Hey guys, complete newbie here. Have been trying to figure out dragon frame and I want to know if there's a way to make an animation purely from the drawing and media layers in the guide layers, and not use a camera at all. Is there a way to capture those layers into actual frames? Two hours of google searching hasn't come up with anything. Thanks!
I think what you are looking for is a 2d animation program. Like the free Open Toonz maybe, there are some recent posts about that here from one of the developers. It seems to be both a 2d animation program and a capture program. (I use TV Paint Animation Pro for 2d drawn animation and for effects and re-sizing my stop motion footage, so that is the one I know, but it is expensive.)
Dragonframe is really focussed on professional level stop motion image capture using high res DSLR cameras. So, while it let you do thing like draw marks on the screen to see how much to move the puppet, those are for the live view that you look at while you animate. You don't want to see those marks on your final shot. Professionals generally do all the post-production effects in other dedicated software, so DF doesn't apply that stuff to the high quality still images that it saves.
The same thing with keying - if you are shooting green screen in DF, you can load in a background image sequence and do a rough key with the live view so you can see how your animation is matching up with that previously shot footage. But what is saved is images of the puppet against the green screen. You import them into something like After Effects to do the real chroma keying. As far as I know, that applies to any drawing or media layers in DF, they are temporary, just there to help you animate.
There are capture programs aimed more at kids and beginners that try to be more like an all-in-one program, so they can add some effects to the final output. but they are still capture programs, they are for capturing the images from some sort of camera.