Monday, 31 July 2017


In today’s blog we will discuss how can one make his own short animation film be it 2d animation or in 3d animation.

Art has been a point of fascination for mankind from the very beginning. From cave paintings in prehistoric times, to mixed media art in the present day, art has endured through time.

Art, however, does not only refer to single images – it also includes sequential images. Recent technology has enabled us to play such sequences of images and see the action ‘happening’ before us.

This phenomenon is popularly referred to as the motion picture or film (after the celluloid reels traditionally used to project the images).


Combining traditional art and the motion picture is the genre we know as animation films.

Animation, or the process of creating movement in otherwise unmoving elements, is a technique that has evolved from the days of drawing sequential images (called frames) to modern day digital 3D films.

In this article, let us take a look at how an animation film – be it hand-drawn 2D, or digital 2D or 3D – is made.

In any film, there are three stages of development: pre-production (when the film is planned out), production (when the film is created), and post-production (when the film is edited and polished into a finished product).

The same holds true for the animation film.

Pre-production: The first step to making an animation film is to decide on a story.

Unlike live action, where improvisation is possible, animation leaves no room for winging it.

The story does not have to follow any traditional structure, but it should ideally have a beginning, middle and end.

Conflict is also important – the character(s) being focused on in the story should come across a problem and find a solution or resolution by the end of the film.

The story, or plot, can follow any theme and while it does not need to be grand (or in more technical terms, epic), it should capture the viewer’s attention.

Once the story is set, the next step is to design the characters.

Your character could be anything from an inanimate object to an insect, human, dinosaur or even magical creatures.

The important thing here is to sketch out how the character looks from different angles and decide on their personality.

Draw it, him or her from different angles in various poses and costumes in order to understand what works and maintain consistency during production.

The third and most crucial part of pre-production for an animation film is to draw out the storyboard.

A storyboard is a series of images depicting the actions taking place in the film.

While it is not always used for live-action films, the storyboard is a must for any animation film.

Animation is a time-consuming process, because of which planning the visuals and action in advance in full detail is necessary to save time and effort.

Adding colour or background detail isn’t required unless demanded by the story; however, a lot of major production houses include background detail in their storyboards so that so detail is left undecided.

For each image (or frame) being drawn, also include any dialogue or effects (camera movements, shot to shot transition, etc.).

When a sequence of such images are placed in a slideshow and timed according to the action or dialogue, it produces a rough film called an animatic.

You can even add the transition and camera effects for a clearer idea of how your film is going to turn out. Animatics give a simple and comprehensive idea of how your film is going to unfold, and helps you gauge what scenes to or not to include in the final film.

Production: Once you have visualised your story in the form of a storyboard or animatic, it is time to decide how you want to realise the film. The most obvious choices are –

Hand-drawn 2D: Also called traditional or classical animation, hand-drawing your movie’s frames is how animation used to be done in the early days.

Classic films like Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were made in this way. A minimum of 10-12 frames have to be drawn for every second’s duration of the film, keeping continuity of action in mind.

Digital 2D: In the computer age, there is different software by developers like ToonBoom and Adobe which allow for easier 2D animation. For these, you simply need your background and characters designed and coded for movement (a process known as rigging), and you can use the software to add in the motion.

This sort of automation does produce more consistent output than hand-drawing (at least, as far as beginners or amateurs are involved), but can be limited in scope. Most modern 2D content is digital. Examples of films include The Iron Giant, Spirited Away.

Digital 3D: 3D animation is synonymous with names like Pixar. It is the kind of look and design we find in films like Toy Story, Roadside Romeo, Epic, or The Boss Baby. This is very time consuming and resource intensive, as 3D software like Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3Ds Max and Blender require far more computation to render an output than 2D.

The end result, however, is well worth the effort.

Stop-motion: A less common style of producing an animation film is stop-motion.

It is done by making models of characters and scenes, and taking photographs of every frame after manually adjusting the model as per the required action.

The short film Balance, and the recent feature film Kubo and the Two Strings were made using this method.

Post-production: Once your film is ready and the shots rendered, it needs sound and arrangement.

All of this is done in the post production stage.

