Hot Chai Productions
New York, New York
June 29, 2018
Free Download with In-App Purchases
Unleash Your Inner Toon with ToonR!
Choose a scene, add some characters, and press record to start animating.
Use your fingers to make your characters walk, run, dance, jump, swim, fly, grow, shrink—everything you do on the touchscreen is automatically recorded in real-time.
Rewind and re-record a section or add new characters and animations anytime.
Use the emoji buttons to change your character expressions to show when they're happy, sad, angry, or just plain meh.
Use your voice with the built-in microphone to make your characters talk, yell, sing, or even make your own sound effects.
Mix-and-match characters, props, and scenes from a growing collection of ToonR Discs from artists around the world.
And when you're ready, save your Toon as a standard video file and share with your friends anywhere!
I was inspired to create a storytelling app when I read a story about a mouse, written on sheets of paper and stapled together to form a book.
I wanted kids to be able to tell their stories in modern media as easily as they could with pencil and paper.
And in my mind, "modern media" meant animation.
Animation tools existed, of course, but they fell into the category of being either too complex and abstract, or too simple and limiting.
Even if kids mastered the more complex tools, I felt that the abstract controls stifled creativity by turning storytelling into something more like a programming task.
I wanted to recreate that feeling of playing with toys as a kid—zooming superheroes through the air or orchestrating a tea party—while unobtrusively recording the animation in the background.
So I designed a simplified multi-track animation mechanic and built a prototype back in 2013 as a demonstration for an interview with a research team at Microsoft.
I didn't get the job, but I believed I had created a compelling and simplified, but still capable, multi-track animation recording mechanic inspired by audio loop pedals.
In the same way that a solo musician can use a simple pedal control to create a complex piece of layered sound in real-time, I felt that anyone could use my simplified multi-track animation concept to intuitively create a complex layered animation.
However, it wasn't until I met artist Chris George who took an interest in the project in early 2018 that I felt I had the artistic resources to follow through.
Chris set the artistic direction for ToonR, including the character expressions and the 3/4 view perspective, and created the logo and the first set of character art.
I wanted to create a toy-like user interface for selecting the art rather than using standard lists and buttons, since I wanted the interface to feel fun and inspiring rather than like a spreadsheet.
I struggled to come up with a physically inspired mechanic for selecting the art for some time until I remembered the View-Master from my childhood and it hit me that this would be the perfect paradigm to bring the digital and physical worlds together in a fun and intuitive interface.
And so the ToonR Disc concept was born.
Since then, I've connected with artists from around the world who have brought their unique concepts and styles to their own ToonR Discs, and I look forward to expanding the collection even further.
This has been a rewarding project for me, and I'm excited to get it into the hands of storytellers to see what you create!
(Images coming soon!)
More information about David Taylor and Hot Chai Productions available here.