Be Animated: There’s an App for That

Be Animated There’s an App for That“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” wrote William Shakespeare in the opening lines of “As You Like It.”

Old Will never imagined (we think) how the “digital stage” would transform our acting gigs. Yes, you are who you are. But you might also be a space cat or candy corn kid.

Whatever you choose, you’ll be following the Nito dictum: “Be animated.”

The real-time motion tracking cartoon maker Nito has created an app that employs remarkable technology to take avatar creation to the next level. The motion-tracking tech captures basic facial characteristics  and renders voice, facial, and head gestures in real-time into a 15-second video clip for sharing. The program allows users to transform themselves into one of several cartoon figures.

The app creates 15-second-long videos that users can share via email or popular social-media platforms. Nine characters such as a pig, monkey, alien, shark, or “red berry cream” are offered. Three 99-cent add-ons let avatar creators project themselves into a mummy, “space cat,” or “candy corn kid.” Additionally, users can morph their voices to better suit their chosen characters.

“The effect is not quite in that uncanny valley of too-near human cartooning, but there is as much of a psychological as a technological trick going on here,” says Steve Smith, a blogger, digital commentator, and former professor who recently wrote about the app. “You are watching a strange kind of mirror of yourself. There are enough matches to your head, eye, and mouth movements to feel the connection between yourself and the avatar. The real-time rendering helps immeasurably in making that psychic link between yourself and the toon.”

While Nito is offering this to people as an engaging way to make a short video for redistribution over the social nets, it’s a trail balloon with commercial application.

“What Nito has in mind the larger utility of this to the animation and production industries,” Smith says. “It is evolving a markerless motion capture system and on-the-fly rendering (on a phone, no less) that clearly has application in the commercial space.”

Early reports suggest that a Pro version will soon be available (for developers, brands, and agencies) that includes a desktop version with unlimited HD video creation length.

You can check out the Nito app page at Facebook here.