One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is animation. Unfortunately, time constraints prohibit my forays into the arena from being too complex. This is extremely problematic for character animation specifically. Animating a ball moving across the screen or a series of pie charts is easy in a few minutes. Animating a room full of characters having a business conference? Not so much.
Enter GoAnimate. GoAnimate is a fairly robust online software platform that makes character animation a turnkey solution. Given I highly recommend that you do not bypass the story board option and plan your animations out before hand, but when you’re ready to go, GoAnimate has most of the bases covered.
First is the robust character customization. Similar to building an avatar in a videogame, users can pick sex, ethnicity, age, and costume styles for human characters that they wanted to animate. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were options that represented the physically impaired like wheelchairs and also religious diversity options like burqas! If you find this straightforward process too daunting, there are a wide variety of preconfigured characters to select from.
After your character creation process is done, GoAnimate has a plethora of pre-established animations that are ready to get things moving. Characters can be made to run, walk, argue, skip, talk on the phone…the options are vast. Animations can happen in sequence via the intuitive timeline. A character is given a series of actions to complete over various “scenes” with customizable durations.
The scenes are just as varied as the characters themselves thanks to the same level of customization. Generic backgrounds exist that can be populated with a selection props (chairs, desks, plants, etc.) that can be interacted with.
This brings me to GoAnimates limitations. The aforementioned props are cosmetic only. Characters can sit on chairs but they can’t pick up an apple on a table and take a bite out of it. Doors can be placed in a scene but they can’t be opened. Additionally, the only characters that can be animated are humans. There are no animals or animated toasters available to work puppet magic on.
Let these small quirks by no means discourage potential Disney apprentices. The platform is still quite robust for what it is. Animations can be exported at a variety of resolutions and a chromakey-able background allows for characters to be superimposed and retimed in an infinite number of ways. The most important (and valuable) aspect of GoAnimate is its speed. I’ve been able to use the program to build simple and powerful interactions between characters in a matter of minutes. What it does do, it does well and I only anticipate that it will continue to get better. GoAnimate is available via subscription starting at $39.00 a month. Check out what I did below!