"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Catch Up Time !

Hello everyone...the 2nd last day of this year, seems a perfect time to have a post about what i have been upto lately and what you can expect in times to come. Since i will have a detail blog on each event, i will just keep it short over here.

Well the last 3 weeks was one of the most amazing (understated word) time of my life ! I was in Singapore for Siggraph Asia, met the coolest and awesome gang of people in disguise of Student Volunteers, made some great friends and also got an award for doing a good job as an SV ! So yeah...it was a fantastic time ! I also got a bit of a time and explore the beautiful island country Singapore. I really am speechless to describe how alluring Singapore is. But i shall try in the upcoming posts.

Also i was crazy busy and hence couldnt post from there and also my regular posting took a backseat. All those stuff will be back from this week onwards. And being the first week of the year thats the least i can do, say something of a new year resolution ! :D

So heres what you can expect in times to come on my blog -

  • My progress of my Class 5 - Short Film Pre Production (its finally starting, time flies here at Animation Mentor)
  • How the year 2008 was for me and in general.
  • In-depth Singapore travelog with tons of pictures
  • Siggraph Asia coverage
  • Weekly Movie Recommendations(starting back from this week)
  • Some more new sections(which will be revealed as and when required)

So make sure you bookmark, subscribe to RSS, subscribe to mail, follow me on Twitter for blog updates, as there is lots happening right here !

Wishing you all a very Happy and Fruitful New Year 2009 !

See ya next year !

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Award at Siggraph Asia !

(Only if I knew before, I would have delivered a better acceptance speech ! )


Got an award for being one of the Top Ten Student Volunteers(SV) at Siggraph Asia, Singapore who performed brilliantly during the Conference-Exhibhition and did an extra-ordinary job as a SV. 

For me its a huge honor to be recognized by the Siggraph Asia SV Chair/Committee Members/Team Leads and that too at such a prestigious event as Siggraph Asia. There were around 140 SV's(from different countries) in total and they chose the best ten !!! So you can imagine my excitement !!!! 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Off to Siggraph Asia, Catch Up Time


I have been extremely tied up since some weeks, Class 4 of Animation Mentor was super super excited and at the same time loads of work. I learnt so much in Class 4 thanks to my wonderful mentor Sean Ermey and my classmates. Both were extremely helpful and supportive and made sure whenever i needed feedback it was just a mail away.

Also what kept me busy for my preparation for Siggraph Asia as a Student Volunteer. And considering its the first time it is happening outside United States in Singapore, i am all the more excited. Talking to my team members and other Student Volunteers, getting to know them before we meet, organizing some meet-ups, etc and you can imagine i was at the peak of multi-tasking. Its so very important to have a friendly relationship in any task and specially the event of a scale of Siggraph. Many of us are from diverse countries and getting to know them before is so very important. Its these small things which can have a huge difference.

I have tons of events, meeting so many new people(at Siggraph) not only from Singapore but from far away places like US, UK, Iran, Philippines(all sharing the same passion for Siggraph), product(softwares, hardwares to make sure we are always keeping abreast with technology advancements in the field of Animation and CG in general) launches, parties lined up for the coming week and i will be covering it all on my blog as often as possible may be even several times a day. After Siggraph i will be staying in Singapore and savoring it in all its glory. So tons of my experience, travel-log and photos coming up too. Whatever be your interest i am sure you will want to hear all of it and trust me you wont be disappointed. And if you even remotely interested in Computer Graphics/Animation this is something which you don't want to miss.

I have to go now, gotta get ready and leave for airport in an hour !

Next blog update right from Singapore !!! Woo-hoo !!!

Ciao !

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 29th November 2008 - 6th December 2008

The Third Man(1949)

Genre - Mystery/Thriller

Directed By - Carol Reed

Cast - Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles

Whats It About - Arriving in Vienna, Holly Martins learns that his friend Harry Lime, who has invited him, recently died in a car accident. But the real thing is much different and sinister.

