Subscribe to SLJ
Touch and Go
Inside Touch and Go

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 Night and 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.