Auryn Inc, Painterly renderings. Founder

Founding a company

– Raised over $22 million dollars to start a company
– Build team of technologists and production staff over two contries
– Apps and animations created with patented technology won numerous awards

Role: Founder, Creative Director

Auryn: Apps With Texture and Thoughtfullness

Wired 

The members of the team behind Auryn, creators of apps like The Little Mermaid and What Does My Teddy Bear Do All Day?, are storytellers at heart and filmmakers by profession. They have created a technology that allows them to create apps which look (and almost feel) textural. The Aurynisation visual tool was inspired by the work of artists in animation studios before the animation began. The co-founders, Umesh Shukla and Amit Agrawal, describe beautifully their desire to replace the virtual camera with a painter in the animation studio in an attempt “to bring texture and light to screens in a new way.”

What does this mean?

This means that Auryn apps look like watercolor and oil paintings. It means the look and feel of the apps is different to what children may usually expect from the bold colors and defined black lines of cartoon animation. It means their books, more than many other developers, look like books off the shelves. Still, when you touch the screen the characters still move and there is interactivity that brings the picture to life. Their output so far reflects the subtle and soft approach they take, and it isn’t just in the illustrations and animation, either. Auryn also cares about story. They aren’t just offering any old narrative. But we’ll get to that.

I’d encourage readers to keep an eye on Auryn because clearly they are in it for the long haul. They have had some serious venture capital behind them to develop the technology that brings watercolor and pastel to the iPad screen. They have approached the development process carefully, first developing short films under the Auryn’s Painted Tales banner that reflected the art of Van Gogh and Monet for children six years and up. Umesh Shukla was clear that they don’t want to be a “me too” company. They are seeking to be unique and create apps that are very different, but tell grand stories. Indeed, the Auryn technology was created before the iPad came to market. This is another case of a company looking for a device, and Apple supplied.

These are developers who are passionate about what they create, but also want children to see a world of art and creativity that they see and love. This is very clear in their two latest apps that are available in the iTunes App Store for free. The Hare and the Tortoise is an old and well known tale. Auryn has recreated it using the old 1960s scanimateapproach to animation, that takes children back to the days of analog. It is a clever use of the capacity to scroll. And the animation on their Bunny Fun: Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes sing-a-long app is a clear indication of where this company will take us. The app itself is relatively simple, offering the standard different languages and record your own voice feature. The quality of the illustration by Rosemary Wells and the strength of the animation has maintained the charm and whimsy of her Bunny character in a way that should be appreciated by young and old alike.

Auryn is slowly building a fine assortment of apps for children. They are carefully produced, from the audio and their chosen readers through to the story and the application of their animation technology. They deserve to be supported to continue to explore what is possible and hopefully to share more stories in subtle and surprising ways for our kids.

School Library Journal

Auryn’s “Neverending” Stories

Fans of Michael Ende’s The Neverending Story may recognize the reference to the amulet in that book in the Auryn name. As Umesh Shukla, founder of the Los Angeles-based company, notes, Auryn, Inc. is “all about creating neverending stories.”

Auryn burst onto the children’s digital scene picking up a 2011 Appy Award in the book category for Teddy’s Day, a production based on Brüno Hachler and Birte Müller’s picture book, What Does My Teddy Bear Do All Day? (Minedition/Penguin, 2005). The app answers that question in the way only an app can, adding delightful animation and a host of interactive options to the book’s images and text.

Auryn followed the success of Teddy’s Day with Teddy’s Nightand other digital productions, teaming up with children’s book authors, illustrators, and publishers to “expand the storytelling experience on tablet devices.” Their list of authors and illustrators exhibits a range of artistic styles and includes Rosemary Wells and Lisbeth Zwerger, who will soon be joined by Laurence Anholt (Camille and the Sunflower). The company, which releases four to six apps under the Auryn label each year, is known for its innovative work and patented “aurynization” technology.

When asked about that technology, Shukla explained, it’s “the process of taking an image, creating its visual DNA, and applying that DNA to 2D and 3D animation. For example, if we take a Van Gogh painting…[and apply its style] DNA to an object in a 3D animated sequence, it would appear as though Van Gogh himself painted each and every frame….”

Another technique employed by Auryn is “scanimation,” “a new term for an age-old optical illusion,” which the company’s founder describes as “a series of stacked animated frames brought to life,” as a screen is passed in front of them. This technique is featured in Auryn’s “Aesop in Rhyme” apps. Titles in that series include Hare and Tortoise and Lion and Mouse, and Crow and Pitcher (available for free).

Recently the company launched another platform, Auracle, which will “allow existing stories to become apps very quickly and efficiently while still taking advantage of the new medium.” The first apps released under this label were Edsel McFarlan’s New Car (June, 2011) and Tails, Toes, Eyes, Ears, Nose (July, 2011). Auracle apps offer less interactivity and animation than Auryn productions, but will be released more often. Expect to see 12-18 Auracle apps over the next year, and, more direction toward the iPhone and Android markets.

Distinguished Developer AURYN APPS

Best Apps for Kids

Auryn apps develops consistently beautiful and stunning eBooks and so we have decided to present them with our first “Distinguished Developer” award.

Auryn has shown a commitment to excellence that is reflected by excellent reviews in the app store and several awards. We have reviewed a couple of their apps, but without hesitation I feel comfotable in recommending and of their titles that appeal to you. That’s why we feel Auryn Apps is a “Distinguished Developer”. Teddy’s Day received the BestAppsForKids.com “Reader’s Choice – Best of the Best eBook” as voted on by our readers.