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Tidings from Turkey: Kelebek Animation
We caught up recently with Sinan Ölmez to get an update on his busy animation studio in Ankara, Kelebek Animation. Our original interview with him is here.
Tell us about Kelebek Animation and how your company evolved since we last spoke.
We're an animation studio based in Ankara, Turkey. We have come a long way with İbi, our successful episodic television series for children that features a young girl (ibi) and her turtle friend (Tosi). With each passing season of İbi, our team has become more efficient and competent, and we are always eager to try new things. We realize as a team that we like to expand our projects to encompass fresh ideas and experiences in order to continually improve ourselves.
You use Harmony (and Storyboard Pro) in your studio pipeline. Why is Toon Boom your choice for animation production and pre-production?
Harmony has a stable and easily accessible user interface - which is a very important factor. This software helps our artists work practically and swiftly, allowing us to more easily reach our end goals. The animation capabilities, wide selection of brush tools, and ability to work in layers are some of the more important features for us.
The primary reason why we use Storyboard Pro is because of its compatibility with Harmony. On top of that, it has nice timeline and layer functionalities. With templates, we can re-use our previously created assets without having to re-draw them. The Layer Transform tool lets us generate smooth and true-to-life animations. Storyboard Pro also allows us to transform the stages into 3D, and even import 3D objects into our projects.
Congratulations on the continued success of ibi. With so many locations and characters, are you able to reuse the assets created for earlier seasons?
Thank you. Although the great character and stage variety in İbi adds another layer of work, it greatly enriches the story itself, and we believe the audience can feel this. With over 50 locations and 60 characters on hand, we make use of the variety that offers by occasionally bringing back characters or other props from previous episodes or seasons. That we can reuse our assets in Harmony and Storyboard Pro helps us a great deal in time management and overall ease of production.
Do you own the intellectual property for İbi?
Yes, we own the intellectual property. This allows us to choose our own direction when going forward with our series and opens up new production possibilities.
You've got two mobile games based on your TV series İbi - how did you make them?
The games were developed by the TRT Kids Channel, with our job being to provide them with the assets they needed. Thanks to Harmony, we were able to export the required assets into the formats the game developers asked for quite easily. We supplied many animated sequences such as jumping, crouching, running, et cetera. The developer used these and built the games with the Unity game engine.
The games are really popular. How much success are you having in terms of downloads?
The first İbi game has had more than 1,000,000 downloads from a combination of Google Play and the App Store. Now the second ibi game is quickly catching up.
What do these games help children to learn?
The main goal of the games is to help kids practice their math skills while hopefully encouraging them enjoy the calculation process at the same time. How İbi and her friend, Tosi, progress in their adventure-filled journey depends on the math questions they face. Our game not only provides kids with fascinating gameplay, it focuses their concentration skills and improves their reaction times.
Do you charge a fee for the games?
All of our games are completely free to play. They can be obtained from popular mobile app stores, as well as from the TRT Kids web page.
Tell us how you find artists and animators for your projects? How much training do you give them to get them productive?
Animators who follow us on social media often apply for positions with us online. After roughly one month of training, we bring them into our core team.
What is next for Kelebek Animation?
For now, we are focusing on projects that are designed to appeal and educate kids of pre-school age. We have some new projects coming up on digital platforms, and we will finish them up soon!