I Can Animate
We all know that Macs are ideal for digital video and animating, and I Can Animate is an ideal way to introduce children to this side of them. It offers users the opportunity to make stop motion, time-lapse and animated films.
For creating the images, there are two main choices: either take a picture using a video camera, such as the iSight, or to draw the images directly on the screen. Layout is similar to iMovie, with a large ‘screen’ on the left, options and controls on the right, and a well for frames and clips at the bottom.
To help with stop motion animation, the software lets you overlay the previous image with an image taken directly from the camera. This makes it much easier to ensure that the object is always in the right place relative to the rest of the frames, making a smooth animation more achievable.
The software includes the ability to ‘green-screen’, so you can knock out single colour backgrounds, and replace them with another image. This is the sort of feature usually found in high-end apps, not something to expect in kids’ software. It is easy to use and can produce some good effects.
For kids, this software is excellent, with the right blend between features and simplicity. I made a simple film involving stop motion and time-lapse, with some mouse-drawn animation for titles, in under an hour. It also offers the option of exporting as a QuickTime movie or iMovie file, which makes it easy to add the professional effects from iMovie, or even add animations into existing DV footage.
If you’re looking for a way to introduce children to movie making, or even just want a go yourself, I strongly recommend I Can Animate; it has some excellent features at a reasonable price.