Have a great weekend, all! I'm off to OVFF. Here's my explanation of this "filk" thing I mention sometimes, in case you're curious.Add a Comment
Have a great weekend, all! I'm off to OVFF. Here's my explanation of this "filk" thing I mention sometimes, in case you're curious.Add a Comment
AniRef is an app created especially for animators who need to record, analyze, and track arcs in reference footage. It was created by recent Ringling grad Paolo Cogliati who currently works at The Mill in New York. “Ive been taking it around with me outside of the studio and recording spontaneous things I find and see while roaming the city,” he says of the demo below. “This child walked into frame without me knowing while I was recording people’s feet to scrub through, and made my day! I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so close to a Pinocchio walk in real life!” The app includes the following features: Record actions and add to your library for future reference Analyze footage frame by frame, at multiple frame rates Track arcs, spacing and timing by positioning trackers View your tracking in 4 different display modes Export and Email your tracked footage as .mov and import into your 2D/3D software for ease of workflow Playback in slow motion or at 24 FPS> Bookmark your key poses with the StarPose tool and toggle from key to key Know exactly what frame you are on with the embedded frame count Save your reference to the AniRef library, separate from your regular videos for easy finding and privacy AniRef on the iOS is available for $4.99 on the App Store. For more info, visit AniRef.com. Don’t miss any updates from Cartoon Brew. Join Cartoon Brew on Facebook!Add a Comment
Mobile Device Sizes Changing Rapidly
by Bruce Lidl
While the landscape for digital comics continues to develop in the post-Amazon takeover of comiXology era, the devices upon which those comics will be consumed are evolving as well. New announcements and new devices appear almost daily, with a number of eagerly-awaited devices rumored to hit in the next few weeks, most notably new, larger iPhones. Trends seem to be shifting towards ever bigger mobile phone devices, while tablets begin to cool. Taken together both indications may actually point to a brighter future for digital comics.
The iPad, of course, popularized the tablet category and has remained the segment leader since its launch in April 2010, with almost unheard of sales figures, even while maintaining relatively high price points. Competing devices have flooded the market in the iPad’s wake, but the generally cheaper Android powered devices have mostly filled market niches, while providing a large diversity in size, performance, appearance and media tie-in. Newer models with improved screens continue to appear from Amazon (Fire HDX), Samsung, Sony, Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba and many more in the $175-299 price range, while sales and refurbished older models can bring the prices of modest but name-brand Android tablets down under $100. This wave of tablets, especially those from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, have also had the effect of weakening interest in traditional black and white eReaders, a category that limps along at this point.
In a surprise to many, however, the tablet boom is beginning to slow down considerably in recent months. In Apple’s last financial releases, iPad sales numbers have declined both quarterly and in year-to-year figures. Tablet sales from other manufacturers also seem to be declining, raising the question of where tablets fit into the mobile device ecosystem and why tablet owners are not replacing them as fast as smartphones. Is it a lack of innovation in new tablets? A lack of new use-cases or new applications, that might spur sales? Are older models still capable of doing everything that users want from their tablets (primarily media consumption, web browsing and light email)?
On the other end of the mobile device spectrum, sales continue to climb for smart phones, and will likely only jump further with the release of new iPhones, possibly as early as next week. Tellingly, the major innovation that is expected from the iPhone 6 is screen size: according to the most reliable of Apple watchers, the new phones will continue to increase screen real estate. The original iPhone had a 3.5 inch screen with a 480×320 resolution, while the latest 5S has a 4 inch 1136×640 pixel resolution. The expectations for the iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches with a 1334 × 750 resolution, and an even larger iPhone 6L at 5.5 inches and 2208 × 1242, pushing the latter device firmly into the hybrid category sometimes called “phablet.” Samsung has been the leader in the bigger is better smartphone segment with it’s Android Galaxy Note devices, which have had screens as big as 5.3 inches since 2011, and the latest model, the Note 4 just announced yesterday, is 5.7 inches at 2560 x 1440 resolution. Other highly anticipated upcoming devices include rumored Motorola Nexus devices (“Shamu”) at 5.2 and possibly 5.9 inches. And just to show how expectations of smartphone size has changed, a recently announced device from Chinese manufacturer ZTE, the Nubia 5S, with a screen of 4.7 inches, 1280×720 pixels, is called the “Mini.”
