LATEST AWESOMNESS

You’ve created an explainer video. It’s up on your site, and getting decent results. You’ve had plenty of views, conversions are in line with your goals, and overall, you’d say the project is a win.

But you can’t help but think, “Could we do better?” After all, you could always use more conversions, and you would like to reach a wider audience. Sounds great, but you aren’t ready to reinvent the wheel so to speak, and as long as your existing video is working, you’re reluctant to change it.

Enter A/B testing.

It’s been a long time coming, so no one should be surprised: Flash is, for all intents and purposes, dead when it comes to display advertising.

The latest nail in the coffin for the once ubiquitous platform? As of the end of June, Google AdWords is no longer accepting display advertisements built on the Flash platform, and by the end of the year, will no longer display existing ads created in Flash.

Google’s move is not unexpected; last year, an update to Chrome changed the way plugins worked to require users to press play on Flash videos, rather than having the videos AutoPlay as they had in the past.

It’s not only Google that’s leading to the end of Flash, though. Within the realm of mobile, iOS devices have never supported Flash video, and Android has not supported it for at least six versions now. The simple fact that most users cannot watch Flash video on mobile while the majority of video is actually viewed on mobile devices leads to an inescapable conclusion for advertisers: convert to HTML5 or be left behind.

The Problem With Flash

Questions about compatibility and support aren’t the only reason Flash is finally meeting its demise. Not only has the platform always been somewhat unreliable and plagued with bugs, it’s also been plagued with security flaws. Hackers have consistently been able to exploit weaknesses in the platform to install malware and even gain remote access over users’ computers to wreak even more havoc.

Hopefully your summer was a blast! You worked on your tan, traveled the globe or just epically binged on some Netflix shows.

Now it’s time to go back to school and settle into the normal rhythm of things. Here are some awesome tips for both the returning student and teacher to Have a Rockstar New School Year.

Picture this:

you’re researching ways to show off “how to use video” in your animation projects and your first thought is kittens – not just any kittens – talking kittens. Some immediate, overwhelming need to search for fuzzy and cute cuddlicious creatures, catapulted me on a quest to find some helpful references. An hour or so of “research” lead to these viral internet sensations… MEOW & WOOF

Lightbulb!

Slap a picture of a cute wittle kitty into the editor and record some video of yourself making the cutest kitten speech you could possibly muster, from your underwhelming baritone voice. Which reminds me – here’s a free, priceless vocal exercise for you! (just so happens to reference a ‘meow’ sound)

Sounds easy enough in theory…So, what could go wrong?

Some of the most effective animated explainer videos are those that contain characters. In fact, according to research, videos that manage to tell a compelling story using entertaining and engaging characters improve conversions by more than 20 percent.

Using characters in your videos is effective for a number of reasons. For starters, people like to see other people — even if they are cartoon drawings — that look like them. Showing people who look like your audience in situations and settings that they can relate to builds a connection. People actually feel that since the video operates with characters who resemble themselves, it talks to them directly and engages them on a whole new level.

Despite a lot of efforts made to facilitate animation with computer technology many artists struggle to produce compelling works in the field. Our previous post on the topic revealed that brilliant animation is all about sticking to the very basics. Adhering to the laws of physics is how you begin, but what about more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal?

In 1981 two bright Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas introduced twelve basic principles of animation to produce more realistic works. Since then the principles have been adopted by almost every professional animator, and have been referred to by some as the “Bible of animation.” Originally intended to apply to traditional, hand-drawn animation, the principles still have great relevance for today’s computer animation and can be found not only in character animation, but also in user experience design.

Twelve basic principles of animation below are paraphrased from The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, one of the “best animation books of all time,” and illustrated with examples made using Animatron.

Squash and Stretch

Considered the most important principle “squash and stretch” gives a sense of weight and volume to drawn objects. It is best described with a bouncing ball, which appears stretched when falling and squashed when it hits the ground. Even slightly exaggerating on shortening and widening animated objects will give them that realistic feel.

