Spotlight: Ed­u­ca­tional and Tech­ni­cal An­i­ma­tion

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

A look at some of the com­pa­nies that are find­ing fas­ci­nat­ing and prof­itable new ap­pli­ca­tions for the medium.

An­i­ma­tion: It ain’t just for car­toons any­more. In fact, it hasn’t been “just” that for quite a long time, but the ex­plo­sive growth of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy for cre­at­ing and de­liv­er­ing an­i­mated con­tent has al­lowed the medium to grow its use in fields like ed­u­ca­tion with as­ton­ish­ing speed and ef­fec­tive­ness. So with the com­puter imag­ing world as­sem­bling for SIGGRAPH, An­i­ma­tion Magazine de­cided it was a good time to take a look at some of the com­pa­nies in this of­ten over­looked seg­ment of the in­dus­try — the peo­ple and firms that use an­i­ma­tion to cre­ate and aug­ment ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als, le­gal pre­sen­ta­tions, ar­chi­tec­ture and sci­en­tific ap­pli­ca­tions. These are just a few ex­am­ples of the com­pa­nies do­ing this kind of work, which is ex­pected only to grow in the fu­ture — some­thing for any­one interested in the medium to think about. www.the-ful­ Lo­ca­tion: Los An­ge­les Founded: 2014 Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 65 Spe­cial­iza­tion: Video, an­i­ma­tion, mul­ti­me­dia learn­ing, per­son­al­ized learn­ing, train­ing and test prep Ma­jor clients: Al­le­giant Air, Chegg, North Carolina State Univer­sity Awards won: 2015 Telly Award – Aviation Train­ing – “A320” – 3D Graph­ics / An­i­ma­tion; 2015 Telly Award – Tel­comm Train­ing – “Fas­ten­ers” – How-To / In­struc­tional; 2015 Davey Award – Web­site De­sign – Ful­crum Labs Web­site Who They Are: “We come to work ev­ery day be­cause we be­lieve learn­ing should not be one-size-fits-all, like sweat­pants. Be­cause train­ing shouldn’t mean Pow­er­Point and con­fer­ence dough­nuts. And, be­cause text­books suck. Ful­crum Labs is the world’s first learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment agency. We have a sin­gu­lar mission: Turn stu­dents into learn­ers; and turn learn­ers into con­fi­dent sub­ject mat­ter mas­ters. We craft in­struc­tional ma­te­ri­als and learn­ing ob­jec­tives into ready-to-use on­line cour­ses. We power those cour­ses with our adap­tive plat­form and pro­vide our part­ners with ac­tion­able an­a­lyt­ics. We spe­cial­ize in pre­mium con­tent: live ac­tion, mo­tion graph­ics and 2D and 3D an­i­ma­tion, be­cause adap­tive learn­ing and ad­vanced an­a­lyt­ics alone don’t guar­an­tee peo­ple will pay at­ten­tion, stay fo­cused, com­plete a course, or stop pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. Our con­tent is cre­ated by a team of award-win­ning pro­duc­ers from the en­ter­tain­ment world, ex­pe­ri­enced in­struc­tional de­sign­ers and hand­picked sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts.” — Pa­trick Weir, CEO

