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Thursday, March 6, 2014

An iPad App, Android App, and Web App for Drawing Animated Comics

Earlier today in my NCTIES workshop about creating media with mobile apps we talked about having students create comics to tell a story. Two of the apps that we looked at for that purpose were Animation Desk and ABCYa Animate. Unlike apps that are designed specifically for the purpose of creating comic strips, Animation Desk and ABCYa Animate don't include a standard comic frames format nor do they include pre-made characters for students to drag and drop into place. Instead Animation Desk and ABCYa Animate require students to draw each frame. When all of their frames have been drawn, students can play back their animations in a flipbook style.

Animation Desk is an iPad and Android app (free and premium versions available) for creating short, animated videos. The app allows you to create drawings using just your finger on your tablet's screen. In the free version of the app (the version that I tried) you can create up to 50 scenes in each of your projects. In each scene you can include as little or as much as you want to draw on the canvas. There are a few different brush and pencil effects that you can use in your drawings. The opacity of the colors you choose can be altered too. When you have completed drawing all of your scenes hit the play button to watch your animation unfold. If you're happy with your animation you can export it to YouTube. And as Kathy Schrock pointed out to me today, you can export all of your drawings as a set of PDFs.

ABCya Animate from ABCya (disclosure, an advertiser here)allows students to create animated GIFs containing up to 100 frames. On ABCya Animate students build their animation creations by drawing, typing, and inserting images. Students can change the background of each frame, include new pictures in each frame, and change the text in each frame of their animations. The feature that I like best about ABCya Animate is that students can see the previous frames of their animations while working on a current frame. This helps students know where to position items in each frame in order to make their animations as smooth as possible. Students do not need to register on ABCya Animate in order to use the tool or to save their animations. When students click "save" on ABCya Animate their creations are downloaded as GIFs.

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