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Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

CONTENTS

Special Editorial
06 PixStone Images: Visualising a great future

Special Editorial
16 BigSharks Studio: The minnow which wants to be a VFX big fish

Cover Story

Feature

08 Indian Animation and VFX industry earns its stripes globally

17 Riva Animation dives deep into Bollywood

11 FICCI-KPMG predictions for Indian Animation, VFX & Gaming 19 Toonz Media Group: Sketching out a $1 billion roadmap

12 Baahubali: Showcasing India’s VFX mastery

Column

Column
14 Animation’s Real Star

20 Premium Games - The new flavour for Indian indies 22 The role of education in India’s AVGC transformation

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Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

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From the Editor in chief

Indian VFX: The growth urge
There has been some cynicism about the Indian animation, VFX and gaming story. Indian studios have mainly been involved in low end labour intensive outsourced jobs like wire removal, keying, matchmoving and rotoscopy, is some of the criticism that has been hurled at the 400 odd CG and VFX service providers. Hence, the Indian AVG industry should not really pat itself on the back.
However, we at AnimationXpress.com believe that the industry is penning a script that can only see it emerging as the winner in the global game. Who would have thought that an Indian company – Prime Focus World - would end up owning more than 80 per cent of an award winning global studio such as Double Negative and emerge as amongst the world’s top 3 VFX studios?
People may argue that investments going into VFX in India are not big enough as in the US. Indeed, neither are the overall production budgets. They are minuscule compared to what is invested in a single film by a US major studio. A young India - more than 57 per cent of its population is below 35 years in age - has developed a taste for quality visual effects in big budget international films. The box office collections of some fantasy and superhero Hollywood releases have recently surpassed those of local Hindi film productions.
Nevertheless, an interesting story is beginning to unfold in the Indian AVG world. Even as India – under a business friendly government – is beginning to rewrite the rules that had made it a difficult place to do business over decades, a new bunch of film and entertainment professionals and entrepreneurs are venturing out, willing to risk it all, in order to leave their stamp globally.
Take the case of ARK MediaWorks’ which
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Artist: Renjith G from Toonz Media Group

Editor in Chief ANIL WANVARI
Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

has tapped into this hunger for spectacular cinematic storytelling through its fantasy VFX spectacle Bahubali: The Beginning. 25 per cent of its $18 million budget was kept aside for 4,500 to 5,000 VFX shots. Its gross box office collection has crossed the $90 million mark worldwide, giving producers the confidence that yes indeed audiences in India and overseas are open to queuing up in cinemas to watch CGheavy films from India.
ARK Media roped in a clutch of 17 studios to roll out the VFX vision of helmer S. Rajamouli and VFX supervisor V. Srinivas Mohan. Among them: Hyderabad-based Makuta and Firefly Creative Studios.
Other Indian studios that have been leaving their imprint on the VFX map include: Prasad EFX, Red Chillies VFX (owned by Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan), Tata Elxsi, NY VFXWAALA (owned by Bollywood star Ajay Devgn), Riva Animation and VFX, Digikore Studios, Anibrain Studios.
The list could be longer and indeed will grow so as more investments are poured into VFX by Indian producers of Tamil, Telugu, and Hindi movies.
What some of the smaller studios could do is think strategically on the way forward.

Something that Prime Focus has done effectively by acquiring other outfits globally and earned the film making world’s respect. Not just in India, but all over the world.
Scale is important in VFX, almost as important as quality and timely delivery. And the smaller studios need to show they can consistently deliver on all three parameters.
For starters, a couple of them – or more than a couple of them - could partner locally to go out and present themselves to Hollywood. Pooling resources together would give them access to capital and talent. And that could help give film makers in the US the confidence to give them complete VFX projects – rather than pieces.
The fact that Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan and Ajay Devgn are excited about visual effects and are investing in studios should give it a further fillip. Now what’s needed is even more governmental support and incentives to studios which snare large scale VFX projects and in the process help give an outlet to CG artists’ talent as well as generate employment.
If a small nation like New Zealand can produce a Weta Digital, surely Indian visionaries can do so too. There’s talent aplenty, hence India definitely can produce more than just one Prime Focus World.