Why To Watch It - THE THIRD MAN is a masterpiece of melancholia featuring extraordinary writing, acting, and directing, as well as a classic zither score by Anton Karas. Welles is memorable as the seductive villain, but the true star may be the camera work of Robert Krasker, which transforms Vienna into a coruscating, expressionist nightmare.

After watching Citizen Kane, i have become a huge fan of Orson Welles and even here he has not disappointed me one bit.

This film-noir is a must watch for any film loving creature.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

AM Class 4-Assignment 2-Week3 - Blocking

Week 2 i had covered Layouts. Based on some very good critique from my super mentor Sean Ermey here is my rough blocking pass where i have added some more breakdowns in order to have a better idea of how my scene is progressing.

This week we also had to find one photo from magazines, books, etc where there was a clear emotion being communicated from the face. The same emotion we had to re-create in our 3D model. This is what my main image and the 3D face came out in the end -

Coming up next, my week 4 - Blocking Plus

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Ice Age 3 Trailer !!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coraline Trailer - "Nightmare Before Christmas Director's" Upcoming Stop Motion Feature

From Henry Selick, visionary director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and based on Neil Gaiman's international best-selling book, comes a spectacular stop-motion animated adventure – the first to be originally filmed in 3D!

Simply Stunning !

High-Res Version

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hurray...finally after a long tense wait...Singapore and Siggraph here i come...!

If you remember the post Catch Up Time i had mentioned one anticipated news which i was really really excited about, well that news has come at last ...i got my Visa for Singapore ! Though i understand for tourists, Visa is not much as issue for Singapore, but still these days we never know and considering the fact that 2 of my friends were rejected in the last 6 months i was quite apprehensive, but in the end thankfully everything fell in place.

Now you may be wondering whats the big deal in Singapore...well the reason for my excitement for my visa is actually a way for the actual excitement which is Siggraph Asia. And to top it all, i have been selected as a Student Volunteer, which means i get to access every event on the 4 day conference for free...thats right...the entire conference fees is waived off for volunteers! Of course we will be busy as it is with our volunteering programs(which will be crazy as hell) but still whenever we get free time we can check out all the events which are a huge learning and fun experience. Though i got my confirmation for my selection sometime back, i thought of breaking the news here once i also got my Visa.

Siggraph is the biggest event for Computer Graphics in the world. Thousands of industry professionals, artists, teachers and students come here and converge year after year for the priceless valuable experience it provides. They have an annual conference and exhibition since many many years in the US and this year for the first time they are having one in Asia(Singapore). So my excitement increases even more, considering i am getting an opportunity to be in the Student Volunteering team whose job is to make sure the entire event spread on 4 days goes on smoothly, all events are happening as per planned, all the resources technically or otherwise are in place and available and so on. Its a wonderful way to meet and learn from industry professionals, artists and teachers while assisting conference attendees and supporting conference programmes and events. We also get to interact with new people from virtually all over the world, learn about leadership, team work, challenges and adversity in a very diverse environment. Siggraph is also known for its very high level of educators/masterclass programs and i am eagerly looking forward to attending some. In todays age where technology is ever evolving, its always good to stay abreast of whats happening in the industry. So all in all what more i could have asked for in the formative stages of my professional life.

Apart from Siggraph Asia, i am also eager to savor Singapore in all its glory. Traveling is a fantastic way to learn and experience so much at different levels and specially in a new country. I also have few cousins(with their families) settled out there, so all the more reason to have some fun. So i will be staying till Christmas as i heard during Christmas being out there is an experience in itself. I will be documenting everything with pictures right here also ! :D

I will try to cover Siggraph Asia as much as i can on a daily basis right here on my blog with as much detail as time permits and tons of pictures. So make sure you subscribe it in RSS/Email subscriptions so that you don't miss a single thing.

Also my Animation Mentor Class 4 is coming to an end in December and there will be a break( during the time of my holiday in Singapore) before we start Class 5 in January, so a perfect way to rejuvenate, without any worries of assignments and deadlines, before i dive into the next term ! :-)

Thats all for now...shall keep you all updated as much as i can !

