Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Do’s & Don’ts Making Animation Showreel

A good résumé with proper description of the skills and expertise is what professionals need to get employer’s attention. For Animation and visual effects artist, it’s the showreel that helps them to grab everyone’s attention.

The showreel plays a vital marketing tool.. One must prepare the demo reel with care, take expert advice and get feedback on it before sending it out.

The purpose of the show reel is to get one an interview with someone who can hire.

Maac Kolkata is an institution dedicated towards creating best-in-industry expert animation artist with vivid professional knowledge.

It offers to its students, courses like, AD3D EDGE Plus, D3D (Program in 3D Animation Film Making), DAFM focuses on Pre-production & Digital Filmmaking, along with an overall understanding of the 3D Animation process.

The specialised techniques, interactive sessions, in addition with help from industry expert enables the students to enhance their skills and acquire professional platform.

The faculty of Maac Kolkata ensures that the students have better knowledge professional understanding and can present themselves to the industry with superior works.

To create an expert level showreel that will help you to kick start your career and help you to get a deserved job, you need to keep in mind few “DO’s and DONT’s”, that you should follow.


The most important thing for all aspiring animators is to include only their best work in the showreel.

While selecting the items, keep in mind, that they are creative, innovative and unique in it’s own way.

A proper judgment is required to select the best works.

The showreel should possess the quality of attracting viewers and should leave them awe struck.

So, try to be utterly sincere while selecting the works-to-be-included, and don’t choose something just because you have some kind of special liking for that shot.

So, choose wisely and make it more interesting and visually perfect.

“The first impression is the last impression” goes a proverb, so begin the showreel with a best work.

If you want to make it engaging then start and end the showreel with your best works.

It needs to be up-to-the-mark and shouldn’t be lagging visually. The works should give vivid idea of your talent.

It is noteworthy, that, the specialised sessions conducted by Maac Kolkata  induces a taste of good work in the students and, undoubtedly, they excel in their field.


The showreel should not be way too long. Do not make it of 5-6 minutes of length. The zeal is lost in lengthy Animation showreels.

Make sure the whole work is not more than three minutes.

Make it short but full of impact. To get noticed on your skill and talent it is advisable to keep it within 2-3 minutes, lesser the better.

Employer’s look for amazing content in lesser time. A 30 seconds work with best content is much preferable than a lengthy reel with mediocre works.

If you include average quality works to fill time, it would surely make the project lose its charm. Don’t add long stories; instead try to present diversity in work.

Believe in quality than quantity and pay more attention in giving out the best out-put of short duration.


Always be careful of what shots you edit together. The shots should be related and it should not look whimsical.

One of the key aspects is not to repeat clips. The whole project should be engaging and interesting.

It is also important to pay adequate attention on the pace of the Animation video.

Placing reel too slow might create boredom, and the viewer may skip or pause it, and eventually lose interest in watching the whole showreel.

Even putting the pace too fast would fail to create a lasting impression.

A proper balance of speed is required so that the employer is able to recognise your talent.

Also, do not edit the show reel like a music video, where no one shot is shown in it’s full length.


Do not mess up the video with over the top titles, transitions and editing.

A proper presentation with clarity is very important for the show reel to achieve utmost impression.

Lucidity is also important to highlight the showreel as exceptional, where the shots are better understandable.

Also try to avoid loud and annoying music, as it distracts the viewers and they lose interest in watching the whole of it.

It should be kept in mind, that it is an Animation show reel not a motion graphics reel.

As in motion graphics reel a loud music can be entertaining, while in Animation showreel it can spoil the overall impact.

Use such a music that would not overpower the dialogues. A subtle music with soft pace can gain you deserved attention.

The transitions should match the shots and don’t add them in more dramatic ways.

Try to keep it simple. Also, try to include a bit of blank space between two different Animation pieces.

So that the viewers don’t misunderstand it to be one.


It is a wise idea to add your portfolio along with your Animation works in the showreel.

Also it is important to add a reel breakdown or a credit list with the showreel.

