Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Xtra! Xtra! Read All About It!

With subheading: if you can type, then you can make movies.

Similar to Go!Animate, which I talked about earlier, Xtra Normal (currently in beta) provides a very simple interface through a web browser to a virtual animation studio. In the case of Xtra Normal, the tool provide three dimensional sets and characters that look like Lego people (at least some of the characters do).

The bonus is the text to speech engine that provides the capability to add spoken dialog to your movies. There's a number of voices in different languages available (male or female; english, german, french, etc.), but I could only get one of the voices to work.

I really like the simplicity in the interface, especially the drag and drop part of adding camera cuts or animations directly into the script itself (wish other engines worked this way). Want to add a cut to a character's face just as he's about to deliver that emotional monologue? Now you can do it by adding the camera icon directly before his Oscar worthy text and choosing which angle to put the camera at to catch the virtual tears as they fall.

Just for fun I put this together in about 20 minutes:

Worst Nightmare.


Kate Fosk and Michael R. Joyce said...

Oh boy, the terms of use are somewhat confusing http://www.xtranormal.com/staticpages/index.php?page=terms_en Extact..
Site Content may not be modified, copied, distributed, framed, reproduced, republished, downloaded, displayed, posted, transmitted, or sold in any form or by any means, in whole or in part, without xtranormal's prior written permission, except that the foregoing does not apply to your own User Content (as defined below) that you legally post on the Site. Provided you are eligible for use of the Site, you are granted a limited license to access and use the Site and the Site Content and to download or print a copy of any portion of the Site Content to which you have properly gained access solely for your personal, non-commercial use, provided that you keep all copyright or other proprietary notices intact. Kate

Ricky Grove said...

Hey, thanks for posting about this beta program. It does like interesting and I'll have to try it out. Kate's note on terms of use is only the tip of the iceberg though, the actual document is worse. Plus, there seems to be a lack of customization. Still, as a sort of "sketch machinima" it does look intriguing.

Anonymous said...

Lol... Isn't that the case with all TOS's?