Have you ever wanted to be a dinosaur? A female (??) robot? A kitten woman? Man, have you come to the right place. Croatian company MashMe wants to make your weird dreams come true.
The company makes animation software that follows your movements and recreates them on the screen. The software will cost $10 and let you animate multiple characters including the aforementioned robot and dinosaur. The company is raising funds via Kickstarter to finish the project.
MashMe was created by Darian and Vedran Škarica. Both brothers have an extensive experience in electrical and computer engineering and they ran a small video house called DivIT. They built MashMe internally in an effort to streamline game development with live actors.
“Our prototype of MashMe is currently being used to create animated content for a children’s channel on Croatian national television,” said Darian. “Until now, similar solutions have been designed as plugins for professional software or stand-alone packaged solutions requiring specialized and expensive hardware have been developed. These solutions came with five-figure price tags. All the software has been designed for animation professionals, so it is extremely complex to use.”
“MashMe targets regular consumers and requires only a standard webcam. Because it doesn’t require any prior animation or technical knowledge, anybody can use it,” he said.
The original project used a Kinect to track the body and generate an animation. The pair soon realized, however, that they could use a standard webcam to watch a scene and map an animated figure onto a human. The system also supports facial movements, ensuring your dinosaur can look happy, sad, or surprised by his/her impending extinction.
We saw the project at Disrupt NY this year and it works as advertised. As long as you’re fine with the pre-designed figures you can animate to your heart’s content and even generate a custom character for $5,000. The aim is to offer a subscription service to those who would like to generate new characters and monetize the videos and offer a cheaper version for folks who just want to make their kids laugh.
The team is definitely not afraid of a challenge.
“Our vision is to become an app anybody in the world can use to create Shrek or Frozen at home without having any prior technical or animation skills,” said Darian. A tall – but doable – order, to be sure.