It is mandatory to add a demo reel breakdown and it should clearly show your involvement with each piece. The breakdown sheet should consist of:

Titles/Description of each shot

Software used

Any special extenuated circumstance.

An animator is judged, in its first place, from the showreel, so it is better to avoid adding “work in progress”.

Incomplete works does not put a good effect and portrays an incomplete depiction of your thoughts, which creates misconception.

It is noteworthy, to add your-



Email Id.

Include a head and tail slate with your name, phone number and email address on the reel.

It should be like a complete package of your work and personal information.


For securing an Animation job, you need a video based showreel.

Do not include examples of works that has nothing to do with the job, you are applying for. In a single reel, try to focus on a single area and give your best shot in it.

If you are applying for the designation of an animator, show works related to JUST THAT AREA and avoid adding irrelevant items.

The person who reviews the showreels has to view a number of reels, one after another.

So irrelevant things would not go down well with them.

Making the first impression strong is a very difficult, yet challenging task.

Think well and include those works with which you are confident.

Review your works again and again, so that it is capable of drawing other’s attentions.

Surely a good mentor would be of great help in this matter, as the case is with the students of Maac Kolkata.

The students are achieving great heights for the proper guidance they are getting, and soaring high in the field of Animation.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

How Animation Become Effective In Indian Television

In our today’s blog we will be discussing about the impact of animation in television in India.

Animation has a huge impact on the Indian television series.

Now, Animation is ruling over every field, whether it is sports, fashion, media, business etc.

People now use Animation as they think that it is a very good way of communicating and sharing knowledge with the general public.

Nowadays, each and every channel and every show that we see today have a bit of Animation used in it.

Animation surely makes the audience more curious to watch the Idiot box because it more attractive.

With the introduction of Animation in Indian television, the people now have easy access to cartoon characters.

Previously, it was only movies where the Animated cartoon characters were seen.

Now, people can just sit in their houses and enjoy the animated short T.V. series.

It also saves their time and money as entertainment is available at their door step.

With Animation being so prominent in television now a day it also brings up a lot of job opportunities for the young aspiring Animators.

Several T.V. productions are now keen to use Animation as a major part of their shows. In the last, 2 to 3 years there has been a huge growth in the usage of Animation where daily soaps are concerned.

Shows like Naagin, Mahabharata use a lot of animated characters rather than using real life figures.

These shows are very much loved and appreciated by people as well.

Due to the immense growth and success of Animation in television, the audience watching television has also grown very much.

There are channels taking initiatives to bring up more animated series to a wider field of audience.

There are people trying to create content that fits into animation and is relatable to every class of people in general.

One such example of such a show is Choti Anandi.

Although it didn’t receive that much attention that it should have received but it was something new as it was telecast by one of the leading channels in India, Colors.

No other daily soap leading channel has telecast an animated series like this.

Nowadays people are trying to bring back the old days of Indian television through animations and one of the examples of such a try is Shaktimaan: The Animated series. Shaktimaan was the first ever Indian superhero.

Some years back, people brought up the memories of Shaktimaan by creating an animated series with a Cartoon Shaktimaan.

People really appreciated the initiative.

Motu Patlu, the cartoon series is also adapted from the comic strip Lot Pot which used to be very popular among the 70’s and 80’s kids.

There was a time when mostly the foreign animated characters ruled over the Indian T.V. boxes. Kids mostly preferred watching Doraemon, Spiderman, and Power Rangers etc. on television.

Animation in India came to be known very late as people were satisfied with the foreign cartoon characters. The International cartoon shows were dubbed in different regional languages in India.

Television is something, very prominent in every house and almost every kid watches television in today’s world. As Indian children were watching foreign cartoons, they were not getting any knowledge about the Indian culture.

So, it was very important to build an animated series based on Indians and which showcases the day to day lives of a regular Indian.

EK ANEK AUR EKTA, the first animated video to be made be in India and by an Indian. This was the very first Indian Animation production which was hardly seven minutes long which made in the year 1974. It was telecast by India’s oldest T.V. channel, DOORDARSHAN.