www.plu­ral­ Lo­ca­tion: Farmington, Utah Founded: 2004 Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 501 Spe­cial­iza­tion: Pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment for de­vel­op­ers, IT spe­cial­ists and creative tech­nol­o­gists. Of­fers more than 4,700 on­line cour­ses that in­clude closed-cap­tion­ing in more than 50 lan­guages. Adding 80-90 new learn­ing videos to our li­brary each month, to­tal­ing 14,500-plus hours of video train­ing. Awards: Forbes Most Promis­ing Com­pa­nies (No. 42), For­tune Uni­corn; Inc. 5000 (No. 338); Top Ed­u­ca­tion Com­pa­nies (No. 2); Top Utah Com­pa­nies (No. 7); En­tre­pre­neur Top Com­pany Cul­tures for 2015 (No. 20) Who They Are: “Plu­ral­sight de­moc­ra­tizes pro­fes­sional tech­nol­ogy train­ing for the creative, film, games and de­sign in­dus­tries. The knowl­edge we share on our plat­form not only pro­vides the abil­ity for users to ‘skill-up’ on tech­nol­ogy but also al­lows users to think about their ap­proach to lay­out and de­sign. It pro­vides a way to learn from oth­ers through video con­tent, live men­tor­ing ses­sions and as­sess­ment-guided paths. With Plu­ral­sight fo­cused on learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment of its users, busi­ness and con­sumers alike, users now have better op­tions for their learn­ing needs. Plu­ral­sight is now the leader for on­line learn­ing for cre­atives, an­i­ma­tors, mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als, de­sign­ers, en­gi­neers and ar­chi­tects. We have the largest net­work of cour­ses fo­cused on all as­pects of de­sign avail­able in the mar­ket. We have the best pro­fes­sion­als shar­ing their knowl­edge on our plat­form, which is avail­able to our cus­tomers for a low monthly sub­scrip­tion. We are ex­cited about the ex­pan­sion and in­vest­ment we are mak­ing in this space. Plu­ral­sight is lead­ing the way in pro­vid­ing an ex­pe­ri­ence for cre­atives, from the in­ter­face to con­tent. Our plat­form was cre­ated by cre­atives, for cre­atives, and it shows in ev­ery­thing from our cus­tom video player, men­tor ex­pe­ri­ence and as­sess­ments.” — Andy Rah­den, VP Creative De­sign & En­gi­neer­ing www.pow­er­house­an­i­ma­ Locations: Austin, Texas; Burbank, Calif. Founded: 2001 Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 50 to 60 Spe­cial­iza­tion: Pow­er­house works in tele­vi­sion, video games, ad­ver­tis­ing, film and ed­u­ca­tion. We don’t spe­cial­ize in a spe­cific mar­ket seg­ment. We just try to pro­duce the best 2D an­i­ma­tion. Ma­jor clients: Dis­ney, Nick­elodeon, Elec­tronic Arts, Deep Sil­ver, Brain Chase Awards won: Gold Clio and Webby awards (through Wei­den + Kennedy on “Dikembe Mu­tombo’s 4 ½ Weeks to Save the World”) Who They Are: “Pow­er­house gen­er­ally has 20 or so projects of vary­ing scopes and from mar­kets at any given time. Cur­rently we are work­ing on 176 min­utes for a series, 70 mins. of game cin­e­mas, a cou­ple of mu­sic videos, and the Brain Chase on­line-ed­u­ca­tional series, just to name a few. The series and cin­e­mas are higher-level ac­tion an­i­ma­tion with fight chore­og­ra­phy, while a lot of our other work is ‘car­toony’ lim­ited an­i­ma­tion. We do a lot of mo­tion comics and mo­tion graph­ics as well. I think it is this di­ver­sity that has kept us around and grow­ing for 15 years. When there is a down turn in one mar­ket we are able to keep things go­ing in an­other. The range of styles across projects also helps keep our artists en­gaged.” — Brad Grae­ber, CEO www.pix­el­ Locations: Wash­ing­ton, D.C. met­ro­pol­i­tan area; New York City Founded: 2004 Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 20 Spe­cial­iza­tion: Short-form doc­u­men­tary series, ex­plana­tory an­i­mated videos, VR ex­pe­ri­ence con­tent, ed­u­ca­tional in­ter­ac­tive con­tent, sci­ence and med­i­cal videos, film CGI, broad­cast in-show graph­ics, mu­seum ex­hibits con­tent and TV com­mer­cials.

