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  • George Samuels

The Future Of iPad Touch Animation

Recent strides in 2D animation content creation have been made with the iPad, including apps like Animation Desk to Animation Creator. However, 3D champions are pushing things even further. 

Within the last week, I’ve noticed a slew of innovative ideas come out that I could see working in the animator’s favor. When CG animation first came out, traditional animators were like, “Oh, that’ll never work. Nothing beats 2D animation.” But when John Lasseter came along with Toy Story, boy did the traditionalists feel embarassed. Animation had now ascended to the next level of 3D.

Now, people are are doing similar things by taking 3D to that next level.

The Beginning

Some people said that the iPad wasn’t good for animators, but I think that will change. Big things start from small beginnings, as noted by Pixar’s Don Shank who proved that the iPad could be used to paint just as well as from a computer.

Pixar animator Don Shank’s iPad paintings prove that the modern canvas is a brilliant medium for creating artistic pieces. ~Renee Ramsarran

With that myth debunked, others then started thinking about moving their artistic stills. Apps like Animation Desk to Animation Creator emerged and, oh, and what do you know, the iPad was all of a sudden an animation tool! The downside was that it still relied on people being able to draw (I know, I know, there are animators out there who don’t like to draw but don’t judge).

Touch Animation

A Multimedia Designer who goes by the alias bugzilla (who also has a Youtube channel), has been working on an iPad app called Touch Animator. This makes animation feel a lot more like you are physically manipulating a puppet. Just check the below video out:

We are quite used to haptic devices such as keyboard, mouse and graphic tablets. So working in this fashion might not seem so intuitive at first (even the designer noted some response issues in the demonstration), but it has potential. This would also mean that animators could animate whenever or wherever they take their iPad. I’m thinking it would be great to study stage blocking or character gestures really quickly.

In-The-Air Animation

Yeah, like that? I just made that name up.

This next innovation gave me goosebumps, even though I couldn’t fathom how I would animate with it.

It looks cool to be able to draw in the air, but I’m pretty sure your arm would get tired after a while. Especially for tradigital animators (those who like to draw frame-by-frame but on a computer) working on long scenes.

Collaborative Air Animation

The next video highlights yet another step up for animation – collaborative group work… in the air! O_O

Just imagine how much quicker scenes would take to setup or construct? I can just imagine these guys waving their hands and arms around like crazy! The tech is not new, especially if you’ve seen the Minority Report or Iron Man, but I think the commercial market has been waiting for it to become affordable. I suspect it will be soon.

The Future… Is Now

I know that’s lame, but it’s true. If you wish to be ahead of the game, I think it’s important to be aware of these sort of technologies and to start experimenting yourself. If you don’t have time, make time! The possibilities for animation are endless!

Are you ready for a Minority Report styled animating experience? How do you think this could change the way you work? Leave your thoughts below!

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