Welcome to SquishToon!
This is the main view of the app:
The tools are where you choose what kind of change you'll be making.
The timeline is where you can select which part of your animation you'll be editing.
The stage is where you touch to use the tool that you selected.
The 'Zoom' Tool
The 'Zoom' tool is just for looking around the stage as you work on it. It won't affect your project at all; it just lets you get a closer look at what you're working on.
With the 'Zoom' tool selected, you can use a 'pinch' gesture on the stage to zoom in on parts of it.
You can use a 'drag' gesture on the stage to pan around and see different parts of it while zoomed.
If you want to re-center the stage and fit it within the window, click the 'reset zoom' button in the tool's controls.
The 'Layers' Tool
The 'Layers' tool is for controlling entire image layers.

You can add new layers with the 'add image' button in the tool's controls.
You can delete a layer by tapping the red 'x' on its box in the timeline.
You can hide a layer by tapping the eye icon on its box in the timeline. (Tap it again to make the layer visible again.)
You can rename a layer by tapping the pencil icon on its box in the timeline.
You can reorder layers by tapping the 'up' or 'down' buttons on a layer's box in the timeline.
If your list of layers is too tall for the screen, you can drag the scrollbar on the right edge of the timeline to see more.

You can select a layer by tapping it in the timeline.
You can move the selected layer's image by dragging a finger on the stage (or use two fingers to resize and pivot it).
(If you want to only pivot or only resize when using two fingers, you can flip the switches in the tool's controls.)
Moving a layer during playback will record your movement, so that will occur in all subsequent playbacks.
Moving a layer while paused will cause the layer to jump to that position whenever playback reaches that point on the timeline.
Movement recordings appear on the timeline, in their own boxes below the layer's box. You can delete a recorded movement by tapping the red 'x' on its box in the timeline.
You can also temporarily remove it by tapping the 'eye' icon on its box.

You can create a group by clicking the 'add group' button in the tool's controls.
Groups are an advanced feature. Groups can let you apply movements and deformations to several layers at once, which can be helpful for more complex scenes and characters.
You can add a layer to a group using the layer's up/down 'reorder' buttons; these will move a layer into a group before moving past it. (You can tell when a layer is inside a group because its box will be indented.) You can move it back out of the group by continuing to reorder it past the start or end of the group's members.
The 'Pose' Tool
The 'Pose' tool is for 'sculpting' a pose into your image by stretching it like putty – and then animating your image by changing the intensities of its poses over time. (This is something like what is often called 'shape keying'.)
This means there are two phases to using the pose tool: sculpting and animating.
Here's a screenshot of the Pose tool in 'sculpting' mode:
A pose is made up of several strokes, each of which smears part of the image.
By default, the pose tool is in 'new stroke' mode. You can add as many strokes as you want, by placing your finger down on the stage, dragging it somewhere, and releasing it. Every time you do this, a stroke will be added to the pose.
If you want to change or delete one of the strokes, you can press the 'edit stroke' tab. All of the pose's strokes will become outlined, and you can drag them around by their ends.
(The last stroke you tapped will always highlight in green – that is the stroke that will be deleted if you tap the 'delete stroke' button.)

Below the 'new stroke'/'edit stroke' tabs are the brush settings. These let you change the shape of the strokes you're making, which can be useful for different kinds of effects.
In 'new stroke' mode these will be the settings for the next stroke you make.
In 'edit stroke' mode, these sliders will change the settings of the last stroke you tapped (which is outlined in green.)

You can tap the '+ New Pose' button on the layer's box in the timeline, to create more poses for that layer. Each pose will have its own set of strokes that you can change independently.

If you were to switch to a different tool right now, you would notice that your pose seemed to disappear. This is because you haven't animated it yet. In sculpt mode, the selected pose shows its strokes at their fullest extent, but otherwise, each pose's extent is determined by its animation, which is what you will make next.


Click the 'animate' button below the tools to switch to the pose faders.
Here, you will see one fader for every pose. (In this screenshot, there is just the one pose.)
Dragging your finger up and down on a fader will stretch your pose from 'neutral' (no effect) up to its full extent.
Like with layer movements, you can do this while paused to make the slider jump at that point in the timeline, or (more commonly) you can do it while recording.
Unlike layer movements, you won't get multiple 'recordings' added to the timeline – for each pose animation there is only one recording, and you record over it whenever your finger is touching its fader. (So, to 'remove' part of a recording, keep your finger held down in a neutral position while playing over that part of the recording.)
If you want to, you can use several fingers, each on a different fader, to animate a few poses at once!
If you have too many faders to fit on the screen, you can use the scrollbar below the faders to scroll the view.
The 'animate' view also comes up automatically whenever you hit 'play' while the 'pose' tool is selected (since you likely won't be editing poses during playback).
The 'Bend' Tool
The 'Bend' tool is like a simpler, live version of the 'pose' tool.
You use it by putting your finger down on the stage and dragging, just like the 'pose' tool... However, the tool will record your dragging as it happens, rather than letting you sculpt it beforehand.
This can be useful to add large wobbling effects, rather than the more precise effects of the 'pose' tool.
Recording will begin automatically when you finger touches down.
You can use multiple fingers simultaneously.
The brush settings work the same as in the 'pose' tool.
Other Buttons
The Top Bar:
'< Projects' will close this project and take you back to the list of saved projects. (Your changes are saved automatically.)
'Project Settings' will let you rename, resize, or delete the current project.
'Help' lets you rewatch the introduction video, and view this page.  :)
'Publish Video' lets you export a video of your project to your iPad's 'camera roll', or publish it directly to YouTube.

The Playback Bar:
rewinds the playhead to the beginning.
starts recording (and then stops it the next time you tap it).
000.00 / 000.00 tells you where the playhead is in the current project, in seconds.
The left number is where the playhead is.
The right number is the current length of the project.
The long bar is the 'scrubber bar'. It shows where in the project's current length you are.
The white circle in it is the playhead. You drag it left and right to move through your project's timeline.
(Note that during recording, reaching the end of the bar doesn't make recording stop, it makes the project longer!)
'Trim' cuts off the length of the project to wherever the playhead currently is.
(Everything after that point still exists, and will still be there if you make the project longer again! This just defines the end point for exporting, and how much time the scrubber bar represents.)
'Mic' will arm the microphone – this means that the next time you start recording, it will also be recording your voice until you pause!
lets you resize your view of the stage by dragging it up or down.
Tips
So far SquishToon doesn't come with a way to cut backgrounds out of photos – but it DOES support loading transparent PNGs, so you can cut them out beforehand in an art program like Photoshop!
(With enough support, I'll be able to add a built-in 'eraser tool' soon!)
If a person in your image has their mouth open, you can close it with the 'pose' tool, then animate it opening and closing to make them talk!
(If enough people buy the app, I'm planning to try and add a 'split mouth' tool for photos with closed mouths, too!)
If you use a square stage and keep your animation under 6.5 seconds, you can save it to your camera roll and then use it in the Vine app!
(If I can afford to keep working on this app, I can add Twitter and Facebook direct uploads!)
So please, tell your friends! I have lots of ideas for things I can add to this app, but they all depend on people showing an interest!
(Being able to take time to work on apps like these isn't free!)
So THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING SQUISHTOON! 💖