App of the Week: Animation Creator

Name: Animation Creator’ 

Platform: iOS 3.0 and later iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad

Cost: $ .99

Animation Creator is perfect for teens who like to draw and are into graphic design. I know teens at my Library who read Manga and watch anime; most every library has these teen patrons. From time to time they can be found sketching out drawings on the sides of binders and notebooks rendering their favorite characters in some crazy action pose. This app is also equally appealing to anyone who enjoys illustrating their own comics or zines.
The app is very sleek and easy to use. Many apps require a one-time tutorial that I never follow unless I really get stuck. The teens I know are not going to sit there waiting patiently as an app shows them how to use it. They want to dive right in and experience it themselves! After all, if they can’t figure it out on their own they won’t be interested long enough to learn how to use it anyway. However, if you do need some extra help, there is a nifty demonstration you can follow.
So here is what you need to know: when you first launch the app, you will see a gray background with a simple animation of a walking stick figure. This is the demonstration animation. Feel free to watch it to get a feel for how your animation will eventually come to life. If you are ready to start, click on the “add” button in the top right hand corner to get started on your first graphic. A drop-down menu will appear; select “edit.”’  Now you may create your first graphic. You are able to create a series of images or however many you see fit. In a way, it is similar to making a flip book. Once you have finished your first image layer, you can now hit the arrow on the bottom right that looks like this (>). Clicking the “add” button again will bring you to your next layer, where you can still see a faint image of your first drawing so that you can then trace or adjust the second graphic for mobility. This ability to see the previous layer is referred to as “onion skinning”.

Once you are satisfied with your drawings, it is time to animate! By selecting the “play” button, the screen flips over and up pops a tool bar where you can adjust the speed of the animations as well as the option to loop the animation to play over and over. In the drawing toolbar, you will find other options such as brush thickness, color changes, tool types, and uploading audio and photos.
The simplicity of the app initially appealed to me, but once I saw its potential I quickly realized the app could be so much more with just a few tweaks. Perhaps in a future upgrade, we will see some more depth with possible 3D capabilities. As a teen librarian, I look forward to incorporating it into a teen program in the near future.

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