The Fifty Tools

Below you will find 50+ web tools you can use to create your own web-based story. Again, the mission is not to review or try every single one (that would be madness, I know), but pick one that sounds interesting and see if you can produce something. I have used each tool to produce an example of the original Dominoe story, plus links are provided, where available, to examples by other people. Please share your own examples or thoughts in the discussion area of this wiki.

But before rummaging around the toolbox, have you done your prep work? Do you have your story idea or presentation concept outlined, developed? This should be on paper or in a document file or scribbled on the back of a napkin, but do not rely on making it up as you go! If not, go back 2 spaces and do this now. Next- do you have your media assets available, your images, video clips, audio files-- if not go find your media now.

Slideshow Tools

Generates content that allows linear playback of a series of images, some with ability to add audio. But these are primarily organized around photos or graphics.

1. Joggle Upload images or search/upload flickr or Google for images by tag. Create slideshows with transitions and attach background audio. Share via email, embed code. Still listed as beta.

2. ImageLoop Upload images from computer or flickr or upload PowerPoint files. Select from animated templates. Publish to blog or MySpace. RSS, comments.

3. One True Media "...effortlessly combine photos and video clips with words and music to personalize your story. Quickly share with our Online Slideshow or get as creative as you want with our Video Montage." Upload images and audio for story track. Embed in blogs or directly post to YouTube/Google video, mySpace, Google Groups. Great template choices.

4. RockYou "RockYou! creates and distributes the most popular self-expression widgets on the web" where widgets are slideshows, image effects, and more. Publishes to MySpace, Facebook, blogs.

5. Slide "Slide lets you use photos and other digital content to publish and discover the people and things that matter to you." Import from many sources, has a good library of templates, backgrounds, effects. Can add music from library but not your own audio.

6. SlideFlickr "SlideFlickr will help you create and embed Flickr slideshows in less than 10 seconds" for putting slide shows in your own site. Generate from flickr users, sets, groups, tags. Attach audio via mp3 url is a featured that goes beyond what flickr offers.

7. flickrslidr Embed a slideshow created from a set, group, or user in flickr. No audio. You can now do this directly from flickr's slide show interface.

8. Slideoo Creates horizontal slide shows from flickr sets ) no text or audio. Very, very easy to use. Thanks to Tim Lauer

9. pictobrowser quickly and easily turns flickr sets, tags, or group photos into lovely embedded slide shows

10. PhotoShow "turns photos into musical slideshows" - wide range of elegant templates, add captions, optional video effects (film grain, etc). Audio only from music library on site.

11. Slideroll Create slideshows via a movie timeline- add transitions, Ken Burns like effects, titles, captions, music. Direct import photos from flickr.

12. Picasa Google's free site for storing and sharing photo serves a similar service as flickr, but it also offers the ability to create slideshows with captions, and to associate images with a location on a map.

13. PhotoPeach A very easy to use slide show maker tool. Import photos from flickr, picasa, Facebook (or upload), arrange, select music from library (or find from YouTube videos). Creates Ken Burns like pan and zoom effects. Add captions. When published, you can also post to Facebook or twitter.

14. Tikatok Designed primarily for kids, the real purpose of Tikatok is to allow children to create their own story books, which can be shared or ultimately printed as a real book. Images or drawings can be uploaded, arranged, and placed within text. The site provides as an option story prompts to help guide the process. Final products can be viewed on the site or embedded.

15. Tar Heel Reader Developed at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, this tool allows creation of a captioned slide show for beginning readers, with features designed for accessibility (text to speech, reader selected font and background colors) and offers downloads of stories in PowerPoint, Flash, and Impress Format. Pictures can be used directly from flickr, and the tool tracks the photo credits.

Timeline Tools

The main organizing metaphor for these tools is by time/date that can explored in any order. Events are placed on a timeline, and might include text, hyperlinks, images, etc.

16. Dandelife Generate a timeline of any kind of event in your life, write as blog-like entry, apply tags, attach images, videos, bookmarks form other web service sites. Not the easiest tool to use!

17. OurStory Write a 'story' which is what happened on a date in time, add pictures, video, and OurSotry creates a timeline. Imports flickr photos.

