X-Men Cartoon Maker
X-Men Cartoon Maker (Knowledge Adventure) is closely related to last year’s Spiderman Cartoon Maker, which was reviewed in Vol. 1, No. 6. This well-done program allows nearly anyone to create animated and still comics quickly and painlessly well, almost painlessly. Our main complaint is that a number of the controls are counter-intuitive. Take the text tool, for instance; and apparently someone did, because there isn’t one. If you want to type text into a still comic, you position the paint tool where you want the text and start typing, which generates text that is as thick as the brush you have selected. But don’t accidentally move the mouse, because that moves the baseline of the text, so your characters end up off-kilter. Sure, once you figure it out it works adequately, but why make it so difficult? Other controls are equally quirky. Knowledge Adventure went a little overboard in trying to “simplify” the interface, but once you’ve mastered the controls the program is a lot of fun. You can select backgrounds, characters, and objects, animate them, add sounds and music (including your own with a microphone), and play with various effects. Compared to other cartoon creators we’ve seen, it quickly became obvious that this one was created by people who deal with animation everyday. In the “close-ups” menu, for instance, every character is available in both a “surprised” look (since that’s what close-ups usually show), and a blank look sans mouth for you to pencil in an expression of your own. Other items are equally well thought out. X-Men Cartoon Makerwill keep kids busy and happy once you get them started.
– March 1996