The Premier Image Capture Software for Stop Motion Animation, Motion Design & Visual Effects
Dragonframe is the premier frame-grabbing software for stop-motion animation and time-lapse photography. Dragonframe has innovated in the world of stop-motion software by pushing the functionality beyond frame grabbing to provide a full assortment of production tools.
Begin your stop motion filmmaking journey today with the digital image capture software trusted by major motion picture studios and independent filmmakers alike.
Put Dragonframe at the heart of your next stop-motion film.
Bring your animation to life. Professional on-screen tools for precise movements. Step, play, capture, repeat.
Compose and light the perfect shot with camera controls, test shots, and advanced image review tools.
Import and edit multiple audio tracks. Perform dialogue track reading for multiple characters.
Program animated lighting with simple keyframes. Automate work lights for the animator. In addition, it includes simple front light/backlight programming.
Use the intuitive graphical interface to program advanced camera moves.
Dragonframe is an excellent frame-grabber with tools such as step-to-live, onion skinning, and auto-toggling. In addition, draw virtual using a grease pencil. Using the live view of supported Canon and Nikon DSLRs, Dragonframe provides video assist tools for the animato. Use the central hub for capturing and organizing your high-resolution frames from your camera.
Create beautiful animation, one frame at a time.
Animate Your Way
Step directly between live view and captured frames or switch to auto-toggle. Loop playback to get the sense of movement you’re aiming for. The playback and stepping functions are fully customizable for your needs.
Load multiple reference stills or videos and view them with your animation. Blend them with opacity, pull a chromakey (blue screen), and even assign a garbage matte to see just the part you want. Pop-out reference videos into a synchronized player if you want it off to the side.
With the Dragonframe keypad, you can stay focused on animating instead of hunting around with the mouse. And the hotkeys are fully configurable, so if you really like a feature that is not on the keypad, you can move it there.
Timeline. Frame-based editing is as simple as drag and drop. Adjust timing, reshoot sequences, and even restore deleted frames.
Drawing Tools. Mark the screen to guide your animation with vector-based drawing tools. Plot and preview motion paths with the increment editor.
X-Sheet. Plan your scene and track your progress in the X-Sheet side panel. Add reminders, sketch motion paths, and adjust timing.
Guide Layers. Configure all of your composition guides, drawing layers, and reference material from the Guide Layers side panel.
Live View Mag. Use live view magnification to punch in on a section of video assist image. (Canon, Nikon, Olympus, and Fujifilm.)
Perfect your exposure, focus, and composition.
Set camera settings such as shutter speed, ISO, as well as the white balance, directly from the program. Check and adjust the focus with Canon, Nikon, Olympus, or Fujifilm cameras. Take test shots and get your shot right, before you start.
Compose multiple formats with confidence. Create custom aspect ratio masks. Combine masks with TV-safe guides. Add grid overlays for help with composition. Add a push-in mask to allow post-production push-in or panning.
Check images at full resolution. Check for over or underexposed areas with the clipping view. Load images from other scenes to compare exposure and composition. Compare image contrast with the Digital Densitometer.
Multiple Exposures. Set up multiple exposures (sub-frames) with different camera settings. Link exposures to keep their settings the same.
Color Detection. Use the color detection tool to compare tone ranges between shots, or to judge matte lighting for greenscreen effects.
Color Palettes. Create color swatches by sampling colors from your high-resolution images. Save as Adobe Swatch Exchange to share with other programs.
Movie Recording. Trigger movie recording on some supported cameras. Download videos and review them within the Test Shots tray.
Stereoscopic 3D Tools. View anaglyphs, set convergence or edge float, and adjust interocular distances.
Add audio and perform character track readings.
Import multiple audio tracks and make basic edits. Split tracks and drag segments to adjust the timing on the fly. You can even move waveforms and character track readings together, to keep them in sync.
Dialogue Track Reading
Create characters, scrub through your audio, and assign words and phonetics for all your dialogue. View this data while animating, in the X-Sheet, Timeline, or Audio HUD.
Waveform Views. View the mixed audio waveform in the Timeline or X-Sheet, so you can see what’s coming next while you are animating.
Reference Track Audio. Use the audio from a reference movie within the audio workspace. View the video as you scrub through the audio and perform track readings.
Time-Warp. The audio stays locked to your animation at the project frame rate. If you review your animation at a different speed, the audio adjusts to stay synced.
