Fancy video chatting or recording a digital movie using an avatar of your fursona which mimics your facial expressions, powered by an ordinary webcam and a large-latte-priced software licence? Internet startup FaceRig aims to provide such a service; and ultimately affordable, studio-quality, immersive virtual reality.
The full version of what FaceRig describes as a Digital Alter-Ego Framework might be a long way off, but the initial webchat application is currently in development and seeking backers on crowdfunding site Indiegogo. Almost $200,000 has been raised to date, with 33 days to go.
Licences for home and commercial use will be available, with prices starting at $5 during the crowdfunding phase and a predicted eventual cost of less than $15 for home users. More heavyweight versions of the software will incur a greater cost. There are also plans for mobile versions on iOS and Android.
Dawgtown is a work-in-progress feature film created with traditional 2D animation. It tells the story of Max, a young pit bull who is separated from his owner and forced into the brutal world of Dawgtown, where underground dog fights are arranged.
In Dawgtown, Max meets other dogs, including Athena the two-time champion, and Mauler ("the meanest battledog in the pit"). Athena sees something different in Max, and together they plan a revolution, with the hope of breaking out of Dawgtown and finding a better life.
The project's creator, Justin Murphy, has animated several shots in the opening sequence, and pencil-tested and storyboarded others. He is now seeking crowdfunding on Indiegogo, to hire actors to record the film's dialogue, and storyboard the rest of the film.
With six days to go, the project has received $10,092 in pledges, of a goal of $10,000.
Victoria Gannon is a self-taught artist who creates works under the name of Leptailurus. For a long time she has toyed with the idea of creating her very own Tarot deck, and now she has begun work on that very project. Savage Divination is its name, and it’s “a full 78-card tarot deck inspired by myth, lore, and legend focusing on the profound spiritual connection between man and beast”. For a little more than one week from now, Leptailurus is running a Kickstarter campaign to finance the creation of the final product, including the rendering of the art and the printing of the cards — with lots of perks for contributors, including original sketches and prints of the various cards themselves. There’s a video at the Kickstarter page explaining it all, and showing many more examples in completed and work-in-progress form.
Jed Henry of Provo, Utah is a big fan of Japanese wood block artwork — so much so that he’s joined up with on-line efforts to preserve and encourage the craft, which has suffered in Japan of late. Now he’s taken things up a notch or two and created Edo Superstar, a new animated game that incorporates the wood block style. In it we meet Masaru, a headstrong young Japanese monkey who quits the shadowy world of ninja warriors to become a fighting hero in the light of day, working his way toward the capital city in his quest for glory. Edo Superstar is being developed both as a computer game and as a smart phone app. Jed Henry and artist Dave Bull have set up a Kickstarter campaign to finance the project, and the perks for various levels of contribution include various t-shirts and art print sets. The Kickstarter page also includes several animated video previews of the game.
Rose Tursi is an illustrator and craft-maker. Recently she (successfully) completed an Indiegogo campaign to fund her latest project, called Absurd Animal Illustrations. It’s a line of greeting cards and charm jewelry all illustrated by Rose, featuring, like the title says, absurd single-panel jokes and references with animals (like “flying fish” or a polar bear sunning in the tropics). Having completed the financial part of things, she now plans to expand the line and complete new pictures before releasing the first set of cards. Check out the campaign web site, or visit her personal site to see more of the illustrations she’s been working on, animal and otherwise.
Since then, film director Joel Allen Schroeder envisaged a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes, and in 2007 began filming interviews with fans. In 2009, Schroeder created a Kickstarter campaign to fund his project, which raised twice its initial goal of $12,000. A subsequent campaign raised $96,000. Now complete, the movie (Dear Mr. Watterson) has been picked up by a distributor and is scheduled to arrive in theatres November 15.
It is always difficult to ask for help, but due to current circumstances, we have incurred over $70,000 in debt and costs from returns.
Antarctic Press expanded into the mass retailer market, but got a bit "hosed" by returns of unsold comics from stores. Contributor perks include wallpaper, comics – some signed – an Indiegogo-only print signed by five artists, and subscriptions of new AP comics.
There are 40 days left in the fundraiser, with $4,667 already pledged; enough to eliminate one of the company's smaller loans.
Furstarter is a brand new blog created by Corbeau Fundhound. It describes itself as “A weekly look at furry and fur-friendly crowdfunded projects”. Here’s his announcement: “Howdy howdy – I’m working on a blog focused on upcoming furry and fur-friendly kickstarter projects. Just now beginning week 2, so no promises on longevity of this, but I’ve been working on other blog projects for several years now without totally blowing my deliverables. I’m still tweaking the look and feel of the place, it should be a little more visitor-friendly once some of the art commissions I’ve got in place come through, but since by definition the information is time-sensitive I wanted to get content up and running!” Check it out at http://www.furstarter.com.
Animation Scoop’s Jerry Beck announces two new crowdfunded animation projects, both anthropomorphic.
