The winners of the 2012 Webby Awards were announced on Tuesday,
Established in 1996, the Webby Awards are arguably the Internet’s best-known honors. After starting small, the Webbys now hand out more than 100 awards each year.
Many of each year’s honorees tend to be celebrities, big companies or well-known online entities. Among this year’s big winners are Pinterest (best social media app), photo-sharing app Instagram (breakout of the year), and the comedian Louis C.K., honored by the Webbys for creating “a new precedent for distribution” by releasing his comedy special through his own website.
A raft of advertising and corporate website awards have also been added over the years.
But the Internet being the Internet, there will always be lesser-known, innovative and downright quirky winners as well. Here’s a look at five Webby Award winners we think are worth a closer look.
Draw A Stickman (Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics)
Are you frustrated that your masterpieces on “Draw Something” can’t come to life? Or maybe you’re just nostalgic for “Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings,” the ’70s animated feature in which the things Simon draws come true?
Worry no more. “Draw a Stickman” is here to help.
Available both as a website and a mobile app, the premise is simple. Draw a stick figure, or a more fleshed-out character if you have the drawing chops.
Then click “play” on one of two episodes currently available and watch your drawing get animated through an adventure that will require you to help him, or her, along by drawing new items such as a key needed to unlock a box. When you’re done, you can share the results via social media, browse a gallery of other users’ drawings or even buy a T-shirt with your drawing on it.
Counterspill (Activism website)
Winner of judges’ and People’s Choice Webbys, Counterspill is a nonprofit site devoted to reporting information about natural disasters involving oil, coal and other energy companies.
The site’s scope is impressive. Not only does it track such recent events as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, but it also documents historical events dating all the way back to the 1940s.
The site unabashedly has a political slant. It aims to counteract what it calls spin by energy companies and governments in the wake of disasters. (The companies and government agencies involved in disasters are deemed “culprits.”)
Among the site’s partners is Chris Paine, director of the acclaimed documentaries “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Revenge of the Electric Car.”
Clouds 365 Project (Personal Blog)
For artist Kelly DeLay, it started in 2009 as a personal challenge: Shoot a still image or video of clouds for 365 consecutive days as a way to ensure he did something creative every day.
“I wanted this practice of observation to be tied into the fabric of my life — the habit of looking up and noticing the patterns and beauty of the clouds that envelop us every single day,” he wrote.
Three years and more than 1,000 images later, he’s still going. His site has become not just a beautiful gallery (it’s astounding how each day’s formation looks different from the last) but a reminder to us all to tap into the creative spirit when we can.
The Human Body (Mobile apps, Education & Reference)
Whether you’re a medical student or just a curious amateur anatomist, this iPad-only app gives as detailed a look at the inner workings of our bodies as you can imagine on a mobile device.
It features over 270 high-resolution images that let users zoom in and out as well as a “3D rotatable human body with selectable layers.” If that’s not interactive enough, it also promises “functions you can feel” — letting you grab your iPad to feel lungs breathe, a heart beat and even the movement of nerve impulses.
The Creators Project (Music)
Vice, in a partnership with Intel, launched The Creators Project as a way to support artists in music, visual arts, dance and other disciplines who use technology as part of their work.
Now entering its third year, The Creators Project publishes a daily blog and hosts an online community of millions who come to either take part or see the art that’s created through the project. It sponsors a content-creation studio and has partnered with public events like the Coachella music festival to highlight the work of its artists.
Artists can apply to be part of the studio, or any user can nominate an artist they think is deserving.