Smith Micro Software, Inc. and Sprint are getting animated over the Avatar Challenge, their joint, national initiative being launched in Pittsburgh and urging students to combine art and technology.
The Avatar Challenge will run from Aug. 1 to Oct. 31, during which students will use Smith Micro’s animation software to create avatar characters. Winning avatars and their artists will gain national exposure when featured on Sprint’s Visual Voicemail Service with recognition to the student. This opportunity allows the students’ digital art to be viewed and used by millions nationwide, providing far-reaching exposure early-on in their careers.
“One of the reasons we came to Pittsburgh was because we knew about all of the fine schools and a large talent base to find good people,” said Bill Smith, Smith Micro CEO, at a news conference at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. “We can power Pittsburgh students.”
Educators from any accredited secondary school, college or career training school will be able to register for free copies of Smith Micro’s award-winning Anime Studio® animation software for themselves and their students. Its Avatar Challenge complements the latest STEAM learning programs, originally STEM, with the addition of the arts to fully round-out today’s students for tomorrow’s careers where these five skills will be critical for success.
Students can use the software for general animation such as comic books and music videos. Smith Micro will offer video tutorials and teaching guides to incorporate the software into the class curriculum. Students can then apply the skills they’ve learned to create a winning avatar that will be featured in the app as the “Sprint Avatar of the Month.”
“By learning to use Anime Studio, students will quickly find that marrying art and technology can be very rewarding, and the Sprint avatar feature provides an amazing, nationwide platform to showcase their designs. Everybody wins with this program,” said CEO Smith.
Among the benefits to participants in the Avatar Challenge:
- Eligible teachers will receive one free license to download Anime Studio Pro 10 for their own use, and up to 15 free licenses to download Anime Studio Debut for student use
- Free step-by-step video tutorials for Anime Studio available online
- Teachers can purchase the Anime Studio Curriculum Guide at a discount
- Beginning October 1, students can submit animated characters to enter the “Sprint Avatar of the Month” contest
- The top 10 qualifying designs will earn a free copy of Smith Micro’s Artist Bundle Debut software pack
- Sprint and Smith Micro will select a winning design each month to be featured on the main screen of the Sprint Avatar service for 30 days
- Student winners will receive a $2,000 scholarship from Smith Micro, as well as professional versions of Anime Studio, Poser, Manga Studio and Motion Artist animation tools
- Winning designs will remain available in a special “Sprint Avatar Winner’s Circle” of the Avatar content library, viewable by millions of Sprint customers using Sprint Visual Voicemail on their Android devices, and shareable with anyone via mobile messaging, email or Facebook