Xtranormal: what the experts are saying

In his review in the animation section of About.com, freelance writer, Web designer, computerized graphic designer and animator, Adrien-Luc Sanders gives a detailed depiction of YouTube’s Xtranormal animation program. He outlines the pros and cons of the tool, and clearly explains the creative process involved.

In his summary of the application, Sanders calls Xtranormal “…an easy, adorable shortcut for creating animations as a content delivery platform” (2011). He goes on to say, “I’m sure it won’t be long before someone finds an out-of-the-box way to use the medium to build their audience”. I believe this has already happened! As I posted in Xtranormal Activity II, Paul Nightingale suggests using Xtranormal to create video blogs, send invitations, design avatars, and make business presentations, among other ideas.

Sanders summarizes Xtranormal and its pros and cons in the following list:

  • Makes animation accessible to non-animators.
  • Easy point-and-click intuitive content creation that doesn’t require in-depth animation training.
  • Comes with a stock library of characters, sets, sounds, and voices.
  • Can easily publish content to YouTube.
  • Free.
  • Links to private Google account info.
  • Voices are about as distorted and glottal as you’d expect.
  • Generic stock characters.
  • Web-based animation application that creates 3D content within minutes.
  • Lets you type in dialogue that can be converted to audio speech.
  • Allows you to apply animations to stock characters.

While I agree with Sanders’ overall impression of the tool and its advantages, I did not have the same experience with the downfalls of the program. When I registered for an account, Xtranormal linked my account directly with YouTube, so I did not experience the privacy issue Sanders noted. My students, however, were able to create accounts without the need for a YouTube or Google account. All that was required was an email address. Perhaps this has been updated since Sanders wrote his Blog.

Furthermore, I consider the “distorted and glottal” voices and stock characters to which Sanders refers, part of the charm of the tool! I love that the dialogue comes out in canned voices, from unnatural-looking avatar characters. It adds to the humourous aspect of Xtranormal.


Sanders, A-L. (2011). Guide Review – Animation Software Review: YouTube’s Xtranormal. Retrieved from http://animation.about.com/od/softwarereviews/gr/Animation-Software-Review-Youtubes-Xtranormal.htm 


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