Is there a link between the slowing in tablet sales and the ever increasing phone screen size phenomenon? Does owning a device like the Samsung Galaxy Note make also carrying a tablet superfluous? Could larger iPhones cannibalize iPad sales, at least of the iPad Mini (7.9 inches, 1024×768 or 2048×1536)? Evidence at this point is very sketchy, and it’s also quite possible that larger phones will just drive tablet manufacturers to increase screen size as well, and in fact there are rumors of a new, larger iPad in the works with a 12.9 inch screen. The next few months, leading into the holiday buying season will clearly indicate the direction the mobile device trends are going in, and whether or not we will have to start looking for pants with larger pockets to hold our monster sized phones.
From a digital comics perspective, the evolution of mobile screens could have a very large impact, particularly as they remain the primary consumption device for such comics. The rise of comiXology matches in many ways the growth of the iPad, and it’s not a coincidence that Amazon wanted to purchase a key digital content distributor to integrate with its hardware offerings. While a weakening tablet market may be somewhat worrisome to digital comics sellers, the explosion of interest in larger sized phones may be a far more beneficial development. Reading comics on smaller phones, even with Guided View type applications, can be very frustrating, but as those screens get bigger and better, smart phones may indeed become more suitable for comics consumption. Reading comics on a 5.7 inch Samsung Note 4 phablet is actually a pretty decent experience and not that far off of 7 inch Kindle Fire in any case. And even more so, if Apple does, indeed, embrace this size trend wholeheartedly with a 5.5 inch iPhone, a device with the prospect of true mass acceptance, the landscape of digital comics friendly devices could grow explosively in the near future.Display Comments Add a Comment
Have your books been updated and made for sale as ebooks? Are you on the Kindle store, the Nook store, or the Kobo store? Great.
But if you’re not on the iBook store, you’re missing sales. Here’s why.
In a recent 2014 survey by Education Market Research, they surveyed schools about what tablets they currently own. Apple’s iPad overwhelmingly wins the tablet wars with 79.7% of the market. Distant competitors include Microsoft Surface at 10.2% and Samsung Galaxy Note at 6.2%. Wow! iPads rule! In schools, at least, Kindles only have 1% of the market.
Further, respondents said there are 2.3 million tablets in U.S. schools. That means about 1.6 million iPads are floating around the school buildings. That’s a huge market that you can’t afford to ignore! Especially when the respondents were asked about future purchases. Again, iPad tops the market share with 65.7% planning to buy iPads.
See my books on the iBook store!
To see if your ebooks are on the iBookstore, use the iTunes Link Maker tool. Search for your name under the books category. In the comments below, report what you find!
Just because a school owns a dozen iPads, though, it doesn’t mean the school library will order from the iBookstore. Schools buying patterns are way more complicated because of factors such funding sources, issues related to inventory and checking out books, etc. In a September, 2013 article for Digital Shift, “SLJ’s School Ebook Market Directory,” Matt Enis and Sarah Bayliss run down 22 options that school have for purchasing ebooks for their libraries. Many options are simply a publishing company offering their backlist. Other options include ebooks from multiple publishers. The King among these options is Follett eBooks:
“Sixty-seven percent of PreS–12 schools using ebooks purchase from Follett, according to a recent Library Journal survey. Special features from Follett include note-taking capabilities in all titles and highlighting options in most, along with a tool allowing teachers and students to write and share notes. Additional Follett tools aim to support close reading and Common Core State Standards goals and offer scaffolding structures for struggling readers. Printing, copying and pasting, and text-to-speech features depend on publishers’ DRM specifications.”