From editing (arranging the shots in order and adding necessary transitions) and adding in dialogue and sound effects, to compositing (combining the different layers of information like colour, depth, lighting and shadow) and colour correction to enhance the visuals, post-production determines the final impact of your film.

Now that you know how to make an animation film, give it a try!

And if you need further guidance on the intricacies of any of the three stages, do visit MAAC Chowringhee, Rashbehari, Kankurgachi .

And be a part of our courses in graphic and 2D design, 3D design and animation, and compositing and visual effects techniques (which are invaluable for good post-production)!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Use Of VFX In War Scenes In Movies

A war film is concerned with warfare of all kinds, from naval to air to land battles, with combat scenes central to the drama. How was that possible to shoot in real life without some techniques, so their came the role of VFX.

Themes explored include combat, survival and escape, sacrifice, the futility and inhumanity of battle, the effects of war on society, and the moral and human issues raised by war.

The stories told may be fiction, historical drama, or biographical with plots exploring action and even wartime romance.

The Battleship Potemkin (1925) is among the most well-known of the early war films.

The genre is not tightly defined and its definition varies widely depending upon people’s personal perception of it.

A study of the most celebrated war films, however, reveals one important common trait: realism.

Films like Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, The Hurt Locker, Lakshya, Madras Café are among the most loved war films from India and the world, and they all give us an unflinching portrait of the violence and bloodshed, hard decisions, and tension that characterize any war.

The popularity of war films progressively increased in the 20th century and the World Wars became the most popular subject.

After the World Wars and Nazi themes, it was the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

In India, there were films made about gaining independence from the British or ongoing the tussles with our neighboring countries like Pakistan or Sri Lanka.

With changing times, cinema evolved and so did the cinematic techniques.

Technical excellence became a necessity in film production with the advent of modern technology, and this trend hasn’t changed to this day.

VFX is extensively used in films, and the war film provides an ideal platform through its need for realism of action.

In addition to creating environments or adding effects such as explosions, many war films also need crowd simulations as it’s simply not feasible to recruit thousands upon thousands of actors to play extra roles.

As far as foreign films are concerned, 2006 saw the release of an iconic war film, 300. Based on a 1998 comic series by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, it depicts a fictionalized retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae within the Persian Wars.

Two months of pre-production were required to create animatronics animals, and the hundreds of shields, spears, and swords, some of which were recycled from movies like Troy.

The actors trained alongside the stuntmen, and even Snyder joined in.

Over 600 costumes were created for the film, along with extensive prosthetics for various characters and the corpses of Persian soldiers.

Only one scene, in which horses travel across the countryside, was shot outdoors.

It was filmed mostly against a blue screen, to help replicate the imagery of the original comic book: environments were digitally created, and the actors painstakingly composited into the scenes to reproduce the stylised picturisation of Ancient Greece.

The film has gained a solid place in international film as a unique war movie.

A discussion on technically accomplished war scenes in movies is incomplete without mention of James Cameron’s Avatar.

Released in 2009, the film portrays an epic struggle of the Na’vi to reclaim their home planet Pandora from the citizens of Earth, who are seeking to mine the precious element Unobtanium.

Cameron waited over a decade to see the film realised, and not without reason.

Most of the movie is shot after gorgeous shot of Pandora and the Na’vi.

The planet, its blue-skinned natives, and its black-skinned beasts were digitally created and animated with the aid of motion capture from actors.

The climactic battle scene is worth mention: as human machines mow down glowing trees to get closer to the Unobtanium mine, our hero Jake Sully, in Avatar form, takes control of the King of the Skies – Toruk – to turn the tide of the battle.

The scenes of the Na’vi praying as one at the mother tree while the battle is afoot are equally breathtaking.

Other notable Hollywood films featuring memorable war scenes are The Last Samurai by Edward Zwick, Hacksaw Ridge by Mel Gibson, Fury by David Ayer, and Apocalypse Now by Francis Ford Coppola.

Indian film, too, has its fair share of war films and use of VFX in it. Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar (2008) and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani (2015) are recent notable examples of films with a fair share of visual effects augmentation to portray battles and wars onscreen.

