Toon Boom is no stranger to the animation market, with their Studio and Animate programs a firm favourite among the professional and freelance market, and their high-end Harmony software used at big name studios like Klasky Csupo, Nickelodeon, and Disney.
However, their latest software designed specifically for kids and young people has been well received and is becoming one of the market leaders.
In this Flip Boom All Star review, we’ll take a look inside the software to see how it stacks up and whether it’s something you’d like for your child.
There’s nothing more off-putting to a young person than software that requires a detailed manual just to get off the starting blocks.
Each button has a “tool tip” which is revealed by hovering the mouse over it, and the user guide is easily accessed by pressing F1, so there’s no need to scroll through lengthy manuals to find what you’re looking for.
Flip Boom All Star is a surprisingly well-rounded piece of software and supports a wide variety of media formats allowing you complete creative freedom.
The drawing tools allow you to do traditional drawn animation, or by importing pictures, photos or videos to animate in a variety of media.
You also have a function called “Auto-Animate” which allows you to do a drawing, and then the software will animate it for you in a variety of crazy styles – which is great for getting a result in a short amount of time.
You also have the ability to import sound into a project – this could be music or some sound or voice your child has recorded. This opens up the ability to do some simple character animation with a story.
Exporting your work is real easy too, as you can save it in a variety of standard formats – iTunes, SWF, Quicktime, YouTube and Facebook formats.
This makes it real easy for your child to upload and share their work with friends and family.
It’s always good to have example scenes or elements that your child can start with or use as examples to show them what’s possible.
The are a few templates that come with Flip Boom All Star, that comprise Easter, Christmas and Manga themes, so can be a great way for your child to make e-cards or greetings message for friends and family on Facebook.
There is an eLearning section on the ToonBoom website which is updated every so often with new templates which be downloaded free of charge.
No review would be complete without a look at the negatives, but thankfully the Flip Boom All Star program doesn’t have many.
I personally think that it could come with more templates as standard. However, the templates it does have are good enough to begin with and to get your child enough familiarity with the software to make their own animations.
Another downside is whether it may be too simple and limited for older children such as teenagers. It really depends on their current level – if they’re a beginning animator then this is a good introduction for them.
On the other hand, if they already have some experience, then I’d recommend upgrading to Toon Boom Studio, which will give them a good grounding in what is a professional-level software – essentially helping them develop real-world skills as early as possible.
Additionally, the fact that you need an Internet connection to activate the software I found to be a bit of a pain. Note that once it’s activated you don’t need an Internet connection afterwards.
Now in most cases this is not an issue, but can be a bit annoying particularly if your connection is down or temporarily out of service. In my opinion it would be better to have a simple activation code that they could email you which would avoid the need for the Internet connection.
Also, a hard copy version of the program can be purchased but you will be charged an extra $30 shipping and handling, which seems a tad steep to me. Save yourself the cash and burn your own copy to CD or DVD.
The Flip Boom All Star program is a great program to give your kids their first steps in the art of animation.
While there are some negatives, the ease of use and simplicity of the tools and features mean that they won’t have to spend ages trying to learn what each button does, and can get straight on with having fun animating.