frame list. There is a help file with a quick start section to give the basics.

The first step is to select a folder to store your image files. The nest step is to select a method of adding your images to the frame list. This can be from a video source such as webcam or from a scanner. Alternatively you can import existing image files that you already have on you computer.

For the purposed of this test I decided to use the stills that I had created for my bouncing ball demonstration. It was simply a matter of selecting the images from the computer and clicking the import button. To view the animation you select Preview from the Tools menu and the software builds your movie and opens another window to play it back. It is as simple as that. You can then export your movie to an AVI file for sharing with others, such as uploading to YouTube.

MonkeyJam preview window (click pic to enlarge)

You can add sound to your movie in the form of WAV or MP3 audio files. Once imported into MonkeyJam the audio file is displayed as a waveform to the right of the frame numbers. The audio can be scrubbed in the exposure-sheet by running the mouse curser along it, played with the animation in the Preview window and exported as part of the AVI.

You can’t adjust the sound file once it is in MonkeyJam. Only one sound file can be imported per exposure-sheet and it always starts on frame one. This is fine if you are animating to a pre-existing sound track. If you want to fit the sound to pre-existing animation you need to use another program to edit the sound.

I can recommend this program as a straightforward line test and frame capture program, especially as it is free. If you want something with more sound and image editing capabilities then I would suggest you look at purchasing something like Stop Motion Pro.

Visit the MonkeyJam website to download the free software.

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