The film is the sister’s reply, using a metaphorical story of how a group of birds escape a bird catcher by uniting to recruit their friends, a group of mice.

The channel also telecast India’s first animated series, GHAYAB AYA, in 1990. The story revolved around the adventures of Ghayab the friendly always does- gooder ‘Casper type’ naughty ghost.

Ghayab Aya was directed by Ashok Talwar and Animated by Suddhasattwa Basu.

After Doordarshan, there were many channels that came up with cartoon series.

Cartoon Network was the most famous on e of them. There were channels like POGO, Nickelodeon, and Hungama etc.

These channels are broadcasting several famous Animated series which depicts Indian people.

Some of the Television Animated series which became very popular in India are:


CHOR POLICE airs on Disney XD


MOTU PATLU airs on Nickelodeon.

There are many more such cartoon characters which are impact to our kids at home.

Animation series are a really good way of teaching kids our cultural values and learning. Animation also plays a vital role in mythology.

People generally don’t know much about Indian mythology because they find it boring.

So, when mythologies like Ramayana and Mahabharata is shown in an Animated form, it not only attract the kids but also educate the adults about their past.

Nowadays, there are many obligations on the content shown in cartoon channels as they are mostly viewed by the kids of a certain age. Kids have soft minds and are very keen at observing.

Therefore, the Animators as well as the channels broadcasting Animation series should keep in mind the acceptance power and sensitivity of small kids.

Not only cartoon channels but sports and news channels also rely on Animation a lot.

News Channels like Aaj Tak uses a lot of animated characters depicting the current political scenario of the country.

Some of the characters even look like our famous political leaders!

When things are shown in an animated form it generally don’t hurt the people, especially if the topic is related to politics or religion.

So, now these channels hire Animators a lot. As now there is more competition among the channels as well so, they need their content to be visually appealing.

To conclude, I believe that Indian Animation is everywhere and it doesn’t need any more support from outside.

There is a proportionate number of people who was television only for the Animation and visual effects it contains.

The Animation & Vfx industry is at its peak and now the Animators need more training and hard work to compete in such a vast market. So, there is no other place but MAAC KOLKATA for such efficient training.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Most Popular Online Animation Magazines

You ever feel like taking a single day off means falling behind in the constant race towards progress? While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, there’s no denying that industries are developing extremely fast today. In this online era we will give our readers updates of the most popular animation magazines which are available for online reading.

The driving force behind this growth is the rapid progress in technology, especially computer hardware and software. Of course, the impact of this is keenly felt in the field of animation, computer graphics and media.

For reference, let’s take a look at the Arkham series of Batman games. Albert Feliu, lead character artist for Arkham Knight (which is for Playstation 4, XBox One and Windows PC), said that a single character model in the game could contain the same amount of polygons used to render the entirety of the environment in Arkham Asylum.

The gap between the release of the two games was six years. In six years, technology had advanced this far, and of course, artists had to advance to keep up and utilize what was available to the fullest.
For the prospective animator or 3d modeler, or anyone interested in this field, then, one of the key tasks is to constantly stay aware of the latest news and developments in this world.

Fortunately, there are a number of excellent online sources that enable one to do so. Here, we’ll be covering some of the best and most widely favored ones.

ArstStation: Steadily gaining popularity through its constant and superb quality content, ArtStation is a platform for artists in the games, film, media and entertainment industry to showcase their art and skills.
Providing a means to showcase one’s portfolios and discover others’ art, it also has its own magazine, which has detailed tutorials on modeling and sculpting, digital painting, drawing, as well as visual effects and animation.

ArtStation is composed of a community of industry professionals as well as some of the best students in the world, making these tutorials both informative and up to date with the industry’s latest developments.

In addition, it also has artists’ portfolios so that one can experience and be inspired by them.

It also has a news section which should keep you in the loop on all the things you need to know about industry happenings.

Finally, it even provides job opportunities straight from some of the absolute best companies in the world, such as Ubisoft and CD Projekt Red.

As if all this weren’t enough, it even gives valuable advice and tips to those making their portfolios or planning to apply for jobs.