Custom Face Sets. Create your own face set as a multi-layered Photoshop file. Add groups for mouth, eyes, ears, or whatever parts you need.
Audio HUD. View character dialogue or face sets while animating, in a configurable heads-up display.
Take your lighting to the next level with Dragonframe’s exposure-based DMX lighting board.
Control up to 512 lighting channels in conjunction with our DDMX-512, DMC-16 or DMC+. You define your lighting program before you shoot, and then watch as Dragonframe controls your lights during the shot, leaving your animators to focus on animating.
Define your lighting program with keyframes. Adjust the smoothness in each direction with a simplified “bezier” handle—giving you a large degree of control while maintaining an efficient programming interface.
Custom Exposure Lighting
It’s easy to create custom lighting programs for different exposures. You can customize the exposure’s lighting program directly, or create a new program for one or more exposures to share.
512 Lights. Program up to 512 lights with the new DDMX-512 (or upgraded DDMX-S2)
Light Profiles. Create custom light profiles to match DMX values to light output.
Bash Light. Program a work light to use while animating.
Program complex camera moves in an intuitive interface.
Motion Control, Integrated
Integrated motion control means that you can program camera moves and lighting effects from within the same system. In other words, quickly preview moves using the same camera you will be animating with. It means that the lighting and motion control will be in the right place, at the right time. So if the animator needs to reshoot a few frames, Dragonframe can safely move the rig back into the proper position, every time.
Once you’ve programmed a move, you’ll want to test it out. Run a move test within the Arc workspace and see how it looks. The moving test captures video assist frames only. Simply, this speed up the test process. On a long move, you can reshoot just the section you’re working on. You’ll have the move perfected in record time.
You can use a wide range of hardware, from the do-it-yourself Arduino-based DFMoco sketch to the Volo motion control crane. See compatible hardware in our FAQ for more information.
Jogpad. Enter the jogpad mode to get large text and a simple keypad interface so that you can step away from the computer and get near your rig and set.
Virtuals. When used with the DMC-16 or DMC+ and a motion control crane, such as the Volo, Dragonframe can provide virtual cartesian axes.
3D Import/Export. Transfer camera moves between Dragonframe and Maya, Kuper, or other 3D software.
Feathering. Add extra smoothing of acceleration or deceleration with the new “feathering” tool.
Markers. Create motion paths by marking positions you want to hit, then adjusting keyframes to move through them.
* Fixed scaling of reference layers in composite movie export * Fixed FIT image scale when using push-in mask and horizontal/vertical offsets * Fixed Cinematography ‘Export Still Image’ when using push-in mask and horizontal/vertical offsets * Fixed short play dialog key input, so it doesn’t default to ‘666’ * Notify user if audio system isn’t working and ensure that stepping still works * Fixed initial motion control sync frame when using move-shoot mode * Fixed camera settings after capturing making-of exposure
* Fixed potential crash when hardware accelerated video decoding fails * Fixed onion-skin with multiple frames (frame echo) * Fixed frame color tags affecting ‘conform’ status * Set creation date on exported movies * Added tooltips to ARC buttons in lower-right
* Fixed conform dropping tagged frames * Fixed alternate composition guide color selectors in floating tool palette * Exit ‘jog all’ mode from gamepad menu when menu closes or switches modes * Added tooltips to media player title bar buttons
* Added Leica SL / SL2 / SL2-s support. * Added Sony ZV-E1 support. * Axis groups: organize your motion control axes into groups. Add a group via the Arc hamburger menu, then drag channels into it. * Frame Tags: Add colored tags to captured frames in the timeline or x-sheet. Right-click on the timeline (or control-click on macOS) and apply a tag from the contextual menu. (In the X-Sheet, add a ‘TAG’ column to see tags.) The tags move with the frames as you edit. You can use this to mark frames for some post-production reason, or as a way to quickly show/hide sets of frames. * Improvements for blocking/rehearsal animation: step by tag and auto-tag first frame in multi-shoot. * Option to add an exposure as a reference layer. This allows you to play back composited layers as you shoot a take. * Audio track reading HUD in animation workspace can be popped out into separate window. * Hardware acceleration for jpeg video assist images–on macOS Apple Silicon machines and Windows with Intel graphics. * When a reference layer file cannot be found, the program now keeps the layer instead of removing it. It shows a missing symbol, and you can replace the media via a right-click (or control-click) on the layer. * Bumped maximum camera count from four to eight. * Added more zoom levels for animation workspace: 225%, 250%, etc. * Improved anamorphic de-squeeze support. Anamorphic setting has moved to Scene|Cameras. * Option to add exposure as a media layer. * Individual drawing layer export/import. * Major DMX UI performance improvements with many channels. * Movie export ‘all exposures’ now works with multiple cameras. * Alternate composition guides can be assigned a color, to more easily distinguish them.
