Spirograph – Review

Spirograph is a classic art and design toy from Flair, and available in all good shops and online starting from £10 we were sent the Deluxe set to review. Suitable for ages 8+ when I was younger I desperately wanted a Spirograph set so have enjoyed this set more than the boy.

spirograph

The deluxe Spirograph set comes with 19 wheels 2 rings putty to hold the rings in place and pens. The clever design of the box means it doubles as a travel pack and work surface for your designs. The enclosed booklet is a great start, and you even have sheets of paper supplied to get you started. I found set up easy as you simply use the Spiro-tack provided to place a ring, then choose a wheel and off you go. The enclosed instruction book is a good starting point for ideas, I found that after a few goes it was more fun to find the patterns you like and just experiment. There are literally thousands of possibilities for patterns and colour combinations.

spirograph deluxe

The enclosed Spirograph booklet gives you ideas on how to make repeating patterns, some look very 3D and with the three enclosed primary coloured pens you can make some pretty stunning patterns. The boy finds he doesn’t have the patience for this type of activity, and you would need lots of patience. You need to carefully position the rings with the Spiro-tack as they can move if pushed too hard. be prepared for some failed patterns, but once you have discovered which way the wheel will move I found it easier to predict when the wheel might jump.

spirograph deluxe

Spirograph is a great way to teach maths as the patterns are very rhythmic. Concentration, patience, and try a try again attitude are also needed. Spirograph is defiantly more suited to a more arty or driven child, although the boy did try again, he was disappointed with the results if they went wrong.

I liked all the different ways of using the wheels inside and outside of the rings. Before long you will be hooked and making your own great colourful designs. Spirograph are looking for some young designers, so have a look at the Cool Create website, and why not enter for some fun Spirograph prizes. I have loved making the Spirograph patterns, and think it could be the new colouring craze for adults as it is very relaxing in the evening to sit and draw. Why not have a go for yourself and see what patterns you can make, the pictures make great phone screen savers!

 

Disclaimer we were sent the Spirograph deluxe set to review the words remain our own and have not been altered.

 

 

Hue Animation studio

Hue Animation Studio is the complete stop start animation kit for kids. The box contains everything you need to get started with a HD webcam (available in 6 different colours), USB cable, software disc, simple start-up instructions and small supply of soft putty to get you into modelling your animation figures.

Hue Animation Studio

The software is compatible with windows 7 and mac and claims to be easy to install. OK so I now have a confession I didn’t find it easy to install, but this was not the HueAnimation Studio’s fault. It turns out I had a dodgy i-tunes update which had uninstalled various essential programming from my computer. So what should have been a simple register with the website, email code and click install turned into a weekend of computer rebooting hell!

So having experienced the helpful support team at Hue, who sent me out a new activation e-mail, I can tell you the online help is great, and worked first time. The installation from this point was insert the disc and off we go. The camera can plug-in via the USB, and then you just need your actors.

The boy and I decided that our test would be with Lego and chose a car. I thought we could simply use this as a test, and we built a small three sided box studio as our backdrop for our film. What followed was 4 hours of mini figure animation, as the boy was so engrossed he didn’t want to stop! The result is this slightly strange film of the occupants of Lego City, with the addition of some random music, which somehow seemed to enhance the production. Tell us what you think?

To give you some idea this 30 second video contained 300 individual stills and took about 3 hours to film.

The software was easy to use, you can see two shots on-screen, your current shot and the last still taken. The camera takes great quality pictures and you can add words or simple drawings. You can import photo stills, as well as music, and the camera also has a built-in microphone so you can record as well. I did experience a few problems with the Hue Animation Studio. The first was loosing frames, if you delete something because it AutoSaves it is lost for good. I found grouping and ungrouping frames a bit tricky, and adding the music was difficult. The text can also be a little limited and seemed to go fuzzy when you save it to a film. But all these things are more advanced features, and I would expect need an amount of trial and error.

Having said all of that the boy had no problem working out what to do, the shooting is a simple click of the mouse or space bar. Deleting shots that go wrong is a one click dustbin We loved the onion skimming on the current shot, this shows a ghost like image so you can see exactly how far each character has moved. The bendy camera, and  time-lapse feature which you can be set up from the software sound interesting. Making the finished film is a simple export, which can then be uploaded directly to YouTube if you wish. The boy was using lots of words like “awesome” “cool” and “wicked” so I know he approved, and the Hue Animation software will certainly come in useful for the wet days at home, we might even make some more crisp videos like this one!

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We really enjoyed the Hue Animation Studio, and I think that the more we use it the more complex and better our films will become. Hue Animation Studio has an RRP £79.95 but I noticed that you can purchase it directly from their website here at a reduced price of £49.95 which I would say is a great price.

 

Disclaimer we were sent this product for the purpose of review, the opinions remain ours and have not been altered.