Both (especially Bajirao Mastani) featured extensive use of crowd simulation techniques to reproduce the huge armies that were taken to battle in those days where VFX plays an quite important role..

This is typically done for the long shots that establish the battle, as relatively lower poly models can be used along with image based rendering to get a good and realistic output without the need for thousands upon thousands of actors.

Chroma and staged sets were also employed to recreate the environments of the Mughal and Maratha empires in the respective films.

For Jodhaa Akbar, Gowariker tried to use traditional film techniques as far as possible; he hired around five thousand extras, and several hundred animals to reduce the pressure on the post production team. Bajirao, however, was a different story and VFX involved.

It relied heavily on VFX for the environments, and NY Vfxwalla  did a large part of the effects work for the film – including the war scenes, as well as the final climactic hallucination sequence of Peshwa Bajirao.

More recently, the Baahubali duology of films (2015-2017) by S. S. Rajamouli has some notable war scenes that boast of technical accomplishment.

From crowd simulation to environments and weaponry, it has it all. You can read more about Baahubali in earlier posts on our blog. Rangoon (2017) and The Ghazi Attack (2017) are more examples of Indian war films.

The former is set amidst the Indo-Burmese tensions during World War II, while the latter depicts the attack on the Pakistani submarine PNS Ghazi off the coast of Vishakhapatnam during the war of 1971. On a global level, Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a highly anticipated war film releasing this month.

The film features extensive use of practical effects, augmented with VFX by Double Negative.

If you are more the doing kind, walk in to your nearest MAAC Kolkata centre and start your journey to explore firsthand the techniques used to make these war films come to life.

So creative hearted people still thinking what to do?

We are just a call away. Our helpline number 9836321595.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Awesome Approaches To Photography With Maac Kolkata

Billboards advertisements to Facebook posts to Instagram these days, it seems we’re met with some or the other photographic image no matter where we look! So photography is very much in now-a-days.

From awe-inspiring wildlife pictures taken after years of practice, to casual selfies taken to show off in front of friends, there are many different kinds of pictures in the world, taken by all kinds of people.

Indeed, photography is no longer something for only a privileged few to engage in.

With the rapid development of technology, especially cell phones, anyone can be a photographer today.

That, along with the growth of social media platforms, has been one of the major factors for the spectacular popularity of the still photographic image as a medium of communication.

Despite this (or maybe because of it), a lot of people have distorted ideas of what photography is!

Many who want to take pictures and share them with people are unsure how to begin, or whether they should begin at all.

Fortunately, we at MAAC Kolkata are here to clear up those doubts and set you on your road to taking the pics you want to.

What exactly is photography?

At the end of the day, it involves using a device called a camera to capture light in the form of an image which is then to be projected on a two dimensional plane (such as paper, or your computer screen).

But is it really the only way to capture an image in time?

For thousands of years before the invention of the camera, human beings have been capturing their external reality in the form of two dimensional images.

From the cave paintings of the Stone Age to the portraiture of Leonardo da Vinci, artists have been doing essentially the same thing for generations!

This clues us in on the first (and most important) fact about photography: it is about having an image in one’s mind.

While painters, pencillers and ink artists can draw entirely from their imagination, they too start from the same point as photographers: reality.

Everything else is simply based off of actual life, off of the real people, places and living beings you see around you every day.

Mastering the use of the camera comes later.

First, you must have an image in your mind that you want to show others.

That could be something you’ve seen. Perhaps a sunset. Perhaps that spider that’s made its home in your balcony.

It could be anything. As long as it means something to you, you can make it mean something to others!

So you’ve found a subject.

But now you just can’t seem to create that perfect picture you imagined.

That’s where composition comes in.

Lighting, colour, balance, these are key to taking a great photograph.

Take some time and read a few articles. Photography is key to most media productions, including film, TV, or even animation because they all revolve around the same concept of finding the best way to frame and capture an image so as to showcase a message.

All reputed educational institutes in the fields of film and media make it a point to teach these basics, and it’s incredible how much of a difference they make in your pictures.

