Xtranormal is a great website and program that will allow you to make you own animated movies with full sound and motion, for free! It is designed with a simple concept: to convert your text into an animation, and it does this by providing a wide array of pre-built characters, contexts, gestures, voices, sounds, vantage points, etc, that you use to deliver your idea.
There is no limit to what you can do with it, as long as you can imagine it and are willing to put in the time. It is easy and fun to use and the results might just make you a star!
When I was kid, my parents bought me an 8-bit program called, simply, Movie Maker. It was a supremely simple program (though advanced at the time) that allowed you to use very basic two dimensional images and backgrounds, along with custom text, to tell a slightly animated story. Ever since then, I have been interested in that kind of thing as a hobby. The problem with most software I found, though, is that it was either super expensive or super difficult to learn how to use it, or both.
So, naturally, I was very happy to find this program, Xtranormal. You have probably seen the insurance commercial that has that catchy “”I’m not your daddy, I’m your grandpa!” song in it. That commercial was made, as near as I can tell, with an early version of Xtranormal. The program and the site have both come a long way since then and now have a lot more to offer than before. Combine that with the fact that most of what You can do with it is entirely free, and connected to social networking (like anything else that’s popular these days) and you’re looking at a fast, simple way to make free animated videos for you, your friends or family, or even complete strangers. There’s a very wide variety of pre-rendered characters, animations, sounds, etc. that you can use to make anything you can imagine into an animated video.
There are two options for using Xtranormal. You can build a complete video online using the web interface, or you can download their program that runs on Windows. The web interface has a few limitations that are not present in the desktop version, but the basic comparison works like this: If you want to make a simple, quick video, use the web interface. If you want something longer, more in depth, more complex, use the desktop system.
Now, I know there are people out there that will cry out, “But this isn’t free!” when they see the concept of using points to buy things like actors and backgrounds, or when they see the license fees for teachers or business use. However, the fact of the matter is that it is completely free and you are never forced to buy anything with real money. If you need more points, you can always invite a friend to join and gain points that way. There are other ways as well but inviting friends is the best way. This kind of social network activity is the wave of the present, if not the future, for the most complex free programs so you might want to get used to it. Besides, for really creative people, you can get more points with invitations even if you don’t actually have any friends.
As far as building the videos themselves, it is the easiest thing in the world. I created a sample video for this article in about ten minutes and posted it here. This is just the smallest beginning of what can be done with Xtranormal, and they are adding new features and possibilities all the time. I used the web interface to build this short video and I am very impressed with how the site leads you through it step by step. Even if I wasn’t computer literate to the level I am, I think I still would have had a very easy time of it.
The web site also allows you to explore and view videos posted by other people, and connect to multiple different social networks like Facebook or Twitter. You can also immediately post your videos to YouTube, and you also have the option to download a high definition version of your videos, which you can distribute how ever you want.
The Verdict: The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Many people are already producing weekly shows or series events, and bringing their imagination to life using Xtranormal. Given the fact that you can do all this for free, it’s a winner in my book. I very highly recommend Xtranormal for anyone who is serious about making their own animated videos, as well as anyone who just wants to amuse themselves for ten minutes seeing what is on offer. This site and program are going far, mark my words, so go check it out!