The first order of business is to let you know that I've talked to the CEO of TaleSpring and he has assured me that they are backing way down from the "rights ownership" part of their contract. He reports that they are drafting a new document that will protect their rights to own, distribute, advertise, etc. -the app that their software produces. He also assured me that the new contract will make clear that artists will own the rights outside the app produced by Talespring.com So this is really good news because there was quite a bit of concern over this issue.
Let me also re-state that I do NOT have any financial obligations to Talespring or receive any moneys or discounts for writing about them, using their tools to create my own apps, or making the tutorial on how to use their tools. I like this separation because I am free to remain objective about the value they provide.
Ok - the following are my general pieces of advice to get you thinking about and preparing yourself to make your own Talespring app.
2. Keep it REALLY simple! Notice a pattern here? I really want you to get your feet wet on this project and you won't be able to do that if your dreams and crazy imagination can't be done using Talespring. I would keep animations down to moving an asset from A to B. Rotating and asset. Replacing an asset. Fading an asset out (like a ghost)Fading an asset in. Growing/shrinking etc. I'm making it sound like there's not much you can do when actually there are really cool things you can create but I think your emphasis should be on story rather than high end animation.
3. Create an original story. If your motivation to create a story app is to sell a few copies to your family and share it with your kids or grandkids than tell whatever story you desire. If you want to have the chance of selling lots of apps and enjoying royalties you need to write or partner with a writer who has created a compelling story. I'm not suggesting that you create a story like, "Go The F@#k To Sleep"...but then again I am. Look - I wouldn't write that story - I couldn't put that out there - It goes against my mission - but I still laugh when I hear it and that little laugh is why it's currently #128 on Amazon right now in ALL BOOKS. Do you know how ridiculously high that is? The author is making a killing! Not because of marketing and not because of luck. It's because you either think it's hilarious or you hate it to death. People need to have a strong opinion of what you create in order for it to do well financially. It must be: amazingly sweet, rude, inappropriate, touching, cute, funny, etc.
4. Have your story set in stone before you start illustrating.
5. Did you read #4?
6. I feel like you didn't really read number 4 :) If you're coming to this from an illustrator's perspective like me you probably feel more comfortable drawing rather than working on your story. STOP. If you kind of get your story ready but perhaps it still needs a little work and then you dive into sketches and heaven help us - paintings you'll do one of 2 things: Make compromises on your story because you already have the art or get really frustrated when you realize you have to change your story a little - making some or all of your art obsolete.
7. Get a critique. After your text is finished and you're really happy with it (and hopefully workshoped it in your critique group...no critique group?...start one!...and beg for honesty)
8. Limit Pages. Remember - theoretically you have unlimited pages but this doesn't mean you have carte blanche to waste your viewers time by including superfluous pages. The essence of good design is reduction - so have a purpose for every page. Don't need it? Yank it out! You can start doing thumbnails and story boarding out how your app will work. Pages in Talespring are 1024px wide by 768px tall so unlike a book you don't have a two page spread to work with. Think of the iPad screen. Every time you touch the page turn arrow at the bottom of the screen you get a new screen - not a page turn - but similar.
9. Perhaps work on your character sketches but get that story figured out first! Get your ducks in a row!...or chickens.
10. Number ten is a tuffy -or great news depending. You need an iPad. I know I know this is a hard pill to swallow if you're funds challenged like many right now but you need one to download your book as you produce it so you can see what it looks like and how it behaves. Talespring has a really good simulator so you could get by without one especially if you're not timing sounds to animations like I did in my app - "I Eat You". I had to download my book 9 times to get the timing right because it's a little different from the simulator to the iPad.
Ok, so that's about it! My tutorial will cover you if you're going to be working traditionally or digitally to create your artwork. But here's what you will need to have for a full robust Talespring app:
2. Photoshop(perhaps elements- checking on it) or Gimp (google it - free)
3. scanner - if you're working traditionally
4. Wacom tablet if you're going to be creating your images digitally.
5. iPad app "Tiny Vox" (a few bucks) for voice recording on your iPad (what I used) Audacity (free download)
6. Audacity (free download) and a mic for your computer if you're not going to use your iPad.
Oh - and I'll be releasing a "Beginning Photoshop for Painting" video tutorial on Folio Academy in a few weeks! This will be a great tutorial if you're brand new to Photoshop but don't want to learn about all the tools you'll never need for painting your images. This video series will get you up to speed on how to work with your drawings in photoshop and prepare you for my "Digital Painting in Photoshop" vids.