18. xtimeline Powerful and well designed timeline. Attach images or embed media to any entry, provide source info (for historical timelines?), tags. Can import data from Excel/CSV files.

Mixer Tools

These may overlap with the Slideshow tools, but generally these ones offer a larger variety of media types that can be "mixed" and end products that are not necessarily linear.

19. Voice Thread Weave uploaded or flickr imported images into a media presentation with multiple voices. Record audio, video, or add text or drawn annotations. Others can add video, audio, and text comments as well. See also VoiceThread for Education wiki.

20. VUVOX "turn your photos, video and music into professional quality presentations that can be easily shared with friends and family. " search images in flickr, google, upluad youtube video, embed code (see MasterNewmedia review).

21. VUVOX Collage Collage provides a rich interface for creating highly visual presentations along scrolling horizontal strip, with imported pictures, audio, and video plus tools for creating hotspot links to web sites or to open other slideshows (note currently in private beta).

22. Mixercast "Create professional multimedia experiences by mixing your images, video, and sound easily with our unique templates and share across the web in one click." Powerful editing, import photos, audio, video form sites or direct upload- many templates and editing options including text overlays with hyperlinks. Can also record video from web cam.

Comic/Sketch Tools

Create your own comic strips or cartoons using imported media or available images. You might need ability to sketch, and these are generally shorter pieces, and were much more of a challenge to fit a story into.

23. gnomz This is a fairly low level tool that will not create any visual masterpieces, but there is an interesting challenge in trying to compose with a limited tool set. It creates those pixel flat icon like figures. You create a cartoon avatar, and you pull from a library of others, and enter their speech or thought bubbles, as well as select backgrounds. The site is a bit challenging to figure out since it is in French, but click the flag in the top right to toggle the site to English.

24. ComicsSketch A tool for people who can actually draw! Create all content via pen and color tools.

25. Toondoo Create your own 1, 2, or 3 panel cartoons using a library of cartoons, text bubbles. Images can be uploaded and manipulated with simple tools. Created "doos" can be combined into "ToonBooks", embedded in blogs, etc. A lot of versatility. With ToonDooSpaces organizations can create private spaces (fee-based) to manage Toondoos which may be more suitable to classrooms.

26. Kerpoof Now owned by Disney, Kerpoof is a fun to use cartoon tools with stock shapes and character bubbles, but can also be used to create movies, cards, t-shirts, and more. Check out the new site for teachers that includes lesson plans and tools for creating teacher/class accounts.
  • Dominoe (screen shots loaded into a flickr set, only way to get content out!)

27. Bubblr Pick flickr photos by tag or user name and put on a timeline, overlay bubbles with text.

28. Comiqs Turn photos, "doodles", and text into a multipane comic strip with a real comic book like style (does almost the same result as desktop ComicLife). Import photos from flickr or upload from desktop. Add bubbles, text.

29. PikiStrips Make comic strips from your own photos using standard sets of frames. Apply PhotoShop like effects to images. Add speech bubbles and other "goodies" (not that 90% of the gallery seem to be dating oriented??)

30. Pixton Create simple or complex comics using characters, scenes, objects. All objects are highly editable, and characters can be moved into almost any pose. A future feature will allow animations to be created.

Collage Tools

Less a story from point A to B, collage tools provide ways to artistically organize media around a theme, which then again, can easily be a story. Often these can handle more varieties of media, but also become more complex of an interface.

31. Tabblo an application to put together photos and words with styled templates into a visual collage, also creates slideshows, permissions for views, import form flickr, print services (posters etc)

32. Scrapblog Create multipage collections of photos (import from 5 photo sites), decoration "stickies", videos from YouTube, and publish to several blog sites.

33. Glogster Create posters with images, video, audio (uploaded or recorded) and apply a wide range of text effects- note that each one is relatively large sized (may not fit in blog page). Be sure to see Glogster/edu for education related resources and services

Map Tools

These tools are useful for stories or presentations that are tied to locations over a distance, such as a travel trip or a historical accounting. See also and Find a Story... Map a Story... Tell a Story...

