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Biren, you have taken over as the ABAI Chairman at an exciting time when there seems to be a momentum on the first Government-Industry Partnership for the AVGC Sector in India.

Was it difficult to convince the government to consider a separate policy not falling under the IT Sector? What are the key differentiators between these two industries according to you?

BG: Karnataka, thanks to Bangalore, has been an excellent example of growth in the AVGC sector and a great pedigree of international MNCs has chosen to set up and expand their studios here. We see this as just the beginning of a much larger ecosystem, which is still in its early maturity phase, and ABAI partnering with several stakeholders and industry would like to evolve this considerably with a strategic

Why an exclusive policy on Animation, VFX, Gaming & Comics?

BG: Increasingly the trend towards interconnectivity between economies, enterprises, societies and governments is giving rise to a new order of development. As new expectations of markets shift the measure of what they value – India and other emerging economies play an increasing role in fulfilling those needs. The AVG industry is facing a huge shift all over the globe.

The needs of the AVG sector are quite unique from those of its IT and IT enabled counterparts.

For starters the AVG industry started a few decades after the IT industry and hence the support and tax holidays etc that the IT world enjoyed in relatively less challenging times is not something the AVG sector has fully utilized.

AVG is a creatively lead production process powered by very high technology, which is rapidly changing, both in consumer preferences and in new technology paradigms, and studios have to keep up with new releases of technology products and solutions that are constantly being innovated. The time horizon to monetise investments on capital expenditure is very short and hence utilisation is a key to maximize returns.

This calls for a need for an ecosystem to have many elements simultaneously available at hand: talent; sales pipelines; training on new software and workflow tools; power; image processing infrastructure; storage; connectivity on an international scale [TPN’s] etc.

What kinds of benefits will the policy on Animation, VFX, Gaming & Comics?

Helps create a platform for BRAND BUILDING & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT as India is not even 1% of the Global Business. Karnataka will benefit from being the 1st mover and attracting a huge pipeline of work if it moves now.

Help Streamline CREATIVE- LEAD INDUSTRY PROCESS involving Visualization, Film Direction, Design of Characters and the Story itself, Voice Recording/Dubbing, Music, Editing of Audio & Video apart from the actual production with the help of Software tools and infrastructure including data centers and Hardware.

Will provide a major boost to ENTERTAINMENT ARTS & SCIENCES DOMAIN wherein similar IT infrastructure is required but the focus of business is on various platforms across the media and entertainment Industry.

The policy will attract INVESTMENT FROM MAJOR PLAYERS. This requires major Indian companies to be attracted to it.

Helps in the research innovation and development of tools and technologies relevant to animation and filmmaking. Currently there is a huge license fee paid annually to international providers of such tools even where they have developed this in Asia/India. In high end production 30% of team is technical.

What is your view of Karnataka as an upcoming destination for AVGC sector? And what are the areas where you see potential and growth? 

BG: Karnataka currently has more than 20 training institutes imparting AVGC related training through more than 60 campuses across the state. We have been informed that currently more than 10,000 students are undergoing training (study done in 2010).

This figure is likely to increase to 25000 by the year 2012. More than 2000 professionals are employed in the education and animation production units in the state apart from web and content development. Karnataka AVG Industry has yet another advantage of having some of the major suppliers of software, tools and technologies to the Industry such as HP, AMD, NVIDIA, etc. located within Karnataka and more specifically Bengaluru.

ABAI has been active in Bangalore, Karnataka since 2005 and represents the AVGC community in taking the cause of AVGC related activities forward by holding regular state level events and expos through private partnerships.

Karnataka has a rich and diverse heritage of art and culture, and there is a great potential for the talent in the state to adapt to AVG sector. So far, science and technical streams were preferred avenues of the society for employment but the AVG sector will create better employment opportunities to arts stream.

Since there is a requirement of nearly 70% of creative and artistic employees in this industry, it will lead to the economic upliftment of large strata of economically backward sections of the society especially in the rural areas.

