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Computer animation contest inspires young animators

11 Jul 2013

Computer scientists from The University of Manchester will present their annual UK Schools Animation Competition Festival and Inspirational Computer Science Day tomorrow (Friday).

The iCub humanoid robot will be one of the features at Animation 13
The iCub humanoid robot will be one of the features at Animation 13

This year, the festival looks to be the most exciting yet featuring hands-on activities, including a full-size flight simulator, the iCub humanoid robot, a 3D printer, face recognition with the Kinect, augmented reality, 3D graphics, and creating games avatars from ordinary photographs.

More than 400 schoolchildren, teachers and parents from across the UK will visit the University for the competition’s Awards Show, and an afternoon of exciting hands-on workshop activities.

Staff at the School of Computer Science came up with the idea for the UK Schools Computer Animation Competition in 2008, to mark the 60th anniversary of the world's first stored program computer – The Baby – designed and built in Manchester in 1948.

Now in 2013 the competition, Animation13, is in its sixth year, with its goal to encourage a greater interest in computing among young people.

Youngsters aged between seven and 19 are challenged to create an animated film of one minute or less using any of the Alice, Scratch, Adobe Flash or Serif software packages.

Almost 700 schools across the UK registered to take part in this year’s competition, and 1,500 schoolchildren submitted 1,100 entries. Competition winners stand to scoop prizes including laptops, iPods and iPads and will have their films showcased at tomorrow’s festival.

Organisers hope that the competition has given young people a chance to explore computer animation for the first time and to find out how exciting working with computers can be.

Toby Howard, from the School of Computer Science, said: "The animations might tell a story, or explain or demonstrate a topic or idea. The only limits will have been the students' imaginations.

"Since the invention of the world’s first stored program computer at The University of Manchester 65 years ago, computing has progressed at an incredible speed – we could not live the way we do today without computers.

“The mood in the country has changed and government now realises how important it is to train young people to be the computer scientists of the future. We’re seeing the start of a revolution in the way computer science and IT are taught in schools.

"We need to encourage the brightest and the best of the next generation to engage in the challenges facing computing – not just to use computers, but to invent the next generation of hardware and software. And we hope this competition will help raise the profile of computer science amongst children in a fun and exciting way."

Animation13 is supported by Electronic Arts, Autodesk and Microsoft Research, and run in association with cs4fn.

Ends

Notes for editors

Full details of the competition, and movies and images from last year's Animation12 prize winners, visit: www.animation13.cs.manchester.ac.uk

For further information contact:

Aeron Haworth
Media Relations
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8387
Mob: 07717 881563
Email: aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk