Join Stacey Williams-Ng for an in-depth discussion in this video Interactive book app tour and demo, part of The Creative Spark: Stacey Williams-Ng, Interactive Book Designer.
I should probably talk a little bit about the difference between a book app and an ebook. An ebook is something that you would find in-- you could read on a Kindle, or any other reading device. It is essentially, usually a novel, although some picture books are turned into ebooks and they are just like page-turners, but it kind of will remind you of a PDF. It's basically a digital document. You are turning the, page and you can expand the text and make it a little bit--like the font size, you can increase and decrease and stuff like that.
And you can define a word by double- clicking on it. And we'll look at some of those, but a book app is different, in that an app is something that does not live in the bookstore at all. You don't actually shop for it in the iBookstore on an Apple device or you can't get it on a Kindle because it won't play. It's actually sort of, like a standalone game. So here's a good example. Pedlar Lady, Dim Sum Warriors, these are books, but they live on the surface, on the desktop of my iPad just like games. They are sitting right next to Temple Run, and they are sitting right next to like Angry Birds and stuff like that.
So it's an actual standalone app, and then you launch it and it still has kind of a paradigm of page turns, and that kind of makes it a book, which I'll do with air quotes because really, there is no limits. It could be a mini-movie, it could be very game-like, or it could look like an ebook. It could have tons and tons of text. Now, the thing about many of these is, keep in mind, this is designed for a little kid and his or her mom or dad to sit down and then look at in a very private way.
So these don't always project well. They really are meant to be consumed in your lap. Now, this app involves a lot of movement of the iPad itself. So like, you can shake the iPad and make things fall off of tables and cool stuff like that. It actually--and you'll be able to do that in your apps. You can use the movement of the iPad, the tablet itself. It's called the accelerometer, and you can use that to trigger actions.
Okay, now I am just going to use my finger and, like, touch these pigs and you watch what happens. (squealing sound) That's when I like push them up, like this. But if I just touch them, (Children's voices: Hi there! Hello! Are you ready? Woo! Wee!) notice it's different every time. They've randomized it. Now, I can navigate with this table of contents, which I think is wonderful for pre-readers, because you don't have to know what page. The child can just go back to their I love this because I can actually sabotage his efforts by pushing on the wolf's van, favorite page based on memory.
So when we get to like them being chased. make it harder for the wolf, and I can help the pigs run faster. (Child's voice: Go, go! Hurry up!) (audio playing) So this is kind of cool because it is a watercolor illustration, which I really respect.
I mean I think there is an awful lot of apps out there that are the flat graphics that are graphically produced--which are beautiful; even three little pigs is clearly digital art--but it's excellent. But I also appreciate how hard it is to take watercolor illustrations and bring them in and do this, so I think this is pretty cool. (Male Speaker: I was walking down the road and I saw a...donkey! Hee haw! He was a wonky donkey!) Here's the one that I think is cool about this.
So little kids can turn off all the color. You can just stop reading. How many of you colored on your books when you were little and got in trouble? I did. So you can go and go into this mode and you can draw and color the book yourself, and you can choose colors. I am going to get a bigger paintbrush. You'd be surprised, little kids actually know how to do this. I've seen three-year-olds do this and they are like, I know how to change color. You don't have to even, like, tell them. So blue sky, yellow bee. And I can have a smaller brush, obviously, but I am five so... There is a lot of examples of books out there that are still fairly loyal to the book and the story, but they allow you to do weird things to it, like the kid can put stickers on it or color it themselves.
There are other ones that allow the parents to narrate, so you can turn off the narration and mom or dad can narrate it and that way mom is on a business trip and the kid can listen to the story with mom reading it, which I think is pretty sweet. Middle grade I've learned is the Bermuda Triangle digital books. Like, people of our age are perfectly willing to buy a digital book if we have access to a device, little kids think they are the best, but 9- to 14-year-olds are just kind of like nah. Even if you give them access to the device, they still prefer the number shown. I am not saying each individual, but overall, the numbers showed those books aren't selling and somehow the market is not reaching middle-grade kids and teens.
They just basically, when they are not on a screen, if they want to read, they just want to read. They want to switch off because they are on screens all day at school. They're texting all day with their friends. So the biggest theory that they have so far is it's probably just like screen fatigue. I just want to read right now. So this is cool. It has a lot of atmosphere. I love the way that this is designed, because it really reminds me of very classical, 20th century children's literature, with the spot illustration on the left with the soft edges and the words over to the right. But obviously we have a full animation going on here.
So if you touch this guy, he makes a sound, but it doesn't move. And the chicken is moving. So I have to say, this kind of animation is typical of, like, the scope of animation that I usually do in the books that I am doing. So those of you who are in other animation classes, you're used to 24 frames per second; in this class, you'll probably be doing like six to eight frames per second, because we're still staying within the paradigm of a book.