34. Mapwing A tool really designed for created linked tours or annotated drawings/maps- generate a base map by importing or drawing, add nodes, each with a view looking in 4 directions, captions, link together.

35. Google My Maps Associate steps of your stories with locations on a map. Editing each one allows annotation of locations with mages (e.g. using links from flickr), and other rich text features. Now they provide cut and paste code (via the "Link to this Page") so you can embed the maps in any web page

36. Wayfaring Annotate a map with three kinds of tools- a waypoint (one that can be used in multiple maps), a note, or a path/route. The flow of the story is less apparent, unless one does it with a combination of routes to show a path.

Flickr Tools / Ideas

Not strictly a tool per se, but there are many different ways to use flickr itself as a platform for creating/sharing stories in interesting ways.

37. Flickr Tell a Story in 5 Frames "Tell a Story in 5 Frames has two important parts. The first part is creating and telling a story through visual means with only a title to help guide the interpretation. The second part is the response of the group to the visual story."

38. Flickr Six Word Story is "a photo with a Six Word Story in the title section of a Flickr photo. Be as inventive as possible. Have those few words tell the whole tale, and let the picture be its visual interpretation."

39. Flicktion Flickr+Fiction = Flicktion. Take any single image and write a short story built around that image. Save in flickr with the tag "flicktion".

40. Linking Flickr Notes Using any set of flickr photos, you can link them together via hypertext links embedded into flickr notes - the popups that appear when rolling over an image. You could weave a story together linked linearly or branching, by using these "hotspots" on images
  • Dominoe (look for "next" links in upper right)

41. Pictures with Stories Flickr Group "Your photograph must be accompanied by a story. The story must be at least five sentences long and MUST be true - no poems or fiction please. Tell us something about your photograph, why you took it, the story behind the photograph." This is a loose fit in the 50s as it is more aimed at sharing te thoughts behind a picture.

Audio Tools

There are numerous audio storage / podcast generation tools, but the ones here were selected because they offer ties to other media forms, but are built primarily around the main content as sound.

42. Podcast People This is more of a tool to create podcasts including audio, video content as well as traditional "blog" posts. It could be used to serialize a story into small segments.

43. Blabberize Rather simple and crude, but can be effective! Upload a picture of a frontal view of a face, mark the key points of the mouth, and record the audio. It creates a simple animation of the mount moving to the sound of the voice.

44. yodio Combine audio from uploaded mp3 or phoned in from phone with uploaded pictures

Video Tools

The video tools allow upload, editing, and remixing of video to create new content, playable through a web page.

45. BubblePLY Load a video form any URL (e.g. YouTube, and then annotate with text "bubbles"

46. Motionbox Tool for uploading, sharing videos with features to create playlists and remixes of your own videos.

47. Animoto This tool analyzes an uploaded set of images and creates a "professional" music video based on a secret artificial intelligence logic. Very easy to create elegant picture shows.

48. JayCut Powerful features! Import photos, audio, video, and make a movie on a multi-track timeline plus transitions and effects

49. xtranormal Almost in a category of it's own, this tool provides you al of the tools a movie director would have to select a set, actor sound effects, etc and create a movie made from only the dialogue text you type into the tool. Generates a movie you embed and you can then export directly to YouTube. However, you are left to work with media xtranormal provides (there is no import)

50. shwup Upload media (images and movies) or load from flickr, picassa, Facebook, any web page, even form an email message into an "album". From an album, create a slideshow or a "muviee" using a small selection of themes and music (or you cna upload music). Media can be downloaded. No ability to add captions, no ability to link directly to movie (must be invited by email or social network)

Presentation Tools

Built around a familiar desktop tools for creating slide decks, these tools offer similar features, and more, in a web interface.

51. Empressr Full featured tool with uploads for images, audio, slide controls for transitions, timing. Has built in tools to record audio or video to add to slides. Many ways to share final presentation.

52. Spresent Offers a PowerPoint like editor all in a web site. Import images (desktop, flickr), upload a PPT, movies from YouTube, audio via URL, use templates, etc. Audio can be synced to slides.