* Fixed Canon Digital Rebels showing as attached after they are detached * Fixed glitchy reference video playback on some macOS platforms with hardware acceleration * Fixed Arc keyframe table contextual menu modifying the wrong keyframe
* Added Canon EOS R100 support * Added Nikon Z8 support * Fixed Sigma capture failure * Fixed ‘past takes’ reference layer not loading properly * Fixed Italian translation causing Command-Q to not work on macOS * Improved FLAIR integration with motion control * Fixed AIM point failures on Apple Silicon Macs. * Fixed Nikon shutter speed not going slower than 1/30″ on certain cameras
* macOS fixed audio system freeze * Fixed hotkeys for toggling reference layers in media players * Fixed DMX channel names when using ‘Save Channels’
* Fixed Fuji X-T3 focus check * Fixed Nikon Z7 II focus check * Fixed variable speed jogging with DFMoco and gamepad controller * Fixed DMX program hierarchy when deleting exposures * Fixed DMX fixture pixel list with more than nine pixels * Fixed DMX text value entry editing other selected channel * Fixed potential crash on Windows while quitting application * Fixed crash on close after using contextual menu (Qt bug)
* Added Canon EOS R50 support * Added Sony A7R V heif format support * Fixed Z-Cam capturing with incorrect setSettings * Fixed Olympus E-M1 Mark II hi-res mode * Show correct camera for video assist capture error * Fixed composite export of C2/C3/C4 exposures * Allow 400% image to be fully moved around screen * Avoid using ‘cmd’ on Windows since some administrators block it * Use proper image orientation in camera setup warning message * Fixed Windows 125% DPI artifacts * Added 1.6 Anamorphic scaling * Movie player window stays in sync during capture * DMX: Added Astera HydraPanel fixture * Arc: show message when engaging auto-toggle * Arc: Fixed jog all slider switching back to UPLOAD MOVE while jogging * Arc: Fixed moco getting confused about animator controlled axes * Added note to user guide about opening arc jogpad mode via keypad * Mask out tag color in EDL (so that files edited in DF5.2 will open properly) * Fixed potential crash on macOS 13 when camera disconnects * Fixed potential crash on Windows when camera disconnects * Fixed potential crash caused by Sony driver * Fixed potential crash when dragging x-sheet/guide-layer/notepad tabs * Fixed potential crash during movie export * Fixed potential crash when deleting frame at start of timeline after capturing making-of image
Added Contour Shuttle integration
Added support for Z-CAM cameras
Added support for SIGMA fp and fp L cameras
Ani: Added hardware acceleration on macOS and Windows for media layer playback
Ani: Option to pin media players, so they stay up when switching exposures
Ani: Hot key to toggle bash light in Animation workspace
Ani: Hot keys to toggle grid layers
Ani: Added “camera as media layer”
Ani: Sharper hi-res proxies for playback
Arc: Improved UI performance
Arc: Move test / real-time playback for indexed positions
Arc: Real-time looping and ping-pong playback
Arc: Option to automatically start/stop movie recording with real-time playback
Arc: Determine if move can be accomplished by virtual rig
Arc: Reorient move to current position
Arc: Output OSC both real and virtual motor positions
DMX: Supports up to four DMX ‘universes’ of 512 channels each
DMX: Improved UI performance with many channels
DMX: Added gel chooser for ARRI fixtures with gel lists
Audio: Restore track order when loading scene
Audio: Export lip sync movie
Added NDI video output, which can be used in Unreal Engine
Added heif/heic image support
Use x264 mp4 output for better results, and consistent support across all platforms
X-Sheet: Option to pop out into separate window
X-Sheet: Added multiple options to drawing tools
New in Dragonframe 5
MULTIPLE CAMERA SUPPORT Add up to four cameras for additional high-resolution angles or video assist.
INTEGRATED “MAKING-OF” Capture hands-on ‘making-of’ time-lapse as you animate.