Why the AVG Summit on the 15th Sept’11?

BG: The purpose of the summit is to showcase Bangalore as the pioneer in collaboration and innovation between the government, industry players and academic institutes in the AVG segment. In fact the summit is meant to serve as an eye opener and be the catalyst in creating a “collaborative enterprise” between these various constituencies.

The program we have put together for the conference is intended to be a very unique mix of the past, present and future to enthuse new entrants and investors while leveraging on the strengths and resources of existing players and investors.
PWC has just confirmed that the AVG sector will continue its frenetic pace of growth and forecast 21.4% (CAGR) growth by 2015.

I see a significant growth opportunity in the confluence between traditional AVG formats and new media opportunities.  As a result of this opportunity some of this excitement is due to the roll out 3G, internet connectivity and the advent of devices such as the tablets, IPAD, low cost smart phones etc.

How has the industry responded to this initiative?

BG: While the initiative has been spearheaded by me and several members of ABAI, we have received great support and encouragement from all our industry partners including DreamWorks, R & H, Big Animation, DQ Entertainment, Crest, TATA Elxi, Dhruva, MPC, Xentrix, Aiga, and Manipal University among others and I also thank my colleagues from Technicolor for their support to this initiative.

source: animationxpress.com

What: Autodesk, Inc. and CGArchitect.com, with support from BOXX and NVIDIA, have kicked off the first Autodesk 3ds Max Design Hero Competition. Architects, designers, and visualization specialists have the opportunity to submit a scene or design created using Autodesk 3ds Max 2012 or Autodesk 3ds Max Design 2012 software, for a chance to have it selected as the 3ds Max Design ‘hero‘ image featured on an Autodesk 3ds Max Design software box cover and splash screen. The designer of the selected scene or design will also receive a 3DBOXX 8550 XTREME workstation with one NVIDIA Quadro 5000 GPU (graphics processing unit) and three NVIDIA Tesla GPUs, as well as US$5,000 in cash. Designers of the selected second and third place scenes or designs will receive an NVIDIA Quadro 5000 GPU.

Submitted scenes and designs should portray inventive concepts or renderings of architectural, mechanical or industrial product designs from buildings, bridges and vehicles, to furniture and consumer products. Submissions will be judged on imagination, innovation and ingenuity, rather than on production quality. The designer of the selected scene or design may also have the opportunity to work with the Autodesk production team on the production renderings.

Who: Architects, designers, and visualization specialists from most countries around the world may submit a scene or design. Submissions must be created using the 2012 version of 3ds Max or 3ds Max Design software. Submissions can be created using the free* 30-day trial of 3ds Max Design 2012 software. Students can download 3ds Max Design 2012 from the Autodesk Education Community.

When: Submissions will be accepted from Sept. 5 to Oct. 31, 2011.

Where: To submit a scene or design, or for further contest details, visit 3dsmaxdesign.cgarchitect.com.

Source:www.animationxpress.com

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‘Maya Digital Media‘ promoted by renowned Indian Film Producer/Director Ketan Mehta and acclaimed Actress, Producer and Director Deepa Sahi has joined hands with veteran Film Producer, Director Subhash Ghai‘s Mukta Arts to create the state of the Art Computer animation and Digital Visual Effects Studio ‘Maya Digital Studios”.

Ketan Mehta said, “Digital technology is completely changing the way we produce, distribute and consume entertainment. The concept of bringing the latest innovations in technology, combined with highly skilled manpower needed to provide the best available tools for Indian and International filmmakers to realize their illusions were the initial dream of Maya and now we are ready to deliver”.

Maya, started in 1997, has over the last 14 years done high quality, award winning animation and visual effects for established international clients. With investments from Intel Capital and Enam Securities Maya expanded to be one of the largest computer animation facilities in India. During this time it also started a very successful Computer Animation education programme called MAAC (Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics) which soon spread to over 70 centres all across India.

