Skip to main content

Xtranormal - Easy Animation for Writers.

Xtranormal is an animation site that claims if you can type, you can make movies. It's a bold claim but it certainly delivers with its online 'text to movie' animation studio.

I would liken the experience to writing a twitter conversation where the status update box is shaped like a speech balloon. You simply select which character is speaking, write their dialog in the balloon, then add the next speech balloon to the list for the next (or even the same character) to say something.

In fact if you keep log files of your various online conversations you could use Xtranormal to turn them into movies.

Once you've entered all your dialog, click the preview button and you can see your animation come to life using fairly detailed 3D characters and sets. All the camera angles will be automatically selected and I have to say the automated camera works pretty well. The shots it chooses do make your animation look like a professional movie. It's not always perfect but it's great for people who don't know the first thing about how to film a scene.

The selection of Text to Speech voices are pretty good. Many are fairly robotic but they're still amongst some of the most natural I've come across in this type of application.

You could leave it there but the genius behind the text to movie studio is that you can add in pre-animated movements, facial expressions, gestures, sound effects and more all by placing little icons at the appropriate points in your script. It really is very easy and relatively quick (well quick in terms of how fast you can produce a finished, two minute animation).

As someone with no experience of the site I had my first animation finished in a couple of hours. I think it only took me that long because I was making up the script as I went. I probably could've worked much quicker if I had a script ready to go. The result was episode one (see the embed movie below) of a humorous series I've started called Office Space.

E1: Office Space: Pink is for Men by TET


In this first episode I switched off the auto camera and selected all the angles myself from a selection of 10 predetermined camera positions.

Episode 2 (embeded below) is a little longer. This time I went completely with the auto camera. I think it misses in one or two places that would've worked better with a medium shot but on the whole it's not too bad.

E2: Office Space: Coffee in the Machine by TET


Xtranormal has a good selection of themes and premade characters for each. Office Space is made with the Suitz theme. Other themes include; sports, celebrities, historical figures and more. Some themes use more realistic characters and sets whilst others use characters that look a little like Lego figures.

Most themes come with two free characters and one free background giving you enough to spend hours on the site to really try things out. Once you've decided the site is for you you can buy extra content by purchasing Xtranormal Points.

One of the things I like about Xtranormal is that your finished video is a proper high resolution video which you can easily upload to Youtube by linking your Youtube account to your Xtranormal account.

At the time of writing one thing you can't do with the Text to Movie studio is have your characters walk around the scene. You can't even place them in the scene you have to go with the pre-determinded placement. Hence in my two episodes Steve and Vicki are standing in the same location for the entire scene. However, there is a downloadable version of Text to Movie called 'Slate' which I understand does allow you to move characters around and adds more functionality as well.

I did download Slate but unfortunately my computer wasn't quite up to spec to run it (lacking a 3D graphic card). Personally though I'd prefer to see the online application developed further. It has so much potential for story telling without requiring too high a spec machine to make it work.

Xtranormal's approach to movie editing is unique (at least I haven't come across anything similar). Where most movie editing applications use story boards and time lines, Xtranormals text to movie approach allows writers to add movement, expressions and more much like most people add smiley emotions to text in chats and emails. It's very easy.

Whilst currently you can't create custom characters or add your own sets there's plenty to adapt to your own ideas and scripts. There's still a way to go before the site becomes a serious movie making platform but I expect it can only get better.

Well worth trying out and, with its Youtube and Facebook integration, a great tool for having a lot of fun with all those logged online conversations - imagine turning a facebook comment discussion into an animated movie...

Comments

  1. I think one of the greatest opportunities is The Office type animations and inevitable stories. I have also explored Xtranormal as edutainment and just used the freely available defaults exploring the experiences and frustrations of two adult learners returning to higher ed. The series is available on the Open University UK network site http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/4103. I have also experimented with more series stuff on ethics and mixed various videos from different scenes http://cloudworks.ac.uk/cloud/view/4686. I believe that there are tremendous educational opps with this type of easy to use technology.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have tried xtranormal and i personally prefer goanimate because in xtranormal you can't use props, edit the scene, move characters, and also i find goanimate's community much nicer... including you tet

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks sam. xtranormal seems to be great for animations driven by dialogue but I agree with you. GoAnimate has a lot more options and flexibility - even if you just stick with what the site offers for free.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

I welcome, read, and respond to genuine comments relating to each post. If your comment isn't that save me some time by not posting it.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular posts from this blog

Real Human AI Text to Speech Voice App by Replica Studios - AI voice actors for games + films

Replica Studios TTS App. Image: Replica Studios It really pays to attend Reallusion's free animation demonstration Webinars. At a recent webinar, host, Kai DeNeve, featured Replica Studio's A.I. Voice Actor system . Replica uses Artificial Intelligence to learn a real voice actor's speech patterns, tone, and inflection, which can then be used with their Text To Speech (TTS) system to produce the most realistic computer generated voices yet (or at least that I've come across). You can even fine tune how individual words are said and more. Their TTS system works through a downloadable desktop app for Mac and Windows. There are also bridging apps if you want to use their system for voices in UnReal and Unity Gaming systems. Sign up for a free account and get 30 minutes of free voice downloads (that's 30 minutes of recorded audio - not 30 minutes to download audio - that you can download a line at a time). After that you can purchase 4 hour blocks for just USD$24.00.