APPLE M1 SILICON (ARM64) Native support for Apple Silicon.
FRACTIONAL HI-DPI SUPPORT Improves application scaling on Windows and Linux with fractional scaling (125%, 150%, etc).
MORE DRAWINGS AND REFERENCES Separate Drawing Layers and References for each magnification view or alternative video assist.
MONOGRAM CREATIVE CONSOLE Integrates with Monogram Creative Console (Palette Gear) for animation, track reading, or motion control tasks.
ANDROID AND IOS CAPTURE SUPPORT Our free Dragonframe Tether now runs on both iOS and Android, and supports WiFi connections.
INTEL REALSENSE DEPTH CAMERAS Intel RealSense cameras provides a way to capture depth information.
DMX LIGHTING FIXTURES Add lighting panels (such as ARRI Skypanel) to workspace for easier setup and control.
DMX GRAPH MODE Edit DMX keyframes with curves, similar to Arc.
PROGRAMMABLE ELECTRONIC TRIGGERS Program the logic out or relay outputs via the DMX timeline.
DMX THREADS Visually tie DMX badges to a point in the image.
SAFE MOVE BROWSER Hand the motion control reins over to the art department with a simple move browser.
MOTION CONTROL “AIM POINT” When used in virtuals, keep the camera pointed at specified point in space.
AUTODESK FBX SUPPORT Import/export FBX of camera position (with virtuals).
CANON DIGITAL FOCUS + APERTURE LOCK Canon EOS R + RP with updated stop motion firmware can lock aperture of RF lenses (to avoid flicker) and program focus pulls.
COUPLE MOTOR OUTPUTS Synchronize (couple) two motor outputs (zDMC only).
LIVE MOTOR POSITIONS OVER OSC Transmit motor positions over OSC for integration with other systems.
PRODUCTION/SCENE/TAKE NAMING Name your project based on the classic clapboard naming convention.
MANAGE MULTIPLE TAKES FOR A SCENE Create multiple takes within the same scene project. This carries over all of your camera settings, exposures, camera moves, notes, etc.
CUSTOMIZABLE, PRINTABLE X-SHEET (DOPE SHEET) Manage the project from a dynamic exposure sheet that updates automatically as you add exposures, audio phonemes, camera moves, and change scene length.
POP-UP NOTES Enter notes that pop up when it’s time to capture a frame.
COPY AND RENAME SCENES AND TAKES Duplicate a scene or take from within Dragonframe.
Cinematography and Composition
MULTIPLE EXPOSURES (SUB-FRAMES) Shoot multiple passes for each frame for effects like front light/backlight or stereo pairs.
GRAPHICAL CAMERA CONTROL Adjust your still camera’s shutter speed, aperture, ISO with visual sliders.
DEPTH OF FIELD SLIDER Adjust shutter speed and aperture together to affect depth of field without adjusting exposure.
EXPOSURE PREVIEW OFFSET Adjust live view exposure simulation to match final shot (Canon EOS only).
SAVE CAMERA SETTINGS IN SCENE Dragonframe saves your camera’s settings and restores them when you re-open the scene.
EXPOSURE LOCK Lock camera settings for each exposure.
INTEGRATED TEST SHOT SYSTEM Save test shots separately and view them during any take of a scene.
COMPARE IMAGES FROM OTHER SCENES Import any images and view them at full resolution.
CLIPPING VIEW Quickly see if you are clipping in the highlights or bottoming in the blacks.
DIGITAL DENSITOMETER Compare and match areas of exposure regardless of monitor inconsistencies.
ADJUSTABLE BACKGROUND GRAY VALUE Adjust the area around images in Cine widow to give your eyes a rest—or to suit the imagery.
ASPECT RATIO MASK Add a standard or custom aspect ratio mask and adjust opacity.
SEPARATE MASK AND TV-SAFE OVERLAY Frame for both 16:9 and 4:3 in one view.
PUSH-IN MASK Add an adjustable push-in mask for checking TV-safe and framing for pre-planned push-ins.
GRID LAYERS Add up to two custom grids to help with horizon line-up and composition.
ADVANCED COMPOSITION GUIDES Emulate ground glass with composition guides in the guide layers.
CAMERA SUPPORT Full integration with the most cameras: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, HDV, HDMI and more.
FOLDER WATCHING Use Dragonframe with many unsupported DSLRs.