Animation World Network: The largest publishing group in the field of animation on the internet, it provides relevant and useful information to readers from over 151 countries!
Providing information on all aspects of animation, it covers a range of topics, and is available in both digital and physical form.

A prolific content provider, it posts around 25 times per week, ensuring that you’ll definitely get plenty of information about the industry.

3. Cartoon Brew:

Everyday since 2004, Cartoon Brew has produced quality content, bringing news, trends and ideas in animation to fans, artists and execs alike.

Notably, the site functions under the editorial presence of Amid Amidi, renowned author and historian.

Cartoon Brew focuses on both computer based animation, including visual effects used in blockbuster movies, as well as traditional hand drawn animation and stop motion, thereby providing vastly varying content.

In addition, it also accepts submissions!

This is becoming an increasingly rare practice in today’s day and age, and provides struggling independent artists with an excellent way to build connections and land a deal, or even get some exposure which might eventually lead to a job.

Cartoon Brew also provides opportunities for advertisement to both independent artists and corporate entities.


Founded in 1999 as a 3D resource website, it has grown over time into one of best 3d art websites on the Internet.

Today, it offers a myriad of training products, along with an excellent gallery that showcases artists’ work, as well as an extremely useful texture library that will give you something to cover your own models with!

It also has a large number of tutorials on varied subjects, making this an excellent site to improve one’s skills and knowledge.

And finally, we have our own MAAC blog publication, which is what you’re reading right now. As a premier institution for study in the field of animation, VFX and CGI, MAAC offers industry-relevant, career oriented courses.

Essential software’s, along with industry practices form part of the course here, ensuring that students are well prepared.

The MAAC blog is a means of providing information on techniques, important technology, as well as tips and tricks to help you take your art to the next level.

From the evolution of Animation film in India, to 3d printing, to 3d Modeling and sculpting, photography, and much else, there’s something here for everyone.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017


In our today’s blog we will discuss about the new ANGRY BIRDS series. Angry Birds is a video game franchise created by the Finnish company.

When it comes to Smartphone gaming, Angry Birds has a special place for many. After success of Angry Bird Rovio Animation decided to make movie on Angry Bird and they released it on May 5, 2016.

The series are about multi colored birds, trying to save their eggs and fighting all norms.

The first Angry Birds video game was launched in December, 2009. Now, almost after 8 years of its launch, the game receives the same support and acceptance from the people.

The game not only played by the kids and teenagers but the grown up adults too. Wherever we go, we will definitely find a kid playing Angry Birds on his/her parents phone.

The popularity of the game led to the creation of its feature films, animated television series, new versions for PCs and variety of video game consoles. Its success has resulted it to be a big brand in the gaming field now.

As per 2010, 12 million copies of the game were purchased from App Store.

In June 15th, Rovio released the latest game title, Angry Birds Evolution. Angry Birds Evolution introduces over 100 new, never seen characters.

The birds are in completely in new attire.

In this 3D RPG video game, the players can build their team to save the world from the pigs.

If you want to not only play but experience the whole process of making games like Angry Birds, there no other place but MAAC KOLKATA.

The new Angry Birds Evolution brings the Rovio games to whole new level as now it resonates with the older audience too.

This new game shows the Angry Birds with more adult oriented, attitude and humor.

The eggs are in danger a one more time but, now we have a whole new set of Angry Birds trying to protect them from the piggies.

It is not that classy Angry Birds game that used to be played by people just few months ago but it gives a full time entertainment by just being available in your smart phones. It can be downloaded from Google Play and App Store.

There are about 90 different kinds of egg stealing pigs. One aspect of Angry Birds Evolution you might not expect is that it’s not geared toward kids, or at least there’s a conscious effort to make this one more “adult.”

Ravio has introduced something new as the latest installment is a turn-based role-playing video game.

The core of the game is still the same but the mechanics have changed. It takes up about 500MB of space after installation.

The video game is divided into different chapters and each chapter puts up opponents with different skills in front of you.

