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On the Launch Pad
By Erick Schonfeld

(Business 2.0) – Startup: Auryn

The idea: "Next Pixar" simulates great painters

How much money can you make from Monet? That's what Auryn, a new Los Angeles animation studio describing itself as the "next Pixar," intends to find out. Founder Umesh Shukla, a former Walt Disney Co. computer graphics supervisor, developed "automated virtual artist" software that can mimic the style of any painter by scanning the artist's brush strokes. Auryn emerges from stealth mode this month with its first short, "In Winter Still: A Claude Monet Story," which makes it seem as if the Impressionist was a wage slave at Disney. Auryn's second short, in the style of van Gogh, will be released as soon as July. The 12-person startup plans to sell shorts for $1.99 on its website and Apple's iTunes store, while Auryn DVDs take aim at the estimated $664 million museum store market.