Blog . Animation Desk for iPad
Animation on the Go
If you ever want to animate on the go then I have a great app for you. Animation Desk is a free app available from the app store which allows you to animate on your iPad or iPhone. This app is a very powerful animation tool and offers a variety of features.
Animation Desk Overview
Animation desk is free in the app store, but there's also a paid version you can download too that offers cloud services. The premium version of the app allows you to remove watermarks from your work, removes ads from the app, and also offers in app purchases for more tools. The main one for me is getting rid of the watermarks if I animate something in the app. I can integrate it into another project easily. It does lack a lot of the functionality that an animation program like flash would have, such as keyframing, but it gets the job done for simple animation tests.
What Exactly Can You Do in Animation Desk?
When you first open Animation Desk, you'll notice the amount of tools available on the home screen. After working in Adobe Flash, I noticed that it offered a lot more brush styles than Flash which is a vector program. It was refreshing being able to use these brushes and animate with them. One thing that almost concerned me with the program was it's use of color since I only saw those basic colors on the side, but after double tapping them I noticed that you could make your own color.
The next thing I messed around with were the tabs on the left side of the drawing area which said background, middle ground, and foreground. These tabs act as your layers. What I found really interesting though with the background tab were the preset backgrounds. While they're not the best it's still really interesting because there's the option to choose between static and dynamic backgrounds. You can still have a standard color background, and you can even bring in your own background that you painted or took a picture of from your photo library.
You can tweak the placement of your frames, copy them, delete frames, and repeat frames which is kind of like keyframing or telling the animation to hold on that image. It feels a little bit clunky to me to work that way with the interface.
I tapped on the bottom right corner to check out the settings. The settings were limited, but better than some of the other ones that I've seen before. Being able to have control over the onion skin in an app is handy, even if you're only limited to 3 options. Being able to save swatches is a great feature that I don't see too often in mobile apps. It's great if you working on a series of short animations that require the same color palette.
Final Thoughts on Animation Desk
Overall, I think Animation Desk is a very powerful mobile animation tool. It's no substitute for programs such as Flash or Toon Boom, but if you need something to practice on the go this is a great program. It's got a great variety of brushes and some very interesting tools such as dynamic backgrounds at your disposal. The onion skinning is some of the nicer onion skinning that I've seen in a mobile animation app, but the way that it handles frames still feels limiting.