In the past, we used to interview all the authors, when they published their Kwik made apps. With more and more apps getting into the stores, this practice became impossible to be done, reason why we decided to create our Showcase to, at least, highlight everybody’s work.
We are happy to announce that we will interview App of the Month winners, as well as authors with distinguished works or services. Hopefully these interviews will inspire others to follow their lead while creating great content.
Today we talk to Nuriza, from LogiTales. She is the author of “Zala and the Treasure Cave”, my “current favorite” storybook made with Kwik
Tell us a little bit about you and LogiTales. Where are you based and what is your “story”?
LogiTales is a brand new outfit ready to expand the horizons of mobile apps for children. We may be a small team – my husband, Oliver, and myself – but we are efficient and effective. What is more our studio stand firm in a German forest near Nuremberg, the city of children’s magic: toys, sausages and gingerbread.
Although our company was formed only in July this year, we are not strangers by any means to media production, having already learned our trade the last twenty years in film making specializing in 3D animation and visual effects.
Every artist has a passion – and for years our dream was to weave stories. We wanted to break new ground by involving the viewer to be as creative in the story-telling as us. Then suddenly it dawned on us – we should do an interactive book for children with the aid of tablet computers. Our dreams became reality as we could finally blend various forms of entertainment (book, animation, music and gaming) and assign a unique scoop for that blend where kids could interact with the narratives.
How did you enter the storybook app market? Is Zala your first app?
“Zala and the Treasure Cave” is our first app, indeed. I bought my first iPad a year ago and browsed many interactive books for kids but found them limited in content and originality. I showed them to my husband, who then had the idea to fuse a game with film animation. It was instant inspiration so we decided to quit our jobs in the film business and dived into the unknown to produce apps for kids.
Can you share some words on your experience with Kwik/Kwiksher?
I searched very long time for an easy, intuitive development tool. Then I found Corona SDK and Kwik. These were perfect for our needs.
When I started Zala, I had no experience in coding until I began to learn how to in March 2013. The tutorials on Corona and Kwiksher website were very helpful. Kwik is very easy to learn and I had a good time – even ‘developer newbies’ like myself can learn to produce a professional E-book or a game quite quickly.
The first version (in German) was completed and ready for upload to the App Store on 18th July, the same day the Apple developer area was hacked. You can imagine the look on my face when I tried to upload the app and the whole developer area crashed!
Special thanks to Alex. He was a really great help. When I got stuck, I wrote on the Kwiksher forum and his reply came quickly and rich in detail and he even supplied me with code examples.
How did you find us?
I found Kwik on the Corona website.
Can you share your design/production process? How does it work?
We used all the same methodology that we applied to our film making.
First and foremost the script has to be right! I wrote the script and reworked it over and over. My husband, Oliver, storyboarded everything in 3D and made an animated short film that although not perfect, can allow you to test timing, character ‘blocking’ and camera perspectives. When we had this down, I then made 3D models of all the assets necessary for the storyline .
We invested in a motion-capture-system to record all the movements of each character. I actually performed both Zala and Kisha and a friend performed Bobo. After cleaning, tweaking and re-animating all the mocap data (a prerequisite for animation reference) we manually animated the faces of the story’s characters.
Oliver assembled the sets, textured, lit and rendered all the elements separately. After compositing all the elements, he then edited the videos, creating Photoshop layers and I fired up Kwik.
I developed a first draft while Oliver composed and recorded the music. After much testing, tweaking, and bug fixing I was finally content with the first version, which alas was not compatible with iPad1 due to memory issues. So I dissected many of the scenes, inserting fake pages for clearing memory and in the end it worked!
Besides a great story and gorgeous animations, what I love the most, in a technical standpoint, is the smooth transition between a video to an interactive scene. How did you achieve that? Any tips and tricks to someone willing to follow your steps?
Its all about timing: I create two images: the first and last frame of every video. Every scene begins with an initial picture, followed by the video 0.2 seconds later. When it is finished I hide it and the final image becomes visible. This done, I can then change to the next page with the interactive elements. When two consecutive pages contain a lot of material, I add a fake or dummy page between them showing only the background of the next page in order to be able to clear the memory.
Are you doing or planning to do any marketing initiatives to promote the app?
Yes, sure! That’s the hardest part!
What is in the future from LogiTales? I am really excited about the glimpse of the sequel and the announced apps from your website. Will they be also video stories?
I have now written seven stories for Zala. If the reactions are good, we intend to produce them all in a series concept. Currently we are working on the second episode and hope to publish it before Christmas. It will even have more riddles and video scenes. We also have some other smaller apps in the pipeline which we will create next year. Kwik offers so many tools and we want to push their limits.
Any final words to Kwiksher’s readers?
Don’t give up if you are stuck with coding problems. Take a break, free your mind and come back to work. There is always a solution..
Thanks a lot for your time and this really amazing app of yours. For sure you got lots of new fans!