53. Slideshare / Slidecasts It's YouTube for PowerPoint. Upload Powerpoint/Keynote/PDF content and converts to Flash easily embedded in other web sites. Provide a URL for an audio track, and you can sync it to create an audio narrated "slidecast"

54. Zentation Might be called a mashup- it allows upload of Powerpoint files to Slideshare and synchronization to video uploaded to Google video.

55. Zoho Show Part of the Zoho suite of online productivity tools, Zoho Show provides a clean PowerPoint like interface for creating slide shows. Or you can directly import a PPT file (< 10 Mb) and publish without any extra work.

56. Vcasmo Synchronize a series of image slides to a video soundtrack. Import video from YouTube or upload. Includes tools to enable other language captioning and Creative Commons licenses.

57. MyPlick Upload a presentation file (PPT or PDF) and an audio file, use the sync tools, and create an audio narrated slideshow / presentation. One of the best interfaces for syncing audio to slides.

58. Google Presenter The Google Tool provides import of PPT files, and a clean editing interface. Presentations can be live shared with invited others or published.

59. WebSlides Something really different. Turn a list of web sites (bookmarked) into a nicely presented web slide show. Notes can be added, content can be tagged, and it has an audio track. I also made one that shows all the 50 Ways tools

60. Slideboom Upload powerpoint files and have animations and other effects too! Also appears to bring in audio from original powerpoints. Very easy to use.

61. SlideRocket Powerful slide show creator; imports PowerPoint, uses themes, can add builds, transitions, timer slide advances, include video, attach audio for entire presentation or per slide, flash in slides, publish as public or with password access.

62. 280 slides Online presentation tool with features similar to Keynote; can import Powerpoint, has its own themes, can publish to web or directly to Slideshare. Can add video, but not audio.

63. Prezi A most unique presentation tool that provides dramatic levels of pan, rotation, and zoom. Sequencing allows for a unique way to connect pieces of a story.

64. Ahead Very similar to prezi for being an infinte canvas, offers images, video, and audio media types, linking between scenes, and very fine grained control

If you have specific feedback, questions, or just some kibbles to share, please post your thoughts to the discussion area for this wiki page.

New Tools

Below are a few tools that came to my attention after developing the workshop, or just have not had time to Dominoe-ize, but may certainly be as viable as the ones above.

Showbeyond "a multimedia slidecast creator, online publishing platform and story sharing community." Had trouble creating account.... Thanks to Larry Ferlazoo
dipity collaborative timeline tool, works with YouTube content
capzles turn your videos, photos, blog posts, mp3s into rich multimedia timelines
TimeToast multimedia timelines
Sketchcast Record a series of drawings with or without audio, and play back as video in your web site or blog. Back from the dead.
Stupeflix Stupeflix is a REST web service that turns your pictures, videos, and text into professional videos.
Bitstrips Comic creator tool

Cutting Room Floor

Here are tools I tried that did not work well, but had little success with or ones that have disappeared.

Bubbleshare went offline in November 2009
Snapjot "Digital Scrapbooking for Groups" - buggy, crashed, could not create any material
eyespot Went out of business in September 2008, allowed users to download videos
Flektor is gone; URL goes to MySpace.
Flowgram going out of business June 2009 a real shame!
Jumpcut going out of business June 2009
My Maps+ Provides tool to embed a map created in Google's My Maps into any other web site, Google's new tools has this functionality
Piczo Assemble a "site" where you can add a variety of media types, and also has features of a social networking service. Tool behaved inconsistently when I tried it.
preezo Looks like a no frills PowerPoint clone; it refused to import a PPT file, and after fiddling with trying to import images, gave up with the difficulty of moving them around. There are plenty of other presentation web apps that work better.
SplashCast The "pioneers of social TV" went down Sept 1, 2009
Thumbstacks appears to be dead too; also a rather buggy presentation tool. I don't miss it.
TouFee They are now charging for an account, you gotta be free to be one of the 50 Tools.
Viewbook There is no longer a free version, although my original account seems to be grandfathered see Dominoe
Zude is just gone with a image that says "beta closed". No tears, it was a lame tool