Last year the investors decided to split the studio and education divisions and Ketan Mehta and Deepa Sahi, the original promoters, regained 100% ownership of the studio business. “We want to make Maya into a world class studio which can compete internationally and we zeroed onto Frank Foster the pioneer of Computer Animation in Hollywood to run the studio and take it to the next level” commented Mehta.

Frank Foster, American CG veteran, former original founding Vice President of ‘Sony Pictures Imageworks‘ USA, has taken over as Senior Director and COO of the studio operations of the company. Foster brings a wealth of experience in studio management having set up Sony Picture Imageworks USA, the first major CG school and studio in China (Shenzhen) and producing one of the first CG feature films in China with French comic book legend “Moebius”. Foster also spent two years as CEO of Tigar Hare Studios in North Hollywood where he outsourced many projects to India.

Maya Digital studio is now on a rapid expansion mode and is adding state of the art studio facilities at Film City, Mumbai and Goa.

Mukta Arts Ltd, the leading Film production and distribution house in India headed by Subhash Ghai, one of the most well known film makers from India, pioneered the corporatization of the Indian film industry. It also operates the prestigious ‘Whistling Woods Film Academy‘ which plans to work closely with Maya on professional workshops and internships.

Ravi Gupta of Mukta said “The synergy between Maya and Mukta Arts will bring about a qualitative change in Indian film industry. Technology and creativity is going to drive the future of entertainment and this studio will be at the cutting edge of this trend for India.”

When asked why he would be willing to shift his family to India Foster responded, “There are so many new opportunities now for digital filmmaking in India, when we started, outsourcing was considered too risky, now it‘s the other way around. Having done it in so many countries for these many years I‘m believe that India is unusually qualified because of its education system, the common use of English and through its large domestic film industry, which allows the actual understanding of Cinema. I’m convinced it’s becoming the international hub for Computer Animation and that Maya Digital Studios with nearly 14 years of experience can be the top destination for that international business”.

What all will be taught in the new Houdini focused course that Frameboxx is launching?
Houdini follows a true procedural paradigm, which makes Houdini more suited for broadcast design and motion graphics. And when it comes to VFX, Houdini holds a prime and prestigious position in the industry all over the world. Main focus of our course curriculum would be particles and dynamics, also CHOPS or Channel operators a very powerful and under-utilized tool. But the Main aim of our course would be for a student to understand and embrace the procedural way of working.

What are the CG production areas where Houdini finds application in?
Houdini can be used anywhere in whole production pipeline. It is an excellent procedural modeler, an excellent character animation tool. But the Industry relies on the Houdini for most of their particles and dynamics related stuff.

Why did Frameboxx think of launching a Houdini focused course?
We foresee a major boast in applications of Visual Effect in our industry. In the near future we see a lot of production house incorporating Houdini in their pipeline. Frameboxx had been researching on Houdini for the past 3 yrs, and is working in close association with Side Effects. Houdini curriculum is the outcome of inputs taken from Side Effects, along with suggestions of Houdini users in the industry. We are confident that this curriculum would suffice the needs of Animation and VFX Industry.

What is the USP of Houdini according to you in comparison to other CG and VFX suites?
The USP of Houdini is its proceduralism. The entire application is built on the idea that you do not necessarily create things, but you create systems for creating things. Houdini is unlike other 3D packages in that the entire application is node-based. So, you can easily wire the output from one node into several other nodes to create complex systems. Houdini has fantastic dynamics and particles – probably the best in the industry. They are the most flexible.

You can literally deconstruct the solvers and build them back up again to change their functionality. You can even create your own solvers or implement 3rd party solvers with some technical know-how. Also, the dynamics are fully integrated. Cloth and rigid bodies can affect each other. Gasses and fluids can push particles and rigid bodies. As far as dynamics go, you have rigid bodies, cloth (softbodies), wires, fluids (SPH, FLIP, and Voxel), gasses, and particles.

