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Mobile Apps

Turn stories into animated movies with Plotagon for iOS

Now available for iPhone, this nifty app is like a drag-and-drop movie-maker, perfect for storyboarding your next film project or just goofing around.

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Plotagon for iOS comes with a few moviemaking tools but lets you add more. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

I've always said that in my next life, I want to be a filmmaker. Turns out I may not have to wait.

Plotagon for iOS puts simple moviemaking tools at your fingertips: actors, sets, noises, and so on. You supply the story, assemble all the pieces, and presto: a pretty slick animated movie you can share with the world.

Plotagon debuted in July for PC, Mac, and iPad, but only recently arrived on iPhone. That means you can now make movies pretty much any time, anywhere. After spending about 3 minutes with the guided tutorial, I'd already put together a simple scene with some dialogue -- and was pretty much hooked.

You start by choosing your location, then add characters and their locations within the scene. Next you supply dialogue, complete with a corresponding facial expressions (angry, happy, scheming, etc.). From there you can add actions (high-five, kiss, push, etc.), sound effects, and/or music.

The free version of the app comes with only a smattering of characters and scenes, but you can add more via in-app purchase. Thankfully, there are many additional freebies you can download, and the paid extras are all priced from 99 cents to $1.99 (from £0.69 to £1.29; and from AU$1.29 to AU$2.49). Just don't plan on taking the action too far afield. The available settings are limited to common places like schools, offices, and household rooms, and available characters are in line with those locales.

Speaking of limited, there's only so much you can do with Plotagon. Characters can't really move about within a scene; you have to cut to another setup if you want them to go from, say, sitting at classroom desks to standing near the door. And the app really needs more actions you can apply.

That said, this is a really fun app, great for putting your friends in funny situations or just flexing your creative muscles.