GoAnimate and the Rise of the Animation Automation Website…

Many attempts have been made in the past to simplify the creative process of animation. From templates to pre-drawn gifs there are many tricks of the trade to speed up the process but still animation remains a time consuming and often frustrating task. GoAnimate.com is here to change all of that.

Hiding under GoAnimate’s cartoon exterior is a serious animation engine capable of generating highly polished cartoons that are assembled very much like a Hollywood movie. On top of this very clever technology GoAnimate have provided a number of web applications that succeed in making animation fun, and incredibly easy.

With no applications to install or libraries of content to maintain getting started is as easy as logging in and clicking create animation.

What is GoAnimate?
Bringing ideas to life GoAnimate is a complete web based animation system consisting of a series of web applications. With tools to manage every aspect of the animation process, from organizing  your animation library to hand crafting the next animated classic, GoAnimate is a one stop animation shop.

Highpants_GoAnimate_FullVideoMode_shipAfter using GoAnimate for a short while one aspect of process with Go stands out, how much fun is to be had quickly seeing ideas come to life. It may just be the cartoon interface tutorials or the web based interface but the process will have you grinning and laughing the whole way through.

Content is as equally important to animation as the tools used. GoAnimate provides a massive catalogue of pre-drawn artwork for use in your animations but they don’t limit you to it. There is already a fast growing community that is quickly generating all types of content, there’s even a laughing George Bush head available. Sure the quality of the community generated content can be a little spotty but it does make up for it with quantity.

Accounts
Before the creative juices can flow an account must be setup on the site. Three options are available to the user; the Basic free account, the GoPlus paid and Business paid accounts.

The Basic account is quickest to setup and obviously cheapest but the account also has many limitations.  Only a very limited subset of templates, characters, props etc are available. Functional limitations also apply to video length which is capped at 2 minutes. Sharing and use of your completed videos is also limited.

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Armalarm’s Star Trek

The paid account will set you back $58 USD a year but it does offer a much larger library than the basic account. Business customers will need to pay $50 USD a month to access the service but they get unlimited access to everything, this is in effect the unlimited account. You will require either of the paid accounts if you need to download the completed animations as a media file, or if you wish to upload the animation to YouTube.

When you consider the amount of content and advanced tools provided by GoAnimate along with the hours of fun to be had the paid for account should be considered by all those even slightly interested in self expression.

Dashboard.
Once your account has been created and your first animation created you will find yourself back at the dashboard. The central point to manage your GoAnimate online life, manage you animations, send out the social media word and track the popularity of your work.

Go Bucks
Go!Animate has also established their own online currency, GoBucks. Use them to pay for custom characters and unlock new cool features.  The GoPlus account includes 4,000 GoBucks for new users. Currenty GoBucks are selling at $10 USD / 1,000 GoBucks.

If you don’t have the spare GoBucks to have a custom character designed for you GoAnimate provide the character creator to allow characters to be made to fit your script.

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Quick Video Maker
In Quick Video Maker mode GoAnimate uses some impressive animation automation techniques to allow simple video’s to be built in seconds. A compromise in which flexibility is traded off for speed.

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Quick VideoMaker dialog box

This doesn’t diminish the final animation at all, in fact it brings fun back into animation process in spades. The limitations can also be greatly reduced by choosing the paid account, with dozens more options available for each choice, the options expand exponentially.

GoAnimate Quick mode reduces the entire animation process into five easy steps. Firstly a template is selected for the animation. The template defines the backdrop, location, characters, props etc. The templates tend to encompass generic situations, such classics as Office Gossip, Slice of Daily Life and Anime. The paid for account also includes many other templates including A Space Odyssey, the School Chronicles and Jungle Warfare.

Next the setting and characters must be chosen. The setting and characters available being dictated by the template. Next is the most time consuming part of the very brief process, entering the dialog for your characters.

The final step of the process is to simply hit the preview button and watch your creation spring to life. Repeating and modifying the early steps to tweak your creation until you’re happy. Once you are happy with your animation you can save and share the video with the world.

Video Maker (Full)
GoAnimate also provides animators with a full set of drag and drop tools, the Full Video Maker. Providing animators with the ability to storyboard complex animations while easily controlling properties of each object.

With an interactive tutorial to demonstrate the interface Full mode could be considered a web based video creation tool, with an ample library of pre-built content to draw from. The drag and drop interface allows for customization of every aspect of a scene including backgrounds, locations, props, characters, character dialog and voice characteristics. The characters voice options includes selector for language and accent. The option to upload voice files for characters requires the paid account.

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Full VideoMaker Editor

The camera angles controls allow for both automatic and manual camera angle actions, tracking, panning all easily achieved.

The animation timeline is displayed at the bottom of the interface, allowing scenes and actions to be easily manipulated. Characters can be instructed to perform actions, responses then defined for the other character in the scene.

Other features include the ability to record your own voices for characters, upload soundtracks, mix and define facial expressions relative to actions, move characters behind props or interact with props. Cleverly when uploading audio for a character the automatic lip syncing feature takes care of one of the most time consuming jobs in animation, moving lips.

Overall the interface is simple and clear, cartoony in places but that just seems to make it more friendly. While the features won’t challenge Adobe’s Premiere at the same time it has every control required to allow completely customizable animations to be built, quickly.

Conclusion
GoAnimate is the first website (or piece of animation software) to get the balance so right, impressive animation automation along with a highly flexible construction system that should appeal to animators of all skill levels. The secret weapon of GoAnimate though is how much fun the process has become in their hands.

Not since I was let loose with multi-colored paper and very sharp scissors have I had so much fun with animation. Being able to see an idea come to life so quickly is not only thrilling but highly amusing, doing the whole process in a cartoon inspired world, priceless.

Reference: GoAnimate
Reference: GoAnimate Blog