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Run Your Favorite Android Animation Productivity Apps (and Games) on Your PC or Mac with BlueStacks

BlueStacks Android Emulator for PC or Mac.
BlueStacks Android Emulator for PC or Mac.

There are many free and low cost mobile animation productivity apps for Android in the Google Play Store that would fit right into your workflow if you could access them directly from your PC/Mac  desktop (or laptop) computer.

Even if those apps can save their output to the same cloud storage you use with your PC or Mac, just the divide of using a separate device makes them inconvenient and disruptive. Worse yet, what if your Android device is underpowered for the apps you want to use, or worse still you don't own any Android devices because someone convinced you Apple Mac's, iphones, and ipads are 'cool' (they are, but you pay for 'cool').

BlueStacks is a free, open source Android emulator for Windows or Mac (currently only BlueStacks 4 can be installed on a Mac but BlueStacks 5 for Mac is coming soon).

If you're not aware of what an emulator is, it's basically a piece of software that mimics another devices operating system so you can run apps created for that device on your Windows, Mac OsX, or Linux operating system (or any other system the emulator happens to run on).

Installing & Usage

BlueStacks is relatively straight forward to install, just download the version you want, run it, and it will install itself. You'll need a Google Account to login so you can access the Google Play store. If you already have one you're good to go, if not, they're free, and give you access to all of Google's apps etc. BlueStacks is then set up as a new device in your Google account (you'll likely get security warnings about a new device login if you already have an account).

BlueStacks Home Screen.
BlueStacks Home Screen.
While BlueStacks is primarily designed for playing Android Games on your PC, this does mean it should effortlessly run most productivity apps too. Though, keep in mind, it is an emulator, there's bound to be a few apps here and there that just won't run.

The interface is fairly straight forward with a Home screen that looks just like any mobile device screen. Click on an app to open it. I'd recommend starting with the Play Store to install the apps you plan to use. There are button icons around the edge of the window, just hover your mouse pointer over these to see the pop up label for what they do. It's actually not unlike working out how to use a new phone.

Generally I recommend using BlueStacks for apps that don't have a Windows or Mac version because it still can be a little tricky getting output from some Android apps onto your PC (not hard but a minor inconvenience locating output), or if the Android version has features only available on the mobile app (for example, you can use this to upload to Instagram from your PC).

Animation/Avatar Apps I Tried using BlueStacks

Some fun, free animation apps I tried include:

VoiceTooner App for Android.
VoiceTooner.
VoiceTooner - A fun app that changes your recorded voice to match various cartoon characters within the app including a hamster, alien, robot, helium affected, and more. Save out just the voices as .wav files for your own projects, or you can save a video of the character speaking your message for posting to social media etc. Access more voices by watching an ad or you can pay to unlock them.


Photos Alive - Jellify Android App.
Photos Alive - Jellify.
Photos Alive - Jellify - This is an interesting app that can animate parts of an image to shake like jelly. It can also recognize faces and animate the whole face as if it was jelly. Animations are saved as .GIF files for posting to social media.



Draw Cartoons 2 Android App.
Draw Cartoons 2.
Draw Cartoons 2 - Skeletal Animation Studio - This particular app is one that I'd like to explore much more as it's one of the few I know of that uses bones to animate any character you can dream up. It's kind of an extreme cut down version of more advanced desktop apps like Cartoon Animator or Moho. I'm not sure how detailed you can get but for a mobile app it has potential. 


StickDraw Animation Maker Android App.
StickDraw.
Stick Draw Animation Maker - This is promoted as a stick figure animation tool but really it's just a flip book style animation maker. You could draw anything really. Kind of fun, not really anything you'd use on a desktop PC.



Cartoon Avatar - TET 'Montgomery' Burns.
Cartoon Avatar
TET 'Burns'.

Cartoon Avatar - Face Emoji & Sticker Maker - This is basically a Simpsons Avatar maker that's trying not to get noticed by Disney's lawyers. That said, it's a very good Simpson's character creator if you don't mind watching quite a few 15-30 second ads to unlock various features (honestly, I don't mind watching ads to unlock things but you can purchase the app to go ad free). Stay away from the create a character from a photo option unless you want to pay a real artist to do a custom portrait of yourself and your family in the Simpsons style.


If you know of any really good Android, mobile productivity animation apps (that aren't traditional hand drawn, frame by frame apps) please feel free to let me know.

Other Emulators

BlueStacks is not the only game in town when it comes to Android emulators, though it is the highest rated in Software Testing Help's list of 10+ BEST Android Emulators for PC and Mac. I haven't used any of the others since I found BlueStacks a while back and it just worked. However, if you are having trouble with BlueStacks there are other options including ones for Linux as well.

Unfortunately if you want to run iOS apps on your PC there aren't anywhere near the range of options, and those that are available are targeted towards app developers wanting to debug their apps before release. However if you want to give it a try FossBytes has a list of the 7 Best iOS Emulators For PC (Windows And Mac) To Run iOS Apps.

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