A Taser And An App

Created in around two hours!

Last year I had dreams of becoming an animator. I'd been dabbling with some top end software that cost me a few hundred pounds. No matter how hard I tried though, I quickly realised that you couldn't just install some software, play about for five minutes, and become a Disney legend. Although I still want that job in Disney Imagineering, it doesn't have to be as an animator. I also make excellent coffee.

Putting my Adobe packages to one side, I hadn't entirely given up the dream when I stumbled on an iOS app called Plotagon. It's available from iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/plotagon-storytelling-for/id883190178?mt=8 and it comes out of a Swedish start up. As with many of the apps that promise to make you an expert at animation, there is usually a steep learning curve. Not so with Plotagon. The first few attempts produced some limited results, but they didn't take long to achieve. All I had to do was type.

Plotagon has been featured previously in some of Americas most influential tech- and design-magazines including Fast Company, TechCrunch and Gizmodo. Fast Company awarded Plotagon as one of the 21 best designed apps of 2013. To me it has come a long way from the initial release. It just seems to be getting better all the time.

Recent updates to the app have given users the ability to create their own characters, although you can still purchase characters and sets in the app, you will find that you can produce some great results with the included options. Pic you have ever played the Sims, then creating a character within Plotagon is just as easy.

Using the software needs no real learning curve.. All you really need to do is type. You can pick a character, have the character say something that you type, and then preview your creation before you upload it to YouTube or other social media platforms. You do have to be creative with some spellings, the text to voice translation is very good, but certain words can still confuse it. No problem, just play about with the spelling and you will quickly learn which words may need an extra A, or O put in them to make the voice sound more natural.

I produced the video at the top of the blog in just under two hours. I used an old story I found in the web which I thought was quite funny, especially as it is just the kind of thing that I would do. It's not going to win any oscars in the animation department, but for something that can tell a story with movement, Plotagon is an ideal base to start you off along a more challenging route towards learning to animate. If you can write a story, you can create an animation. Best of all, it's free on the App Store and it is available for iPhone, iPad, Mac (OS X) and PC (Windows). The Mac and Windows versions can be found at https://Plotagon.com

Would I use this for commercial animation? Not for something that needs to be used for a commercial presentation, but for actually storyboarding an idea, it could be a useful tool. Would I use it for school projects or just for fun? You bet I would.

So, if you or the kids are struggling for something fun and creative to do today, give it a try, then upload the results to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. Let me know where they are and I will feature some of the best ones in a future post! In the meantime I will await the call from Disney Imagineering.

 




 

 

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