Ciao !

Monday, November 17, 2008

Behind The Scenes - Monsters vs. Aliens

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 15th November 2008 - 21st November 2008

Genre - Drama

Directed By - Steven Soderbergh

Cast - Julia Roberts, Albert Finney

Whats It About - An unemployed single mother becomes a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.

Why To Watch It - To keep it short, for me its Julia Robert's best career performance till date. Heck, she even won an Oscar for this one. Dont even ask why to watch it, just go and watch it. Its that good trust me !

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My extended views - Recession in the Indian Animation industry?!! Don’t press the panic button just as yet.

Below are my extended views on the post i came across on this

So if you haven't yet read the original post(including the comments) , i seriously suggest you do that before to understand what i am talking about and in what context.

So now, once you know whats the topic is all about, read further to know what i feel about the whole issue.

Totally agree with Rama and Rishikesh. They made some good points. Here is my few minutes worth of thoughts -

Without sounding too harsh or pessimistic, i think the very question of "whether we can make films like PIXAR or better than PIXAR" which is being asked in Indian studios/forums/events should be avoided from with immediate effect.

Such a question is deserving to studios say like BlueSky, Dreamworks and so on and not to us....at least not yet !

Enthusiasm, passion, optimism is all fine, but lets be realistic. I am hearing such questions since about last 3-4 years of my time spent in the industry. Have things changed dramatically ? Have we covered a lot of ground and being closer to PIXAR ?

If we have moved ahead by 10 steps, PIXAR has moved ahead 1000 steps or even more. My point is this comparison is so very ir-relevant in our context. A fresher who is doing some course in Animation, comes to events where this question is repeatedly asked, hears the "YESSES" from everyone and thinks - "wow, so many YESSSES from so many people...we must be good, this is the field i want my career for...i should soon start sending my stuff to studios for work, this is my chance to be a part of this" !

Clearly the awareness of how an animation feature is made, how much goes into it is clearly clearly missing. PIXAR is not some studio who churns out breakthrough movies consistently...its PIXAR after all ! Try to understand the gravity of their work !

Yes story is essential but more than that its an amalgamation of story, teamwork, attitude, management, planning, passion...just to name a few factors.

The problem is that where Indians shine, India fails. As individuals we work our best, but collaboratively we work worst. I dont even want to go behind whats the reason for this...its a different and much deeper issue alltogether.

So please for your own sake, stop these comparisons, let us aspire to first improve our work with each passing year. Remember PIXAR is also constantly re-inventing itself, so if we have to match PIXAR, we will have to work much more than PIXAR does each moment. And its not just one movie from PIXAR which did well, they been doing it consistently for so many years !

So the question of "whether we can match PIXAR or even overtake them " ...the answer clearly is NO, sometime in future ? MAYBE. You can interpret my answer in anyway you wish...you may think i am a pessimist, you may think why i am so against our work and so on. Its good to aspire, good to have a goal, but we need to be realistic and honest to ourselves also. Its time to be as objective as a doctor is when he treating someone. Patient will only be cured if all the facts are presented the way it is and not the way the patient wants it to be.

If you ask me -

1. Whether we can create animated movies which are really entertaining and really good in terms of animation and overall story and subject wise ?

2. Whether we have the talent ?

3. Whether we have a market for indian animated films much like live-action movies?

4. Whether we can really improve our animated prowess with passing time ?

5. Whether we can create something which we can be proud of ?

The answer to all of the above is - YES !!!

All we need is a different approach. We really need a new spirit, in the same fashion as what US is feeling now, with Barack Obama who will be at the helm of the affairs from 20 January 2009 !

AM Class 4-Assignment 2-Week2 - Layouts

Based on my assignment of Week 1, in Week 2, I had to set up the layouts and very rough poses of my entire performance. Layouts included the setting of the scene, the camera angles and the camera cuts to have an idea of how the entire scene will flow and make the entire scene interesting to watch.

