February 25, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Disney Animated | Touch and Go

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While many of the discussions in Disney Animated are firmly rooted in the art and technical aspects of animation, others point to what goes into creating a well-crafted story in any medium, such as developing character and establishing mood. Still others make reference to aspects of story that come most into play in specific genres (world building/fantasy) or formats (the storyboard/graphic novels). There’s lots to learn about constructing a cohesive story in this app, and for those interested in animation, there’s nothing else like it. This remarkable production will have broad appeal, and plenty of classroom use.


Whether you’re three or ninety-three, chances are you’ve marveled at the wizardry behind a Disney film. For those who’ve always been curious, Disney Animated (Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Interactive, Touch Press; $9.99; Gr 4 Up) offers a unique opportunity to explore a veritable treasure trove of rarely seen information about the history of the production process underlying all 53 of Disney’s animated features, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Frozen (2013). The collection is immense, with over 750 interactive illustrations, 400 animation clips and 350 images, most of which are “super-zoomable” and/or rotatable. Budding animators, film buffs, and children alike will find the accompanying interactive workshops a delightfully engaging way to discover how real animators work.

Interior screen, ‘Disney Animated’ (Touch Press) David A. Bossert

Navigation is remarkably intuitive, requiring mostly just swipes, taps, pinches and zooms. The landing page is horizontally divided with a carousel of chapters about the animation process across the top and a set of interactive workshops across the bottom. Chapter pages come to life through fun, stretchy text, frame-rate controllers, frame-sequence sliders, and scene layer manipulators. The interactive workshops include tools for creating snow effects (Frozen), “mood-shifting” the face of Maximus (Tangled), and animating and sharing a 3D model of Vanellope (Wreck-It Ralph); a scrollable timeline (1937-2013) with posters, synopses, trailers, song samples and scene clips for each film; and the astounding “Color Maps”–a “mega-compressed” snapshot of strips of the predominate colors in scenes from all of the released films–that can be tapped to select images and clips from any individual film. The price and download size of this premium app may be a bit hefty, but the rewards are great.–Kathleen S. Wilson, NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, New York, NY

For additional app reviews visit our Touch and Go webpage.

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Daryl Grabarek About Daryl Grabarek

Daryl Grabarek dgrabarek@mediasourceinc.com is the editor of School Library Journal's monthly enewsletter, Curriculum Connections, and its online column Touch and Go. Before coming to SLJ, she held librarian positions in private, school, public, and college libraries. Her dream is to manage a collection on a remote island in the South Pacific.

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