Bottom Line: Fantastic. E quickly grabbed a paper and pencil to start on a script and was yelling "action!" just a few moments later. In about 30 minutes, using it for the first time, his first cartoon was finished.
The app takes children step-by-step through the process of creating their own, simple animated cartoon. The interface is very sharp and easy to learn, guiding the child through each step. They pick a scene, add characters, dialogue, movement and music. They can even design their own scenes and characters within the app. There's really nothing like it that I have tried in the app store.
After set-up, the app records the movement of the characters on-screen, controlled through finger gestures, and records voices and sound effects at the same time.
Toontastic comes with 10 scenes, such as "the castle gate" and 30 characters, including my favorite, the crustacean spaceman Squit Blastoff. The app has in-app purchases (99 cents each) for additional characters and scenes, although there is plenty to do without making any additional purchases. Several Halloween characters and themes, including Dr. Crankenstein's Lab were recently added.
When done, videos can be saved to the iPad or uploaded, once a parent verifies some information and gives permission, to the app's own site: ToonTube. Videos made by other children from around the world can also be viewed in the app using a cool globe with dots indicating where the videos are from. Here is one of my favorites to give you an idea of what it can do...and this child did most of the art himself.
The only significant problem I found in the app was when we uploaded E's first story for family members to see online, the final video was a bit quirky. Characters were turned and facing the wrong direction, or different sizes and colors than he had made them. It seems the conversion to web video needs some refinement. Also, we found adding music made it too hard to hear the narration sometimes.
Even with those issues, the app is just $1.99 and an absolute must-buy.
If you would like to download Toontastic please use the links provided. The cost is the same, but Smart Apps receives a small percentage. Thanks for your support!