Plotagon Revisited - Type Your Next Animation

Plotagon TET Avatar.
Plotagon, the free, type an animation app for PC, Mac, iPad and iPhone, has undergone a complete transformation since I last reviewed it in this blog. Gone are the more realistically stylised 3D characters and scenes in favour of a more friendly, 3D cartoon style.

It's a style I really like so it prompted me to see what's new in Plotagon version 2. Note that I'm using the PC desktop app so this review pertains to that specifically.

Character Creator


Right away I really enjoyed the new custom character creator. There's plenty of options to create very different looking characters, both male and female.

Plotagon Character Creator.

You are limited in color choices for skin, hair, eyes and clothing, which is not a big issue but if you did want to use a very specific color scheme that isn't going to be an option.

There's no option to adjust your character's height or weight so body types will all be very much the same however there is enough facial options to make characters look younger or older as needed.

I really like that you can re-edit finished characters as well as work on copies of existing characters.

Plotagon Script Editor


Moving on to the Plotagon script editor, the basic idea is still the same. Creating an animation is as simple as writing a script. In fact the layout of your script is pretty much how actual scripts for film is set out.

Plotagon Script Editor.

You start by choosing a scene and two characters that will interact with each other. There's plenty of free content to get you started or you can make in app purchases for more content if you add a credit card to your account. All scenes must contain two characters which are placed in any of the predefined positions available within the scene.

From there you have the option to add dialogue, action, sound or music blocks to your script.

Dialogue can include character actions or expressions, such as 'look around', 'sad', 'happy' etc. There's a generous range of character actions and expressions to choose from. If you want a character to pause and say nothing, just add a dialogue box with no dialogue (which also gives you the option to add a character action or expression without them speaking).

All character voices are computer generated and are reasonably human like though they lack expression. There is the option to record your own voice directly into a scene however no option to upload pre-recorded voice clips (a real shame and something that should be added as a priority).

Inserting just an Action will allow your characters to interact with each other if they are placed next to each other in the scene. There aren't nearly as many options here but what there is may be useful for many situations.

Sounds can't be attributed to anything specific they're just heard. Music is just played until it finishes.

Camera angles are automatically chosen and are limited to establishing shots of the scene followed by medium close up shots of each character as they speak.

You can include multiple scenes within one story but there are no transitions between scenes - everything is a straight cut to the next scene.

Unlike the first version of Plotagon there is no option to have your characters move around. Which is a real shame and extremely frustrating. If the characters could at least walk between their predefined positions within a scene it would make Plotagon animations a little more dynamic.

You can preview your animation at any stage from any point which is essential to really refine the way the characters interact in a way that feels believable.

Completed animations can be shared on Plotagon's network or you can export them to Youtube or share them on Twitter and Facebook.

Below is my finished animation which is created mostly from purchased content (only my Avatar character that I created was free).



Plotagon is so simple anyone could be up and running and using it inside 10 to 15 minutes. The characters look great, the scenes look great, there's plenty of content to get you started and more if you're willing to shell out a few dollars.

Unfortunately it suffers from the same drawbacks as the original Plotagon. The scene placement of characters is so rigid, not being able to move them around at all is frustrating and no ability to choose camera angles stifles creativity (sometimes it's just nice to show a wide two shot while characters are talking to break up the over the shoulder interview style dialogue shots).

Plotagon is a great way to pass the time if you're willing to create stories based around the content available in Plotagon's library. There's no option to upload your own scenes or even customize existing scenes. Finished animations can look a little same-y and sound a little bland with the computer generated voices. It's great though if you want something that will work on your phone or tablet while you're on the go.

It's also good if you have a thing for writing two person conversations.

If you're a little more serious about animating and want more flexibility to express yourself you might go for something like Muvizu over Plotagon. However, I have to say I like Plotagon's character style much better.

Plotagon is fun. It'll pique your interest for animation but ultimately you'll out grow it if you ever get more serious about your script writing or creating animation.

2 comments:

  1. Nice review David. Your character looks a little bit like Donald Trump. Especially the hair! ;)

    Seriously, I think I will check this program out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. That was as close to Donald Trump as I could get. None of the head shapes really matched his actual head but the hair is spot on other than it could be a little lighter shade of ginger.

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