Below is my layout for Week 2 -

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 8th November 2008 - 14th November 2008

The Big Lebowski(1998)

Genre -

Directed By - Joel Coen

Cast - Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore

Whats It About - "Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it.

Why To Watch It - The Coen brothers have done it again. Mixing in Leninist philosophy, mistaken identity, crazy characters, a kidnapping plot, and a deep love of bowling, they have unleashed upon an unsuspecting world the many glories of THE BIG LEBOWSKI.

The film is beautiful to look at, especially the scenes in the bowling alley, which feature a vast array of bizarre characters--including Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, and the movie-stealing, riotously funny John Goodman as the Dude's crazy best buddy. As usual in Coen brothers films (BARTON FINK, RAISING ARIZONA), the dialogue is hysterically warped; the plot is confusing, complicated, and kinetic; the soundtrack is virtually another character; and the acting is weirdly stellar. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is yet another thoroughly entertaining foray into the strange and fascinating world ruled by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Pixar's UP New Teaser Trailer

Pixar has released a new Teaser Trailer of its upcoming feature UP, which is hitting the theaters on May 29th, 2009 ! The trailer looks awesome and has that so very adorable trademark of each Pixar's movies.

Have a look yourself and enjoy -

Monday, November 3, 2008

AM Class 4-Assignment 2-Week1 - Choosing a dialog

In the first week we have to choose one dialog among the three which we have short-listed. The idea behind choosing the dialog is something which has a lot of contrast and texture in terms tempo and emotion. The emotion should not be same thru out the whole scene otherwise it will get boring and loose the audience's interest. The dialog should also have clear beats and phrases with scope showing subtext/inner though process.

Initially i had about 7 audio dialog, based on the feedback from peers and friends, i got it down to the following 3 -

And then finally based on my mentor and my choice i chose Audio - 5. I liked this particular one more than the rest, because it had clear different beats in terms of emotion. Also both man and women are involved so i get to play with both their generic personalities and it has a nice shade of humor within.

Coming up next, my layout for the scene, as to how the cam angles are, where are the cuts, whether the cuts are flowing together and finally to make sure both the angles and the cuts complement the dialog. This was a very important assignment in terms of staging and the overall look of the performance. A bad staging can make all the difference. Its very important for any animator to know not only about animation but also on the broader level of keeping the big picture in mind by knowing about why a particular camera angle works or doesn't work, what influence can the staging have on the scene, whether all the cuts are working properly without confusing the audience. Its very much what a Director goes thru before he/she gets on to the real performance.

AM Class 4 - Assignment 2-Week 2 - Layouts

Finally - My AM Journey

Finally...after months of delay, i am so excited to start this new section where i would try to upload and share with you all, my week by week progress of my awesome journey of being a student at Animation Mentor(AM).

Actually it would sound a bit strange but the very reason of starting this blog was to do exactly that, to make you all a part of my endeavors with AM then the big exciting world of blogging got the better of me and also i was crazily engrossed with AM...not that i am not now, just that i am a bit better at time management and organizing stuff now. :-)

Anyway enough of rambling...lets get down to the exciting stuff. Just a brief of what stage of AM i am at, I am in Class 4 - Advanced Acting. This is the real exciting, fun stuff for any animator, but at the same time, the hardest to make it look good and very challenging. But in the end the final result makes it all worthwhile.

Class 4 consists of two assignment. The first one is a continuous of Class 3, which is a single character acting shot where we don't do the facials and the lip-sync, but just the body performance in Class 3. Only in Class 4 do we layer in the facial and lip-sync and complete the shot per se. Since i have yet to share my Class 3 stuff, its only prudent i start with the second assignment of Class 4 which is a 2 character dialog shot and which we start from scratch right from choosing the audio till the end including facials and lip sync.

So without much ado lets start with my first week of my assignment where we have to choose 3 audio clips and based on the mentor and feedback from the awesome AM community we have to choose one. More on this in a separate post as below -

New Animation Podcast : Eric Goldberg Part Two

The interview concludes in Part Two where Eric Goldberg shares his extensive knowledge and appreciation for animating as he talks about many of the projects he has directed including Pocahontas, Rhapsody in Blue, and The Monkey’s Tale while the conversation continues to touch down on the details of the craft of animation. Eric is currently animating on the upcoming film The Princess and the Frog.

