Create Stop-motion Animation with Klikbot Studio Pack THUD – Full Review & Video
Klikbot action figures come with a free downloadable app that lets you tell your own stories. This pack is called the Studio Pack THUD – it comes with a red character hero (with his laser gun and shield) and a scorpion creature. It feels like a cross between Transformers and Lego because his weapons turn into the scorpion – he gets tired of carrying them, they’ll get off his back, turn into a scorpion and walk by themselves!
In addition to the two characters, you also get a smartphone tripod for holding your phone steady (when you create stop-motion video) and a backdrop portraying an icy planet. All you need is the Zing Studio app from the Google Play store (it’s free!) and have some fun!
THE ACTION FIGURES
The hero has an incredible range of motion that lets you literally form any pose you want. He can “scratch” his head, sit on the ground with this arms around his knees and even touch his toes. He’s got suction cups under his feet that allow him to walk up hard surfaces like glass window “skyscrapers” (or a metal fridge) too. This guy is a lot of fun to play with.
The scorpion is mixed bag. He comes in parts so you have to put him together like a jigsaw puzzle, which should be fun – but isn’t. First, the instructions are hard to make out. It’s a 1 pager with instructions that are printed too dark to make out, so you’re wondering “which piece is this? Where does it go?”
Second, the pieces are hard to assemble. Ideally, they should “click” into place (a little like Lego), but I struggled to connect the first 2 pieces – and I was using all my strength as an adult! So while it’s difficult to put together, once you finish, everything works as it should. Except for the legs. They don’t click on (at least not the one I have) and will drop away if you’re not careful.
Hopefully Zing will take note of what I think are manufacturing issues (where some parts fit too tightly and others are too loose) and improve on future versions.
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But having said all this, when you start playing around, it’s easily some of the best fun you’ll ever have. It’s almost like playing a visual version of Dungeons and Dragons and the more you explore the full range of movement of these figures, the more fun it gets. It’s a good prelude to making your own short movies with the stop-motion animation app too.
ZING STUDIO APP
You can do two things with this software – take photos and shoot stop-motion videos.
The photo part lets you edit pics with text and clipart. For example, you can take a selfie of yourself and then use the built-in clipart library to pick out and add a top hat, mustache and a tie with some text saying “distinguished gentleperson”. The great thing is, you can edit this picture and change the clipart or text even after you save it.
It’s not perfect though – when the picture is saved, the clipart has moved a little bit so it won’t be aligned. It’s somewhat disappointing – after all, you just put in all that work to resize, move and add some art, but it doesn’t stay where you put it. There are other apps that can do this too of course, but it would be great if Zing could fix this up to work as intended.
STOP MOTION ANIMATION
If you’ve ever watched Wallace & Grommit or A Nightmare Before Christmas, those are all stop-motion animation films. You’ll be using similar techniques to make your own video, which requires a bit of patience.
It basically works by stitching together a sequence of pictures. The more pictures you take, the longer the video. The smaller the movements of your figures, the smoother it looks. Technically, there are 24 FPS (frames per second) in a normal movie, but the the app will default to 12 to get you started. So after you shoot the first 12 frames, you have 1 second of video. The next 12 frames will make it 2 seconds of video. And so forth.
There’s a nice feature called “Ghost Image” that let’s you see the previous picture you took before you snap the next one. You can use this as a rough guideline because like the photo app, this too isn’t 100% accurate. While it does show you the previous image you took, it sort of zooms in – so you can’t use it as a reference to frame the next shot. What you CAN use it for is to compare your hero’s next move, like seeing how much of the arm is bent and if you want to bend it further.
When you’re done, the app automagically stitches all the photos into a video, after which you can add music or record your own sounds. Take note however, you only have one chance at it, so choose carefully. Tap on the AUDIO icon to hear the audio clip, and when you’ve made your selection, tap the title of the song to mix it into your video. Then you’re more or less finished.
The Zing Klikbot Studio Pack THUD is a lot of fun for two types of people – those who like action figures (you get hybrid Lego/Transformer types of figures) and those who are interested in stop-motion videos. By joining these two together, Zing has come up with something that can provide many hours of fun for one or more people.
And it’s not to say everything is perfect; both the figures and the app could use tweaks to improve overall usability. But once you get over the niggles, the fun factor can be huge at a relatively affordable price!
(Test unit provided by Zing for this review.)
What the stars mean:
|5 – Excellent||Up there with the best, no flaws/issues|
|4 – Very Good||Better than expected, may have minor flaws|
|3 – Good w/caveats||Works, but has some issues|
|2 – SMH||Serious issues, needs major improvement|
|1 – 0_0;;||Just… why?|