I’ve always wanted to create my own animations. One idea is simple. My characters would be born, live, fall in love, and die in real time in a 80 year long masterpiece of constant animation. It would be a commentary on the death of the soul and the deep longing of men and women to be truly understood. My more complex idea would involve a princess who has to fight a dragon. With Dodles – pronounced dawdles – I can do both.
Built by a team in Combined Locks, Wisconsin Dodles is a sort of drag and drop animation studio. You choose (or buy) characters and then drag them around to move arms, legs, and other appendages. You can add tools and weapons and even add animated backgrounds. Then you simply make the characters talk and interact with your microphone and mouse. The aim is to let creators sell their animations online and for amateurs to have fun and share animations with friends. Think Xtranormal but without the awful robot voices.
The founders are Craig Doriot and Joie Pirkey and the entire project was self-funded to the tune of $2 million. They’ve raised $300,000 from angels.
“dodles is pre-revenue and will be launching a closed beta early October followed by an open beta this November,” said Zeb Pirkey. “We have a beta list of 300 talented artists from the likes of Nickelodeon, Pixar, Disney and many self made creators and dodles has an active social audience: 12K+ contacts, expanding presence on Facebook, instagram, & twitter.”
“Social Media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat clearly recognize the demand for creative expression and move to facilitate this but are making slow progress, though they are willing to buy out new tech. Artist communities such as Deviant Art, PicsArt and Kanvas have primitive tools and lack collaboration, none of which help with animation. Professional creativity platforms have complex UX and lack mobile convenience,” said Pirkey.
The team will make money by creating a marketplace for avatars, backgrounds, and animated objects. Most of the animations are free but you can buy different things to make your character unique.
The team hopes to roll out the product by Novemebr and has been attending comic cons to let kids try the animator and build their own moves. “When you go to Comic Cons and see the kids faces who realize they can bring there ‘doodles’ or creative content to life with animation in a fun and collaborative way, it really is an amazing sight,” said Pirkey.
Now I just have to get started on my century-long animated epic. Or maybe I’ll just do the princess one. Either way, I’m ahead.