(40.2MB, 1:27:39 minutes)

Or get the enhanced version playable only with Quicktime, iTunes, or iPods.
(Includes chapter breaks, pictures and links in addition to the audio.)
Get the enhanced podcast here: Show 30: Eric Goldberg, Part Two
(42.2MB, 1:27:39 minutes)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 1st November 2008 - 7th November 2008

Genre - Action/Sci-Fi/Thriller

Directed By - Louis Leterrier

Cast - Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth

Whats It About - Fugitive Dr. Bruce Banner must utilize the genetic accident that transforms him into a giant, rampaging hulk to stop a former soldier that purposely becomes an even more dangerous version.

Why To Watch It - The story is about Bruce Banner who is trying to cure is condition that turns him into a monster but is going to use it as his weapon against the Abomination. The plot may seem simple but it is better that way because you can just concentrate on the action and the monsters.

This time the Hulk is more darker and sinister looking and is more muscular than Ang Lee's Hulk. The Abomination was the icing & cherry on the cake and I'm glad that they had a proper villain this time. His name really does match his personality. A purely popcorn flick.

Have a look at the Incredible Hulk right here -

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Out NOW - Open Season 2 Trailer !!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bobby Beck Interview with Pixel Heads Network

If you are into animation, you would definitely want to listen to this interview. Bobby Beck is the co-founder and CEO of AnimationMentor.com and an ex animator at Pixar Animation Studios. Listen to Bobby tell you what it takes to become an animator today!

Some of the questions covered in the interview - 

  • How important is it for animators to learn quickly?
  • What applications should an animator be familiar with?
  • Is creativity or application knowledge more important?

For the entire interview click here or alternatively download it here

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Car Toons Premieres on Toon Disney

Disney/Pixar’s feature film Cars has made the leap to TV. Tonight on Toon Disney at 5:00pm/4:00pm central, a new series of animated shorts will premiere, starting with an episode titled Rescue Squad Mater. The shorts were directed by John Lasseter, who also directed the 2006 feature along with the late Joe Ranft. Lasseter is joined by co-directors Victor Navone and Rob Gibbs.

Read the full article here along with a small clip and more pictures. 

Siggraph Asia - Computer Animation Festival Preview Video

The first edition of the SIGGRAPH Asia Computer Animation Festival illuminates a new horizon of animation and visual effects from around the world.

The Computer Animation Festival features an Electronic Theatre and an Animation Theatre. A very popular feature of the SIGGRAPH conference for many years, the Electronic Theatre offers some of the world's most remarkable work selected by a distinguished international jury. In addition, works presented in the Electronic Theatre are eligible for festival awards. The Best of Show and Jury Awards will be announced during SIGGRAPH Asia 2008. The Animation Theatre showcases an intriguing collection of achievements in all genres of animation and visual effects.

Check out their awesome Preview Video of what you can expect at the Festival !

Monday, October 27, 2008

Madagascar 2 Dance Video - I Like To Move It, Move It !

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 25th October 2008 - 31st October 2008

A Streetcar Named Desire(1951)

Genre - Drama

Directed By -
Elia Kazan

Cast -
Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh

Whats It About -
Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

Why To Watch It -
The drama is absorbing. The performances of Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh, as Stanley and Blanche, are what make the film the cinematic powerhouse that it is. Excellent B&W lighting and jazzy background music amplify the seedy, sleazy atmosphere, which adds depth and texture to the story and the acting. And, of course, the claustrophobic, steamy French Quarter makes a perfect setting. Must must watch.

Have a look at the trailer -

Catch Up Time

Ok its time for another round of letting you know what i have been up to and whats keeping me going. My Class 4 - Advanced Acting is going great at Animation Mentor(AM). In fact its keeping me busy quiet a lot,day after day and as the term progresses its getting more busy,more work but the same time more fun. So i am definitely not complaining !

