A cool crowd funding appeal drives dollars towards an innovative online education platform for animators

By By Pravin J Philip | 12 Jun 2014


The popularity of visual flexibility and impact brings animation to the fore.

When millions watched the movie Avatar on their iPad and Android devices, then played the games that followed, industry watchers took satisfaction from Avatar's all time No 1 ranking at the box office.

In fact, of the 20 most profitable films of all time some half were animation driven. These included  Marvel's The Avengers (No 2), Despicable Me 2 (No 4), Toy Story 3 (No 7),  Transformers movies (Nos 11, 17 18) and the Lion King (No 20).

While these movies were successful, the labour intensive animation did not come cheap. Avatar with $1.2 billion in profit cost around $500 million to make. That makes it more expensive than all the profits from Toy Story 3, the seventh most profitable movie of all time.

Seeing the growing need for animators and therefor the need to lower animation costs to allow for wider, deeper application, Animaster Academy, a pioneering animation educator in Bangalore, has taken steps to reduce the cost of animation education.

Already attracting International students, Animaster now plans to offer a parallel program online.  These virtual courses in animation education will be accessible to foreign students via a new online platform that will be crowd funded on Indiegogo.

The medium being the message is not just about reach, animation brings home the fact that with a virtual education, prospective animators, can conquer new worlds and learn to create them!

Animation Education Online creates indigenous and international synergies. Crowd funders who donate towards dynamic change, often go for projects that pay it forward, helping young people worldwide profit from trending technology.

The convergence of James Cameron's 3D cameras, new opportunities in animation education, IMAX theatres, etraining applications and ubiquitous notepads are drawing new generations of animators. Says Shruti Natarajan, Animaster's communications chief, "We hope funders will see the (animated) writing on the wall and vote with their wallets for our crowd funding appeal".

 "Animaster Academy" is arguably India's fastest growing animation educator. This brave new company already offers four conventional B. Sc degree courses in "Digital Art/ Animation," "Special Effects," "Gaming," and "Web Design." Each spanning  three years/2,880 instruction hours. Also offered are various diploma courses.

 Says Veena Pratap, the Academy's chief visionary and founder, "Animaster has already been attracting students from all over the worldsince 2011. Our crowd funding initiative on Indiegogo.com seeks to raise a modest $200,000 so that we can offer virtual programs to studentsattracted to our offerings but unable to afford travel and living costs."

The online education platform developed by Animaster out of India is also expected to lower the cost of animation production. Thereby supporting new applications such as animated ebooks, interactive training materials and manuals. These could over time reduce unemployment and advance productivity worldwide.

With new communication platforms online, animation designers and a new generation of animation educators can use their collaborative tools to help drive emerging ideas deeper and harder than ever before in business, education, religion and art.

Animating the world's largest film industry. India, with the world's largest film industry by far is slowly emerging from the shadows where animation is concerned. Once confined to children's cartoons (as it was initially in the West) animation in India is slowly entering the mainstream. South Indian Superstar Rajnikant's new 3 D animation movie "Kochadaiyaan" about a legendary warrior is an important milestone for Indian cinema.

Animation education online will also be a boon to India, slated to be the No 1 economy in the World by 2050, according to the World Bank. Industry doyens like Samir Hoon, who contributed animation to blockbuster "animovies" like Star Wars and Jurassic Park have long been waiting for more animation training capability in India.

Virtual education brings the global village closer still. When Marshall Macluhan wrote his book Understanding Media, the Extensions of Man in 1964, animation was already a mature medium. (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, became the first full length animated film  in 1937).

Shortly before Macluhan died in 1980 he coined the phrase "Global Village" and was hailed as a "Digital Prophet" 12 years before the world wide web's debut that would make virtual education possible.

Crowd funding sites like Indiegogo emphasise a global sense of community and have an average of nine million visitors a day. Since 2008, the site has drawn visionaries who have shared of their strength to animate hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurial dreams and community aspiration.

Crowd funders typically score cool gifts from those seeking funding and Animaster has several of those.

These gifts or rewards start at $5.00 for a listing on Animater's "Angel Page" plus a "shout out on Facebook. Funder's typically makes Avatar's of change and supports our global village.

There are some very cool incentives to check out at a wide variety of levels. You can even donate five dollars and win a listing on the Animaster "Angel" page!  Think of the lives you can change by enabling this transformative online education program.

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