Dodles: Animating Characters on Mobile
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Dodles: Animating Characters on Mobile
3 January, 2018
Interview

We’ve talked with Craig Doriot about his recent project Dodles. It’s a mobile app, that allows creating simple 2d animations.

Introduction

I’m Craig Doriot, President of Dodles located in Appleton, Wisconsin.  I have founded or co-founded a number of successful tech companies including Yupi, a search portal that raised $150 in capital before eventually selling to Microsoft and LoanSifter, a mortgage banking search engine that successfully sold in 2013.

Dodles

Dodles is a mobile app that makes it fast and easy for people to create and share custom animations as movies and animated GIFs.  Currently, people can design 2D characters, objects, and backgrounds and then apply effects and animations quickly to various elements along a timeline from your phone or tablet before exporting.

Tech 

We can see the popularity of animation in messages and advertisement and gaming but felt that customized animation had too many barriers for entry to be practical for people to use on an everyday basis. Animation software has a steep learning curve, a high price tag, requires a fair amount of design skill, not mobile-friendly, and is still time-consuming.  These barriers in turn restrict animation primarily to business and paid entertainment.

With all that in mind, we set out to attack those barriers of entry to make animation something practical for everyone to use in their daily communication.  We started by inventing and patenting a new approach to animation that simplifies it for fast production on mobile devices. Users can use brushes and shapes to quickly design and then click on instant effects which record their touch gestures, animating complex motions in seconds and bringing those designs to life.  

More specifically, the software works using grouping and layers and allows you to easily isolate or “drill” into the objects and animate their components as well.  In fact, you will soon be able to import from Photoshop and Illustrator in a way that preserves your existing layers and groups.

By using the upcoming dodles marketplace, you can create even more rapidly by purchasing pre-animated characters, objects, and backgrounds from others for your own collection.  This allows you to have unlimited options for professional-looking animations in seconds.  Simply search, purchase and add the items to your dodle and then select effects or add audio for lip syncing.

Our goal is to make animation practical for everyone as a communication option.  This means that after beta, we want dodles to be a free app, where we can earn our money through marketplace commission and premium upgrades.  We also want some free content to be available to all. 

All of this combines to make custom animation fast, affordable, easy, fun and even practical.

Flexibility

Given this is a new platform, there are limitations in how it can be used. We are actively working on importing layered and grouped designs from other programs, and we will have the ability to import existing animations from some platforms.   

The final animation then runs within our engine itself, and cannot export to third party engines at this moment, though we are based on libGDX and likely will be able to export into that engine down the road. LibGDX also gives us the flexibility for building out the physics, gaming, and 3D capabilities moving forward.

Currently, you can export as an animated GIF and we will soon release the movie export as well.

We are considering beta partners who will get free ongoing access.

Craig Doriot, President of Dodles

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