Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMSI) has teamed with Sprint (NYSE: S) to offer a new education program and contest designed to cultivate the next generation of digital artists. Later this year, Sprint is expecting to enhance Sprint Visual Voicemail service by adding avatars from Smith Micro as a new feature. Through the program, called the Avatar Challenge, students will use Smith Micro’s animation software to create avatar characters with the chance to have their creations viewed and used by millions through Sprint Visual Voicemail. Targeted to educators and students in secondary schools and higher education, the Avatar Challenge complements the latest STEAM learning programs through the integration of art and technology.
Avatar Challenge Overview
From August 1 through October 31, 2014, educators from any accredited secondary school, college or trade school will be able to register for free copies of Smith Micro’s award-winning Anime Studio animation software for themselves and their students. Smith Micro will offer video tutorials and sample teaching guides to incorporate the software into the class curriculum. Students can use the software for general animation – creating anything from class presentations to comic books to music videos. Students also have the opportunity to enter a nationwide contest designing animated characters for the upcoming avatar feature in Sprint Visual Voicemail. Winning students will have their characters featured within the app as the “Sprint Avatar of the Month.”
“Creativity is the root of innovation, and we strive to innovate in everything we do,” said Wayne Ward, vice president-business and product development at Sprint. “Working with Smith Micro to showcase the artistic and technical talents of young people will make our new avatar feature within Sprint Visual Voicemail even more exciting. We can’t wait to see the creative characters these students come up with.”
“We have a worldwide community of digital artists using our top-tier animation products, including designers for Disney, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Rooster Teeth, and major retail brands,” said
William W. Smith, Jr., CEO at Smith Micro. “By learning to use Anime Studio, students will quickly find that marrying art and technology can be very rewarding, and the Sprint avatar feature provides an amazing, nationwide platform to showcase their designs. Everybody wins with this program.”
Smith Micro and Sprint are offering several benefits to participants of the Avatar Challenge program:
· Eligible teachers will receive one free license to download Anime Studio Pro 10for their own use (valued at $299.99), and up to 15 free licenses to download Anime Studio Debut (valued at $49.99 each) for student use
· Free step-by-step video tutorials for Anime Studio available online
· Teachers can purchase the Anime Studio Curriculum Guide at a discount
· Beginning October 1, students can submit animated characters to enter the “Sprint Avatar of the Month” contest
· The top 10 qualifying designs will earn a free copy of Smith Micro’s Arsoftware pack
· Sprint and Smith Micro will select a winning design each month to be featured on the main screen of the Sprint Avatar service for 30 days
· Student winners will receive a $2,000 scholarship from Smith Micro, as well as professional versions of Anime Studio, Poser, Manga Studio and Motion Artist animation tools (valued at $1,099.96).
· Winning designs will remain available in a special “Sprint Avatar Winner’s Circle” of the Avatar content library, viewable by millions of Sprint customers using Sprint Visual Voicemail on their Android devices, and shareable with anyone via mobile messaging, email or Facebook