Grasshorse Animation Studio announces the launch of a revolutionary web-based production method designed to unite emerging artists from around the world to work on a common goal: telling compelling stories through digital animation. “The Grasshorse mission is to offer opportunity, experience, exposure and profit sharing to artists of all levels in a virtual workshop setting,” says Grasshorse founder Stephen Jennings, a digital artist with over 10 years experience in feature film visual effects. “The online response has been incredible and far beyond our expectations!”
The Grasshorse method involves using the concept of big-studio production pipeline techniques, with delivery of assignments and finished artist work all through the Grasshorse web interface. The studio is especially keen on discovering new talent outside of the standard centers of production. “We’re looking to recruit artists from around the world who are new to the film and TV industry, and we’ve created a system which allows relatively inexperienced artists to learn and grow while making contributions to a project that they can be proud of,” says Jennings.
“For our first production, Grasshorse will create a 5 minute animated short entitled The Shimmering,” says Paul Stec, the Production Designer at Grasshorse. The Shimmering tells a story of a decrepit Knight wandering in the desert for an eternity, bleeding from a festering wound in his side. He is pursued by the Shimmering, a mysterious force that changes its shape into many seductive or frightening forms. The Shimmering pursues the Knight relentlessly, trying to reach his wound. After several violent confrontations, the Knight discovers that The Shimmering has not been attacking him, but trying to heal him. With this new understanding, the Knight passes through The Shimmering to a renewed life.
In order to open this project to artists around the world, Grasshorse has created an online workshop to manage the entire production. Artists must first register with the site and take a skill level certification, at which time they may take on assignments at their skill level from the production queue. Once a task is assigned, the files are downloaded over the internet, or sent to the artist on DVD. Assignment reviews, feedback and revisions are all conducted through the Grasshorse web interface. “This unique system allows artists to contribute from anywhere,” says Jennings. “It used to be that if you dreamed of working on high-end projects you had to pack up and move to where the big studios are, and then spend years doing grunt-work before you could actually touch a shot in a film, but that’s no longer true.”
The studio already has artists lining up to contribute to the project. “I can’t tell you how amazing it is for [Grasshorse Animation Studio] to work so hard to give others an opportunity to help start their careers and provide a professional level of experience,” says Randal Sahara, an artist who discovered Grasshorse as soon as the system went online. Sahara has already contributed several character designs for the pilot project. “As a new artist, I am just starting my career and have found it very difficult to break into this industry. I feel very fortunate to have found your website and that you have given me an opportunity to do some high-level work for your studio.”
Jennings is adamant about the goal of developing artist skills in such a way that they can then fit easily into any major studio’s pipeline. “We foster our artists’ skills by assigning them focused tasks that can be completed with a reasonable amount of time investment. The focus is on giving the artist more experience in their area of interest and allowing them to develop specialized skills more quickly. This goal-oriented method results in each artist’s greater achievement and success, while preparing them for the specialized film studio workplace. And this is how The Shimmering will take form; pull all of these completed assignments of all the contributing artists together and we end up with an animated movie.”