Animation-ish is a cartoon animation software designed specifically for kids and beginners and produced in conjunction with Fable Vision and the illustrator and cartoonist Peter H. Reynolds.
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Interface and Layout
From the moment you first load the software you are presented with a fun looking design and layout, in the style of Reynolds’ children’s books.
The software is split into 3 different modules. These are structured for different ages and abilities from age 6 to teenagers, with varying tools and in such a way as to guide you along from your first drawing up to a full cartoon.
You’ll also find 50 tutorial videos from Peter Reynolds himself to help you get to grips with things and making your first sketches.
These 3 modules are:
The first and simplest module this is designed for young children and absolute beginners permitting only 3 frames to be drawn. The goal here is to create a moving “doodle” by using the drawing and painting tools to draw a character on one frame. You then trace that character onto the second frame, and again on the third frame. Press Play, and voila! You have a “wiggling” doodle.
After your child has mastered the Wiggledoodle-ish module they’ll start using the Flipbook-ish module. This builds on the first module by allowing more than 3 frames, and you can start getting your character to move through space, effectively showing you how the cartooning process works.
Now we’re talking! The Advanced-ish module is where your child can take their newly learned cartoon skills and have some real fun. In this module they have multiple frames, a much bigger toolset of brushes, paint tools, grabbers, etc plus the ability to create layers, with foreground and background objects. They’re also able to animate the whole page of the drawing almost as if it were a cut out – so for example, they could have a drawing of a bird and then move that drawing across the screen over a series of frames without having to redraw it every time.
One of the best things about the Animation-ish program is that you draw straight into the program, and as you can see from above, the clean interfaces, even on the advanced module, mean there are almost no barriers to any child being able to open the software and get drawing.
What It Doesn’t Have
However, I was a little disappointed to note that there is no way to import drawings or images into the software. In some cases this could be a bit limiting, but then again it can also help you to stay focused on drawing and not get sidetracked.
Another niggling thing I found was that you can’t import or record sound into Animation-ish which means you can’t work with any dialogue or sound effects in the program, you have to use a 3rd-party program to do that.
Another thing, while not necessarily a negative but might be something to bear in mind, is that since the interface is quite unique moving on to more advanced software later is not necessarily a natural progression; unlike other beginners software from Toon Boom like Flip Boom Cartoon and Flip Boom All Star which are effectively trimmed down and simplified versions of their professional programs.
As I say, probably not a deal-breaker but might be worth bearing in mind if you think your child may want to progress to other more advanced software later.
In saying all this though, at the end of the day Animation-ish is definitely a fun little piece of software which is probably the easiest one to use that I’ve ever seen. Plenty of tutorials to watch, and simple tools mean your child will be having fun and learning to animate at the same time.
You can’t ask for much more than that.
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