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Animation Studio: A New How-To-Kit by Helen Piercy

// Reviews (Book)


Last Thursday saw the official launch of Helen Piercy’s new animation how-to-kit Animation Studio. We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the book before it was published, at a festivus networking event in London; the author had brought along a copy to show a few people, and before long a large throng of animation professionals had surrounded her as she walked them through this beautifully crafted book.

Animation Studio Interior

Although the book itself is aimed at children aged 7+, you would not have guessed that by group of animators playing with it, commenting about how “beautiful and well put together it was” and how they “wish there had been something like this when they were younger!” Indeed, the technology that we have today – smartphones, tablets, digital cameras – where children (and adults) can set up and start producing films within minutes, has created a space and need for a book just like this.

The box itself is like unwrapping a Christmas present – there are flaps here, sleeves there and pockets just about everywhere; all revealing a different part of the kit. Once you’ve finished exploring and unpacking, you are presented with:

  • A sturdy & durable cardboard film set, complete with windows and opening doors. The set can be reversed and also comes with replaceable backgrounds – you can choose from a beach, alien planet or an inventor’s workshop.
  • Ready-made cardboard pop-out props, such as trees, clouds and rocks etc.
  • Press on facial features and speech bubbles.
  • Storyboard sheets. These aren’t just templates – they come with a pre-filled in section that introduce children to some simple cinematic concepts and camera angles, encouraging the budding filmmaker to fill in the remaining panels.
  • Animation toys. No animation kit for children would be complete without an introduction to some of the early animated toys – the zoetrope and thaumatrope – both are supplied as pop-out, ready to assemble kits complete with an explanation

Animation Studio Components

In addition to this the box includes a handbook, which is as beautifully illustrated as the rest of the kit. It takes readers on a journey through the origins of animation, character design and storytelling, explaining the various styles and techniques of animation. The handbook is littered with tips and tricks and, at 32 pages, is just the right length for young and aspiring animators.

Animation director Helen Piercy (National Film & Television School) runs animation workshops in schools and communities throughout London, which naturally made her a perfect candidate for putting together such a book, along with her team of illustrators: Mark Ruffle, Michael Slack and Katrin Wiehle.

Animation Studio is a lot of fun, extremely good value for money and a lovely way to introduce children and those new to animation how this filmmaking process works. If you spot it in a bookshop window or on the display stand at your local Waterstones, stop and have a play – I can guarantee that you will quickly rediscover the child in you.

Animation Studio Box

With Christmas fast approaching, this book would make a great gift for any child who is interested in animation and film-making, but also for the big kid ‘grown-up’ animator. Lights! Camera! ACTION!

Items mentioned in this article:

Animation Studio

Animation Studio

£10.99

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@lewisheriz
Lewis Heriz
@themooks @skwigly Yeah! That's when it becomes << actual magic >>
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@themooks
James Howard
@lewisheriz @skwigly That first time you see it move is such a buzz and then you add sound and it just enters a whole new stratosphere.
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@lewisheriz
Lewis Heriz
@themooks @skwigly I know it's kind of obvious, but I used to see it as 'important but secondary'. I don't see it as secondary any more.
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@themooks
James Howard
@lewisheriz @skwigly Sound does bring it to life.
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