Toontastic delivers a level of quality rarely seen in free digital animation apps. Available for iOS/iPadOS and Android, it’s the perfect tool for engaging learners in the creative writing process while creating their own cartoons.
Choose a Story Arc
Students often struggle with mapping out a story’s plot. Toontastic solves this problem by using story arcs to drive the entire creative process. Each story arc consists of 3-5 parts or scenes, and scenes are limited to a maximum of 1 minute each. After selecting a scene, the app provides a succinct video explanation of that scene’s piece of the story arc (i.e. Beginning – where you introduce the characters and the setting of your story). Students start by selecting from one of three story arcs:
Short Story (3 Parts: Beginning, Middle, End)
Classic Story (5 Parts: Setup, Conflict, Challenge, Climax, Resolution)
Science Report (5 Parts: Question, Hypothesis, Experiment, Results, Conclusion).
Pick a Setting
Students start creating a scene by choosing a setting. Toontastic provides 9 interesting, 3-D scenes to choose from, or you can draw your own. From a high school to a pirate ship, users can scroll to several different locations within a given setting for each scene.
Each setting has a corresponding cast of characters, although you can mix and match settings and characters in any combination you wish. Students can recolor characters and their accessories to customize their stories. You can even take a selfie and impose it on any character. Students can also draw their own characters. While I find the drawing tools a little limited, the images drawn are rendered in 3D.
Animate and Narrate
Now it’s time to record your voice (or voices) while moving the characters around the screen. You can resize, reposition, and rotate characters as well as move their arms and legs. Tap a character for their special animation (like dancing) or tap and hold on a character to make then appear to talk.
Set the Mood
Toontastic doesn’t offer an extensive selection of music, but it does a great job teaching students meaningful ways to use music to set the mood add emotional impact to a scene.
Save and Export Your Story
Give your story a title and director and save it in the app. You can also export your video to the photos library/app on your device.