Tell us a little about yourself and your experience working with Houdini?
I started my career in 1999 as a lead designer for a Delhi based web designing firm. Later I joined Pentamedia Graphics as a 3D Animator, where I worked on 3D animated films like Pandavas and Alibaba. In 2001, I joined a major animation training brand as a senior instructor. From there I moved on to motion graphics and design by joining TV Today Network in 2002. With four years of experience in broadcast design and channel packaging for Aaj Tak and Headlines today, I joined the TV18 Network now called Network 18.

My return to training and education was in 2007, when I started to create animation and visual effects curriculums. At Frameboxx, I bring over 10 years of Production and education experience and I am deeply involved with the curriculum, research and technical operations teams. I have been working on Houdini for the past 3yrs. The sheer technicality of the software is a kick in itself. Moreover I get to expand my knowledge about a lot of things which I normally would have overlooked.

Frameboxx Animation and Visual Effects has announced a dedicated training program on Side Effects Software‘s specialized 3D animation and VFX suite Houdini. The first batch of Houdini will start in the first week of April 2011. In the beginning, the Houdini course will only be offered at the Andheri, Mumbai Frameboxx center. After the successful execution of the first batch the institute plans to start this course in other zones as well.

The preliminary round of seminars and boot camps for this course are starting from 17th Feb 2011 followed by a 5 day boot camp starting on 22nd Feb 2011. Similar exercises will continue in the month of March as well.


Fatballoons

‘Fatballoons‘, a Chennai based animation studio and institute is gaining its standing through its animation designs and creations. Three men are the brains behind the company, the co-founders Anand Kumar, Anish Mohan and the CEO Vinod Raman Kannan.

Anand Kumar eagerly talking about his studio says, “Me and my partners established Fatballoons, as we wanted to do something of our own. All of us have been working with renowned companies and hence we were very confident that we could establish something best by combining together our talents and knowledge.”

The three month old company has the same courses but different ideas to teach. Fatballoons mainly targets the international markets and strive hard to make their students capable to learn animation within six months. The studio cum institute is choosy in selecting their students and currently has only six seats available for the current year. “We are not business minded and have one training centre for very limited students who are deeply interested in Animation”, says Kumar.

USP of the company is that it is a good blend of art and business and do not believe in compromising the quality of work. The way they work is different and innovative like ‘Fatballoon‘, the character created by them. Talking about the need of animation in today‘s world, Kumar states, “Animation is entertaining and is growing at such a rate that the regular stuff is no more interesting. Basically, there is no other medium that would portray your ideas and fantasies to the best than animation.”

Reliance BIG Animation’s 3D series ‘Big Bees’ has been selected as winner among the six finalists for “Superpitch” at ATA Singapore’10. The series is getting written by internationally acclaimed writer Mark Young.

The six finalists of the ATF Superpitch were Big Bees by Big Animation (I) Pvt Ltd, India; Captain Al‘s Adventure by Joy-Team Animation Production Co., Ltd, Taiwan; Cossack Warriors by Berketa Media Magic Pty Ltd, Australia; REEF by Oranghutan Productions Sdn Bhd, Malaysia; Superhero Hospital by SOFA Studio, Taiwan; and The Travels of Wiglington by Wenks by Wiglington and Wenks Worldwide Pte Ltd, Singapore.

The Superpitch was judged by a panel of seasoned industry professionals like Graham Perkins – Co-CEO, Business, RUNE Entertainment; Fabian Tan – Executive Producer, Iceberg Design; Ken Anderson – Founder, Red Kite Animations; Marc Checkley – Group Editor, Television Asia Plus; Melody Uy – Editor, Asia Image; and Rahmat A Samad – Executive Producer – Content Creation Division, Production – Mediacorp Studios.

“Nature is fun” and experiencing the wonders of nature can be exceedingly entertaining. This core thought had been the source of inspiration for developing Big Bees – a 3D television series for kids in the genre of edutainment.

The focus of the series will be to provide a wholesome entertainment and education to kids in the age group of 5-7 years, around ‘wonders of nature’, a series of 52 exceedingly entertaining episodes of 11 minutes each.