Ma­jor clients: We­bMD, Na­tional Ge­o­graphic, Smith­so­nian, PBS, NBC Awards won: Em­mys (12), New York Fes­ti­vals (7), Tellys (15), Pixie awards (10), CINE Golden Ea­gle (4) Who They Are: “A story may be told in many dif­fer­ent ways, but at Pix­el­dust Stu­dios we’ve cho­sen to use our in­no­va­tive cre­ativ­ity and awe-in­spir­ing ap­proach to tell our sto­ries. Our pro­duc­tions have the abil­ity to en­gage, sur­prise and in­spire au­di­ences ... whether it’s re­con­struct­ing ar­chae­o­log­i­cal re­mains of an­cient civ­i­liza­tions, cre­at­ing im­mer­sive VR ex­pe­ri­ences of an alien planet, ex­plain­ing sci­en­tific the­o­ries or bring­ing aware­ness to cli­mate change. The bot­tom line is we love what we do, and we’ll ap­ply our tal­ents and best ef­forts to ev­ery project in our pipe­line.” — Ri­cardo An­drade, Pres­i­dent & Creative Di­rec­tor trin­ityan­i­ma­ Lo­ca­tion: Lee’s Sum­mit, Mo. Founded: 1994 Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 11 an­i­ma­tors, 6 sup­port staff Spe­cial­iza­tion: Tech­ni­cal and in­dus­trial an­i­ma­tion Ma­jor clients: Black & Veatch, Burns & Mc­Don­nell, Lan­dis+Gyr, Oil States In­dus­tries, Tril­liant Who They Are: “With a large staff of full-time an­i­ma­tors and a pow­er­ful in-house ren­der farm, Trin­ity An­i­ma­tion is pre­pared to meet any re­quire­ments and dead­lines you have. We have mul­ti­ple en­gi­neers on staff (in­clud­ing pres­i­dent and CEO Jim Lam­mers) who will un­der­stand even the most com­plex con­cepts, and can trans­late them into beau­ti­ful vi­su­als. Us­ing state of the art tech­nol­ogy, Trin­ity en­sures that your project will be strik­ing and de­mand at­ten­tion. Trin­ity is more than ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing any type of in­struc­tional or tech­ni­cal an­i­ma­tion you may need. Cut­aways, ex­ploded views and dy­namic sim­u­la­tion can be in­cluded in your an­i­ma­tion, along with a nar­rated script read by you or one of our sta­ble of voice ac­tors. Our knowl­edge­able staff can help sug­gest a method of an­i­ma­tion that will ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cate your ideas and mes­sage, even if you don’t have a ba­sic script ready. We can work within vir­tu­ally any bud­get, and will rec­om­mend a style of an­i­ma­tion that will give you the most re­turn on your mar­ket­ing dol­lar.” — Jim Lam­mers, CEO Lo­ca­tion: Wethers­field, Conn. Founded: 2001 Num­ber of em­ploy­ees: 13 Spe­cial­iza­tion: Med­i­cal and sci­en­tific an­i­ma­tions Ma­jor clients: No­var­tis, Shire, Roche, Med­i­cal His­tory Pic­tures, Har­vard Univer­sity Awards won: We don’t gen­er­ally sub­mit our work for awards con­sid­er­a­tion; we fo­cus on di­rect mar­ket­ing and PR. We have been cov­ered by many pub­li­ca­tions in­clud­ing The New York Times, Na­tional Ge­o­graphic, The Chicago Tri­bune, The Daily Mail and Wired. Who They Are: “XVIVO’s process is de­signed to cre­ate con­cise and vis­ually strik­ing sci­en­tific sto­ries for our clients. Be­cause we work with mul­ti­fac­eted an­i­ma­tion pro­grams that need to il­lus­trate ex­act­ing sci­ence, a big part of our suc­cess is how we com­mu­ni­cate with our clients. Our sci­ence writ­ers, med­i­cal il­lus­tra­tors, an­i­ma­tors and pro­duc­ers are all ex­perts not only in their field but also in com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Know­ing the lan­guage of art, sci­ence, cine­matog­ra­phy, au­dio and pro­duc­tion, and be­ing able to clearly com­mu­ni­cate these con­cepts through­out all stages of the pro­duc­tion process, is part and par­cel of our suc­cess.” — Michael As­tra­chan, Pres­i­dent & Creative Di­rec­tor

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