One of the interesting things about tech is how easily it can be adapted to different needs. You want a navigation system? Here’s GPS. You need an orchestra? Here’s a synthesizer and sequencer. Now this inexorable march is starting to move towards automating the entertainment industry.
The new Plotagon program is a very interesting attempt to make it easy for anyone to make a simple animated movie. Imagine you could script out a full animated story starring the characters from the SIMS game, and have them do exactly what you wanted them to do, with the emotions and dialogue you wanted. That’s what Plotagon is. The production values right now are very basic, but it’s not hard to see this technology growing into something quite astonishing, as the software matures and processing power improves.
The actual process is incredibly easy to use, which is no mean feat. The Swedish developers could easily have produced a huge, clunky mess (just look at most video editing programs for an example of how not to do it), but instead they’ve made something that anyone of moderate intelligence can get to grips with in minutes. Take a look at our very short video to get a feel for the interface and watch in awe as we produce our first ever sitcom for your enjoyment below.
The whole package is based around a single editing screen, in which you select scenes and characters, and enter in dialogue, actions, movements, emotions and audio. It’s incredibly slick, and you can create something interesting in minutes. Unusually this is not an online service, but a program you download for Mac or PC, which makes it very unusual in this day and age of cloud apps.
Because everything is laid out on a single screen, you can see the end results alongside your script as you build out the story, which is hugely valuable. It’s real WYSIWYG for animation, which is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before of this style. Another touch we love is the fact that you can switch between a traditional Hollywood script type editor and a more simplistic version which is perfect for beginners. Super clever.
The program costs $25 to buy, but there’s a 14 day free trial which lets you play around to your heart’s content before you stump up the cash. You can’t share the screenplay or animation that you create, but even so you get a great idea of how the whole thing works. The output is kind of a SIMS meets Xtranormal, which was an animation service which had a brief flurry of fame a year or so back. In other words the animations are crude, but effective in a strange sort of way.
We’ve not seen anything quite so innovative for a long time, and we’re really interested to see just how good this technology gets. Right now the showcase gallery is very basic again, but we’ll be checking back from time to time to see if things improve as the tech gets better. We’re also impressed that the developers think that charging for a beta program is a solid business model, it’s brave all right.
The final piece of the puzzle is the ability to share and rate movies, and we can see a fanbase quickly building up as people start making ever more exotic productions. Already we noticed that there are tags being added to movies which indicate that you could create serials and special genres of production for people to follow. Fan fiction is a clear market for the product. Anyway, don’t take our word for how amazing this is, go download and play. It’s fun with a capital F.