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Go Real Time ups the ante on toon efficiency

As cash-strapped companies look for new ways to cut costs without making sacrifices in innovation, the timing couldn't be more serendipitous for New York-based Go Real Time Animation to make a splash in the kids space with its interactive animation software.
May 8, 2009

As cash-strapped companies look for new ways to cut costs without making sacrifices in innovation, the timing couldn’t be more serendipitous for New York-based Go Real Time Animation to make a splash in the kids space with its interactive animation software.

Co-founder Harold Moss calls it recession technology. ‘We’re in a time when people still need content more than ever, and budgets have become really constrained,’ he explains. ‘And to create compelling, good-looking content at a price-point that takes into consideration the economic climate is huge.’

The GRTA software does exactly what its name implies – prodcos can use it to create toons of any length, in any style, in real time. And it couldn’t be easier to work with. At a bare minimum, all that’s required is a laptop, a microphone and a game controller, although quality obviously fluctuates with the scale of a project, becoming as high-end or low-end as a user needs. The person at the controls can perform up to 16 characters, incorporating as many as 144 camera angles and different scenes. GRTA also offers animators the option to perform live, controlling facial expressions and clip lengths before an audience’s very eyes.

Since users work with the tech in real time, Moss says GRTA significantly tightens up production schedules because producers don’t have to wait for the back-end to catch up. Once a project is done, it’s done. And its potential extends far beyond TV to the big screen, interactive games, corporate presentations, sports entertainment and live entertainment such as museum and science center exhibits.

The license fee for a full package of on-site software begins at roughly US$100,000 a year, but Walters says this pricetag varies depending on how clients want to be set up and how they plan to use the software (i.e. whether they want GRTA to do the animation, or for someone to come in and train them).

Moss is no stranger to the needs of the animation community; in 2002, he created The Finkel Files and The Saddle Rash, the first Flash animations to be broadcast on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block, out of the FlickerLab multimedia service hub he heads up with Tammy Walters. In 2008, the pair was introduced to Tom Vedel, CEO of Copenhagen’s TV-Animation, whose team had been in production on GRTA for nearly a decade. The industry has seen several attempts at real-time animation technology come and go over the years, but Moss and Walters knew right away they’d hit on something special, never having seen anything close to its seamless, integrated package with production readiness and so many projects already in development.

The BBC is currently one of GRTA’s biggest clients, having used the software to create The Nelly Nut Show, which has aired on CBBC, ZDF Germany, Teletoon France and Fox Kids Israel. The program generated a lot of buzz when it was demo’d at KidScreen Summit in February. Since then, Moss has been fielding a healthy amount of interest from kids entertainment players and is eager to start negotiations.

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