Technology is developing rapidly, and it seems there is an app for just about anything these days, and education is no exception. If you try searching for “educational apps for kids” or “educational product reviews” on Google, there are approximately 35,300,000 results the search engine comes up with. Amazon.com offers around 14,000 educational apps and games, and the App Store features over 80,000 educational apps, as stated by Apple. How are teachers and parents supposed to sort through this vast variety of choices and find the right ones?

Whether you are a teacher looking for ways to enhance your classroom experience or a parent searching for new educational apps for your children, these are the best websites to head to.

  1. AppEd Review

    “What makes an app good to use in the classroom?” When a student approached Dr. Todd Cherner of Coastal Carolina University with this question, Dr. Cherner realized he had never actually thought of an app worth, despite having used various apps in his classes for a while. After short research, it turned out that a comprehensive app evaluation and review rubric was yet to be developed, and this is how AppEd Review was created by Dr. Cherner and his colleague Dr. Corey Lee.

    AppEd Review is an excellent source of app reviews. It allows filtering by platform, subject, grade level and price as well as types (content-based, creation-based, skill-based, teacher resource apps). The reviews include an original app description, a comprehensive app evaluation and instructional ideas for using the app.

    In addition to app reviews, the website also offers a blog where the authors share useful educational tips and ready-to-use App Lessons with description, lesson plans and all the necessary instructions. Readers can also subscribe for new reviews and receive a monthly Roundup.

  2. Teachers with Apps

    Founded by Jayne Claire, a Special Education teacher, and Anne Rachel, Early Childhood educator, Teachers With Apps (TWA) is aimed at helping teachers and parents wade through the growing number of educational apps out there.

    The website is divided into categories - Teacher Tools, Parent Page, TWA Picks, Noteworthy and others. Reviews are organized in the way of blog posts, with links to the website or App Store where one can download the app from.

    There is also a blog where one can learn the latest educational news, read the app review digest or find some great ideas for enhancing the teaching/learning process.

2016 Political Election Set

It feels like the whole world has their eyes on the US 2016 presidential elections. People take sides, make bets, discuss and argue who the next US president is going to be. If you have been following the news (or even just browsed the Internet recently), you probably know that these elections are among the most controversial ones in history. With less than four months until the Big Day, the debates are only heating up more every minute.

How will the elections end up? Who is going to be the president?

The good news is that now you can take control over the situation! With the new free Political Set introduced by Animatron you can now create your very own political cartoon and make candidates do and say whatever you want. We have prepared a full set of animated candidates running for President and added other prominent figures to help you make your animations more fun and engaging.

You can bring your political cartoon ideas to life in these four easy steps:

  1. Open the Editor and choose the Political Set.

  2. Place pre-animated characters on canvas.

  3. Upload your own images or audio files to make your cartoon more live. Check this tutorial to learn how.

  4. Download the cartoon or share via social media or direct link. This tutorial will explain the process in detail.

Click on almost any website these days, and you’re likely to see a hero banner. No, this doesn’t mean images of capes and hammers and a collection of super cool gadgets, but the idea is kind of the same. The hero banner is one of the first things that visitors see on your website, and when done well, it’s intriguing enough to keep them on the site and get them to do something — or better yet, buy something.

Some people consider their home page to be a hero banner, but that’s not technically correct. In some cases, a landing page can be a hero banner, but if the banner is on the home page, it’s only a part of the page. Unlike a typical homepage, which may be packed with information and links, a hero banner is generally focused on one specific call to action.

Your homepage will likely have contact information, links to social media, primary and secondary calls to action, logos, and links to other pages on the site – all of which are important – but the hero banner is strictly focused on one key message. It leads visitors to another part of your site, perhaps your homepage or another landing page, according to your site’s primary purpose.

Hero images have become so popular because they pop. They add interest to your site without a lot of clutter, while helping express your key messages and establish your brand. And unlike carousel images, they don’t hide content on your site. Users don’t have to go searching for the banner they just saw or wait for the carousel to come back around.

Your key content is located front and center — right where it needs to be. And thanks to easy-to-use banner maker tools, they aren’t difficult to add to your site.