One is Ghost of a Tale – a video game featuring a mouse warrior-bard in a medieval world, by Lionel “Seith” Gallat, a former supervising animator or animation director at DreamWorks and Illumination. Gallat’s Indiegogo site shows he has raised €28,407 toward a €45,000 goal, with 12 days to go.
The other is Dogonauts – Enemy Line by Justin Rasch, a stop-motion animator on ParaNorman and lots more, mainly video games. Rasch has been working on Dogonauts for four years and has finished the production, but needs money for the post-production: score, mixing, 3D post and color correction. He has a 2’21” trailer (which frankly looks like another variation on Fredric Brown’s 1944 s-f novelette Arena) with his pitch, and has raised $12,383 toward a $14,000 goal with 21 days to go.
And another furry Kickstarter campaign of note: Fox Hollow Tales is the creation of Jennifer Carson (writer, designer) and Pat Ann Lewis (illustrator). It’s a series of full-color illustrated books for young readers, featuring the adventures of a multi-species cast of characters in late 19th Century New England. The first book in the series, Wojer and the Wizard of the Wood, is nearing completion — and the creators are seeking crowdfunding to get it there, as well as to get started on the second book in the series, Wojer and the Black Knight. Visit their Kickstarter page to find out more, and to see a video trailer for the series.
Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop has an interesting article about a pair of independent animation projects in the works — both of which just happen to be very furry. First up is Ghost of a Tale, a new video game designed by Lionel “Seith” Gallat. Lionel has worked as a supervising animator at Dreamworks on movies like The Prince Of Egypt, The Road to Eldorado, Spirit, Sinbad, SharkTale, and others. More recently he’s been a director for Illumination on films like Despicable Me and The Lorax. Ghost of a Tale follows the adventures of a medieval mouse battling rat zombies on a mysterious island. In a very different vein is Dogonauts by Shel and Justin Rasch. “Mortal enemies, a Dogonaut Pilot and a Space Flea, shoot each other down only to awake, marooned side by side on an alien desert planet.” Justin is a stop-motion animator known for films like Paranorman. He and his wife Shel completed Dogonauts in their garage, all the while both of them working full-time jobs. Both of these projects are seeking crowdfunding help to move from their current levels of production up to the next, and hopefully get them out into the world. The Scoop article features trailers as well as the official pitches for each of these projects. Check ‘em out.
Jacques' series, spanning 22 books, was populated by a variety of anthropomorphic animals, including "noble" mice, moles, and badgers, and "vermin" rats, foxes, and weasels.
Soma's game, entitled Redwall: The Warrior Reborn, will be in 3D, allowing players to walk the cloisters of Redwall Abbey. On April 26, Soma Games started a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. As of May 1, the campaign has raised almost $8,000 in pledges from nearly 200 backers, of a $11,000 goal. Pledge rewards include the game itself, MP3 and PDF files of game content, and party and mailing list invitations, signed books, and sculptures.
Radio Comix, long-standing publisher of furry comics like Furrlough and Ebin & May, is running an Indiegogo campaign to raise cash to remain in business after discovering a massive tax shortfall:
Due to a horrible oversight on the part of our (now former) accountant, we now owe a staggering amount of back taxes. The total is truly shocking, and when I first discovered it, I was ill for days. I've been working for three months with a new accountant to get everything that wasn't filed taken care of, but filing does not equal paying and now not only do these freshly filed taxes have to be paid, but there are penalties due to the late filing. I'm a firm believer in filing and paying all my taxes, and finding out I was behind was my worst nightmare come true.
I have been working with the IRS to come up with a payment plan, but if we could get a large lump sum together to pay in at one time, it would be an enormous help!
Update: Four hours in, $1500 had been pledged; by the end of the evening it was $5364.
Update 2 (March 26): The lifetime subscriptions sold out this morning. Commissions by Stan Sakai were added; within hours, six of the five on offer were somehow claimed.
The titular Delura is the name of the galaxy in which the series takes place. The story includes many alien races resembling anthropomorphic animals, including vulpine and lupine beings. It centres on a felinoid mineship operator who finds himself with damaged memories in a strange medical ward, and reluctantly begins his new life whilst knowing nothing of who he was, is, or will be.
Ryan and Taben have started a Kickstarter campaign to fund Delura's 2013 season. A $6,500 goal has been set, to go towards providing more animations and webcomic content, and to upgrade hardware and software so as to improve the quality of the graphics.
Tower of the Dragon is a 3D animation project based in San Leandro, California. It plans to tell the story of Lyric, a young girl who has to save a world where reading is forbidden and magic is only used by those who obey without thinking.
The story is to deal with such issues such as bullying, insecurity, and self reliance. The fully-rendered movie is anticipated to cost $2,000,000 to make, so at present the project is focusing on creating an animatic of the screenplay.
A Kickstarter campaign has been started, hoping to raise $50,000 to fund its creation. Once the animatic is complete, it will be shown to 100+ reviewers, and their feedback will be used to create a revised animatic, in an iterative process until the story is ready to be rendered at full resolution.
With 21 days to go, the campaign has raised $16,811.