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Maths Practice App


PuppetMaster

Animate. Literally. Anything.

iPhone/iPad - Paid

Teacher Overview

Feeding children's creativity is not just about showing them the fun side of education.  It builds skills that might spark a lifelong passion or a future career.  It develops organisational skills and flexible thinking.  PuppetMaster is a superb app for providing a creative outlet for your children and harnessing the benefits of doing so.

Teacher Review

Mobile devices with their multimedia features and natural user interface brought with them the potential of making their users producers and not just consumers of content. Sadly, that promise has not been fulfilled as broadly as could have been hoped. PuppetMaster goes some way to redressing this balance as it promotes genuine child-friendly creativity that might lay the basis for future creative learning.

As child-friendly as the designers of this app have made it, they have left just the right level of complexity and challenge to make its use a meaningful experience. The goal for any productive software is for it to disappear and for the creation to become the focus and this is achieved in this app.

The actual creativity prompted by this app may begin with pencil and paper. Puppets and backgrounds are imported into the app using the device's camera so the options are limitless. A beach from a glossy magazine could be the background or a child's drawing could be used. A favourite character from a book might be used as the puppet or a specially drawn figure could be brought to life.

Defining a photograph, drawing, or toy figure as a puppet is an easy process to understand but one that rewards care.  Users who are thoughtful regarding the background and light will see a better outcome than those who take a careless approach. How precisely the components of the puppet on the screen are isolated from the rest of the basic image has a pronounced effect on how good the finished video will look.  As the developer's examples show, a custom-drawn figure, laid out with regard towards the later process of converting it to a puppet, will give the best results.

Children won't get these right first time but they will see how their input has led to what they have made. Spotting areas for improvement and going back to refine them is part of the creative learning process and it is realised very well in PuppetMaster. If users want to jump straight into the animation they can use one of the built-in puppets or backgrounds.

Another plus for this app's contribution to general education is the way the puppet joints and limbs are articulated. Children must position these with care to match their puppets' form. Humanoid puppets are quite straightforward but anything else requires careful thought about where it is jointed. 

The arrangement of a virtual skeleton linked to a graphical form is akin to a process used in professional digital animation. Known as rigging, this process of setting up a system of joints and their movements is behind much of the victory dances and player movement children see in their favourite videogames. What is learned here has relevance for any child who wishes to go further into computer-based animation.

The actual puppets' movements are choreographed using one of two methods. Children can hit the record button and then adjust their puppet using the touch screen - all of the movements are picked up by the recording.  Alternatively, those who prefer a more physical approach will enjoy animating the puppet using the device's camera to capture their movements and link it to the puppet.

This has the potential for much laughter as the child stands back but within range of the camera and moves about.  The on-screen puppet will pick up and replicate their creator's movements and preserve them in the recording.

Sounds can also be recorded to go along with the animation and it links in with the animation methods.  A puppet's mouth can be articulated and animated - even using the camera-based method.  Whatever language a child speaks, the puppet's mouth will move in time with their own. 

Each animation can be output as a video meaning that they can be put into a video-editing app and combined into a full story. While this does mean using another app, this is no bad thing. Professional creatives use the best tool for the job and this is rarely a generalised piece of software. PuppetMaster is one of the most easy-to-use animation tools available and not complicating this by expanding the scope too much is exactly the right choice. Children can develop a workflow that suits their style and preferences.

PuppetMaster is a wonderfully creative app that has many potential ways of being used. Children and parents could fill many days of a school holiday making and animating a cast of puppets. Teachers can conclude topics by challenging children to produce short puppet-driven animations that are linked to the learning objectives. 

If you do not consider yourself a particularly creative person, the app's supporting website contains some great ideas and even full lesson plans to inspire you and your children. These ideas and plans are also linked to teaching standards such as the Common Core from the U.S.  These may not be the curricula that you use but, in most cases, you should find that they can be easily translated across to what you do follow.

Whether you are a teacher in term time looking for a way to add creativity to your lessons or a parent during the school break hoping to give your child a productive way to spend their free time, PuppetMaster is sure to be of value. It is well-produced, easy to use, and allows genuine creativity to shine.

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Teacher Certification

1567987200

5

Teacher Rating for the app

Teacher Rating

App Advertising or In-App Purchases

Safeguarding

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No

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App Video

Developer Description

PuppetMaster: Animate. Literally. Anything.

PuppetMaster is an animation app for kids, where you can bring to life any image, just by acting things out in front of the camera or touching the screen. Your voice is recorded as well. The result is your own animated video you can save and share!

Take a drawing you made, a photo of one of your toys, even a person or animal - and use it as a puppet in PuppetMaster. Move and talk and the puppet will come to life and do what you do. Or drag with your fingers on the screen to move the puppet that way.

Try animating something unexpected, like your favorite snack arranged in your plate like a character!
Mix and match with existing puppets and backgrounds that come with the app, in a fun hand drawn style to go with your own artwork.

You can even animate two puppets together, so they can have a conversation!

PuppetMaster was named a best app of 2018 for Teaching and Learning by the American Association of School Librarians. Project ideas and lesson plans are available on the website.

Puppet Masters Features

  • Motion capture - intuitively animate characters just by moving your body in front of the device camera.
  • Multi-touch - animate by touching and dragging the puppet and its body parts on the screen. You can use both hands, all your fingers, or animate together with a friend.
  • Create your own puppets and backgrounds - Bring to life your artwork, your toys, or anything you like! Use a painting you made, a diorama, or any interesting place as your background.
  • Choose from our designs if you'd like - We have lots of designs for you to choose from, for puppets and backgrounds.
  • Export videos with audio - Save a video of your puppet show, complete with the audio of your performance. It will show up in your Photos, and from there you can share it however you like.
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