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I'm looking for some advice on workflow and what people I'll need to put together an app for tablets and smartphones.

There are 3 questions down the bottom of this post.

There are 2 apps planned -- both are kids' storybooks. One exists already as a printed book, with psd files. The other is 90% written and has no illustrations done yet.

So as far as I understand, the workflow to create these apps would be something like this:

Stage 1: Write the book

Stage 2: Create illustrations for each page

Stage 3: Create some animation and interactivity in the illustrations

Stage 4: an app developer, maybe working with a graphic designer, puts the app together and makes it available in the apps store

3 questions:

  1. Is that the right workflow?

  2. Stages 2 and 3 -- are these stages usually done by 2 separate people: an illustrator creating the illustrations and an animator adding animation and interactivity? Or would often one person do both illustration and animation?

  3. Am I missing anything from that workflow?

Thanks :)

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Which platform(s) are the books for? If the answer is iOS, you should consider using iBooks Author. Great results, and you'll get them faster and cheaper. –  Marc Edwards May 29 '12 at 10:58
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4 Answers 4

I'm currently involved in a very similar project. So I hope my answer helps.

  1. the book is written

  2. the illustration is done for the book

  3. the flow of the app and how it functions is worked out (at this stage the illustrator will help if the animation is integral to the way the app works)

  4. a UI designer will design the look and feel of the app

  5. a developer will be able to build the app based on the UI design and Illustration.

  6. the app will be tested

  7. any kinks will be worked out by any of the team depending on the kinks.

From my experience the Illustrator, Animator and UI designer are different people. Usually exceptional at what they do.

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Is that the right workflow?

It depends on all sorts of factors...not the least of which is your team and what they prefer.

In general, I'd say "no" and that the workflow is that everyone work together on every step of the way.

Stages 2 and 3 -- are these stages usually done by 2 separate people: an illustrator creating the illustrations and an animator adding animation and interactivity? Or would often one person do both illustration and animation?

Yes. Meaning, both are valid and common.

Am I missing anything from that workflow?

Testing.

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Steps 2 and 3 would probably be best served by one individual or team or firm since animators will illustrate with animation in mind. It's much easier to build animations if you know how and have that as a goal from the beginning. Not all illustrators can animate, but most animators can illustrate.

I'd split step 4 into 2 parts...

4 - Designer to layout the book, choose typeface, set leading and kerning, pagebreaks, etc. You'll need a designer familiar with web design and epub creation. Believe it or not, mobile app books are far more like web pages than actual books. Developers aren't traditionally geared to great "look and feel." Some are, but you shouldn't count on that.

5 - Developer to create app and handle any in app items like purchases or call backs, and testing.

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In a case like this, it never hurts to look at the very best, and it happens that Moonbot Studios' short video and iPad app "The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore" has a series of 10 or so "Making Of" videos, starting with this one. Although they don't take it all the way to the app development stage, the rest of what you're asking is more than answered.

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