Photo & Video
Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (4th generation), iPad 2 Wi-Fi, iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G, iPad (3rd generation) and iPad Wi-Fi + 4G.Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Age Rating: 4+
MacPhun’s Cartoonatic+ is an amusing video app that lets you create your own cartoons and animated shorts using your iPhone’s video camera. You can either shoot animated videos from within the app or you can apply cartoon filters to photos and videos already on your phone’s camera roll.
The $1 app is simple to use. Launch the app and it opens the video camera, but instead of the iPhone’s normal HD video, it’s animated. Tap on the screen to switch between the different cartoon filters and you’re ready to start recording.
Each of the 14 peculiarly named filters (Spacey Laney, Line Crusty and Brave Booster to name a few) represents a different style of animation. The filters range from minimalist – think line drawings and pencil sketches – to colourful and dramatic. You can make your videos seem even more cartoon-like by creating a soundtrack or speeding up your video.
Create soundtracks from within the app by using either one of five pre-recorded soundtracks, which are just cheesy enough to be appropriate for a cartoon or by choosing a song from your music library (you can, of course, just use the audio from your video as well).
I really liked the variety of cartoon effects available for tweaking my video and playing around with the filters proved to be fun in itself. Unfortunately, I ran into some issues that were difficult to overlook.
In keeping with the cartoon theme, all of the buttons are non-text icons, which adds to the cartoon aesthetic but detracts from the app’s usability, since you are left to guess the function of each icon.
Switching between filters presented another problem, particularly when recording a video. The only method for selecting filters is by tapping on the screen one-by-one in sequence to switch between them. This means if you accidentally pass over the filter you want or change your mind, you need to tap 13 more times to get back to that filter. Even more annoying, if you are recording video and want to change the filter in real time, you must tap through the ones you don’t want to get the ones that you do. This results in unwanted effects making it into your video.
Another problem cropped up when I tried to import photos and video from my camera roll. Once you import a photo, there is no way to discard it if you change your mind. You either have to quit the app or hit the camera button which saves the photo – there is no way to exit from that feature. Also, I encountered a glitch in compressing my video the first time I attempted to import a video from my Camera Roll. It worked the second time but it was frustrating as the compressing process took a couple minutes.
Despite these complaints, Cartoonatic+ stands out as a fun and easy-to-use app. Though certainly not a video app for every occasion, it’s a solid choice if you want to make something quirky. An update to improve the app’s navigation, which the developer says is in the works, would definitely take the app to the next level. In the meantime, MacPhun also makes a free version of the app, Cartoonatic, which has only 10 effects and doesn’t support photo and video imports.