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Computer animation professionals have learned to deal with how difficult it is to create and publisher animated work. But the demand for animation videos — a $90 billion content market, according to Markets & Markets research — has never been greater.
Tapping the cloud, Nimble Collective has formed to make it easier to create and distribute videos produced by the animation community. It has also raised $1 million in seed funding, and it is announcing today a strategic partnership with Citrix to deliver its services via the cloud.
“We provide tools so people can create and distribute their own animated content,” said Michael Howse, chief operating officer of Nimble Collective in Palo Alto, California, in an interview with VentureBeat. “What we came up with is the ability to distribute rich apps via the cloud on Citrix.”
Nimble Collective is developing what it calls the industry’s first cloud-based, end-to-end platform that will serve an estimated 10 million-person community of professional and aspiring animators.
The company unveiled itself and its service plans at today’s Citrix Synergy 2015 Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Citrix and Nimble Collective are building a cloud platform that will empower animators to more easily develop and distribute their ideas. With all production capabilities hosted in a secure cloud environment, animators will be able to spend more time creating instead of worrying about the endless hassles of managing complex and costly infrastructure, Howse said.
Howse started Nimble Collective with Rex Grignon, chief creative officer and former head of character animation at Dreamworks Animation for blockbuster films including the Madagascar series, Antz, and Shrek. Those films have generated more than $4 billion at the box office.
Howse was previously chief executive of Bigfoot Networks, which Qualcomm acquired in 2012.
“The animation content market generates $90 billion annually, but is still dominated by studios because they can afford expensive technology and tap large-scale budgets,” said Howse. “However, several key trends are driving change — cloud-enabled application streaming, along with direct-to-consumer video networks democratize content development and distribution that until now would cost individuals and small teams millions of dollars to set up.”
“Nimble Collective is driving a massive shift in animation content creation,” added Grignon. “Ten million creative professionals will now have a community and platform for collaborating to generate high quality work that they can distribute and profit from in exciting new ways. Nimble will enable a new generation of creatives to reach huge audiences to build modern brands.”
Nimble has an “all cloud” service that provides a full animation workspace, streamed anywhere an artist chooses to do work.
The platform will be available to select partners in late 2015, with launch expected the first half of 2016. Nimble has 10 employees.
“We want to provide access to professional animation tools,” Howse said. “The key learning we have is an ability to democratize access to the pipeline so anyone can create animations. We can follow it from concept to distribution.”
In that respect, the Nimble technology is not unlike Unity’s game engine in the video game industry and Apple’s GarageBand software for music.
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