The next bit of advice we’re going to give you is going to seem contradictory, but don’t worry, it’ll all make sense. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.

Your photographer friend might go on about things like sharpness (which is important), but your focus should be on the things that make a good picture, like colour, the pose of the subjects, and light.

A good photo tells a story. Think about it as a frame from a comic book, minus the speech bubbles.

Ever wondered exactly why Superman is drawn the way he is?

His physique, the colours used for his suit, and more to the point of our discussion, the way he is portrayed in cover art.

A low angle shot, emphasizing his stature, taken from the side, to present us with his full profile, with the skyline of Metropolis in the background.

Even without a single written word, the picture is telling us something: “Superman is watching over this entire city.”

That is the kind of storytelling you’re looking to do with each photograph.

Building up an idea of what makes a balanced picture might sound challenging, but as always, the masters have left us solid principles to guide our art.

The Rule of Thirds is one such excellent rule of thumb. Just think of your picture as being divided into nine equal parts by two horizontal lines and two vertical lines.

The grid thus created allows us to align the horizon with either the higher or lower line, or place our subject close to any of the four points of intersection (called the “points of interest”) for maximum impact.

Most importantly, it helps us avoid making a habit of putting the subject right in the centre of the photo, which makes it look like we’re trying to force the viewer to see something!

Instead, placing the subject on or near the point’s interest allows us to draw attention in a more subtle manner.

And finally, take the time to learn from some masters of the art.

Stalwarts such as Kane Lew often take time out from their schedules to speak at institutes, and we at MAAC Kolkata are honored to host such professionals from time to time, providing a platform for them to interact with and share their experiences with young learners.

In the end, it is up to an individual to make the most of his chosen skill.

Whether your goal is as a hobby, or to one day make it as a professional, there are things you can learn from those who have industry experience.

Follow some good pages, and try talking to others who are more experienced.

One of the best ways of improving one’s photography skills is to immerse oneself in nature and the outdoor world.

After all, without being alive to the beauty of the world, how can one take great photos?

At MAAC Kolkata, periodic expeditions are organised for this very purpose.

MAAC Klick is a special event organised from time to time where students follow wildlife exploration trails at locations such as Jaldapara National Park, Sundarban, Sariska Tiger Reserve, Coorg, Ayodhya, Matheran and Amboli.

The expeditions are guided by Kane Lew and Amit Rane, wildlife photography experts.

Photography workshops are also organised.

These events combine to provide students a rich and varied experience sure to enrich their tastes and sensibilities.

Improvement, at the end of the day, is about practice and dedication, and constantly being interested in the amazing things the world is always trying to show us.

From the local construction worker hard at work to the morning rain, there are countless subjects out there for an eager photographer.

What are you waiting for? Go out there and click them all!

Happy Photography!!

So creative hearted people still thinking what to do?

We are just a call away. Our helpline number 9836321595.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Power Of Print Media

In our today’s blog we will discuss the power of print media.

The world is facilitated by information exchange.

Be it in the form of news, opinions and gossip, interviews, film and television shows, books or any other medium, this sort of knowledge interchange is what enriches, and provides direction and structure to our life.

Media determines our actions to a large extent, and often we become sources of information as well.

This sort of proliferation of media is the basic root of advertisement, which is the promotion or publicizing of a product, service or event.

Branding is a crucial aspect as well, because if one does not have a distinguishable name, they have no way to stand out in the media pool.

While society as a whole is going digital, the most trusted form of media still remains print media. By print media, we mean physical, tangible sources of information such as newspapers, magazines and leaflets.

While digital advertising and media promotion is becoming quite popular, let us focus on the classic mode of print media advertisement.

Print media advertising uses such physically printed forms of media in order to reach consumers, businesses, customers and other prospective audiences.

There are several different types of print media that brands can use to promote themselves:

Periodicals: These refer to newspapers and magazines. There are over 1 lakh periodicals registered with the government of India as of 2015.

Most of them are in the Hindi language (around 39,000) and English (around 13,000). Advertisers can choose from a large selection of newspaper formats, such as local, regional or national titles published daily, in the evenings, weekly, or even Sunday editions.

