Dragonframe stop motion software
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how it works
Introduction video for Dragonframe 3.0 software
DF3 Overview
New features video for Dragonframe 3.0 software
Mac and Windows Compatible

Animation Tools[ back to top ]

Animate your Way

You may feel most comfortable animating with onionskin—blending your live view over the previously shot frame. Or you may choose to step up your game by stepping directly between live view and the captured frames. Turn on auto-toggle to toggle between live view and a capture frame, or loop playback to get the sense of movement you're aiming for.

Timeline with playhead and audio waveform.

Rotoscoping / Chromakeying

Do you have an image, movie or previous Dragonframe scene you need to reference while you shoot? Load a line-up layer and view it with your animation. Blend the layer with onion-skin or even pull a chroma key on it.

Real world animation tools.

Keypad Controls

The most useful animation tools are available through the included Dragonframe keypad, allowing you to 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 editor with deleted frames.


Cinematography Tools[ back to top ]

X-sheet (dope sheet) of animation software

Camera Controls

Set camera settings such as shutter speed, ISO and white balance directly from the program. Check and adjust focus with Canon and Nikon cameras. Take test shots and get your shot right before you start.

Draw paths on x-sheet

Image Review

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. Create exposure bracketing with different shutter speeds. Link exposures to keep their settings locked together.

Perfect your exposure, focus and composition.

Composition Guides

Compose for 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.

X-sheet showing audio waveform and video edits


frame based Timeline editor

Reshoot Frames

Do you need to reshoot a few frames in the middle of your scene? Worried about sending the rest of the track off sync with your audio and camera move? NO worries with our Reshoot frames feature. Select those frames and choose 'Reshoot.' The camera icon moves to the first frame and you reshoot. When you've finished, the camera pops back to the end. No accidental frame overwrites and you never lose sync.

Audio Elements

Configure, with ease, the audio elements you need to work with. View or hide your waveform data, dialogue track, phonetic cues and mouth replacement guides right in the timeline.

Timeline with playhead and audio waveform.

Perfect Timing

Quickly adjust timing by creating holds on frames. Drag a thumbnail to extend a hold. You'll be completing pop-through tests in record time.

Delete Bin

Do you remember when you deleted those frames, only to realize later that they were the perfect shot? Open the delete bin to find all of your deleted frames, then drag and drop them back into your timeline. Make bold editorial choices with the flexibility to change your mind.

Frame editing as simple as drag and drop.

Visual Timeline

With the new frame-based timeline editor in Dragonframe, you can move, delete, copy, hide and make holds with ease. Editing is visual and intuitive—select a range of frames, pick them up, and drop them at the new location, with the option to insert or overwrite. Or use standard keyboard commands to cut, copy and paste.

Timeline editor with deleted frames.


lip-sync system[ back to top ]

Lip-sync interface within Dragonframe animation software

Custom Face Sets

Many studios use replacement mouth sets to animate dialogue. You can create a Dragonframe face set by making a multi-layer Photoshop file. You can even specify shape sounds and hot-keys within the PSD file.

Custom face set display

Scene Markers

Gain maximum efficiency by track reading your entire project at once. Add markers to specify when each scene or take begins. When you are ready to shoot a scene, you can import just that section of the track reading.

Scene markers with audio waveform

Full Review

Play back your lip-sync within the audio workspace. Loop through a section, step through it frame by frame, or scrub it with the mouse. When you're ready, export a QuickTime movie for other departments to review.

Lip-Sync, Integrated

Perform full lip-sync for multiple characters with replacement mouth and eye sets, directly within the audio workspace.

Heads Up Display

When you are ready to animate, you can view your track reading information in the animation window via the x-sheet, timeline or heads up character displays.

Heads up display of audio data in animation workspace

Multi-character track reading with an intuitive interface.


configurable x-sheet[ back to top ]

X-sheet (dope sheet) of animation software

Sketch Paths

Draw directly on the x-sheet with the pencil and auto-smooth poly-line tools.

Draw paths on x-sheet

Print a Copy

Whether you are using letter, legal, A4, A5, or tabloid paper sizes, you can print beautiful hard copies of your x-sheet. Set your paper type, how many frames per division, and how many divisions per page.

Export to Excel

Gain full control of your x-sheet data by exporting to CSV for use in Excel, Numbers, or any other spreadsheet program. This includes all of your track reading and Arc motion control move data.

Customize the x-sheet to match your needs.

Docked X-Sheet

The new docked x-sheet opens to the right of your animation window. Now you can organize your columns as you wish—resizing and customizing your x-sheet layout.

