Hue Animation Studio

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Stop-motion for children.

In 2014 I gave to my twin boys a copy of the Hue animation studio as a Christmas gift. Wanting something more than the usual computer games, action figures and sporting goods, I decided that a stop-motion package would be ideal for promoting their artistic creativity. I wasn't wrong. Since unwrapping the present on Christmas day the boys, and indeed the whole family, have returned time and again to making short animations. Some more successful than others, these animations have brought us together and given us a small project to work at as a family. Watching their ideas come to life and developing their storytelling skills has been a joy for both them and me.

Lego Animation

Lego animation is perhaps the easiest and most accessible type of project with which to begin. Our very first animation was created and uploaded to You Tube before the beginning of the New Year and involved a small Lego figure wobbling his way around a house, having New Year's drink and performing a forward roll. It wasn't exactly highbrow entertainment. However, it gave us a very quick sense of what we could achieve with the set and provided enough self-satisfaction to keep us busy making more. Uploading to YouTube was easy and can be managed from within the program, saving all the file conversion problems that might arise. As first attempts go, it's short and sweet.

What's included in the Box.

Inside the package your children will find a download key so that they can download the software, a camera with flexible stand, a set of stage scenery, some modelling clay and a guide book. It's enough to get you started without needing anything else besides. The program itself features an editing suite where the movie shots can be creatively altered and a green screen function which enables you to make action sequences. You can add music or sound effects and the camera can be set to record timelapse footage - so you can record the slow growth of a flower and watch ice-cream melting in accelerated sequences.

Clay, coloring and photos

Moving quickly on from the simple Lego animations, we have since worked on a number of different projects, each one with a slightly different aim. One of the earlier clay animations is the video shown above, which my children and I made one afternoon when the weather wasn't good enough to play out. It's a simple concept but it helped them to think a little more about the process of having a story to tell. Previous clay animations they had made simply involved them making figures dash around with little or no purpose. This animation was a step in the right direction towards storytelling.

As the years have gone by it is true to say that the Hue animation studio has been one of those toys that has grown with the children. As they become more patient, more artistic and more inventive so too have they found more ways to develop their animation. The latest creation that they have put together is an animation of themselves within a family photo frame. It's still fairly basic but it was still definitely something they found amusing when they watched it for the first time. The animation actually took a fair amount of preparation as each frame required a single photo to be printed, cut out and then placed into the frame. Again, it only took a single afternoon but the process of making it was quite labor intensive.

So, if you're wondering what to get your children this Christmas you wouldn't go far wrong if you decided upon an animation studio. There are plenty of alternatives to HUE on the market but, as I can't speak on those, I'm more than happy to recommend this one. You can read a full review of the software on our blog as well as see a few more examples of what we've been doing. Next on the drawing board is a microscope animation but at the time of writing we've yet to start on that little project.

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