Newspapers target different readerships with a mix of various categories of content like sports, entertainment, business, fashion, politics, and/or opinion pieces, in addition to local, national and international news.

Magazines are in a book format and offer advertisers extensive choices of readership and frequency of publication.

These typically cover a wide range of interests, like sport, hobbies, fashion, health, current affairs (such as trade and commerce, business, etc.) and local topics.

Advertisers can buy different sizes of advertising space, from small classifieds ads which have only text, to larger ads that can include text, photographs, illustrations and graphics in sizes that range up to a full page or even a double-page spread.

Major papers by circulation include Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Amar Ujala, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, and Ananda Bazar Patrika.

India Today, Economic Times, Champak, Anandamela, Femina, Reader’s Digest and Sarita are among the most popular magazines.

Billboards and Posters: If you live in the city, chances are that you see at least five billboards every day.

If you don’t know what billboards are, they are what we commonly call hoardings.

These and posters are put up on various street corners and feature advertisements about different products, services or events.

They are the easiest method to reach a huge and varied audience.

In fact, there are so many billboards in our country that movements have started in several cities to motivate the authorities to regulate them and prevent defacing of public property.

Sometimes, instead of pasting posters on walls or lamp posts, pamphlets and flyers are handed out to pedestrians.

Direct Mail or Post: Some advertisers use the postal system to spread their sales message.

In this kind of print media, printed content is posted directly to the consumer’s home.

These advertisers usually have a mailing list of people who will be sent their media. Magazines like Reader’s Digest India use this system to promote their secondary publications and sweepstakes events, which are also tactics to turn the casual reader into a subscriber.

Door To Door Drop: Have you ever found an advertisement pamphlet tucked away in the morning paper or with the other letters in your postbox? That is the door to door drop system.

Catalogues: A catalogue is a type of magazine that contains a list of products or services.

They are typically used by stores to provide customers with a comprehensive collection of their available products and inspire them to make purchases, and are even found in planes for passengers to browse and order on the go.

Now that we have an idea of the different types of print media, let us look at the plus points of print media advertising.

Print Media is a sensory medium, unlike its digital counterpart.

While moving content to the internet has drastically improved the reach of advertising, the virtual world does not offer tangibility.

Feeling paper in one’s hands makes the advertisement seem more real, and establishes its existence in the physical world.

It’s not just touch: printed paper triggers more senses than seeing something on a screen, and therefore has a stronger impact on the reader.

Research has shown that engaging more than three senses can increase the effectiveness of an advertisement by upto 70%!

Further, print offers less distraction than the internet which leads to longer durations of engagement with a particular content.

This means that content leaves a more profound effect on the reader.

Print is also extremely flexible, as different categories of information can be targeted to specific audiences through different formats, as we saw in the types of print media.

These days, a lot of these print media advertisements are being converted to a digital format.

News providers, periodicals, and other advertisers are expanding to an internet presence in order to reach a wider audience and make current content available at all times.

They include advertisements for their content on other websites as well by purchasing what is known as ‘digital real estate’, or ad-space.

Event traditional print media ads include QR codes linking to the advertiser’s digital presence and bridging the gap between print and virtual.

This digital content is accessible across mobile as well as desktop platforms, increasing the capability of the media.

At MAAC Kolkata, you can harness the power of this fast-growing world through courses tailored to teach you about graphic and web design, branding and advertising and give you a head start for your advertising career and print media industry.

Thursday, 20 July 2017


3D Printing (also called additive manufacturing) refers to a number of techniques and processes used to create a three-dimensional object.

These objects can be of a huge range of shapes, sizes and geometry types, and are controlled by a computer that is fed 3D object data in what is termed as an AMF or Additive Manufacturing File.

Unlike the traditional machining processes where material is removed from a stock, 3D printing or AM builds a three-dimensional object layer by layer using the information fed to it via a computer-aided design (CAD) or AMF file.

Originally, the process known as 3D printing involved depositing a binder material layer by layer onto a powder bed using inkjet printer heads. It was associated with polymer or plastic technologies, whereas additive manufacturing or AM was used for metalwork and other such production contexts.