One of the main reasons schools go to these ebook distributors is their desire to be “device independent” or “device agnostic.” They understand the limitations of being tied to a certain ebook reader. When a company provides “device independent” books, it usually means the ebooks are browser dependent. Any device which has a browser–such as Kindle Fire or iPads–can read that type of ebook. The versatility and universality of the browser dependent ebooks makes them an attractive option for schools. They aren’t tied to costly upgrades of tablets that tend to break. Instead, ebooks are read on whatever device is working.
Are your books available on these services? You’ll have to look up each one. Follett’s titles can be checked in their titlewave.com website, which is only available to customers. That means you’ll have to find a friendly children’s librarian to look it up for you. Yes, all my books are available on Follett’s ebook platform!
Finally, some publishers are making their eBooks available for purchase on their own websites. My indie books are available in epub or Kindle formats at MimsHouse.com. If you own the ebook rights to your books, you can sell them from your own website, too.
Of course, this means more work for authors as they work to get the oh-so-necessary-reviews. Already, we ask friends and family to review our books on Amazon/Kindle and maybe on GoodReads. KoboBooks used to pick up reviews from GoodReads, but since it’s been bought by Amazon, that’s not smart business; now, Kobo asks its customers to review on its site. And now, you should really ask for reviews on the iBookstore. Is it too much to expect from a friend?Add a Comment
Animator Lucas Zanotto has released a follow-up to his Drawnimal appcalled Miximal. It's a mix-and-match style children's game in which different combinations of animals can be created. Little bits of animation accompany each section of the animal, and when all three pieces align into a complete animal, the creature peforms a short act.Add a Comment
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The NFB StopMo Studio app for the iPad provides essentially everything you need to jump into creating an animated film. You won't have any issues getting comfortable with the user interface if you've worked with animation programs before, and it seems more than approachable for newcomers young and old. Once you open up the program, you're welcomed with a short and succinct tutorial that covers the basic tools, and then opens up to allow you to explore the rest of the options available.Add a Comment
iRead With is an innovative shared reading program on iPad designed to foster language development and help preschoolers get ready to read. iRead With animated stories encourage a participative reading experience engaging both child and parent.Add a Comment
David OReilly, a blazing star of the contemporary animation scene, released his first game titled Mountain on July 1st.Add a Comment
There are so many animation apps out there that it’s easy to forget a time when the most basic software wasn’t affordable. Within today’s wealth of tools, Loop (available for $0.99 on iPad) stands out for its spare, hand drawn interface and simplified features. Created by Universal Everything, it allows users to trace over video frames, choose pen widths and do some quick-and-dirty onion skinning.
What I like most about this app is that it was inspired by UI designers who like to use pen and paper during the creative process. For many non-animators, animation is a key tool in the ideation process–there are times when a sketch just isn’t enough to convey a vision to your team. Loop values fast sketching and expressiveness over polish, making it a potentially valuable tool for animators and beyond. Visit the Loop gallery to see how people are using the app so far.Add a Comment
American food chain Chipotle eschews TV advertising and stopped using external ad agencies a few years ago, but when they create ad campaigns, they go all out. Their latest project is “The Scarecrow,” a game-and-film collaboration with Bill Joyce’s Moonbot Studios based in Shreveport, Lousiana.
“The Scarecrow”, conceived in collaboaration with CAA Marketing (a division of Creative Artists Agency), is a free arcade-style adventure game for iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch that encourages players to think about industrial food production and the processed foods that they consume. Players can win coupons for free Chipotle food if they achieve certain goals within the game. There’s also an accompanying short film directed by Brandon Oldenburg and Limbert Fabian, and music by Fiona Apple:
Like their earlier “Back to the Start” campaign, Chipotle’s “Scarecrow” campaign is being praised for putting across its message in an entertaining, classy package. Adweek says, “Branded entertainment goes doesn’t get much more well rounded or better executed than this.”
