Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

3dchor Kids

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

3dchor Kids

Article excerpt

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SOFTWARE

3dChor Kids

Company: Animated Communications, P.O. Box 16907, Chapel Hill, NC 27516; Phone: 800/949-4559; Internet: http://www.3dchor.com/.

Price: $89-single copy price; $650course pack, 10 copies. The course pack includes a teacher's manual, blackline masters, a PowerPoint CD, and Excel-based rubrics for assessment. Educational pricing and site licenses available.

Audience: Grade 2 and up.

Format: CD-ROM (Windows only).

Minimum System Requirements: IBM-compatible computer with Pentium II processor, 16 MB RAM, 100 MB hard disk space, mouse, and CDROM drive. For use with Windows 95 or higher (the product was tested on WIN 95, 98, 2000, NT, ME, and XP).

Description: 3dChor Kids provides young students with an introduction to basic animation. The software is based on an action-driven approach, where every character has an extensive library of predefined actions, including a wide range of emotional expressions. Text, backgrounds, and 2-D drawings can be added to complete animations. Final designs are rendered as AVI files that can be inserted in PowerPoint presentations, on Web pages, or in video format.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I reviewed 3dChor Kids on a Dell Latitude/D505 laptop computer with a Pentium M processor (1500 MHz) and WIN XP.

Installation is required. The auto-installer set everything up quickly and easily. A shortcut was placed on my desktop. The installation process was well done. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: 3dChor Kids provides an animation design process, with icons for each design tool easily identified to their use.

The Cast button allows young animators to choose a 3-D actor. The program features more than 300 actors/ characters to choose from in the following categories: transportation, toons, dinosaurs, objects, heads, fantasy, animals, space, occupations, and people. A separate button allows users to create their own 2-D actor.

The Background button enables the selection of a number of backgrounds for the animation. Available scenes include the desert, indoors, jungle, outdoors, a path, and towns.

The Command button controls the selection of all of the possible actions for the actor to perform. Start and stop times for each animation command can be set; the number of animation commands can be set as well. The Path button sets the actor's movement path from one area of the screen to another.

The Rehearse button allows you to test your animation. While using the Rehearse button, you may make changes until you are happy with your animation. To stop the rehearsal, use the ESC key on your keyboard at any time. When you're ready ato see the finished product, click on the Animate button.

After the animation has been compiled, pressing the Play button will allow you to show your work. The actual animation is saved as an .AVI file. Previously non-animated work is saved as a .3DC file.

Animation times are represented in seconds. Approximately 10 to 20 frames make up 1 second in animation. The default animation size is 640 x 480 pixels. Reducing the size (to 320 x 240) will allow you to view the animation in about one-fourth of the default time.

The User's Guide has a series of tutorials that make creating an animation very easy. Tutorials (1 through 5) start on page 9 and introduce users to all of the program's basic commands.

The 3dChor Kids version 2.9 CD contains 50 animation templates, included as . …

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