If your kids just love watching the latest animated movies from the likes of Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks, then doing some real, actual animation could be a great way to keep them busy on a Sunday afternoon and stop them driving you mad!
Until fairly recently, animation software and equipment has been prohibitively expensive and cumbersome, requiring a fair amount of expertise and storage space to produce anything tangible.
As we parents all know, kids are not going to sit around patiently waiting…they want to see results as quickly as possible.
Which is why it is great to see a software program like Flip Boom All Star from Toon Boom that works on pretty much any computer, laptop or tablet and is available in both Mac and Windows versions
Simple and Clean Interface
What’s apparent when you first open the software is how intuitive the interface is. Things are well laid out, and each button has a tool tip to explain what it does (just hover your mouse over it and it appears).
Some high-end animation programs can be extremely intimidating even for professionals and you sometimes feel like you need a degree from NASA just to find your way around!
Nothing is likely to turn an aspiring young animator off than a steep learning curve. But not here thankfully!
Can See Things Move In Seconds
One of my biggest worries when it comes to kids animation software is:
“how long will it take them to see results”
Experience has shown me that the faster a youngster sees a result – ANY result…just something moving – then the more likely they are to enjoy it and continue learning.
Flip Boom All Star makes this a doddle, as you can animate your own drawings or just load up one of the many templates that come with the program and animate those instead. There is an eLearning section on the Toon Boom website that allows you to download templates as and when they are updated free of charge.
And if you’re feeling REALLY lazy you can use the Auto-Animate feature which will animate something for you – YES, you heard that right – it really can’t get any easier than that!
Import Your Own Images or Drawings
In comparison to some other kids’ animation programs, Flip Boom All Star gives you the option of importing your own images or drawings to use as backgrounds or animation frames, which means that you can get really creative with what you do, and are not locked in to just simple drawings in the software itself.
With a tablet or laptop you could even use the built-in camera to take photos and import these directly into the program for instant animation.
Flip Boom All Star has good sound capabilities, allowing you to add an audio track to your timeline, as well as coming with a large library of sound effects that you can use however you like. When you import the audio it comes in as a wave format on a separate layer, so you can accurately time your animation to your sound.
It’s also super-easy to export your animation in a variety of common formats (Quicktime, SWF, iTunes, Facebook and YouTube), and even has an upload function so you can immediately upload your work to the internet and share it with friends and family, or as a convenient way to store school projects.
What’s Wrong With It?
Now, it’s not all sunshine and roses. I personally think that while the software is definitely a great way for complete beginners and young children to get a feel for animation it could be a little limited for teenagers who are wanting to step things up a little.
Which is kind of weird since it’s marketed at teenagers. However, I’d recommend that if your teenager is serious about taking their animation practice further, a better investment would be Toon Boom Harmony.
Sure the price tag is significantly higher but the tool set is vastly superior and it is used in many professional animation studios so it’s a great way to improve their future career prospects.
There is a free 30-day trial version that you can download and play around with.
Or you can buy the Flip Boom All Star software here:
Do you have a very young child and think Flip Boom All Star looks too complicated for them? You may be interested in taking a look at Flip Boom Cartoon instead which is designed specifically for young children (ages 6-12).