This video game looks larger than life and this because of its landscape feature. You can adjust your camera angle for a better gaming experience.

The video game looks simple but requires strategizing in order to beat the pigs, which control the Island.

They have been given special powers which need to be controlled by the gamers. For a better experience, the gamer has to upgrade the birds.  Power-ups and special attacks add to the strategy as you pick your targets and try to eliminate them before they have a chance to do harm to your squad.

The Angry Birds are much angrier now and this is very genially reflected by the game developers.

As the new avatar of the birds, shows how much handwork has gone for the visual look of the game.

Games and any other field of animation are only successful when it appeals to the eyes of the audience and this does exactly that.

The game doesn’t ask you to learn a whole new way of doing things for multiplayer, and the matches usually tend to be fast and frantic.
In the video game, you will be given missions and will have to collect different characters. The New Angry Bird game is free and is also what’s fascinates the young people.

To improve the chances in the game, the players can also spend real money on gold coins. There are different packages available.

The new Angry Birds game has a lot to offer to its users but the only drawback is that it cannot be played offline.

Although many people say that the new game is full of references and adaptations, for example, there’s a Zelda reference and a Pulp Fiction reference too.

People around the world have different views and opinions about the new Angry Birds game. Some really like and enjoy it like the kids whereas some believe that it does not match the already set standards by the previous Angry Birds games.

That is what makes the gaming world so unique, it is filled with different opinions and these differences of opinions create new ideas and innovations.

MAAC KOLKATA is the place where we see such different minds brewing with new ideas.

Monday, 7 August 2017


One of the most awaited movies of 2017 was Salman Khan Starrer movie Tubelight. In our today’s blog we will be discussing about the making of the movie with special mention to VFX and special effects used in the making of the movie.

According to the superstar that this film was emotionally challenging for him to act.

“I loved the character as it was narrated to be. This was my best role. I don’t think I will get any better role that this as this man is simple and emotional. This was the most loved character that I have ever played.”

The toughest challenge he faced was to walk and talk like Laxman Singh Bisht   the character he played.

Lots of other challenges being faced while shooting for the movie too.

The crew initially decided the second schedule to be shot in Kashmir, which due to some delays was changed to Manali.

The weather had gone against Salman Khan and Kabir Khan, who are in Manali to shoot the second schedule of their film Tubelight.  The set was completely wrapped with clouds.

They had built a set  of 12000 feet high in the mountains. But when the crew went to shoot they found the set was completely covered with clouds all over.

Tubelight,  also starring Chinese actress Zhu Zhu along and the movie revolves around a love story set in the 1965 Sino-Indian war.

The makers of Tubelight have released a behind the scenes video from the film’s Ladakh schedule. The video exemplifies the difficulty the film’s unit had to face while shooting in the region.

Mostly the war scenes have been shot in Ladakh, which feature Sohail Khan in the avatar of Bharat Singh Bisht, a soldier.

The film was shot in Leh for around 15 days, informs the lead actor cum producer Salman Khan. Talking about shooting in different locations, director Kabir Khan said, “Locations for me are very important. I seriously feel that locations bring in a certain character into the film.”

Salman’s brother and co-star Sohail Khan elaborated on the difficulties the unit had to face while shooting in Ladakh.

According to him, all actors were still a little pampered, since they just had to get ready for the shot but the unit was working in between the shots.

The terrain was difficult, the winds used to begin from 132 onwards. Those winds were nasty because they used to carry mud and pebbles that used to hit on the eyes and ears.

Although the makers had a tough time filming in Ladakh, the war scenes shot in scenic locales were surely a delight to the eyes!

Tubelight opened to poor reviews from critics on Friday. The film was not showered with love by the audience either.

Box office performance of the movie bears testimony to this fact.

On its 5th day, Tuesday, the movie collected Rs 13.50 crores at the box office and now stands with a total of 97.36 crores at the domestic box office.

This surely was a disappointment for a Salman Khan film and is quite surprising that it could not enter the 100-cr-club on its opening weekend.

Based on the story of the original film ‘Little Boy’, Tubelight is an upcoming Indian historical war drama film written and directed by Kabir Khan.

