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Friday, 30 November 2012

Favourite iPad Animation Apps

This is a guest post by my colleague, Rodrigo Alfaro, based on our animation work with iPads this school year.

We recently purchased a dozen iPads for teacher and student use in the LRC. These iPads are used for many tasks, including animation. We have found a great many useful apps for animation which we hope others will find useful as well.

  Animation Desk Lite for iPad This app has the most features for classical (drawn) animation. Its greatest limitation is that you can only create three scenes in the Lite version. Even so, it is quite a robust application; it includes different pen and brush types, multiple layers of animation, variable frame rates, onion-skinning and even a digital stamp tool which allows you to cut and paste as well. This application is ideal for patient students who have a drawing vocation and enough passion to pursue the completion of one project for a period of time. This application also feels more intuitive if you use a stylus to draw. Animation Desk will allow you to save a scene to the Photo Library (Camera Roll) as a movie, which can then be emailed or exported to a computer with the USB cable.

This application is designed for pixilation (sequential picture) sequences. The interface is very simple to use and understand, because as soon as you open the program there is a small tutorial which guides you through the basic functions of the app. When a clip is created, the front or back camera is activated and you can start shooting right away. The tricky part is to keep the ipad as still as possible, so the animation is not jarring and inconsistent. Often times, the best method involves placing the iPad in a static position in front of where the action will take place. Since this is a purchased app, there is no limit to the amount of scenes available to shoot. You also have the option to play back the animation at different speeds. When your sequence is done, you can export to the Photo Library and email your movie from there.

Animation Express
 This application is simple to use. It is very similar in style to Animation Desk, but the interface is less complicated. Even so, it is powerful enough to be able to do rotoscoping (drawing on pictures). It includes 2 modes: the regular drawing mode (which includes, brushes, colour swatches, a stamp tool and a smudge tool), as well as the animating mode, (which includes adding, subtracting or duplicating frames, variable frame rate, a sound recorder and export functionality to get your video out of the ipad and unto a computer. Other features (with the free version) include a shape tool, a Paint Bucket tool which is used to paint large areas of your drawing. This program is accessible and simple enough for those who find Animation Desk too complicated.

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