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Show some love: make DIY animations with the NFB’s easy-to-use apps

Show some love: make DIY animations with the NFB’s easy-to-use apps

Show some love: make DIY animations with the NFB’s easy-to-use apps

Got a special occasion coming up? Anniversary? Baby? Retirement? Anything, really! Did you just have a delightful brunch with a valued friend and want to show your love?

Here’s a unique idea: create a short do-it-yourself animated video with one of our two user-friendly animation apps, McLaren’s Workshop and NFB StopMo Studio. “That’s crazy! I’m not a professional animator!” is what you might find yourself thinking. Rest assured: nothing could be simpler or more fun, and a personalized animated e-sentiment is sure to be received with delight.

Find some inspiration

The NFB employs a number of workshop facilitators who lead fun and informative sessions about various filmmaking topics (animation, documentary, digital storytelling) for students of all ages. These facilitators are some pretty creative, talented, and thoughtful folks. One of them, Laurence “Lolo” Desrosiers-Guité, has started making little animated videos for friends, family, and coworkers on any number of topics. Check out her ode to a beloved friend, complete with a lively soundtrack she chose from the app itself (and feel free to share this with your own beloved friends):

The above animation was created using the “Etching on film” function in the McLaren’s Workshop app (for iPad only). Get the app now and try it yourself!

And how delighted would you be to receive something like this from a friend?

This one was created with the NFB’s StopMo Studio app (formerly known as PixStop).

A few more tidbits to get you started…

Also made in StopMo, Lolo’s colourful wish for a Happy Monday can go far when shared on the dreaded first day of the work week. Send your colleagues a personalized note to say we’re only 5 days away from another weekend!

And how about this adorbs Mother’s Day message of love, also made in McLaren’s Workshop? Talk about Daughter of the Year!

A shareable animation for any occasion

Both the McLaren’s Workshop app and the StopMo Studio app are equipped with easy-to-use sharing functions, so as soon as you complete your masterpiece, you can quickly save it on your device, email it, or post it on various social media platforms with the touch of a button.

Why not take advantage of those interminable Facebook birthday notifications and send someone you care about a truly unique digital message? Wish your Gallic friends a Happy Bastille Day on July 14! Wish your Muslim friends a very special Ramadan throughout July! And send your Acadian friends warmest wishes on National Acadian Day on August 15!

The possibilities are endless, as long as you say what’s in your heart and let your imagination run wild.

Download McLaren’s Workshop here and NFB StopMo Studio here.

And, by the way, we’re planning on some updates for the apps to go with iOS 8, so if you’ve got any wish lists, critiques, compliments, or any other kind of feedback, we would love to hear from our creative users. Leave  your thoughts in a comment below… and happy animating!


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  1. I LOVE the Etching on Film app because it has the simplicity of actually etching on real film, I would not want it to get a lot more complicated. I have a couple ideas though. 1. How about a “Save” button? I’d like to save my work often without exporting the whole thing to the camera roll. 2. How about a waveform graphic so we can see the sound that we are animating to?
    By the way, is there a way to use different music or sound? The “Library” says “Library is Empty” but no options for adding to it.

  2. First of all, thanks for creating those wonderful apps dedicated to Norman McLaren’s legacy. I hope they will draw some people to this wonderful art form and its greatest pioneer!

    I just got my first iPad and can’t wait to get started. I just wanted to report that on my device. The McLaren workshop also has a bit of trouble starting up: I’m on an iPad Mini (non-retina), iOS 8.0.2

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi. Thank you so much for your comment. In regard to the difficulty you’re having starting up the app on your iPad Mini, our team is working on an updated version of the app optimized for iOS 8+.

      — Julie Matlin,
  3. Hi, I’ve been using and enjoying the app, and just installed iOS 8 on my iPad, only to find that Mclarens Workshop no longer opens. It just freezes on start up. I’m halfway through a film. Is there an update coming that will get the app working again?



    — Rob,
    1. Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your message. We tested the app on the developers’ version for iOS8, and we found no problems, but now we can see that the opening screen does freeze for a bit on our devices. However, after ten or fifteen seconds, the app does eventually launch, although slowly. Does your stay frozen? I have passed your problem on to the relevant people, and we are working on it. Will keep you posted as soon as we have more info.



      — Jovana Jankovic,
  4. Hi re-the great McClaren etching app could the ios.8 update include..cut and paste of frames, a greater colour palette, wider range of width for drawing tools …and the option of etching black on a white background….just a few ideas.. I love the NFB website…

    Patrick UK

    PS. Possibly a new more complex animation program with semi-professional tools

    1. Thanks for your feedback Patrick. I will be sure to pass it on to our development team!

      — Jovana Jankovic,

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