If your child has just seen the latest blockbuster animated movie and wants to get started on their own little animation project, then the key to maintaining and channelling that enthusiasm is to help them get results as quickly as possible, while having a lot of fun.
Lots of fiddly equipment or long instructions are a no-no.
In this respect a stop motion software can be a great way for your child to make their first animated cartoon and get the feel of it, working either by themselves or with friends.
My top pick is the Hue Animation Studio Kit from HueHD. So let’s take a closer look and see what it can really do.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Hue Animation Studio Kit is that it is an all-in-one package providing your child everything they need for their first animation.
There’s nothing worse than getting excited about starting a little project and to realise that you are missing an important piece of equipment or software. It’s like buying a toy and realising once you are home that the batteries are not included.
There’s no problem like that with Hue.
The box is good quality and everything is neatly packed inside. You get:
- High Definition Camera with USB cable
- Hue Animation software on CD
- Free How To Animate book
- Free access to Creatubbles – an online area for children and parents to share their work and communicate safely
When you purchase the kit you have a choice of colour for the camera – red, green, blue or black. As it has a swan neck it is very easy to place it wherever you need and your children won’t have to fiddle around with tripods or anything like that.
The camera takes good quality High Definition (HD) images and is capable of up to 10x zoom.
It can double up as a webcam and be used for online chat on programs like Skype, or as a document camera or visualiser which can be projected onto a whiteboard in a classroom environment.
It also has a built-in microphone so you can record your own sound or dialogue and add it later to your animation if you want.
My only gripe with the camera is that I feel the base could be either a little heavier or a little larger or both. Since the neck is quite long you may find the camera topples over if you lean the neck too far away from the base. But that’s just a minor gripe and is not a big deal.
Installation and Start-Up
To me the biggest benefit of the Hue Animation Studio package is how easy it is to set up and use. The camera plugs straight in to the USB port of your computer and should work pretty much straight away, the same as any other USB device. Likewise the software on the CD is super easy to install and very intuitive.
The interface is well laid out and the important tools and buttons are easily visible and large enough so even the youngest of children will be able to use it.
From this point you can basically animate anything you like, be it a favourite toy, some lego characters, a plasticine model or even yourself. You can also use it to do traditional animation where you draw individual pictures on separate pieces of paper and then capture them all by using the HD camera.
I really like that it has an “onion-skinning” feature which lets you see the frames before the current one, making it a lot easier to maintain the flow of your animation, particularly if you get pulled away from your work for any reason.
You can also add titles and text to your projects which is a nice addition and saves you having to do it in a third-party software.
I personally think Hue Animation Studio is a fantastic piece of kit for any child or youngster who is looking to try animation and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it.
The ease-of-use is the real plus-point and means that the kids can just get started on it right away and let their imaginations flow. It’s ideal for a home or school environment and gives youngsters a visual understanding of film making and the animation process.
What with all the talk these days of kids spending too much time in front of the TV or on video games, I think the Hue Animation Studio program fills a much needed gap in the market for a fun, educational technology that helps kids develop their imaginations and possibly even start them on the path to a future career in animation or film making.
Get it. You won’t be disappointed.
I just wish this kind of thing was around when I was a kid!