CAPTURE BLACK-OUT Darken your monitor while capturing to keep its glow from interfering with your lighting.
AUTO-DETECT CAMERAS Automatically connect to cameras.
AUTOMATIC LIVE VIEW REST Pause live view after configurable period of inactivity to avoid overheating.
VIDEO FRAME AVERAGING Average 2-60 frames to reduce video noise (video only).
EXTERNAL SHUTTER CONTROL OPTION Capture live view and then wait for external shutter release (for timing motion control shots).
STEP TO LIVE Step directly from captured frames to your live view.
ONIONSKIN Blend the live view over any frame in your animation.
AUTO TOGGLE Toggle between live view and captured frames with adjustable speed.
TOGGLE One keypress toggles between live and captured frames, then back again when released.
NAV-LINE Quickly navigate your animation sequence, as well as select frames for playback.
HIGH-RES PLAYBACK Play back either your video assist frames or proxies of your full-resolution captures.
SHORT PLAY Play back the last twelve frames (configurable).
DRAWING TOOLS Draw paths and lines on screen to assist with animation.
DIFFERENCE MODE Useful for re-lining up a shot if camera or set is bumped.
LIGHTS PROMINENT / DARKS PROMINENT Useful when character is dark and background is light, or visa versa.
ROTOSCOPE LAYERS Import images, movie files, or Dragonframe scenes as a line-up layer for easy double-pass line-ups, chromakey, or onion-skin.
CHROMAKEY / GREENSCREEN Use basic chroma key (green screen) pull for line up of effects shots.
LAYER POSITION/SIZE/ORIENTATION Adjust rotoscope layer orientation, scale and position.
PLAY/LOOP MARKERS Mark in and out points for playback and looping using the Nav-Line.
USER-ASSIGNED HOT KEYS Simple interface for re-mapping the default keyboard commands.
PUNCH-IN FOR ANIMATION Use Canon, Nikon, Olympus or Fujifilm live view magnification to punch in on a section of the video assist image.
AUXILIARY MONITOR Send main view to second monitor (video village).
Stereoscopic 3D Tools
INTEGRATED 3D SHOOTING Automate 3D shooting with a stereoscopic slider.
3D STEREO REVIEW View anaglyphs, set convergence or edge float, and adjust interocular distances.
3D TEST SHOTS Take 3D test shots and use the 3D review tools to evaluate them.
3D PLAYBACK Play 3D sequences using anaglyphs or transparencies in color or black and white.
EXPORT STEREO (3D) MOVIE Export 3D sequences to various movie formats.
INTERVAL Set an interval in hours, minutes, seconds.
START TIME Start time-lapse at a future date or time.
END TIME End time-lapse at a future date or time.
TOTAL FRAMES End time-lapse after specified number of frames are captured.
HIGH PRECISION Capture within 0.1 second of the specified interval with most cameras.
DIRECT ACCESS TO SOURCE RAW/JPG/TIFF FILES Your camera’s high-res source files are saved in an easily-accessible directory.
EXPORT MOVIE Create a QuickTime, AVI or MP4 movie with many export options.
COMPOSITE EXPORT Export a rough composite to communicate with post-production.
EXPORT IMAGE SEQUENCE Export your frames in different image formats, customize naming, etc.
AFTER EFFECTS Import image sequence directly from scene source location.
Dragonframe 5.x stop-frame animation software for Mac, Windows, or Linux. The software is delivered as a digital download as soon as your payment clears, so you can get to work right away. The keypad controller will arrive in the mail within a few days (depending on your location).
Dragonframe USB Keypad Controller requires shipping. The software is downloadable.
How quickly can I start using the software after I purchase it?
As soon as your payment clears, we send you an invoice with your serial number in it.
Note: Student orders must also wait to be approved, which can take 1-2 business days.
If you have already been using the trial, you can instantly activate the full version. (You do not need to download the program again.)
If you haven’t downloaded the trial, you will have to download and install the software.
Can I switch my license between Mac, Windows, or Linux machines?
Yes. The serial number you purchase is good for all platforms, and it doesn’t matter to us how you allocate it. So if you purchased multiple licenses, you could install on any combination of Mac, Windows or Linux machines. (Of course, only DF4+ supports Linux.)
You can also deactivate your license on one platform and activate it on another. (Deactivate License… is an option in the Help menu.)
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