Google released Toontastic 3D, an app that teaches kids how to create animated storybooks using their device’s camera and microphone.
Aimed at six- to 12-year-olds, Toontastic 3D lets kids make their own animations (including shorts and classics) based on pre-set options. Users are able to pick settings and characters—from pirates to aliens, to images of themselves. They can perform tasks like shooting off canons or opening trap doors in order to create storylines. They can also select a mood, which changes the look and adds music. Finally, they can add their own narration to the story.
The original Toontastic, released in 2D animation in 2011, was created by Launchpad Toys, which was acquired by Google in 2015.
“With Toontastic 3D, kids can draw, animate, and narrate their own adventures, news stories, school reports, and anything else they might dream up,” Google stated in a blog post. “All they need to do is move characters around on the screen and tell their story. It’s like a digital puppet theater […] but with enormous interactive 3D worlds, dozens of customizable characters, 3D drawing tools, and an idea lab with sample stories to inspire new creations.”
“I don’t think the creation aspect is the novel part. I think that’s always been there,” says Andy Russell, product lead for Toontastic 3D. “I think what’s really new and exciting is that these devices are evolving in such a way that we can capture kids playing in ways that others can see and learn from and be inspired by.”