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Tue, Jan 1 2013 8:03:19 UTC

Interview with TouchAnimator

Today we bring you an interview with Brian Williamson, from Digital Sorcery, creators of TouchAnimator, a mobile app allowing the creation and manipulation of 3D models.

Could you introduce yourself and tell us your background?

I have a film and television degree from The Ohio State University (they no longer have a film production unit). After living overseas for a while I returned to the US and got a job as a Multimedia Designer for a university. After editing videos instructors asked me to do more and more interactivity using Actionscript in Flash. So, I accidentally found my way into programming.

What is TouchAnimator and some of the main features?

TouchAnimator allows you to pose and animate pre-rigged 3D characters. It takes full advantage of the touch capabilities of tablets to allow easy posing. It also comes with timeline and path editing tools to edit your animation. You can export animation data to Blender for rendering or further editing.

How long did it take to create this app, both for iOS and Android?

The IOS version took about 8-10 months of off-and-on development. The Android version took about another month to export to.

You released the iPad version first and now you recently made an Android port. What are some of the challenges for each platform?

Some of the Android tablets have a very wide aspect ratio, so that changed the way the UI was laid out. I had to have extra checks in my code to lay out the UI differently depending on the screen size.

If you had to redo it today, is there anything you would do differently?

I would have made serious attempts to get other programmers to come in on the project. I should have stared a Kickstarter project for it as well.

What is your typical user type, would it be more useful for a hobbyist or can this be integrated in a professional workflow?

I really built it as an animation ''sketching/prototyping'' tool, so anywhere you are, you can quickly whip up some animation. I made every effort to make the app very streamlined to accomplish this. So, even though hobbyists and beginners would get the most out of it due to it's easy workflow it is my hope that studios will adopt it as a way to quickly try out and share animation concepts.

What made you decide to create a Blender exporter?

I have become an avid Blender user. After attempting several different export ideas I decided it was not currently possible to support everyone. Since Blender is free and exports to a wide variety of other formats I figured it would be the best platform to support right now.

Did you get some user feedback so far, what have people created with the app?

I have gotten generally positive feedback. Several people are very excited to see where the app goes next. So far no one has shown me any animations they have created but I have not set up any forum to do so yet.

Do you plan to keep working on TouchAnimator, add new features? If so, what do you have in mind?

I am constantly working on improving the program. Users asked for an Android version so I got it out as soon as I could. By far the most requested feature is the ability to import objects from outside TouchAnimator and rig them in the program. It's a significant technical challenge due to the closed nature of most tablets, but I am working on it. My goal is to make TouchAnimator so useful that it sparks a wave of 3D animation apps.

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