Not-So-Free: JibJab

As I dig through the Internet for digital media tools and the like, I often come across tools that seem free, but are not. Sometimes I don’t figure out that they aren’t free until I’ve already downloaded software or tried to save my final product. All of the reviews on my blog will indicate how “free” the tools are, but there are tools that are deceptively not free, which I find frustrating. So, here is a head’s up about a not-free tool.

JibJab logoThis website is hysterical! The premise is to use headshot photos of yourself or others you want to include in the video and insert the photos into an ecard (video) where the characters will dance and perform other silly acts. For a classroom setting, I can imagine this being a good icebreaker to show students you have a sense of humor. On a personal level, these ecards are likely to garner many “likes” on Facebook, especially if you don’t have the permission of friends/family to use their photos in the ecard.

JibJab Roller Disco sample

Yep, this is me as a Roller Disco (Fabulously Dressed) woman. As you can see, getting a photo without any of my hair would be a better option for this tool. (In the original, I was outside, so the lighting is way off for this scene.)

I wasn’t too sure I wanted my students to see this silly side of me, but I thought that I’d create something to post on Facebook (which students don’t generally have access to). I uploaded a headshot of myself after choosing a template to work with. You have to maneuver your headshot to make sure the eyes line up with the guideline (which gives the software a sense of where to place your face on the character when it’s moving around). It seems ideal to choose a photo where you’re looking at the camera straight on. (I also have long hair, so much of it was cut off to fit in the oval template.) You also have to indicate where your mouth is so that the chin can move up and down if there is a singing component to the video. I didn’t add other photos other than my own, so the characters performing around my character were generic.
I was really excited to see my face taking part in a holiday cartoon scene (which was a sled race). My character got to the top of the hill, got on her sled, started to race her opponent, and then stopped. Well, she kept going, but I couldn’t see the rest of the video unless I paid for it…$4.99 to download. Or, $18/year for ad free membership, though you still pay $1.99 to download your creation. I guess this isn’t too bad, but nonetheless, it isn’t free or worth my time if I don’t intend to pay.┬áNote that when you create an account, you’ll get emails from JibJab to entice you to subscribe to the pay version or finish what you started.
JibJab Sled Race sample

This is me ready for my sled race.

JibJab is all over Pinterest as the holiday approaches, so if you’re willing to invest money to have a funny ecard with your mug on it, then check it out. Otherwise, don’t fall prey to this not-so-free tool.

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