Easy Studio – Animate with Shapes! Review
This iPhone and iPad download offers animation for all ages
If either you or your children are interested in creating cartoons, but think animation software looks too complicated, think again. Easy Studio – Animate with Shapes! offers an introduction to animating with simplified controls to help ages 6 to 106 get to grips with the art form.
Creating your first video is as easy as dragging and dropping shapes that resemble crate paper or fuzzy felt into positions on a blackboard-like background. Tap the camera icon on the sidebar to snap a still image, rearrange the shapes you want to animate into another position, tap the camera again, and repeat until you have completed your intended animation. Press the triangular Play icon to watch an endless video loop of your handiwork.
Keen-eyed app lovers will note the shapes in Easy Studio resemble Montessori Geometry, which was created by the same developer, Les Trois Elles. This developer has lots of experience with interactive apps for Montessori Education, including teaching aids for basic number skills and speaking French. They have struck out on their own to produce Easy Studio, but have learnt a few lessons in educating themselves.
Starting out in Easy mode, you advance through five levels of growing complexity and creative freedom. This begins with making simple geometric shapes to move around the screen, and advances to creating a model aeroplane that flies across a sky, complete with streaking clouds in the background.
Guidelines, which don’t appear in the finished video, help users to know where to move shapes to next in the sequence through four of the five levels. Every time you press the camera icon, these guides will then move into the next position. While these magically appearing guidelines are fairly self-explanatory for first-time users, we suggest some parental supervision may be required for younger animators. The fifth and final level in Easy mode is a blank canvas for you to unleash your imagination and create your own masterpiece.
As you or your child’s skills develop, you can switch to Expert mode. Here you not only have a blank canvas with which to create, you also have a larger range of shapes to use as well as additional tools. Most significantly, you can now edit scenes either by modifying them or deleting them (though sadly you can’t rearrange scenes). Other tools include templates for how shapes can be arranged into more complicated forms, such as birds, cars and human faces.
You can change the background colour and colour of individual shapes and Expert mode also introduces a range of really impressive gesture controls to further aid your animations. For example, a few deft moves with two fingers can select multiple shapes at once, copy and paste them, resize them or layer shapes on top of one another. This is the real benefit of Easy Studio: as your child develops so does the app, until they reach a point where they can generate hours of entertainment by themselves.
On the other hand, adult users may reach a limit sooner rather than later. As some of the videos produced with the app by the developers and included for free in the Library section show, the child-friendly shapes can be layered and rotated into some incredible forms, which make for amusing videos. But this aesthetic isn’t for everyone and it’s hardly professional. Easy Studio can be considered a primer for those wanting to master the basics of stop motion, but they might want to download apps such as Animation Studio, Animation Desk for iPad and Animation Creator HD once they are ready to take their work to the next level.
All videos created can then be saved in-app and – obviously dependent on length and complexity – don’t take up much space. For example, one of the templated videos from Easy mode takes up just 13.6KB, meaning that even if your child creates literally hundreds of animations, you can save them all to even the lowest storage capacity iPad.
Based on user feedback, the app has also been updated so that you can now export your animations to Camera Roll. From here you can share them on your social media, the modern equivalent of proudly displaying your children’s painting on the fridge.
Can easily be enjoyed by all the family, Easy Studio teaches you how to master stop-motion animation.
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