www.animationxpress.com June 2016
Publisher and Editor in Chief Anil Wanvari
Director -Commercial & Revenues Anoop Wanvari
Director - Operations & Resource Management Larysa Savinska
General Manager Deepak Kumar
Editorial Prerna Kothari Ronald Rodrigues Krishanu Ghosal Vivek Kapadia
Ad Sales Neha Singhal Bhavika Bharambe Shruti Gadia
Design Visesh Wanvaari
Jay Hasija
Animation Xpress India Pvt. Ltd. C350,Oshiwara Industrial Center, New Link Road, Opp Oshiwara Bus Depot, Goregaon
(W), Mumbai, 400104, India
[email protected]
©AnimationXpress.com 2016

Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

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SPECIAL EDITORIAL

PixStone Images: Visualising a great future

John Devasahayam is pleased as punch. The IT veteran made a mark for himself as an IT professional over a three decade career. But these days what’s keeping him

basis,” says Devasahayam.
Over the past four years, PixStone Images has worked on over 30 major motion pictures, a

PixStone Images has 12,000 sq ft of swanky studio space in the developing industrial suburb of Perungudi in Chennai. 250 dedicated, hardworking and creative artists work in multiple

excited is the success that his Chennai based few TV shows, music videos and commercials shifts through six days a week to meet all client

studio PixStone Images has achieved in just four and recently, the company has ventured deadlines, while adhering to the highest of

years of existence.

into the Virtual Reality space with a keenness to quality standards.

explore this new technology that everyone has

PixStone Images has earned a name for itself as been talking about.

Leading this entire initiative is Devasahayam.

a Prep Comp services provider in South India

An entrepreneur to the core, he has slogged it

and more so globally. Its core competence lies in Primarily into working with Hollywood out for 33 years in senior executive positions

serving as a very effective off-shore partner for based Conversion Studios, the studio and built successful IT Companies. Industry

Stereoscopic conversion, VFX and VR studios roughly a year ago started delivering peers have labeled him as one of the pioneers

by handling a wide range of Prep Comp work VFX services as well.

of the IT distribution business in India during

that is manpower intensive.

the early days of growth in IT, specialising in

Some of the services it offers include rotoscopy, large scale IT outsourcing.

“We have innovated, created and utilised our prep, compositing, matchmove and rotomation.

very own proprietary delivery model of IDS or Among the big titles that it has lent its expertise to He leads a management team with individuals

India Delivery Studio to deliver work on a cost include: The Walk, Gods Of Egypt, Transformers: Age who bring innovative technical skills and a

effective, consistently reliable and scalable

of Extinction, Guardians of the Galaxy and Godzilla. business oriented focus that makes PixStone

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Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

SPECIAL EDITORIAL

Images unique within the outsourcing industry.

As an outsourcing leader, the studio believes in organically building up its workforce by constantly training fresh artists. It also holds workshops to identify and groom leadership from within, ensuring a tightly knit delivery force consisting of multiple delivery units which work well in sync with each other.
Through the concept of IDS, PixStone Images dedicates a specific process oriented team and studio space for its clients. This team works on understanding the client’s pipeline and attuning each and every member to his or her production standards of efficiency and quality.
The PixStone Images unit then effortlessly works as an extension of the client’s production team, offering complete transparency through weekly reviews and daily communication from its producers.
The studio also has fail safe processes in place

that alert everyone in the value chain and thus prevents any complications that could adversely affect its partner’s production deadlines. The goal of IDS is to offer a client partner client a thoroughly reliable offshore delivery team that it can be in control of.
The secure studio space (with security exceeding MPAA norms) has been physically audited and approved by Paramount, Sony, Fox and Disney/ Marvel, with Disney/ Marvel re-auditing PixStone Images recently and approving it again.
In this technology driven world, where tech keeps changing at a blink of an eye, the studio keeps in mind to constantly upgrade its hardware. The focus is to have the fastest state of the art gear when benchmarked against the best available within the industry. As far as software is concerned, it is entirely licensed and supported by the studios’ respective creators.

