With the new LEGO Batman movie coming out, all things LEGO are going to be pretty popular right now!
So when I had the chance to check out this new book on LEGO Animation, I knew it was something your kids would want to dive in to too!
Have you ever wondered what your LEGO creations would look like on the big screen?
The LEGO Animation Book will show you how to bring your models to life with stop-motion animation--no experience required! Follow step-by-step instructions to make your first animation, and then explore the entire film making process, from storyboards to post-production.
Along the way, you'll learn how to:
- Create special effects like explosions and flying mini-figures
- Convey action and emotion with your mini-figure actors
- Design sets for animation--make three buildings look like an entire city!
- Light, frame, and capture consistent photos
- Add detail and scope to your films by building in different scales
- Build camera dollies and rigs out of LEGO bricks
- Choose cameras, software, and other essential animation tools
Dive into the world of animation and discover a whole new way to play!
Author David Pagano’ s motivation for creating the book is to “inspire the next generation of LEGO filmmakers. That’s why we’ve included (almost) all of our secrets." For David Pickett, nostalgia plays a role: “I wish I had a time machine so I could give this book to myself as a kid and learn to make awesome LEGO animations back then.”
I seriously doubt any kid (or adult) who loves LEGOS would not scream in delight to get this book! And expensive accessories are NOT required- you literally just need what you see above! It really is JUST that simple! As a homeschooling parent, I have to admit that after checking out the book, I realized how it could almost be a Spring break or Summer mini-curriculum ALL in one! Keep reading to find out how!
The book features photo illustration, which really help to simplify things for kids, even my not quite 10 yr old was able to follow along, and not need my help from Mom on learning how to position her figures!
As you can see above, a simple step by step instruction not only teaches kids the anatomy of how humans walk, but how to place the mini-figures! AHA, biology just got added to the curriculum!
I liked how the book teaches by example, all the way through- by giving a bad and good picture, kids can see visually for themselves how miniscule changes can have huge affects! And by showing how position changes the viewers perspective, some basic art instruction has now been added! This area is also a great way to ask WHY questions, to check for critical thinking skills! Whoop- another area added!
We both were amazed at how SIMPLE some of the filming tricks were- like how to make a mini-figure appear to have jumped in the air! Who knew a stick and some putty could make magic? Add in some weight and measurement, to see if one stick over another will keep the figure up, and you not only have some math skills going, you have basic physics, like gravity, not to mention scientific theory being conducted. Who knew LEARNING could be so much fun?
Building the sets is not as complicated as one would first think. Again, basic math and physics comes into play with art perspective. By making a multi channeled background, like in the example above, kids learn how to manipulate the BACKGROUND to change what is happening on screen, versus moving the primary figure.
More math and science comes into play during the chapter on filming. As the book teaches where to place the camera and how to move it, kids learn principles that change perspective. Again allowing for some great question and answer critical thinking!
I know what you're thinking, "Hmmm, but what about 'Language skills'?"
There is a full chapter on script writing, story boarding (which is really just planning out your story with pictures), and mapping out what is needed. Bingo- creative process, story planning, grammar and writing covered! By teaching kids to think out the story they want to film, it teaches organizational skills as well!
Whew that is a LOT and we haven't really got to filming yet!
The chapter on filming helps you decide whether to use a camera for stop action and then edit on a program on your computer, or to use an app made for stop action filming. All in all that chapter is a mini-course in film making (AHA an elective course)!
Miss Grace didn't have time before this review to make up a video, but she's already asked if we can make the book part of her Summer curriculum, as we've decided to year round homeschool! I think it's a great idea, to use the book for a start to finish project, as it teaches SO many different areas, allowing for a great hands-on approach to learning.
Course those who don't homeschool can get the same benefits of added education too! The book is a fun gift for all LEGO fans, no matter their age, to bring their creative ideas to life! It would be a great Valentine's Day or Easter gift too, with a couple of new mini-figures and set pieces!
About the Authors:
David Paganois a LEGO animator and writer and the founder of Paganomation, a NY-based production studio. His work has appeared everywhere from BrickJournal to the Wall Street Journal.
David Pickettis the LEGO filmmaker behind BRICK 101and Nightly News at Nine. Together, they run the LEGO animation blog The Set Bump. No Starch Press has published the finest in geek entertainment since 1994, covering topics like LEGO, hacking, science, math, and programming for all ages. Our tit