X-sheet showing audio waveform and video edits


vector based drawing tools[ back to top ]

New drawing tools in animation workspace

Preview Motion Paths

Draw an auto-smoothed polyline to mark the path of a character. Then open the increment editor to add ticks to the line—breaking it up over time. You can adjust the ticks for eases and even test the timing, all before you start animating.

Path editor for motion of tick marks

Versatile Shape Collection

Draw lines, auto-smoothed polylines, circles, rectangles, or tick marks. You can even draw freehand with the pencil tool.

Vector is Better

If you've ever needed to mark the screen for a motion path or registration, you will love the new screen drawing tools in Dragonframe 3. Now you can resize, rotate and adjust drawn objects. Because they are vector-based, they scale perfectly and smoothly.

Plot precise motion paths that are adjustable at
any time.

advanced dmx[ back to top ]

DMX lighting interface with live view, badges, and dimmer channels

Visual Perspective

Create an onscreen representation of your lighting setup with our new virtual lighting workspace. Place badges for each channel around the live view image.

Control lighting via badges

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.

Quick Keyframe Adjustments

Select multiple keyframes, then click and drag on one to adjust them all together. You can adjust them relative to each other, or have them all set to the same value.

Animate lighing with keyframes

Bash Light Programming

Program a wight tork-lo be on for the animator and turn off before capturing the high-res image. You can even define light settle times to make sure the light is fully off before firing the camera.

Animate up to 99 separate lighting channels.

Lighting, Automated

Take your lighting to the next level with Dragonframe's exposure-based DMX lighting board. Control up to 99 lighting channels in conjunction with our DDMX-S2 or IOTA Controller. 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.

Keyframe Smoothing

Define your lighting program with keyframes. Every keyframe can be linear, smooth, or very smooth—giving you a large degree of control while maintaining an efficient programming interface.

Keyframe variants for lighting animation


motion control[ back to top ]

Motion control software interface


Switch to the jogpad mode to gain full control of your rig using the Dragonframe USB Keypad Controller (which already comes included with the software). Large text and a simple keypad interface mean that you can step away from the computer and get near your rig and set.

Move Tests

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 move test captures video assist frames only, in order to 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 reduce the amount of keyframes by placing visual markers at the positions you would like to hit, then adjusting the existing keyframe handles to hit those points.

Hardware Integration

The Arc motion control workspace works with our DMC-16 Controller or Arduino boards running our DFMoco sketch. Some compatible rigs are listed on our motion control page.

Motion Control harnessed within a single workspace, enabling advanced camera moves.

Arc Motion Control

The most exciting addition to Dragonframe 3 is the new Arc Motion Control system. With this multi-axis move editor you can quickly program complex camera moves. Jog motors, set keyframes, and run quick move tests that incorporate your lighting program. No more worries about your Moco system communicating with Dragonframe. It all just works.


more features[ back to top ]

New in Dragonframe 3.6

Improved Camera Connectivity

New camera connectivity code uses direct USB/PTP communication to increase compatibility and stability.

Image Sequence Import

Image sequence import for creating an animation from a sequence of images shot outside of Dragonframe.


Project Management

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 layer

Add a custom grid to help with horizon line-up and composition.

Advanced composition guides

Emulate ground glass with single-screen setup of composition guides.


Image Capture

Camera support

Full integration with the most cameras. Canon, Nikon, HDV, HDMI and more.

Folder watching

Use Dragonframe with many unsupported DSLRs, such as Sony and Panasonic.

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.

External shutter control option

Capture live view and then wait for external shutter release (for timing motion control shots).


Animation Tools

Step to live

Step directly from captured frames to your live view.


Blend the live view over any frame in your animation.

Auto toggle

Toggle between live view and captured frames with adjustable speed.


One keypress toggles between live and captured frames; then back again when released.


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 layer

Import an image, Dragonframe Scene, or QuickTime movie as a line-up layer for easy double-pass line-ups, chroma key, 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 or Nikon live view magnification to punch-in to section of video assist image.

Auxiliary monitor

Send main view to second monitor (video village).


Stereoscopic 3D Tools

Integrated 3D shooting

Automate 3D shooting with the IOTA 3D Stereoscopic Slider or the Mark Roberts S3 Stereoscopic Stepper.

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) QuickTime

Export 3D sequences to QuickTime.




Set interval in hours, minutes, seconds.

Start time

Start time-lapse at a future date/time.

End time

End time-lapse at a future date/time.

Total frames

End time-lapse after specified number of frames are captured.

High precision

Capture within 0.1 second of 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.

Export Image Sequence

Export your frames in different image formats, customize naming, etc.

After Effects

Import image sequence directly from scene source location.

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