Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Storytelling with PhotoPuppet

PhotoPuppet 1.2 is another app that lets you create animated stories. Photopuppet HD is for the iPad and PhotoPuppet Go is the version for iPod/iPhone. My first reaction to PhotoPuppet after I downloaded it was "Wow!" I was stunned to see the editing power in this app, even on the iPod. The developers have thought their product through carefully - although the iPod version is more limited, puppets that you create  on the iPod can be transferred to the iPad! It has more features than the other apps I've looked at so far.  It therefore has a steeper learning curve and I think it is better suited to students older than the 5 to 8 year-olds I currently work with. (Though they may surprise me!)

For older students, who have perhaps already played with the likes of Puppet Pals and Toontastic, I think PhotoPuppet may be less frustrating in some ways than the simpler apps because of the level of control it gives you over your creation. There are all kinds of details that are not available in the other animation apps. You can edit the sound using tracks, like in Garage Band. You can snip parts out of audio tracks that you don't like. The elements in your animation are layered so you can control which ones show up on top of the others. The list of neat features goes on (from the MorrisCooke website):
  • you can create any puppet with, for example, separate legs, arms, head and body. After joining these parts together your object becomes a virtual puppet that can be controlled with your fingertips during animation.
  • Definable puppet movement - we assumed that your puppets may get complicated and not easy to control – that’s why we’ve built in definable movement schemes for each and every puppet part. This way you can let’s say, allow your puppet’s legs to move automatically while you move your puppet around and manually control it’s hands. Possibilities are endless!
  • Not only export results – share animation elements – we’ve learned from feedback that you like unrestricted export to YouTube or Video files, but we went even further and allowed puppet and animation project exchange between PhotoPuppet users!
Here is an example of how one school in South Carolina has used PhotoPuppet in science class.

The developer's website has tutorial videos on it that are worth checking out.There is also a built-in help file that explains in reasonable detail how to create and manipulate puppets. 

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this app for evaluation purposes.

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