Creating exciting online content is often challenging. Many of the tools are complex and require a learning curve that is often too steep. Instructional staff and students need tools that are powerful enough to create engaging presentations. Concomitant with complexity issue, the price of many software packages makes the challenge even more significant.
Creating animated content has been mostly relegated to the professional graphics personnel, and highly skilled developers. However, this is changing, and there are good options for non-professional developers, at a cost basis that is easily affordable, including a good free program.
Two animation products that are exemplary for the ease of use and affordability are Moviestorm, and Muvizu. The products are can be downloaded from their websites, and each offers a tremendous amount of functionality. They are similar in the easy to use interfaces, but there are some difference that are worth noting.
Muvizu has a free version, where Moviestorm offers a two week free trial before a low cost subscription purchase is required. The free version of Muvizu has minimal limitations compared the paid version, and has a Muvizu watermark logo embedded into the final output. If one doesn’t mind a small logo in the corner of the screen, the free version of Muvizu is a fine product. There are plenty of assets that are included, so making an exciting animated presentation is up to the user. The possibilities are limited only by one’s creativity and imagination.
Muvizu offers plenty of stock characters that can be easily modified. The characters are cartoonish, but not overly so. The characters are a lot of fun, and can be captivating. Some however prefer more real life avatars, which would be a small limitation of Muvizu. One other notable aspect is that characters cannot throw or hold objects in the hand. Here is an example of a Muvizu movie used in a college setting.
Moviestorm is not free, but has an educator price that makes it well affordable. The site often has special offers, so best to look at the website for the most up to date offers. The free trial offers the full version of the product, with all of the standard assets. The biggest difference between Muvizu and Moviestorm is that Moviestorm characters are very life-like avatars, and are all adult. That is, there are no child characters. Also, the characters can hold objects, including guns, swords and other things that might not be desirable in a given learning environment. Overall, Moviestorm offers a bit more functionality, with a more realistic look, but that comes with a price tag because there is no free version. Here is an example of a Moviestorm movie used in a college setting.
The only way to know which type of software suits one’s needs is to use it. It will become quickly apparent if either is suited to the tasks desired. It would be difficult to find another alternative at a lower price than either of these two options. Many products have come and gone over the years, but these two have been around for several years, and have matured. The stability of the products and number of users suggests that these products are worth trying out.