But yes i do feel i should post on my blog a lot more regularly. I also was unable to post my Weekly Movie Recommendations as i was crazy busy last week what with the first assignment was coming to an end. This week has been super light comparatively and hence Weekly Movie Recommendations will be coming in the subsequent posts.

Also i have a couple of existing new stuff for my blog. To start with -
  • My regular weekly updates about my current assignment at AM(More on this in a separate post)
  • Showing AM Student's finish short films on a regular basis(Again, more on this in a separate post)
  • One big anticipated news i have been waiting for. Hopefully it will turn out as planned. Trust me on this, its really big and exciting !
  • Posting new exciting stuff on a more higher frequency.
And oh yes here in India, festive season it at its peak with Diwali - Festival of Lights just around the corner. India is known for its hospitality and how the people just love to socialize among near and dear ones. This is time when socializing virtually is on a crescendo. Every day is a time to socialize, be in your best dressed attire and not to forgot to feast on the most delicious Indian cuisines. Now not to feel too much guilty about hogging so much non-fat-free food, i am trying to keep my working out sessions as regular as possible. So far its been quite good, hopefully even next week i will be as regular. So heres wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali. May the light bring shine on all your future endeavors !

So thats it for now. Hopefully the stuff i have planned will be executed as desired. Let me know what you feel or if you have any suggestions or feedback !


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Event Coverage - Acting For Animation by Paresh Parekh

Yesterday, Saturday 18th October'08, I attended my 2nd CG Event : Acting For Animation by Paresh Parekh. My first was Case Study by Aardman Animation Studios.

This one was organized by The Animation Society Of India(TASI). Considering the turnout at my first event i was a bit surprised to find virtually no one at the venue. The event was scheduled to start at 5:00 PM, i was there at 4:15 PM and not a single soul to be seen. I thought may be inside some sort of happening activity is on. The venue was a college and so i asked the security guard where the "screening room" was, the place where the event was suppose to take place as per the above official poster for the event and he said there was no such room here and just before going into a shock, one of the members (sitting nearby) from the organizing committee of TASI told me that the event will start only at 5:30 PM and the registration will begin anytime now. Thank god at least i came at the right place.

Finally after 45 mins of walking up and down and surveying the surroundings both inside and outside the college numerous times, i could see something happening nearby, as the volunteers were begun to be seen,people standing in queue for the registration which finally started at 5:00 PM. Still the crowd i was expecting was way less considering that the official time was 5 and by now the place should have been chock-a-block with enthusiastic animators. I found out that the venue actually an "Audio-Visual Room" and not the "Screening Room" was not very big. So the silver lining to all this was the limited turn out. If there were as many people as i experienced in the event prior to this, there was bound to be chaos and a lot of standing audience. Anyways i found a comfortable seat in the air-conditioned room and that was all i cared about.

The session went on for about 4 hours, so i will try to cover as much as i can remember.

The session started by Mr. Ranjit Singh, Hon. Secretary for TASI. He introduced the main speaker for the event Mr. Paresh Parekh. Now a little about Mr. Paresh Parekh -

A Graduate from the National School of Drama (NSD), he began his career as an actor in Hindi & Gujarati Plays under the direction of theatre luminaries such as Barry John, Satyadev Dubey, Ram Gopal Bajaj and Naseeruddin Shah, among others. He has also had acting stints in numerous television serials. Paresh then went on to work as Chief Assistant Director to Ketan Mehta and has been the casting director for some major Bollywood films like Mangal Pandey - The Rising, Rang De Basanti, Naina and the upcoming project Rang Rasiya - Colour of Passion based on the life of Raja Ravi Verma, the painter. He has trained numerous Film & TV actors like Neil Nitin Mukesh, Minisha Lamba, Imraan Khan, Vidya Malawde, Shahnaaz Treasurywala etc. For the last 6 years, Paresh has been training Animation students. Now, at Frameboxx, he is responsible for incorporating acting skills in animation training and the process of film-making.

