Motivating Children to Do Their Chores Using Animation

"Having curve deformers that are scaleable allows us to reuse those characters without worrying about sizing." — Justin Boh, animator at ChoreMonster

Motivating Children to Do Their Chores Using Animation

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio and founded by Chris Bergman (CEO), Paul Armstrong (CCO) in 2011, ChoreMonster is a dynamic app development company. As their goal is to create a suite of web and mobile apps that make children beg to do their chores, the team launched their ChoreMonster app version 1 in January 2013 and version 2 in early April 2014, this time with animations created using Toon Boom Harmony. Thanks to this brilliant app, they have over three millions chores completed, with over 150,000 beds made... that's enough to make roughly all the beds in the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas...18,750 times.

ChoreMonster for iPadChoreMonster for iPhone

Aside from the founders, the core team includes a marketing manager, an office manager, three developers (iOS, Android, web), a producer, a junior designer, an animator, and a community manager for a total staff of 12. While the app is currently available for iOS only, the team is currently working on expanding it to multiple platforms. They also have a few developers on contract that are helping them scale quickly.

Targeted to children from 4 to 12 years of age, ChoreMonster is actually two apps built into one: one for the parents and the other for the children, giving each one a different experience. Children earn points by completing chores, and turn those points in to their parents for real life rewards like an hour of cartoons, a canoe trip, or a Lego set. Children also earn a ticket for every completed chore. They can then spend that ticket on the Monster Carnival wheel where they could win one of our over 100 unique monsters or a consolation prize like a pair of dirty socks or a jar of farts. When a kid earns a monster, that monster is interactive. A child can tap on the monster, which makes them do something funny like dance, fart, burp, fly and so on. On the parents' side, they log in and assign chores to the child or children, and set how many points they can earn for completing the chores. When children turn on the app, they get a reminder of their chores. When done, they can mark them as such and parents can check and approve. "ChoreMonster is fully COPPA compliant as there is no interaction between children and no information is collected about them," explained Justin Boh, animator at ChoreMonster.

"We have a unique world of monsters and a really great style developed by our co-founder and CCO, Paul," stated Justin. "We have 100 monsters, hence 100 animations. We are also growing the family of monsters," he continued.

Produced over seven months, animations for version 2 are ranging from one to five seconds each, representing 30 to 300 frames (at 24 fps).

Making of the ChoreMonster App

Paul designs and creates all monsters in Adobe Illustrator. Then, Justin cuts them up for puppeting in Illustrator, imports them into Harmony and starts rigging the characters. "I use the curve deformers religiously. We're able to use our monsters over and over again easily by creating templates in the library—rig once and have them available whenever. This is a major time saver. Having curve deformers that are scaleable allows us to reuse those characters without worrying about sizing," stated Justin.

In Harmony Interface

Justin animates in Harmony, using both puppet animation as well as traditional animation. "Being able to switch between these animation styles allows us to get the best of both worlds. Drawing directly in the program is very convenient whenever we need to add a mouth or another asset. As Harmony is resolution independent, we have no concern about pixilation at all. The Network view is tremendous and makes complete sense. I have developed a visual methodology that enables us to keep all assets stacked in the right order to speed up the process. Limited special effects are applied, such as particles for the swarms of bees as well as transparencies and cutters," he added.

Once the animation is completed, they export it as a PNG4 sequence to import it into After Effects, finalize the compositing and render the final for whatever specs are needed for whatever device. Monsters are uploaded to their API and delivered to the device as needed.

"This was my first time working on animations for an app, as well as the first time for our iOS developer adding this level of detailed animations into our app. So we had to work closely together to come up with the best deliverable files for the app. Once we launch on more platforms, we'll have to create specific output files for them as well," concluded Justin.

ChoreMonster aspires to provide tools to help parents parent the way they want, as well as to relieve tension in the household using smart apps that turn a negative into a positive. They're also considering integrating with Unity to bring their app experience to a whole new level. Time to install their app to have your own useful, playful and rewarding experience too!

ChoreMonster

About ChoreMonster

Based in Cincinnati, Ohio and founded by Chris Bergman (CEO), Paul Armstrong (CCO) in 2011, ChoreMonster is a dynamic app development company. As their goal is to create a suite of web and mobile apps that make children beg to do their chores, the team launched their ChoreMonster app version 1 in January 2013 and version 2 in early April 2014, this time with animations created using Toon Boom Harmony. Thanks to this brilliant app, they have over three millions chores completed, with over 150,000 beds made... that’s enough to make roughly all the beds in the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas...18,750 times.

choremonster.com