Prime Focus has delivered VFX, DI and EQR services for the film. The VFX and Digital Intermediate of Salman Khan Films’ Tubelight is has been done at Prime Focus.

Tubelight is not a VFX-heavy film.  But VFX is being used a little bit of crowd multiplication, in the background here and there.

Thursday, 3 August 2017


Hundreds and thousands of years ago, three dimensional art existed in the form of sculpture.  In our today’s blog we will discuss the evolution of sculpting and with time how it changes into digital sculpting.

In its earliest stages, sculpture took the form of relief carvings on walls and rudimentary carvings.

Eventually, over the centuries, the form developed from wall carvings to structures such as the Moai on Easter Island, to realistic masterpieces like David by Bernini and Moses by Michelangelo.

A wide range of materials, such as stone, wood, clay and ceramics, and metal, are used, as well as a range of techniques.

Today, sculpture as an art form has evolved from its physical iteration to gain a place in the virtual world of computers.

Like the Renaissance in Europe in the fifteenth century, there has been a modern renaissance of sorts with the advent of digital sculpting.

Digital sculpting is also known as 3D sculpting or sculpts modelling.

It involves the use of software in order to create highly detailed models in a manner similar to that offered by the use of traditional sculpting tools like brushes and shapers.

There is a range of software available, and the most common names are Autodesk Mudbox, Pixologic Z-Brush, and MAXON Cinema 4D.

Z-Brush in particular has proven to be a revolutionary contribution to digital sculpting.

The majority of digital sculpting software uses a mesh-based geometry: objects are made up of an interconnected surface mesh that can be manipulated in various ways (push, pull, pinch, slice etc.)

In a manner similar to traditional sculpting.

The geometry mesh can be sculpted at different levels of detail by adding proxy polygons.

However the limitation lies in the geometry design as well: This software is bound by the number of polygons and the layout of the polygons that make up the mesh.

In contrast to mesh based sculpting software are voxel-based ones. Voxels are to three dimensional spaces what points are to the two-dimensional.

Consequently, they can be used for more specific rendering as they can provide information in volumetric detail unlike a surface mesh, which is essentially a structure enclosing empty space.

Software like VoxEd use a voxel-based system to produce renderable geometry.

Voxel systems are frequently used in medical and scientific data analysis, while surface mesh systems are used more where surface information (that is to say, appearance of the geometry) is more important than the volume information.

As a result, our field of design, vfx and animation sees the widespread use of surface based sculpting software like ZBrush and Mudbox.

As we have established, digital sculpting is used to produce highly detailed models that would otherwise require millions upon millions of polygons to create.

In the average scenario, a model created in a software like 3DS Max is unwrapped (a process in which three-dimensional polygon data is spread out in a two-dimensional layout so that colours, bump and displacement information and the like can be applied in great detail), and this information along with the model is imported into the sculpting software.

After sculpting, the sculpted surface information is exported into a 2D image and applied to the model as a displacement (for surface deformation) or normal (for the illusion of surface deformation by changing the facing direction or normal of the polygons) map.

In ZBrush, models can be made from scratch, sculpted and posed with a basic rig setup, leading to its popularity as an all-in-one sculpting solution.

Due to the realism possible, creature design is one of the most popular avenues for those interested in sculpting.

Science fiction and fantasy remain two of the genres where realistic three dimensional designs holds an esteemed and necessary place.

Films like Alien, Godzilla, Cloverfield, John Carter, The Hobbit are notable examples of the same. Let us understand more about sculpting and creature design by exploring these famous creatures.

Alien: Ridley Scott pioneered this creature in his 1979 film of the same name.

The Alien is an extraterrestrial creature and the main antagonist of the series of films, and while the initial designs with the classic crest on the head and extendable jaw were done by a Swiss sculptor, present day films in the franchise such as Alien vs Predator, Prometheus and Alien: Covenant rely heavily on digital design and sculpting.

Godzilla: In the 1998 film Godzilla, the creature is referred to as kaiju, a Japanese word meaning monster, and the 2014 reboot film uses the term from the comic series, gojira.

