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Growth hopes as Scots firm launches animation toolkit

A SCOTTISH software company headed by a former Walt Disney executive is planning on rapid growth as it launches a new toolkit which it believes can save the animation industry millions of pounds.

Digimania, which employs 30 artists, animators and software engineers in Glasgow, has developed a 3D real-time rendering package which is already generating interest from around the world.

The company is initially targeting the children's animation sector with the value of the market its RenderDigimania product is entering estimated to be worth around £100 million annually and predicted to grow at more than 20 per cent this year.

Rendering, the process of generating a computer image from a model, is a time-intensive process for digital animators.

It can also lead to additional delays and costs if changes need to be made to a product that is getting closer to being broadcast.

Julie Adair, chief executive of Digimania, believes her business can help production companies make major savings.

It has refined the product, which can be downloaded digitally, while working with Scottish animation house Red Kite on the soon-to-launch programme Bradley and Bee.

That show has been snapped up by Nickelodeon and Channel 5 as well as being pre-sold to 20 countries.

Ms Adair said: "We have developed this render tool in a real-world project which has been taken to international television markets and been really well received."

She highlighted the international potential of the tool with resellers already lined up in areas including Turkey and the Baltic States while there has been interest from North America, the Far East and Africa.

Paul Collimore, commercial director, said Digimania's tool works more than 150 times faster than comparable options in the market.

He said: "Normally you would need a room full of computers to calculate how light bounces off one object to another then lands on skin and so on. What we have done is take the traditional ways of calculating how that lighting works and flipped it upside down by using computer game technology.

"So instead of needing a lot of computing power you can render, or turn it into a video file with all that lighting intact. It renders in real-time."

Mr Collimore highlighted the potential to adapt the technology for use in different sectors, which could lead to additional jobs being created in Glasgow. He said: "Animation is used across medical industries, simulation, engineering, computer aided design. The benefits of our product could be taken into different industries but each industry has its own development needs so that will create jobs in Scotland."

Digimania formally launches the tool to the industry at the Siggraph trade show in Vancouver later this summer and will be present when the show visits China later this year.

Ms Adair, a former BBC executive and director of online for Walt Disney Company in London, highlighted the backing of Scottish Enterprise in helping get the company out into the market.

She added: "That [help] is all predicated on the fact this company will grow and it will mean more jobs in this space for Scotland.

"What I hope this will do will improve the opportunities for digital creative work in Glasgow."

ENDS

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