FLIP has been granted a sneak peek at the latest animation app to hit the iPad - The Animator's Survival Kit. We have now road-tested the new digital ASK: below is our thoroughly biased and not at all independent view of this new electronic addition to the animator's library.
I should admit first of all I still don't have an iPad - so I borrowed one from a colleague at work and he downloaded the new test version of the new app. And it's awesome - better than the book, better than the DVD series - perfectly combining the best qualities of both. And, at around £25, it costs barely more than the book does. So this is - in short - a huge leap forward for learning animation.
The iPad feels as if it is made specially for this kind of work. The digital ASK has many of the traditional features of a book - plain text, nice illustrations - so far, so familiar. But, as you scroll through the pages, you keep bumping into little video icons, peering out at you invitingly from the pages. Click on these, and you get a video introduction to the chapter, giving a personal view on why it's important to read it, and what you will learn.
Other little icons pull up a short animated video explanation of the principle being addressed - much of this material is pulled from the ASK DVD set. Confused about overlapping action? Ones vs Two's? Straight Ahead vs Pose to Pose? A short video shows you what it all means, and shows you in simple clear terms exactly how these principles get applied in practice.
And even the videos are interactive. You can pause them, scroll through them, step through them frame by frame. It's like having the perfect animation tutor right there in the classroom with you, equipped with all the right bits of kit - video, power point, lectures books - but all at your disposal in exactly the format you want. And best of all - you don't have to go to school to learn it.
It is obvious that a great deal of thought and effort has gone into the presentation. The interface is very easy to get the hang of, and simple to operate. Tap the screen and the chapters are revealed on a scroll bar at the base of the screen - so you can easily navigate to the bits you need.
In short - it's the best £25 you will spend on any device to help you learn animation. But you have to buy the iPad first, of course. Which is still on my own personal to-do list.
PS Here's a list of stuff you get with it:
- The Animator’s Survival Kit Expanded Edition - that is to say the whole book - for the iPad
- More than 100 animated examples of the principles of animation - taken from The Animator’s Survival Kit Animated DVD series, and inserted into the relevant sections of the text. You can slow these down and watch them frame-by-frame.
- Dad's 50-years-in-the-making Circus Drawings animation
- Video introductions for the chapters - by the author. 80 this year!
- "Sensitive navigation", which "fades away gracefully away when not needed"
- "Onion skinning" - to see multiple frames of animation at once.