Xtranormal.com puts you in the director's chair

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Ninja

Don’t just watch funny cartoon shorts â€" make them yourself

Four years ago, with the introduction of YouTube to the World Wide Web, thousands of hilarious, and usually pointless, animated shorts became available to any average Internet user with the click of a mouse. Although the site is just as, if not more, popular now as it was when first created, after a while it becomes redundant watching videos made by other people. What is more interesting â€" watching something silly, like a man with salad fingers, or actually making the cartoon yourself?

With Xtranormal.com, this possibility becomes a reality as the site allows all people with a computer and Internet connection to make their own animated movies. There is no long membership process required, so making a cartoon short is quick, easy and effortless. As the website itself puts it: “If you can type, you can make movies.”

The first step to making an Xtranormal movie is selecting one of the possible settings. Each setting provides the option of using one or more characters to recite lines that users write themselves. Once a setting is selected there is a whole range of options for what the characters can do in terms of expressions, looks and body language. The user is also able to change camera angles between lines and add sounds.

The coolest feature of the site is that the characters say anything the user writes: whatever text is typed into the dialogue boxes, the little animated character repeats. This feature provides so many possibilities for users; people can create movies to re-enact an inside joke, tell a funny story or even do something over-the-top like recite a love poem to send to a significant other.

Another attractive feature of Xtranormal is that although a membership is not required, people can create their own accounts allowing them to save and share their movies, as well as send them to friends.

The problem with Xtranormal, however, is that making movies with the site becomes a bit mundane after a while. There is a fairly limited number of options for settings and not much variation in terms of the characters’ movement within the setting. The character’s monotone voices are also a setback. The deep, robotic voices can make a comedic film even funnier, but if someone is making a movie to provide a serious message, it can ruin important lines.

All in all, Xtranormal is a site worth visiting as it is free, easy-to-use and provides people with a chance to get their creative juices flowing.

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