The latter design for the creature is a masterpiece, and is a brilliant example of the kind of creature design possible with digital sculpting. Godzilla in the reboot was designed to more closely resemble the ‘iguana-like’ monster in the original 1954 Toho film.

As director Gareth Edwards said, he imagined what it would be like if someone really saw a creature like Godzilla in the 1950s and then went and made a film about it.

And’s not just the titular monster; the winged beasts that Godzilla gets pitted against were also designed through digital sculpting.

Clover: Conceived by J. J. Abrams and designed by Neville Page for the 2008 film Cloverfield, Clover was designed as an ‘immature, newborn’ which was lost, confused and scared and served as a pivotal factor in terms of creature design and story development.

There are whites in its eyes to enforce this, like a scared horse. The fact that despite its enormous size, it is an infant makes it all the more awesome.

It is quadrupedal, with several appendages and pouches that inflate when it is agitated.

Smaug: The dragon from Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy might have become famous for being voiced by actor Benedict Cumberbatch, but he is also a marvel of design.

Fearsome in the books, in the film this gets realised beautifully. Scales, claws and intelligence characterize the creature, and are enforced by his massive size.

His greedy and cunning nature, too, are captured through subliminal detailing like the shape of the eyes and proportions of the face.

Now that you have begun to scratch the surface of what creature design entails, it’s time to do some exploring on your own.

There are numerous creatures out there to gain inspiration from, and for technique and software knowhow there is MAAC Kolkata.

If fluid, organic modelling is your passion, it is well worth a try.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Evolution of Animation & VFX In Indian Cinema

On one’s way to work or school, waiting for transport. The auto that takes you where you want not only provides a means of travel, but some music as well, some of Bollywood’s golden age tunes. In our today’s blog we will discuss about the evolution of Animation and VFX in Indian Cinema, popularly known as Bollywood.

As you go, you see posters showing off the newest star’s upcoming film. Films are not just entertainment here: they’re a part of life. Students, professionals, parents, grandparents: everyone in the country is united by the love of cinema.

As of 2013, India ranks first in the world in terms of annual film output. In 2016, the industry’s gross box office earnings came to 15,500 crore (US$2.4 billion).

The prospect of foreign direct investment has made the industry attractive to the likes of 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros and Walt Disney Pictures while Indian companies such as Zee, UTV and many others continue to grow and expand. Cinema is nothing short of a financial and cultural force in today’s day and age.

That being said, one of the reasons why we love films is because they’re inherently unreal.

A great artist is able to portray something impossible in a way that makes you believe it isn’t.

In the context of films, this is achieved through the use of Visual Effects (VFX) and 3D Computer Generated Imagery (CGI). Some films are so far into the realm of the imaginary, that the only way to produce them is in an entirely animated medium.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the evolution of film in India, especially with regards to VFX and CGI.

While there had been films made in India earlier, they are generally not considered part of our film canon. It was Dadasaheb Phalke, who, with his landmark film Raja Harishchandra, began the legacy of Indian cinema in 1913, and is thus called the father of Indian cinema.

Still struggling to overthrow the British regime, many films at the time had tones of nationalism, and stirred the people to action. It was a show of art’s ability to inspire people and transform lives.

It was also Dadasaheb Phalke who first experimented with animation in India.

His 1912 shot film The Growth of a Pea Plant was based on the concept of time lapse photography, with one frame shot per day. Subsequently, in 1915, he produced Agkadyanchi Mouj (Matchsticks’ Fun).

Later, he followed with Laxmicha Galicha (animated coins), and Vichitra Shilpa (inanimate animation) 1934 saw the release of the first Indian animated film to have a soundtrack: On a Moonlit Night.

The same year also saw the first animated film to get a theatrical release, The Pea Brothers. It was directed by Gunamoy Banerjee and produced by New Theatres Limited.

The film used drawn black and white images. The plot revolved around a pea pod that opens up to release peas, from which rise toy-like figures that play with each other. The film was an experimental attempt.

