August 7, 2019
Dodling with Craig Doriot
Dodles logoSource: Dodles
Dodles is an animation app available on iOS and Android for students, artists, and graphic designer’s alike. Upon its release, it’ll revolutionizing the animation industry with it’s cutting-edge tools, a marketplace, and social platform where artists can connect over their creations.
Recently, we spoke to Craig Doriot, the CEO and founder of Dodles via telephone to learn more about the current Beta and future of the app.
Could you tell us a little bit about Dodles? What features can users look forward to and what platforms will it be available on?
An overview of DodlesSource: Overview of Dodles Social Animation (short) | Craig Doriot
Dodles is a social animation platform. It makes it really easy to create and animate your content, then share it on social media.
The idea is to really simplify the process for the masses.
It’s currently available in Beta on Android and iOS – so the vast majority of smartphones and tablets.
You can draw, use your brushes, erasers; typical drawing features. You can animate those with finger gestures to move those animations, create visibility effects, and different motions.
There are also fonts and the ability to export your creations as GIFs or movies. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to export them as stickers.
Do you see Dodles coming to Mac/PC in the future or remaining a mobile app?
Not in the near future because there’s so much to do on mobile and that’s kind of where everything has moved to right now.
Dodles is built on a really incredible gaming engine foundation, so the ability to convert this into a Mac and PC app would be a natural fit for us if that opportunity started to look more attractive.
Could you tell us a little bit about the engine and design behind the app? What went into the brainstorming process?
When we were first looking at this, we saw a lot of people who were creating animation platforms that were very rudimentary, frame by frame animations. It took a long time to create animations on those platforms and the outcome wasn’t fluid compared to movies or video games – which is understandable, because it’s a big investment to bring [an animation platform] to that level.
It’s very similar to a tablet or PC type of engine built for gaming.
For the brainstorming process, we had a team of people from our side and met with a development team in St. Louis over the course of about two months.
During this time, we really put a lot of ideas on the table, voted on each other’s ideas, and had a lot of a lot of brainstorming sessions.
It wasn’t a straight two months, but a lot of back and forth. At the end of every couple weeks, we’d test these ideas out with different people of different ages.
Whatever part of the system we were working on, we would ask [the testers] to use paper and finger gestures to recreate how they would expect to perform a particular task.
This really helped us see what the most intuitive way to animate was with finger gestures.
We even watched little kids do this. For example, we would give them a card and ask them how they would want to make it move with their fingers.
Some of the brainstorming process was literally just watching children sometimes, sometimes it was animators.
Dodles also has a marketplace where artists can profit off of their designs. What is the process of uploading and selling your designs? How are artists paid?
A glimpse at Dodles’ future marketplaceSource: The Marketplace – dodles style | dodl.es
That part is not built into the system yet because of the cost of development, but it’s a phase we’d like to see it happen pretty quickly.
When the marketplace is finalized, will artists have to be verified prior to uploading their designs? For example, are there any filters that would prevent trolls from uploading explicit content?
Our platform is designed to work with other platforms. We want this to work in everybody else’s social platforms and whatever their current experience is. You’re kind of limited by the guidelines on those other platforms in terms of what you can post.
Some of this interaction doesn’t even touch us necessarily, it’s whatever they’re working on and publishing to other social channels.
However, as we get the marketplace in place, people will have that ability to upload, sell, and collaborate using that content.
On one hand, we’re a very big proponent of free speech. We believe in it, we believe ideas should be shared without much constraint.
On the other hand, we do think sexually explicit stuff should not be in our community. We will have guidelines and filters to prevent people from abusing it or damaging other people.
What is the social interface like within the app?
Sharing your creations through dodlesSource: Export Tutorial – 8/8 How to use dodles animation app | dodl.es
Right now, when you go to export your animation, you can hit the send icon and bring up the normal app hub as if you were in your photo gallery and going to post a photo to your chats or social media.
Would you say that it’s easier to use the app on a smartphone or tablet? Are there any features that are available on the tablet that aren’t available on mobile, or vice versa?
Any drawing app is going to be easier to use on a tablet because you have a stylus or more room to work with. Drawing apps just lend themselves to working better on tablets.
However, when we designed Dodles, we were really building this for the phone experience and not looking at very tablets or PC experience very closely.
It’s definitely built for smartphones, but the power of the experience will be better on a tablet just by its nature.
What inspired you to create Dodles? What was the final push that encouraged you to pursue creating the app?
When I sold my last company, which was a mortgage software search, I wanted to figure out how to invest those proceeds. I asked an advisor to pray with me on where that money should go or how I should be investing it.
As the founder of Dodles, what impact do you hope to have on the world through your app?
A lot [laughs].
It’s very ambitious what we’re looking to do. One big thing is we see this as being a tool for collaboration on an entirely different scale. Everyone can create parts of artistic works that can be woven together to create pieces for fun, business, movies, whatever.
We really see this as a great tool for collaboration.
I think one of the big things we’ve accomplished and will continue to get better at is reducing the barrier to animation.
Animation is a very powerful tool to communicate. Social media posts that have animation in it way outperform posts that are video or photo based because it catches people’s attention. It’s also unlimited what you can display in animation. We see Dodles as a tool for better communication.
Currently, Dodles is in it’s Beta. Could you give us a glimpse into features that may be added by the official release?
One of the things you can’t create today within the Beta are the stickers with invisible backgrounds. We wrapped up our internal testing on the sticker feature and saw some really great results, so that’s one of the things we’re excited to release.
Another key feature is importing your prior work. Currently in the app, you can take a picture of yourself and trace it to create animations based off your personal characters that way. I know some people that want to create their personal emojis.
We want to be able to collaborate, and part of that collaboration is the ability to import previous work that’s already designed or animated. That’s also a stepping stone to the marketplace.
The ability to bring in your past animations is another feature we’ll be adding by the official release of Dodles.
Do you have an official release date in mind yet?
We’re looking at mid Oct for our release, but that’ll depend on the feedback we’re getting from our community in terms of how much traction we’re getting at that stage. We have a lot of big things in the works, so it’s going to be something to debate over whether it’s ready to be released to the masses or if we should add more features first.
We’re still debating, but looking at mid Oct for now.
What are some of the best animations you’ve seen users create on the platform so far?
We’re most excited about people bringing their original characters to the platform and use that for their social or promotional purposes. We’ve seen some pretty cool things done along that side.
Within our own internal tests, I’ve seen these stickers and I think they’re really powerful. I’m impressed with what I’m seeing there for sure.
Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?
Certainly the marketplace where they’ll get a majority of the revenue on their creation will promote that advocacy.
We also feel it’s important people protect their creative works. Historically, I think a lot of artists are concerned about putting their content online because they’re worried about people ripping it off, so we’ve been very focused on creating a solid foundation for protection of people’s personal intellectual property (IP).
We’ve made sure we have a really robust, blockchain-based system that can support and protect their content.
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