PowToon - Upcoming Player in Budget Business Animation

GoAnimate isn't the only service that has noticed business presentation animations can be expensive and difficult to make without user friendly tools like GoAnimate's Studio. PowToon is a new online business presentation and animation service that almost anyone should be able to use.

The service is still in beta test at the moment and, not being a beta tester myself, I haven't had the opportunity to try it out so this article is what I've learnt from their promotional video embeded below.



The PowToon studio is kind of like Power Point with a lot more features and a library of pre-made animations. You create your presentation as a series of pages which you simply drag and drop your content to from the PowToon component library.

That's about as much as I know for the moment. It's got some interesting components like writing hands making it easy to create whiteboard style animations. The demonstration animations I've seen thus far are as good as any I've seen made by professional studios.

Since this is a product intended to solve the problem of expensive business presentation animations with a low cost alternative I'll be interested to see how PowToon's business model works so they can make money.

As an animation studio it doesn't appear to be quite as versatile as GoAnimate but it does seem more than capable for it's market. Will be watching to see how they deal with preventing all their animations from looking too similar in style.

PowToon's company blog, although new, contains some great articles and examples of presentations made using the software. One well worth a read is How we came to create the best presentation software on the planet. Without using the software that claim is debatable but it does look pretty darn good.

That said, no matter how good a piece of software is, there will always be a need for people who know how to use it well. That's where I come in.  I'll be watching with interest - and maybe will add this into my animation for business services.

For more examples of presentations made with PowToon visit the PowToon Youtube Channel.

Morevna Project - Feature Film Animation made with Freeware


The Morevna Project is an ambitious undertaking to create a feature length, anime style, animation using only Open Source i.e. freeware software. Begun sometime in 2008, the project's blog is a fascinating insight into the development of an animation that began as an idea and continues with perseverance and little to no funding.

Currently the project's Russian creators, Konstantin Dmitriev and Nikolay Mamashev, are trying to raise some funds so their lead animator (Nikolay) can work full time for the next two months in a big push to get their demo finished by the end of 2012.

Their video below, in Russian with English subtitles, explaining their need for funding is also a great overview of the project and gives a step by step look at how an animation goes from idea to finished movie.



Not only is the project inspirational because it uses freely available animation software like Synfig (2D), Pencil (2D) and Blender (3D) but also you can access many of the projects source files sketches and more. The entire project is 'open source' and licensed under creative commons attribution.

The team has even created their own software, Remake, which helps to manage all the source files created with Synfig, Pencil and Blender so that if you make changes in one file, any other files attached to that file will also be updated.

I've only just discovered this project today so I really have only scratched the surface of reading through their blog and looking at some of work in progress animations and sketches done so far. To me, all of it is very impressive and demonstrates that high quality animation can be achieved without high priced software.

That's not to say high priced software isn't worth the money. It's more to say that if your dream is to create animation of the highest quality but you're stuck due to a lack of money for industry standard software, you have options that are free and just as capable.

Take a look at the rough cut 'snapshot' of the demo completed to date and keep in mind this has all been done with the freeware software mentioned above. Unfortunately there's no sound as yet but when there is, it'll be awesome.



The team's Youtube Channel is well worth a visit as it features many tutorials, using the various programs, created during the process of making this project. You'll also see other sample animations from other projects as well.


Synfig Studio: Professional 2D Animation Software for Free

Synfig Studio is intended to be professional 2D animation software and is available to download for free. It has been around for quite some time now and seems to have had a fairly checkered history in terms of development, as noted in TildeHash's blog last year, Potential for Free Animation Software dead? Not overly surprising for free, open source software.

However the program keeps getting updated with release 0.63.05 being made available on the 9th April 2012. There are versions available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

I've had previous versions of Synfig installed on my computer for some time and, I'm going to confess, I've never used it. So, even though I've just installed the latest version, don't expect a review.

The reason being, I fire this software up and it just looks like hard work to learn. Which is not the same as being hard to learn. It's just going to take quite some time and quite a few tutorials to get myself up to speed to the point where I could do a proper review.

Synfig Studio Interface.

For now I just wanted to make you aware that this software is out there for free - for all you would be animators dreaming of the day you can afford something like Adobe Flash (CS5) or ToonBoom Animation Studio - this looks like a good alternative if you're really serious about 2D animation.

Synfig is both Vector and Bitmap based and from the it's 2012 demo reel embeded below, I'd say, looks to have amazing potential.



One thing to note is that Synfig is not intended as a complete animation studio. You will need to export your animations into video editing software to add audio etc. From what I've read it doesn't support true flash exports (so you won't be using this to make props for your GoAnimations). However, if you have a graphics tablet, Synfig will support it, including pressure sensitivity.

If you want to graduate from using MS Paint and Windows Movie Maker (which seems to be a popular combination for many beginner animators) Synfig is definitely a giant leap forward. It could take your animations from looking obviously amateur to very professional looking indeed.

I do hope to learn this software in the future. When I do, expect to see a detailed review.

Xtranormal: World Domination Robot Reports In

Xtranormal's online studio is a good way to take a break from the challenges of visualizing a complete script to just focus on a single scene with dialogue. So that's what I do from time to time.

The Robotz theme characters are actually a collection of retro constructed robots made from hardware that seems to be mostly pre-1980 back to very early twentieth century.

In this sketch the very latest in World Domination Robots reports for duty in some large industrial type complex of the future (I think the set is actually the bridge of a space craft). It's not long before he realizes he's not as impressive as he first thought.



The idea for this sketch is really just me messing about. I like the idea of contrasting grand ideas with the intricacies of every day life. Who really cares if you're the latest in World Domination Robots if it's peace time and you have a broken toaster?

Although Xtranormal looks deceptively easy there's actually more work than simply typing in the dialogue. I like to choose my camera angles and I also like to augment what the characters say with their libraries of preset actions. By doing this I feel you end up with a better quality animation than if you stick with everything on automatic and just enter the dialogue.

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