Animating Warwick Hays Skateboarder Ed Character for Cartoon Animator - Can Ed Kickflip?

Skateboarder Ed. Character by Warwick Hays. Warwick Hays has built quite a sizeable collection of characters, props, and backgrounds for Cartoon Animator that I've yet to really explore, however, being the tragic skateboarder that I am, it was surely fate that I would buy his Skateboarder Ed G3 character as my first purchase. Now I don't know a lot about Warwick but, based on the design of the skateboard prop that comes with Skateboarder Ed I'm fairly certain Warwick doesn't know much about skateboarding, and/or probably didn't use a good reference when designing his skateboard. Bart's skateboard has changed over the years, though curiously, even later versions, barely get closer to what an actual skateboard looks like. To be fair, Warwick's holding up a tradition of animators who clearly haven't seen a skateboard or noticed how skaters actually ride them. Just check out Bart Simpson's flat plank of wood with wheels from the opening int

My First Anthropomorphic Character with Reallusion's Character Creator 3 (Pipeline) & Reviving My TETAnimations YouTube Channel

Skateboarding Cage Monster - Heelflip. Reallusion's Character Creator 3  is a pretty incredible application for creating any kind of human digital 3D character quickly. Its power comes from the way it can totally deform a standard human base template character into a seemingly infinite number of body types and shapes. While I wouldn't recommended it as a your only 3D character sculpting tool, it is very powerful with just how much you can edit a character's form at the vertex/mesh level. I've experimented a little with CC3's Edit mesh functions, mostly using it to hide areas of an object I don't want seen. Bat Storm's cape is a good example where I used the ability to hide vertices to completely remove the assassin's hood from the neckline up. Just on a whim I wondered if I could create my Cage Monster character entirely in CC3 (with exception to his skin textures which I edited in Krita). The character is basically a stylised human body with a monster

Your First Look at Bat Storm Animated and Launching My Patreon

Bat Storm. Traditionally my Bat Storm character has always been a parody of whichever movie Batman is in the limelight. Back in the GoAnimate days that was Christian Bale, but now we have a new, upcoming Batman with Robert Pattinson. What better way to greet the new guy than with Bat Storm's own 'camera test' teaser just like Robert Pattinson's suit camera test. This is actually the very first public release of my new Bat Storm character model animated. Prior to this it's only been 'leaked' still images (does it count as leaking when it's the show creator deliberately posting images publically?). Anyhow Bat Storm pays homage to two Batmen ahead of their time (Val Kilmer and George Clooney) who had the balls to wear nipples on the Batsuit. Clearly a diversionary measure designed to disarm unsuspecting bad guys with laughter.  If no one is taking you seriously that's clearly an advantage! Visit my Patreon Page for more information. L

#XPPenanimationchallenge - How I Created My Entry for XP-Pen's First Animation Competition

XP-Pen's Mascot, Fenix, in A Change of Art by TET. XP-Pen , the makers of a range of pretty sweet pen display monitors, and Reallusion , the makers of some pretty sweet animation apps, teamed up for XP-Pen's very first Animation Challenge with the theme of 'Change'. Any form of animation was acceptable with entries needing to be a minimum of ten seconds in length. Entries closed on June 16th, 2020 (sorry, this blog isn't really a breaking news site, I probably should've mentioned it back in March when entries submissions opened) so it's too late to enter, but I wanted to tell you the tale of how I ended up creating my entry in a really late evening, the day before the deadline. Watch my entry below. Remember the theme is 'Change' and XP-Pen suggested in the rules that including their mascot, Fenix, somewhere in the animation would be looked upon favorably.   The Ideas Scenes from Skater - My First XP-Pen Competition Idea. This was not my first idea

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc. I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations. I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity . AV Voice Changer Interface. Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply

Stylish Stick Figures for Cartoon Animator 4.2 - New Characters by TET

Stylish Stick Figures by TET. Animating stick figures is almost a right of passage for any animator who has ever made an old fashioned flipbook or discovered the free stickman animator app, Pivot Animator . There's also the hugely popular viral stick figure animation, Animator Versus Animation  and its sequels by Alan Becker that continue to inspire variations more than 12 years later. Back when Vyond was GoAnimate they had a stick figure theme that was popular site wide despite having many other themes with much more refined Saturday morning cartoon style characters. I even had my own stick figure series, Harry Chalk , on GoAnimate. Long story short, I was looking through the Reallusion Cartoon Animator Marketplace and discovered there really weren't any well designed, traditional looking stick figure characters. That's not to say there weren't any at all but I wanted something similar to GoAnimate's stick figures which included full facial features and male and