The studio believes it is important to cultivate relationships with all its clients; be they big or small. Through the company’s model of business and production practices, it has established strong working relationships with all its partners.
Some of them have gone on record to state that their PixStone partnership has been one of their best experiences in outsourcing out of India. Others also have said that they have full faith in the studio’s ability to execute projects in the foreseeable future.
That should help the team of PixStone Images to break into even bigger grins.

Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

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COVER STORY

Indian Animation and VFX industry earns its stripes globally

I t’s Quality rather than Quantity that matters’ as it was rightly said by Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca. And India has both!
When it comes to the Indian Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) sector, both the quality and quantity of projects have witnessed an upward graph recently. The country’s numerous institutes churn out a plethora of professionals each year, something which has come in for harsh criticism for sometime. But the quality work its studios have been delivering recently has led to praise being showered on them. AnimationXpress magazine gives you a lowdown on some of the more laudatory ones.
Animation and VFX heavy feature films
India has created animated films like Chaar Sahibzaade (2014), a 3D animated historical movie, which was made on a $3 million budget, collected a total of $10.52 million with box office returns of 250 per cent! All of it was created in India. Disney’s The Jungle Book – which has grossed a worldwide total of $829.3 million (as per the box office numbers till 16 May 2016) with around $35-40 million of that being contributed by Indian screens has a major portion created by Indian artists. Another Indian blockbuster Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) delivered 4000 to 5000 VFX shots with a high budget of $18 million and gained $90 million in India alone.
Apart from this, Delhi Safari (2012), a stereoscopic 3D computer-animated feature portrayed the abilities of Indian animators and it won the National Award for the Best Animated Film.

Bollywood has also increased its confidence in animation and VFX as films like Shahrukh Khan’s FAN, Indian superhero films like Krrish 3 and Ra.One have used considerable visual effects which has been completely created in India right from alpha to omega.
The current scenario of Indian feature films displays the dependence on animation and VFX to enhance the visual experience of the viewers and create quality work in order to compare with the global standards. India still has a long way to go in order to compete in par with James Cameron’s Avatar which earned a worldwide total of over $2.7 billion. But, considering India’s work in the recent Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book, the potential of Indian animation has been redefined or rather scaled upwards as the entire film was digitally created with only Mowgli as the sole live action character.
Television broadcasting quality content
The television space which began with Ghayab Aaya (1986), based on the adventures of a Casper like ghost, as the first completely Indian animated series has now travelled leaps and bounds with high quality 2D and 3D content. The Adventures of Tenali Raman (2003) broadcasted on Cartoon Network began the 2D animation trend in India followed by Little Krishna which was broadcasted on Nickelodeon. Both these series denoted Indian folklore and mythological stories which displayed the essence of Indian art of storytelling. As of now, the local content broadcasted in India is travelling overseas with Nickelodeon’s popular show Pakdam Pakdai created in India being syndicated across more

than 7 countries like the Middle East, France, Germany, Malaysia, Indonesia while, the Chhota Bheem, another show based on a mythological character, has travelled to different parts of Asia mainly South East Asia, and Middle East. However, India still is on the road to create a complete global TV series like the famous Oggy and the Cockroaches, Tom and Jerry or Marvel franchise which has neither geographical nor time boundaries.
Advertising paving way for experimentation
Innovation in animation has been constantly evolving. In fact ‘Change is the only Constant’ in this space. Varied techniques and styles of animation like stop motion, claymation, puppet animation, 2D, 3D and live action animation have been incorporated mainly in the television commercial space as advertising allows a platform for experimentation.
The recent Rajasthan Tourism Sand art displayed a distinct combination of using sand and techniques of animation to tell a simple yet effective tale. The famous Vodafone Zumi 3D advertisement has been created using computer generated imagery (CGI) unlike the Zoo Zoos

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Animation Xpress Magazine | June 2016

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