Sunday, January 5, 2014

Disney Animated: amazing multimedia nonfiction book app (ages 9 and up)

Disney's animated movies have enchanted families for generations. Now, this richly layered multimedia book app takes readers behind the scenes to see all the different aspects that go into creating animated feature films.

Disney Animated
developed by Disney / Touch Press
2013 Cybils Book App finalist
Apple's iPad App of the Year for 2013
ages 9 and up
iTunes App Store
Read about the original development of animation, watch Walt Disney talk about where story ideas come from, zoom in to look at a detailed storyboard from 101 Dalmatians drawn by legendary illustrator Bill Peet. Readers can zoom into look at the detailed drawings and captions, to see how the artists envisioned the story as it developed.

Storyboard for 101 Dalmatians, from Disney Animated

It's absolutely fascinating peeling back the layers of classic animated as well as computer generated (CG) films, seeing how a scene develops from the initial story sketch to rough drawings or computer models, to final colored animation. With the scene from Chicken Little, you can see how the animators matched the drawings to the recorded dialog.

clip from Chicken Little, showing CG animation process
Picture boards for the Wreck-It Ralph characters in the Sugar Rush game show the visual inspirations, including pictures of marble cake swirls and butterscotch candies. Interactive elements let readers stop animated clips, progressing frame by frame, swipe through a timeline with every Walt Disney Animation Studio feature film, and manipulate Vanellope, a CG character from Wreck-It Ralph. A book could never let readers see these animated layers in action!

This book app lets readers progress at their own pace, diving into sections they're interested in. It's a perfect blend of book, animation and interactive features, all designed to help readers explore the many facets of animation.

Yes, this app builds on the appeal of Disney movies. Yes, it starts out with that sweeping music and view of the Magic Kingdom. But from the first page, it's brings you into discovering the art and technique that goes into making these movies. Every time I read it, I'm amazed at the ingenuity of Disney and his colleagues as well as the collaborative effort that animated films require.

For an in-depth look at this app, check out this video review by the Children's Technology Review. CTR is one of the journals I subscribe to for excellent assessment of apps and games for kids.

The Cybils winners will be announced on February 14th. The review code was provided by Disney Studios as part of the Cybils process. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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