Now considering the amount of mailers i received for this event, the subject of the session and the topics which were suppose to be covered in this session, my expectations were very very high. And guess what....i was NOT disappointed.

I think for any event, from the first 10-15 mins you can make out how the event will flow thru out. It was no less different for this one. Paresh is a fun and a very animated speaker. I was sure there would not be a single dull amount thru out the session. Though overall there were certain sections where i felt some very important information was not being shared or the content shared was not very convincing, personally speaking, but more on that in the following sections. Now having said that bottom line is i had an awesome fun and i will be definitely looking forward to more such workshops by Paresh or any other person with the same credentials/skills/talent.

Now onto the more juicier stuff !

Paresh started off with asking questions/explaining about actor/character/role. Then he went on to emotions and the different kind of emotions which we human beings can experience like - HAPPY, SAD, LOVE, BRAVERY, SURPRISED/SHOCK, ANGER, FEAR and so on. He told a very interesting thing as to how we get confused between emotion and state of mind. Both may look the same but they are actually two different things. It was just 30 mins in the session and i was already intrigued/excited by what was to come.

Then he went on to different emotions one by one and acted out the variations possible in each. For example when in HAPPY, what changes happen in the face, which part is the most affected like the eyes, eye-brows, mouth, whether the two sides of the mouth has to go upwards or downwards or can be either to show HAPPY.

Then came how does one's body language changes in a particular emotion. For example when you are in FEAR, your body tends to move away from the subject which is causing the fear. Like when lighting a fire cracker, you don't lean towards the cracker while lighting it but away in order to safeguard yourself.

Similarly when in ANGER you tend to move towards the person who is the source of your anger. In ANGER our eyes are generally focussed, our entire body is full of energy and is stiff and due to the high energy, we tend to get very verbal or physical in order to release the energy.

Paresh also spoke about different types of emotions within emotions - ACTIVE and PASSIVE. For example ANGER is more ACTIVE, if some event/person angers you, you don't get angry after some days, but it is instant. Of course if small events over a period of time accumulates and make you angrier by each passing day, thats a different thing but most of the times its in an ACTIVE state.

The above is just a part of what i am able to discuss, as this particular topic went on for about 2 hours or so, describing everything will not be possible here. Overall it was the most interesting part of the overall session. It is these kind of detail, the little nuances which can add tons of life to our performance and take it on the next level. Animation is nothing but observation and this was re-affirmed again by Paresh.

Next topic covered was the importance of staging in any performance. He used the words like POSTURE, GESTURE and EXPRESSION as the main 3 things necessary to communicate an idea or an event. I couldn't agree to disagree. It definitely made sense.

Then he showed(by acting out himself) how a same performance will have different shades when used in different mediums such as - Theatre/Live Action Movie/Animation. Again very interesting stuff.

Then there was 10 min tea-break(extremely welcomed) to help us and more importantly Paresh to re-energize himself before continuing with the session again.

Next was a bit more about acting and actors, line of action and what to keep in mind while posing. Now to me these were the weakest points of the otherwise fantastic session. I am not very sure why it appeared weak to me, may be because Paresh was speaking more in context with Theatre/Live Action whereas i was trying to relate it with Animation point of view. Allow me to get into the details.

The first thing he told was "Actors are liars". The moment this line was said, i was confused and not very convinced. He said if an actor can lie perfectly, his performance is more alive. Now after thinking a lot on this, i am convinced that may be, what he meant was different and that his choice of word "Liar" didn't seem very appropriate to me. This is why - every actor worth his salt always strives to be as true to the character and is always in search of ways as to how he can be the character instead of just acting it out, so that it looks more true to the audience and connects in a more emotional and appealing way to the audience. So i am not very sure where does the "lie" part come in all this. Or may be i mis-understood what he was trying to say.

