The best animation and presentation software for your classroom

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Is Animatron the new Hotness

In this article, I’m going to explain why Animatron is good but PowToon is still the new hotness. Ok well, new to me, kind of. If you’re the kind of presenter/teacher that likes to know about the latest and greatest material delivery methods and software read on. If EdTech is interesting but you don’t have time to play with every software that comes out, keep reading. The next 10min will bring you up to date on both PowToon as well as Animatron.

Though I am not a classroom teacher, like you, I’m very interested in finding engaging and dynamic ways to connect with students/people using presentation software. That’s why I was so excited to find PowToon. I was happier than when I found out they were making a SpongeBob movie.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was to create a polished video with animations and music.  That’s why when I heard about Animatron I was super-duper excited (do people still say super-duper).

 

PowToon VS The World

qeenIf you’ve never heard of PowToon and you’re using Google Slides, PowerPoint, or Prezi out of pure choice, I highly suggest you take a look at PowToon.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking any of those other options, and they still have a place in your classroom, however, there are some things that PowToon can do easily that will have you looking like the Queen/King of EdTech.

Let’s be honest, you need to put some serious thought into making a PowerPoint presentation interesting.  I don’t know who came up with the structure of PowerPoint, but I believe I can say with some certainty, that it was someone who didn’t have a problem putting unsuspecting viewers to sleep.

I think PowerPoint’s tendency toward presentations laced with sedatives

 Sometimes presentations are so boring.
Presentation software can put us all to sleep.

are because it’s designed with the presenter and not really the viewer in mind.   It’s streamlined for the teacher/speaker to create a presentation ultra quick, but it pretty much stops there.

PowToon picks up where presentation software like PowerPoint drops the ball.  The interface is designed to be easy to use but PowToon is also designed to be easy to watch.  With eye-catching colors, native animations that seem professional, a PowToon presentation can stand on its own, when a PowerPoint slideshow lies down and takes a nap, or at least I do when I see a bad one.

I know what your thinking.  This crazy guy must be getting some kind of kickback from PowToon.  Actually, I’m not affiliated with them in any way.  I have written some articles that semi-rave about it, but that’s just because I like it.

 

Animatron

Let me start by addressing the first question you’re dying to ask.  What in the world is Animatron?  Some of you might have heard of it but a lot of you haven’t.  Animatron is an online animation creation software that is pretty powerful in its own right.  If you’ve ever seen flash style animations (like the video below), that’s the style of animation that Animatron can do with one important caveat.  I’ll talk about that later.

Similar to PowToon Animatron allows you to use characters that do some action or exhibit some emotion when you drag and drop them in the creation area.  You can also easily animate them to move or rotate over a certain distance and time.  Voiceover, background music, and sound effects are also available tools within Animatron.

What Animatron does really well, is integrate premade visual backgrounds.  There are lots of free backgrounds you can use, and there not the dinky “nobody would want this” kind either.  They are detailed and well done.  It gets even better,  because the backgrounds are made from individual elements within Animatron, you can have your character behind some parts and in front of others.

This allows your character to really appear to be in the background as appose to just on top of it.  Take a look at the scene below.  Notice how the character I’ve placed is inside the background by being partially covered by the tree she’s next to.  Think of an animated background where you character can walk behind building and trees as if they were really in the scene you design.  

Now that caveat I was talking about.

I’m going to get slightly technical here, but don’t worry your smart, your reading this article aren’t you.  A lot of animations you’ve seen in the past have been flash animations.  

Flash animations are great but they require a Flash player made by Adobe.  In recent years Flash has fallen out of favor due to some of its inefficiencies.  Along with being able to export Animatron animations as videos, you can also download them as HTML5, which is a newish internet standard.  HTML5 is not only about animations, but it can certainly be used to create them.

Animatron
Animatron allows you to place characters in the scene instead of on it.

 

HTML5 can be played by any up to date browser without the requirement of an external player.  This means when you create your animation and you put it on yours or someone else’s web page, you don’t have to worry that the viewer may not have the right player.

PowToon vs Animatron

When I first saw Animatron I thought it was more or less the same as PowerPoint.  After playing around with Animatron, however, I see that they focus on different things.  If you’d like to create a presentation or present information that is best done as a series of slides, then PowToon is more suitable.  If you’re trying to make an interesting animation closer to a full blown cartoon, then Animatron is your tool.

There is one other thing you should keep in mind if you’re going to try Animatron (and you definitely should spend at least 10min playing around with it, it’s so easy to get started). Animatron requires more of your own time and creativity to make something you like.  PowToon has templates that make it very easy to just add your content to.  It’s kind of a fill in the blank approach.  Animatron has templates too, but you will likely need to make more changes to bring your idea to life

Single animation or cartoon think Animatron, whole presentation or series of slides pictures and ideas think PowToon.

Getting Started with Animatron

If you’re interested in taking a look at Animatron it’s really easy to get started.  You can begin playing around with the software without registering or paying anything.

I hope this was useful.  Let me know how you’re using programs like PowToon, PowerPoint, or Animatron in the comments below.  If you’d like my top 5 resources and videos for learning how to do great animations sign up to my email list.

and remember to…

Connect, Engage, and Enjoy

 




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