‘Additive manufacturing’ emerged as an umbrella term in the early 2000s, while ‘3D printing’ gained traction among the masses due to its use by consumer-oriented producers.

Lower-end machines (either in terms of capability or price) have been historically associated with it, and AM is the preferred term in formal or industrial manufacture, due to the basic nature of the process: sequential layer addition to create a 3D object under computer control.

The earliest additive manufacturing technologies, materials, and equipment were developed in Japan in 1981.

Hideo Kodama invented a method for fabricating three-dimensional models using a light and temperature-sensitive polymer with the area of exposure being controlled by a mask pattern to give the object proper shape.

In 1986, Chuck Hull of 3D Systems in the USA patented his process of stereo lithography, which is a type of 3D printing technology that uses light-sensitive (photopolymerisation).

His technology is used even today for digital slicing of CAD models and infill strategies to construct the physical object.

He is also the mastermind behind the STL (Stereolithography) file format in printers that use the photopolymerisation technique.

In 1988, S. Scott Crump of Stratasys developed the plastic extrusion technique of fused deposition modelling (FDM), and the first machine to employ this method was available for sale in 1992.

3D printing in the sense of powder beds being shaped by polymers was first invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the USA and commercialised by the products of Z Corporation in 1993.

In the same year, Solidscape introduced a high-precision polymer jet fabrication system with a ‘dot-on-dot’ system of soluble support structures for the model being printed.

In this period, AM for metal structures was done through automation, but using (as they came to be called in recent times) subtractive or non-additive methods such as sintering, casting, fabrication, melting.

These were known by their own names, such as direct metal laser sintering, or selective laser melting).

The concept of a tool head moving to generate a shape layer as per one’s desire was associated in the metalwork industry with processes that removed metal rather than used it.

By the mid 1990s, this was being challenged through developments at educational institutes in the USA such as Stanford University and Carnegie Mellon University where engineering techniques like micro casting and spraying were being developed.

Sacrificial or support materials were also becoming more common, thereby enabling the design of new, complex kinds of geometry.

However, it was in the 2010s that such metal casting was done. Car parts like engine brackets and large nuts were created though additive manufacturing rather than being machined from stock, and major manufacturers like the Swedish company Koenigsegg have used 3D printed parts in their cars (notably the Koenigsegg One:1, a supercar).

3D printing is also used extensively in the medical field for producing custom casts and prosthetics.

3D models for printing may be made using computer aided design, or by 3D scanning.

The advantage that CAD has is that the modeller has complete control over the output and models can be made with a very high degree of accuracy.

Further, if there are any errors of intersection, face normal, or noise shells causing problems when the models is sliced for printing, they can be easily adjusted.

On the other hand, 3D scanning collects digital data on the shape of an existing object and renders a digital model based on that data.

As 3D scanning is dependent on point-to-point data collected by the camera, these errors are more likely to occur when reconstructed in a digital geometry.

After the model is complete, the data is converted to the STL file format, and then digitally sliced the model into ultra-thin layers in a G-code file, using which the printer does its work.

Printers are available in different resolutions, and this factor defines  printing ability and price of the machine.

Typical layer thickness is around 100µm (around 250 dots per inch), with some printers capable of printing 16µm (about 1600 dots per inch). XY resolution is comparable to that of laser printers, with an average range of 100-300 DPI.

In three dimensions, the 3D particles of the objects are typically 50-100µm (510-250 dots per inch) in diameter.

Construction of a model can take anywhere between a few minutes to several days, depending on the size and complexity of the object being printed, the type of machine used, and the number of models being printed simultaneously.

The most significant advantage that additive manufacturing holds over traditional engineering methods like injection moulding is the reduction in the time taken to produce a finished product.

Recently, MAAC Chowringhee, Kankurgachi, Rashbehari had organized a seminar for students on 3D printing.

It was an interesting and educational experience, and the students got to see a small model of (?) being printed during the session.

3D printing Maac Kolkata3D printing Maac Kolkata.

An FDM type printer was used, and the speaker explained that these are more common due to the versatility of thermopolymers, which is the material used in most lower and mid-range printers: they can be shaped easily through the use of heat and the printer head can produce models of great precision and complexity.

