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

HUE Animation Studio

HUE Animation Studio

Spring 2015 Toys
Ages: 5 & Up
Manufacturer: HUE
Price: $69.95

Most children grasp the idea of stop-motion animation the first time they get their hands on a digital camera. They take two pictures of a favorite toy, and in flipping back and forth between the images on the tiny viewscreen, they realize they have set their toy in motion! HUE Animation Studio taps into this discovery and creativity by making it easy to take a sequence of photos and turn them into a full-fledged animated video.

The kit features a USB-connected HD camera on a flexible but highly stable stand, keeping the frame still while the subject is positioned and adjusted. The included software (on a CD, with download available) snaps the pictures, either on demand or on a time-lapse frequency; the preview on the screen includes shadows ("onion skins") of previous images, if desired, to aid in placement of the subject. The accompanying guidebook explains how to use the camera and software to turn the still images into an animated sequence complete with sounds and effects, all the way up (for a very patient animator) to hand-rotoscoping (drawing images to overlay the stop-motion and make it appear more like traditional animation). The book also includes many story ideas and prompts, and the software includes video samples of completed projects.

This package makes it easy for kids to take their ideas (epic LEGO Hero battles, toy car races, dancing fruit) and bring them to life. The first animated video can be produced within minutes of installing the software, and the creativity only takes off from there. For everyone from young children just beginning with the concept to experienced teen animators developing much more complicated projects and looking for a better camera and tools, this studio is a real hit.

Emily Crawford   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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