Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Flip Boom All-Star

Flip Boom All-Star

Spring 2010 Software
Ages: 13 & Up
Price: $69.99
I'm guessing the pre-requisite to embrace animation software like Toon Boom's latest title is some interest in art, drawing and maybe animation. Designed with more features and capabilities for the teenager, Flip Boom All-Star provides an intuitive workspace where novices can learn the basics of putting drawn and painted imagery into motion.

Anchoring the animator's screen is the drawing space--a blank canvas awaiting creativity. To the left are standard draw-and-paint tools-brush, pencil, paint can, rectangle, ellipse, straight line and text. To the right is the color palette (15 colors plus a color wheel for altering them) and the properties that control brush size and style. A clip-art library provides images that can be drag-and-dropped into the drawing space--dozens of animals, insects, characters, backgrounds, props and shapes.

Animation editing tools across the top and the navigation tools across the bottom are the connection from still art to animation. Hover the cursor over a tool and a pop-up tells you what it is.

Then the real animation work begins by dragging your backgrounds and drawn, painted or imported images into one of the more than 100 sequential frames at the bottom of the screen. Frame-by-frame, you copy and alter each scene. Eventually those frames played sequentially create the illusion of movement in the finished animation.

Our first attempt was as basic as it gets. We borrowed a beachside background from the library and incorporated the bouncing, flipping and wiggling images of a butterfly in sequential frames. The result: A simple but impressive animation of a cartoonish butterfly flitting across our screen. We also tried our hand at free-form art, creating images and morphing them into animation. It was a fun, learning experience, not only for doing animation yourself but also for understanding the complexities of how feature-length animated films are made.

Users can also import digital pictures, type in dialogue text, even add sound from their MP3 files to create animations that are as sophisticated as their talent allows. When done, an animation file can be viewed in the program or uploaded directly to Facebook, YouTube or an iPod.

For a teen who wants to give animation a try, Flip Boom All-Star offers enough the animator's tools to get started at a fraction of the price of professional animation software. A real deal in the right hands.

Don Oldenburg   ©2010 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Toon Boom Animation Inc.
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