I’ve been itching to play around with stop motion animation for years. The little apps I’ve found for my iPhone don’t really inspire me, however, and I have remained intimidated by the prospect of making my own movies. But I’ve recently learned about a new product for kids age six and up that makes the process very simple.
OgoSport’s BILD + AnimateIt! Stop Motion Animation Essentials Kit brings together the #ogosport OgoBILD line of construction toys with Aardman Animation Studios’ stop motion animation software. (You might know Aardman Animation Studios from, say, Wallace & Gromit or Chicken Run.)
Complete with feet, hands, eyes, legs, arms, wheels, propellers, and more, the interchangeable pieces in this kit are perfect to use for stop motion animation, since they are easy to assemble, disassemble, and move around. They’re also quite goofy and great for other kinds of activities. This kind of open-ended, imaginative play is perfect for creative children to stretch their minds, and for adults who want to learn to animate but aren’t sure where to start.
The kit includes dozens of OgoBILD pieces (some of which are rubbery to help grip the table), a guide book that introduces stop motion animation, and a certificate to download Aardman’s Animate It! Express Software (for Mac or Windows). You can get the kit with or without the camera; to use it without the camera, use your laptop’s webcam or other video camera for the filming portion. (The disadvantage of using your laptop’s webcam is that you’ll also be using your laptop to work the software, which can disrupt your scene or your camera.)
How easy is it to set up?
Start by visiting the AnimateIt! software website to download the program’s installer (the URL and your software code will be included in your packaging). After the easy-to-install software is ready to go, use the included user guide to get the basics down. Your own imagination, then, will keep you going.
Within the software, you can organize your work into clips or frames. Clips each contain a series of frames. You can also draw frames with built-in drawing capabilities, and record time-lapse movies of things that change on their own over time.
Getting going with your first film is also simple. After setting up your scene, make sure your lighting is sufficient, and click the Capture button, which takes a photo of your first frame. Continue to move your scene and click the button until you have finished the movie’s action. (Don’t forget to save early and often.) You can delete and insert frames as needed.
It’s easy to set up the next frame with the built-in onion skinning. Onion skinning is a really valuable tool when you make your movie, since it will allow you to see a transparent layer of your last frame while you set up the next one. Having this reference point will improve the quality of your movies. It’s also great for if you accidentally bump your camera or scene.
When you’re done, be sure to save one more time. Then you can export your movie as a .mov, .avi, or .wmv file. Here is my first attempt at a movie. Be kind. I’m new.
I think I’ve become addicted to making stop motion animation movies. I can’t stop watching the one I made. OgoSport’s kit makes it incredibly easy to get set up and to keep making movies. The learning curve is really shallow. The hardest part is deciding what to film! For anyone interested in learning stop motion animation, I can’t recommend this kit highly enough. It takes care of the tricky parts and gets you started.
OgoSport’s BILD + AnimateIt! Stop Motion Animation Kits are incredibly affordable (the Essential kit is $35 without camera, the Studio kit is $70 with camera and many extra pieces), fun, colorful, cool looking, and easy to get up and running. It’s available now on OgoSport’s website. If you’d prefer, you can buy software as a stand-alone purchase and use your own materials to make movies.
Note: I received an Essentials kit for review purposes.