The students were also shown other models that the speaker’s company had made, along with a presentation highlighting the different applications of 3D printing.

In addition to engineering, scientific and medical applications, they are also used for previewing conceptual prototypes before actual production, as it is less expensive than producing a product directly.

The bottom line: 3D printing is the future of design, and there great potential for development.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017


When we think of animation – irrespective of whether it is 2D or 3D – the first name that comes to mind is Disney, and not without reason.

Walt Disney Animation Studios, popularly referred to simply as ‘Disney’, has been in existence for nearly a century and has established itself as a pioneer in the world of animation.

Many of the techniques, concepts and principles used in making animation films today were made known to the mainstream by their successful use by Disney in their films.

In 1956, the Films Division of India invited an animator from Disney to help establish our country’s first animation studio and train animators to work on native productions.

As a result, the Films Division’s Cartoon Unit was born and the first animated production, The Banyan Deer, was completed in 1957 by the core team trained by Disney’s animator. It took a while for animation to take off, however.

The breakthrough came in 1974, with a traditionally animated short film that was produced by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (then known as the Centre for Education Technology). That landmark film was Ek, Anek Aur Ekta.

Also known as Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya, the film was created as an educational initiative by NCERT along the theme of ‘Unity in Diversity’ and aims to teach the value of teamwork to children.

In the aftermath of the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 and the subsequent influx of refugees from East Bengal (now Bangladesh), and the political unrest during those years, the country was in a great state of turmoil.

As an initiative to educate children about the need for unity and the positive nature of diversity in a population, Ek, Anek Aur Ekta came to light.

The title of the film means ‘One, Many and Unity’.

It was directed by Vijaya Mulay, with the design and animation in the hands of Bhimsain Khurana and the two assisted by S.M. Hasan, Mahesh Taavre and Girish Rao.

The music was by Vasant Desai, and the theme song ‘Ek Chidiya, Anek Chidiya’ was sung by popular singer Sadhana Sargam.

The film begins with a young boy trying to pluck mangoes, while his sister sings about hopes.

The boy, abandoning the mangoes, asks his sister what she means by ‘many’, and the sister responds by explaining the concept of unity through a narration of a short story about a group of sparrows who united in order to escape from a bird catcher and then formed an alliance with a group of mice to free themselves from the hunter’s net that their legs were still entangled in.

As the boy’s sister shares the story, other children who were playing in the park come by to listen to the tale.

After hearing the boy’s sister’s story, the children discuss more examples of one and many: moon and sun (one) against stars in the sky (many), flowers in a garden (many) and flowers that make up a mala or garland (one).

The moral of the story is that by working together with people from different walks of life, one can be stronger and do more in their lives.

The film sends a message to all Indians, that by being united despite cultural differences, we will be indivisible.

This seven-minute traditional (hand-drawn) 2D animation film features a very sparse and minimalistic look and feel. The characters are of simple design with flat colouring.

Characters are designed to be white, while the flowers, rodents and birds are in varying shades of red and yellow.

The designs are simple, outlines with a solid colour fill, and backgrounds are flat original images as far as the eye can see.

For some introductory sequences for the characters, the background is kept simple so that the attention of the viewers is drawn to the characters and their actions – be it human, bird or rodent.

The designs are quintessentially Indian – motifs and scene designs in the backgrounds draw inspiration from mythology.

The garden scene where the boy’s sisters is telling her story is reminiscent of depictions of Lord Krishna as a child, trying to steal curd from the matkas hanging overhead and going to his mother for advice.

The scenes with the birds and animals have a distinct visual flavour of classic cartoons from abroad, such as Tom and Jerry, Popeye the Sailor Man, or Mickey Mouse.

The overall presentation is neat and simple, and caught the attention of children and adults alike, all across India.

The theme song of the film remains a favourite from that generation as well as later ones Ek. Anek Aur Ekta was first broadcast on Doordarshan, and has won major awards including the National Film Award in the category of Best Educational Film.

It is today considered to be among the finest example of story-telling through animation in India, and is remembered by kids from those generations with much fondness.