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Tech and art collide as Watermark unleashes angry bull

Kiwi agency Watermark, which has offices in Auckland, Wellington and Sydney, has released its first iPad app Angus The Irritable Bull.

The agency has traditionally specialised in illustration but has branched into games and now apps. The children’s iPad app brings to life the well known folk tale of a lion with a thorn in its paw, but reimagined for a modern audience with a story by Watermark director Dean Proudfoot.

Daron Parton, the illustrator and Watermark’s animation head David Way worked on the app with Auckland developers Roam.

The agency needed the app to balance story telling with interactivity, says Proudfoot.

“The biggest challenge was adding enough movement, sound and contact points that the viewer gets an ‘app’ experience, without going so far that the interactivity detracts from or overtakes the story. There are more than 80 touchpoints in Angus, but characters and story are still the key.”

Broadcast personality Helena McAlpine narrated the story, while David Liversidge at Radiate Sound provided and oversaw the sound.

The app is distinguished because it was designed and illustration with an app in mind, rather than taking artwork from published books, says Proudfoot.

“What makes the artwork even more interesting is it was all painted traditionally in individual pieces. This give the app a beautiful, hand-crafted quality that sets it apart.” 

The app was built using the 3D gaming platform Unity, which now has a 2D update that can be used for developing app books.

The platform will make it easier to take the app to the Android platform if there’s demand, Way says.

Amanda Sachtleben is an Auckland writer and social media type, who's also Idealog's former tech editor and business journalist.

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