Share stories with Xtranormal

Xtranormal is a tool that allows you to create 3D animated movies in minutes.

The technology (or what are my powers)

Xtranormal Text-to-Movie is entirely web-based. (An alternate version of the platform, Xtranormal State, requires download.) When you register, you get access to a variety of “showpaks” or sets of backgrounds and actors that are associated with a particular theme. Some of the backgrounds and actors are free but if you want ultimate control, you’ll have to buy Xtranormal points (xp).

In STEP 2, you’ll see a screen that tells you about your free and less free options. Xtranormal doesn’t try to trick you into buying points and gives you a run through in this initial screen. You’ll get a more detailed explanation of the point system and costs here. With $5, you get 500xp. However, you can do quite a bit with the free options.

In STEP 3, you’ll add your script. While you can’t move the characters around your stage, you can animate them by changing camera angles and by altering their gestures and expressions. Your text will be converted to speech when the movie is published.

Adding action to your script  is critical if you want your movie to seem more dynamic. You can add actions simply by dragging the appropriate action icon to the script box. You’ll want to fool around with the relative timing of actions and dialog, but this is easy to do using the preview button.

When you’re satisfied, you can publish your movie to Xtranormal.

Rendering may take a few minutes and the time will vary with the length of your movie.

Once your movie is rendered, you have a number of sharing and publishing options. You can email the url, embed the video in your Web site or blog, and/or publish it to YouTube (you’ll need a YouTube account first).

Here’s a demonstration video I made that I published to YouTube:

Instructional strategies

You can use Xtranormal to create short stories to illustrate a concept or principle or to present a scenario  or problem for your learners to solve. The relatively short learning curve required to get up to speed with Xtranormal means your learners can also use it for the same applications.

If you’re using Xtranormal as an instructor, I do recommend keeping the scripts short, since the emotionless voices will become grating with a longer script.  Adding humor also helps with this problem, since having a robotic voice say something very dramatic can sometimes be funny. Also, using a robotic voice to demonstrate a bureaucratic reaction to a problem can be quite effective.

A humorous video by David Kazzie is shown below to demonstrate what longer scripts can look like.

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2 responses to “Share stories with Xtranormal

  1. Just noting that it looks like Xtranormal will no longer include free services. Stay tuned for updates.

  2. Xtranormal is no more. Check out our free trial at http://www.plotagon.com. It does text-to-movie faster and easier than Xtranormal ever did, and it produces higher quality movies.

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