Much of the negative talk about iPads and particularly from people who don’t really understand centers around the statement “they’re more a consumption device than a creation device”. For starters, if that is the case, who cares? But it’s not, that has firmly been established by now. Anyone who knows anything about iOS devices realises that the power of the device lies in it’s apps. So when the iPad was released, there may not have been a mountain of “creation” apps, but there are plenty now.
Anyway, to the review. As you may have twigged, Animation Creator HD is a “creation” app. It allows you to create stop motion, hand drawn animation and it is very, very cool and very easy to use.
As with most iPad apps, at least the good ones, the tools are basic. You’re given a blank canvas for your first frame with which you can choose whichever tool you need to draw your first frame. I started with a sketch of a face with a basic black pen. There are a bunch of other tools in a million different colours. You can then add in the second frame with slight progression from the first, all with the help of an onion skin of the previous frame. Anyone who has tried a little animation before should find the process straight forward.
As far as kids go, they’ll find it a breeze and no doubt have a lot of fun with it. Any of your students who have artistic leanings will devour this app. Find that kid who loves to doodle all over their books and let them run wild on this. It’s fantastic.
So how would you use it in the classroom? To state the obvious it would make an excellent art lesson, but that probably depends on your art teacher and what their mode of operation is. Personally, I’ve run filmmaking classes with my students and this would be the ultimate tool for that, just to get a better understanding of how animation works. Aside from those… get creative. Perhaps you’ve been writing narratives, maybe the students can animate a character from their narrative. It could even be a literacy lesson on it’s own – a form of storytelling.
So what are the negatives associated with Animation Creator HD? Not many, in fact only one seems to bother me and that is the export format. There are two options – YouTube and Twitter, neither of which I think are really school-appropriate tools. Perhaps in an update they could somehow allow exporting to a better video site like Vimeo or even allow the user to email their creations, maybe even save to the video library on the iPad. There seems like a ton of options for this, yet none of them are available.
Who is it suitable for? I’d say middle to upper primary as a minimum, actually there’s no ceiling for this app – anyone interested in basic animation could make good use of it.
Taking all this into consideration, is Animation Creator HD worth the $2.49. Do I really need to dignify that question with an answer? For that price, apps are worth experimenting with. If you’re purchasing for a school, do your best to squeeze $100 out of your ICT budget and buying a ton of apps. You can’t lose. Considering in the ‘old days’ a software package alone would cost hundreds, Animation Creator HD may as well be free. If you’re really worried, download the lite version.