We already knew that Disney likes to ask a lot of money for apps that aren’t even that special; the apps are mostly fun for kids and, because of that, parents buy them. But now Disney created an app that’s fun for all audiences, while providing an inside look to the history of Walt Disney animation and the making of its animated features. Introducing Disney Animated.
Initially, I loved everything about this app: the idea, the photos, the trailer. But when I discovered the app cost a whopping $14, I was reluctant. This review will help those in the same boat: is Disney Animated worth the cost?
Disney Animated is a completely new experience for all Disney and animation fans that own an iPad. It’s basically an art book on your iPad. It not only teaches you about how animated movies at Walt Disney Animation Studios were created back in 1937, but also instructs on how the studio creates animated movies today.
The Disney Animated app has 11 chapters that walk your through the different phrases of making an animated movie at Walt Disney Animation Studios:
- Art in Motion
- Visual Development
- Layout & Background
- Visual Effects
- Sound Design & Music
- Putting it All Together
All these 11 chapters contain about 6 pages each, with every page containing an informational paragraph about that part of the animation process. To make these pages even more engaging, next to the text you can find all kinds of different interactive images, press on them and something happens. Some contain a little clip from the movie, other ones contain concept art, and others contain animation or pencil tests. You never know what you’ll get until you click.
In this app, you can also read the complete 3rd chapter of Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas’ The Illusion of Life. This is the famous chapter that discusses the 12 principles of animation, which were developed back in the early 1900s and are still used today in CG animation. As an animation fan, these principles are very interesting to read, but I can imagine they are even more interesting and instructive for an animation student or animator.
Reading these chapters is so much fun whether you’re an animation addict, Disney fan, animation student or animator. The interactive images and clips are a great addition to enhance the reading experience for the reader, helping them to visual understand about what they’ve just read. Some of these clips are exclusive to the app, featuring never-before-seen footage, so every Disney fan will want to check them out.
In this app you can also experience what it’s like to animate yourself. You can do this with four different features:
- Bouncing Ball – Perhaps the most famous animation technique that introduces the concept of squash and stretch is the bouncing ball. Here you can create your own bouncing ball animation using the character Sour Bill from Wreck-It Ralph.
- Mood Shifter – Some characters in animated movies don’t talk, for example Maximus from Tangled, yet they can still be very expressive. In the Mood Shifter, you can play around with and experience different moods of Maximus.
- Workshop – Have you always wanted to animate a Disney character? Well this is your chance! In the workshop, you can animate Vanellope from Wreck-it Ralph and make her come to life! You can do anything you want and afterwards share your animation with your friends online.
- Elsa’s Snow – We’ve all seen Elsa’s powers in the trailer and stills from Disney’s upcoming feature Frozen. In the Elsa’s Snow feature, you can experience what it’s like be a visual effects artist and play with Elsa’s snow powers.
The final part of this app is a timeline filled with all the Walt Disney Animation Studios films. You can click on every movie and see the original poster and trailer, the awards it won, some fun facts, listen to the movie’s songs and even see the complete color map of the movie from start to finish. It’s a fun addition to the app. It’s really fun to open a movie page after seeing that movie just to learn a little bit more about it.
All these extras make the app even more fun for audiences of all ages Children will love to play with different moods of Maximus or play with Elsa’s snow, but adults will love it even more for the content. If Disney keeps updating this app as its new movies are released, then it will be even more fun and worth coming back to.
I’m so happy that I decided to spend $14 on this app; it’s a lot of money, but it’s worth every penny you will pay. Most Disney art books for one film will cost double or triple the price of this app. Disney Animated is a great app to look at the Disney film canon in its entirety, but won’t quite scratch the itch if you’re looking for a deep dive about a particular movie. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive look into a particular movie, I recommend buying the art book for that movie in addition to the app.
The app gives you an exclusive look inside the history of Walt Disney Animation Studios and is filled with beautiful artwork and amazing clips. For now, I give the app 4 starts, but will give it 5 stars if Disney keeps updating the app with content from its upcoming movies. The only thing I have left to say is: When is the Pixar Animated app coming?
The Disney Animated app is only available on an iPad 2 or later, to celebrate the release of the new Frozen trailer there is a discount on the app so if you want this app, but it now.