Sunday, October 30, 2016

Denis Alenti Talks Apps

Mary, Vjekoslav Zivkovic, and Denis Alenti work together at Foo Foo kids to create wonderful apps for kids. Their work caught my eye while I was browsing Twitter. The artwork in their apps is absolutely stunning. I've downloaded a lot of kids apps, and these are some of the best I've seen.
Denis Alenti does a lot of the illustration work for Foo Foo Kids apps. Since technology is vital in today's world, I knew it would be interesting to hear from the perspective of an app creator. Denis has so much good information about apps. Hopefully this post will give you great insight and maybe even help you learn how you can develop your own apps to complement your kidlit work.

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Dani: How did you get started in making apps for children?

Denis: We were in between animation projects and someone suggested we should try making an app. I was only one who had superficial contact with programing languages so I ended up taking lead developer role. Six months later we where hocked on this "new & shiny" interactive world and our first app was done.

I was pretty scared taking development role and not having any real prior programing experience but as it turns out programing is not that hard at all. Programing community is really big and fortunately they love to share knowledge. Some of great free and paid tutorial sites are http://cartoonsmart.com/story-tellers-ios-starter-kit/ or https://www.raywenderlich.com. Especially great one is http://stackoverflow.com where you can ask questions and get answers really fast.



Dani: What's the most important part of creating apps?



Denis: I don’t think that there is “most important part” it’s more a process with equally important stages of production. Being a complete newbies in app development we approached making an app same way we did with animation or movies. When story is defined screenplay is written and this document contains everything in fine detail, narrative, voice over, music cues, sound effects and interactive elements (when you click this that happens). In parallel the first visuals start to happen and this is done mainly in Adobe PS. After characters are chosen they are prepared and exported for animation in Spine http://esotericsoftware.com. At that stage all elements end up in development software, for iOS environment I use Xcode https://developer.apple.com/xcode/. After that composers start making music and voice artists are recorded. When everything is working and is tested you open an account on app store (unfortunately it’s charged $100 annually) and you can upload your new app and start selling. All in all if you ever did any movie/animation production you are well prepared for apps development because you have to be patient and schedule realistically. A minimum of 6 to 12 months per app is doable with small team of three with little to no budget.



Dani: How do you think or computers will change the future of Children's Literature?

Denis: In my opinion computers influenced production process a lot, from printing to producing artworks, but I don’t think they’ll change kidlit too much. I love tablets and all interactive stuff. Kids love to play with tablets but printed and digital are completely different experiences. Books are tactile, slow, usually shared and with lots of space for readers imaginations to fill in blanks. And computers/tablets usually offer too much defined worlds with sound, music, interaction, all bells and whistles, not leaving much space for participation. So I’m not afraid for printed books at all, we're gonna have them around for a long, long time.


Dani: What (or who) inspires you?

Denis: My main inspiration comes from art and illustration. So so many gorgeous artists out there to see. I devour lots of independant animations but also love commercial things like Pixar/Disney or Dreamworks stuff.



Dani: Do you have anything else you want to share?

Denis: If you come from creative/art world don’t be afraid of development or programing because of any preconceived notions (like you have to be a genius math/programer before you can develop your own stuff). You can learn any programing language in six months or less and you're gonna love it, I promise. :)

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Follow Denis and Foo Foo Kids:

Denis on Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/DenisAlenti/

Foo Foo Kids Website: http://www.foo-foo.net

Get the apps: https://itunes.apple.com/us/developer/foofoo/id806122781

5 comments:

  1. It's great to the some other opportunities that may be out there for us! Thanks.

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  3. I've tried a bit of programing for children's book apps. As as someone from a graphic design and illustration background, it was challenging. My right brain was fighting with my left and I got trashed. I'll leave the programing to the left brain people. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I thought that was very encouraging to see that the traditional book still has a future because it allows imagination and interaction and because it is tactile. I have never thought of it this way. Also, I am so tempted to download the trial version and explore "Spine" some more. Such a great application. This is a time saver application. Thanks for sharing, Denis. It opens up my world.

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  5. thanks for reducing the "Tech fear" factor:)

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