Big Bees is a concept around the bee world where bees are the central characters. Being an inseparable part of our nature the bees have a symbolic representation with teamwork, focus, dedication, fun loving, close-knitted community and adaptability. The series will make sure that kids from a very early age appreciates and values the nature around them by being thoroughly informed about the wonders that nature provides and how to conserve it for their better future.

Ashish S.K. CEO BIG Animation (I) Pvt. Ltd. says, “Being a musical edutainment for kids, we are confident of associating with the target audience on a global scale. We are at an advanced stage of development and looking for partners in both co-production and distribution.”

It’s a concept revolving around an interactive environment along with the bees, which makes the whole ambience vibrant. What makes the bee world so entertaining is the never-ending fun, which stands out as the hallmark of all the bee characters. The freshness in terms of look and content of this series will surely captivate and engross kids on a global scale.

Pencil2Pixels

Kolkata based Virtualinfocom (VIC) has launched online tutorial called ‘Pencil2Pixels‘ to help aspiring students understand and learn the basic skill sets of animation. A 20 page version of it is available online free of cost to give an idea on how animations are done and how you can create characters, shadow balance etc.

The original tutorial is a book of 135 pages which would be made available online topic wise in the due course of time. The book would be available at a cost of arount INR 350 in a month‘s time. Virtualinfocom has it cartoon character ‘Chankey‘ who trains the users on how to create animations and how to draw.

Virtualinfocom CEO Arijit Bhattacharyya said “Pencil2Pixels is created for the people who want to draw and want to be a part of Animation and Gaming Industry. This online tutorial will help a new comer or a professional to create good animations and make good comics with proper knowledge. It is basically created to encourage people to come into animation and gaming field as there is a dearth of really talented people in this field.”

Various topic are covered in the tutorial such as creating diagrams, basic drawing, drawing shapes, drawing human faces, trick stuff, solid with round and rectangle, the divided ball and plane method, comic heads, methods of checking, drawing a female body, figure in action, animated figures, digital drawing, bit-map images, vector images, three-dimensional images, Indian style animations, color composition, animate the characters, the perspective view for any animation, case study for a story board, lights – camera – animate, the basic film making setup, how to choose between formats and many more.

Virtualinfocom is also coming up with game developments tutorial for online medium and are now creating mobile based animations and mobile based games for different clients as well coming up with mobile based comics.

Frameboxx Student Film Won 2nd Prize

“Jab we met again,” a film student Frameboxx Animation and Visual Effects Bandra won the 2nd prize for Best Animated Film Festival Hello India. The film was also nominated for Best Animated Short
in category Frameflixx1 conducted by Frameboxx, held in April 2009.

Filmmakers student said: “We are absolutely thrilled about it and we are grateful to India Welcome to enjoy our work.” Jyoti Nathani, head center adds proudly: “It’s an honor win this prestigious award. frameboxx On behalf of the whole team and we thank Hello festival of India and the jury to assess and motivate our students. In the coming years, our students continue to give high quality of work and creativity of world class. ”

The student team used to have a lot of brainstorming with teachers and friends during the pre-production. Their power over Kalpesh Kheradia suggested developing a history of non-living objects coming to life and thus the concept of making a “love story” of coins entered their minds.

From the concept stage, everything was a challenge for the team as it was their first project. Character design has been a difficult task because the main character in the film was a coin, and give him the look impressive with the features keeping the design intact part was a challenge to them take long to get the final look of the character. The team was short of leaders and people in the team had any kind of animation before, and the film has had 2 live input characters to life, which was quite a task, but through the orientation of their mentor, they were able to pull it off. At the end of the day, it was the difficulties encountered from pre to post production was a learning experience.

The team added: “It was a great learning experience that we were all in the middle of our course when we started working on the film. He has given us practical experience. Whatever we learn, we have been implementing it in our project. We have also learned to understand that working in a production pipeline, because it works in a professional studio that was created by our mentors. “