The 1940s were a decade that changed the world. They saw India win her Independence. They saw the world ravaged by World War II. In the world of Indian cinema, they saw filmmakers become bolder than ever before.

One of the major focuses of animation as a medium is being lifelike. While animation revels in exaggeration, it is ultimately based on real life, and thus, realism is one of the cornerstones of any good film, no matter how unreal or fantastic it may be.

It was only after 1977 that the world truly became aware of the importance of the visual aspect of a film, and the importance of realism in the depiction of unusual scenes.

With the release of Star Wars: a New Hope, John Dykstra, special effects designer, and his team pioneered from scratch the technology and techniques of depicting large scale science fiction landscapes, battles and explosions.

Their achievement was nothing short of revolutionary, and would change the special effects landscape for all time.

As a matter of fact, CGI already existed and had been used in Futureworld, which had debuted a year earlier.

It was, however, a method still in its infancy, not yet capable of bringing to life George Lucas’ imagined world. No, that would happen in 1993, with the release of Jurassic Park.

It was the first film to utilize CGI at a level that completely blurred the line between fiction and reality: when those dinosaurs moved, the audience believed.

The impact of these films on the country’s cinematic landscape was massive: not only were visual effects now used to conveniently allow the addition of scenes which would have been considerably more expensive to physically shoot in entirety.

With the building of props, or going on location, but they also introduced the idea of the science fiction film which was based on things that simply couldn’t be depicted without these technologies.

The implementation and rise of CGI and VFX in the Indian cinematic industry was something arrived at through a long road. From the early 2D animated films of the 30s, we had progressed to an age where video editing and CGI software was available to us.

The first fully Animated feature length film to be made in India was Pandavas: The Five Warriors, in 2000, directed by Usha Ganesh Raja and produced by Pentamedia Graphics.

At the time, it was lauded for what it had achieved. It was a winner of the Second Best Animated Feature Film Award in Vancouver Effects & Animation Festival, 2001, as well as the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English.

Ramayana is the directorial debut of Chetan Desai, the chairman and managing director of Maya Digital Media on 15 October 2010.

More than 400 crewmembers where 80% of members was from MAAC worked on the film over a five-year period the first three years were spent designing the characters, while the other two were devoted to actual production.

Since then, both hardware and software have come a long way. With an increasing percentage of the total number of shots in films utilizing VFX or CGI, the demand for skilled professionals increased. Films such as Dhoom 3, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Om Shanti Om showed that India had made significant strides in the field.

In 2015, we saw the release of Baahubali: The Beginning. On many levels, this film was the litmus test for the VFX and CGI industry in India.

On a conceptual level, the film was a success, blending Indian mythology with Western flair and presenting a story that was engaging.

The film consists of a vast percentage of CGI, including 2500 VFX shots. Makuta VFX was chosen as the principal visual effects provider, responsible for a large amount of the CGI.

Much of the work involved creating a 1500 feet waterfall, along with mountains, landscapes and the kingdom of Mahishmati.

Creating the waterfall took a staggering 2 years, owing to the complexity of the fluid dynamics and simulations involved.

Firefly Creative Studio worked on the avalanche and the war sequences, along with some underwater VFX shots.

This was also the first time an Indian movie had used Academy Color Encoding System workflows along with Infinitely Scalable Information Storage keeping in mind the scale of the digitally enhanced shots in the film.

Arka Media Works teamed with AMD, utilizing the state of the art FirePro GPUs W9100 and W8100 during post production, hardware capable of rendering 4K content in real time.
The film’s success, of course, speaks for itself.
So where next for Indian cinema?

With an endless possibility of new ideas and powerful next gen hardware capable of making it all real, the sky is the limit. And that’s where creators and artists come in.

With institutes such as MAAC training students in the nuances and skills necessary for the animation and vfx industry, more and more new voices are being added, and more and more stories are being told.

With industry specific softwares and courses designed to prepare students for professional work, where better to prepare for a career in CGI and VFX than at MAAC, As a certain someone once said, “To Infinity and beyond!”