When I first received an email to review Plastics for iPad, I had no clue about the app and thought myself that it’s just one of those come and go applications out of the millions on the iTunes store. Now that I have actually used it for 2-3 days I can assure you that the developers worked pretty hard and made sure that you can customize and create some complex animations on the go. In this review I will explain why all multimedia and animation students should have this app on their tablet. Moreover, I think the real reason why I loved Plastic so much is their simplicity ensuring that anyone without zero experience in motion graphics can create something spectacular.
Animating with Plastic
The first thing that you will notice once you launch the application is an array of tiles with different premade animations. You can go ahead and tap anyone of them and start viewing it as a movie. Basically there are two main segments that control all the custom animations. Firstly, you need to select any image and you can even use your default iPad camera to snap one and attach to your composer. Once your image and background is ready you need to enter the Rigging mode. Rigging is a system with which we add virtual bone structure to any 2D or 3D body so that we can easily control the movements. All you need to do is draw your fingers on the screen to create the skeleton for your character. After you are happy with the rigging it’s time to move on to the real animation part.
The animation tab in plastic is very simple and does not require any learning curve at all. If you are familiar with some sort of movie editing software (even Windows Movie Maker or Camtasia) you should have no problem grasping with what’s going on. There is a slider at the bottom of the screen that allows you to shift to any time and start animating the nodes. Once you change any node a keyframe is automatically created at that point and this leads to flawless and quick compilation of all your movements. You can move individual keyframes over the timeline allowing you to easily copy paste repeated steps.
Sharing and Freemium Model
Plastic for iPad comes with a freemium model which means that although the app is free to download and explore, you still have the option for buying some in-app upgrades. In this situation the upgrade is pretty useful when you are trying to export a movie of your animation and share it with your friends and family. With the free version the movie will be exported with a watermark from the Plastic app. However, such symbols are not good for branding and you need to buy the pro exporter in order to export unbranded clips of your work. I think this is a pretty smart move and the price is absolutely justified. Thankfully, you just have a single in-app purchase and the ability to share your work directly to all major social networking sites.
I never thought that I would find Plastic so useful and engaging. As a part time animation student I am always experimenting with creative new ways to rig my characters. You don’t have to be a genius to use this app and all you need is a bit of creativity to create something engaging for your loved ones. The interface is super simple and rigging characters never felt easier. I am thankful that I found this application and gave it a try.