Moonbot, which won the animated short Oscar in 2012 for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, has created a lush and well-conceived feature film-quality universe for The Scarecrow. The golden-hued nostalgia that defines the studio’s visual aesthetic is a perfect complement to the environmental themes of Chipotle’s campaign.
This making-of video reveals some of the effort that went into creating The Scarecrow:Add a Comment
In August, iTunes changed affiliate partners to PHG, which means that if you want to provide affiliate links for people to buy your books in the iBookstore, you had to change all your links. Updating has been a breeze and it makes book marketing more efficient.
First, why add links to your website, blog or your social media platforms? The links take readers directly to the iTunes page about your book. Not only does it encourage readers to buy your book for the iBookStore, it also gives you a small commission. I am currently earning about $100/month on this type of affiliate and by adding in the iTunes affiliate, I hope that figure goes up. (Thanks for your support!)
If you just want a link to your book and don’t care about the affiliate links, then use the iTunes Link Maker tool. If you are writing books for children or teens, this is a great time to add these links because more and more schools are adopting iPads in their classroom. For example, the Los Angles School District spent more than $30 million this summer to purchase iPads for every student. Of course, on the iPad, you can choose to read books from the Kindle or Kobo apps; however, the iBookstore is becoming easier and easier and I expect Apple to start pushing it more.
Becoming an iTunes affiliate is now an easy task: simply apply now. It’s free.
After your application is approved and you provide the proper financial information, you just need to snag links to your books. This used to be a cumbersome process and I was lousy at doing it. With the switch to PHG, it’s as simple as any Amazon affiliate links. More on creating affiliate links.
You simply login to your iTunes Affiliate Dashboard and click on the iTunes Link Maker Tool; it will take you directly to the tool, but this time, it will automatically add in your affiliate ID. The resulting links will still take readers to your iBook page, but will also record that they came from your affiliate link.
So, here’s the list of my books now available on the iBookStore. For more information on each title, see here.
I received a proof copy of my book "I Fell Through The Crack" today. I got it printed by MILK books, (I'm testing various printers and formats). I must say they've done a very good job. Contact me if you want to buy a signed copy.
I’m reading through the New Testament this year. I’ve done the Bible in a year plans and tend to read quickly just to get finished and don’t focus on the text. So I thought I would try a plan on my iPad for just a chapter a day and try to soak it in. Yes, I’ve gone digital. Sometimes I miss the onion skin and writing in the margins. But I like to take notes and be able to find them again. I can categorize and sort on the iPad. I also enjoy shuffling translations on the fly.
Sometimes, digital bites you in the behind, though.
Take this morning. My text was Matthew 23. Almost completely in red. Jesus said it, I’d better pay attention:
They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbiby others. But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. (Matthew 23:5-9 ESV)
After finding a suitable definition for phylacteries, I moved on to define rabbiby. Stumped. Nothing on the web but alternate suggested spellings. Why is it in the Bible if I can’t get a definition? Get behind me Satan, I’m going to figure this out. I plugged away at the word and searched. Twenty minutes of painstaking research has brought me to the following conclusion that I would like to share with you:
1. Rabbiby could be the plural of Rabbi.
2. Rabbiby might be a term of derision used by average citizens.
3. Rabbiby possibly is a greeting given between brothers who are both scholars of the law. “Hey Rabbiby, you gonna finish that?”
My research is incomplete on this matter, and I welcome any insight. I have but one other theory – that print editors are slightly better than the digital ones. Butthatisonlyatheory.
It's been a busy stretch for the Thirties Fleischer cartoon star Betty Boop. First, she got her own paper towel in Turkey, and now, Winnipeg, Canada-based Fowl Moon Studios has licensed the character for a new iOS game called Betty Boop Dance Card.Add a Comment