Then he went on to Line of Action and Posing. Again i was not very convinced or rather it didn't seem very informative to me. Line of action and posing is by far one of the most important things in animation and what i have learnt so far from various sources didn't seem to concur with what Paresh explained. Again i am not sure why, either it was his because he was explaining more in theatre/live action context or may be the words used confused me. He said while posing any character we need to keep in mind the gravity aspect of it. Now in 3D obviously there is no gravity and hence the word itself seemed a bit ambiguous to me. I think a better way in animation context would have been "weight and balance". Now if a character has the required weight and balance depending on the space he is in, automatically the gravity part would be taken care of. Line of action, to be very frank, i don't quite remember what he said as i had a different take on the subject and which seems to be making sense for me so far.

Then there was a QnA session, audience were allowed to ask different question. There were 2 questions in particular which seemed very very important to me, specially for taking into consideration that 90-95% of the audience were students and in their very basic learning stages of their animation career. The two questions were -

1. How to Study video reference/the importance of it ?

2. How to improve my work, how to develop my judgmental/creative eye for my work, what should i do when i am feeling lost or my animation is not going anywhere, where do i go, how to get feedback ?

Now before i get onto the above question #1 in detail, i have to make it clear that what i am saying should actually be said before the "Acting for Animation" session and anyone entering into the Acting part should/must/have to be aware of what i am going to try to explain right now. Now since Paresh's forte is the "Acting" part, i understand why he did not emphasize on the body part and movement much. As far as question #2 is concerned again its a fantastic question for those who are new into the field and also for those who may be slightly ignorant of this one.

1. How to Study video reference/the importance of it ?
Every animator has its own work flow and many of the top animators in the business are no different. There are many animators who shoot a video reference as much as they can and there are also many animators who don't necessary follow the video reference but their work is as much beautiful and fun to see as the animators who follow a video reference. But for students/upcoming animators, i strongly suggest shooting their own video reference and study the heck out of it. Now in the sessions Paresh spoke about studying the acting part, facials, expressions and so on which i agree is the way to go. But what is even more important is to first study the body movements/mechanics or the body physicality like how the body is moving, where the weight shift is happening, how it balances itself out in certain situation and so on. Until you have the body physicality nailed down, until the physicality looks believable with respect to the real world we know of(it also includes cartoony and exaggerated styles of animation), no amount of detailing in acting, expressions/facial can make your animation look nice. The body movements is the first step to any animation. Its the foundation on which you build the acting part on it. You can also take reference from so many online video sites like YouTube and so on, but doing it on your own is a much better way to understand how your body behaves and moves. Study the reference, observe where the main changes in pose is happening, put those main key poses and then push it up depending on the scene's requirement. Everyday i come across many students showing their demo reel or work, where they have added tons of details on the acting and facial part but overall its a complete mess because they have not taken the pain to emphasize/work on the body movement first. So for the first time getting to the acting part directly or emphasizing on the acting part more than the body mechanics(in the initial scene stages) can be extremely dangerous and detrimental to your own work. You can read more on the same subject in the following link -

How do you do video planning ?

2. How to improve my work, how to develop my judgmental/creative eye for my work, what should i do when i am feeling lost or my animation is not going anywhere, where do i go, how to get feedback ?
I am sure each one of us have gone thru this phase(at least i have and still face) many number of times where after a certain point of time, we are clueless as to where our performance is going and no matter how many times we see it, we are just not able to take it forward. In short words, we feel lost. Now for students who are yet to work as professional animators the easiest, fastest and most efficient way to find direction again is to go online. There are many useful sites/forums online such as CgTantra, CGTalk, 11 Second Club and so on, where you can show your work for free to virtually anyone in the entire planet. The diversity of feedback will totally exceed your expectations and will blow you away. You will have students from thru out the world leaving feedback, professional animators from around the world (and many may also be working/or have worked on your favorite movie you thought was awesome and so love watching it anytime), giving critiques on your work and giving their own insights on how you can make it look better.

For animators just started working in a studio, show your work as many times and at different stages to your co-workers, friends and so on. Every one will have their own interesting way of looking it and if 4 out of 5 people are saying that a particular thing is not working, they are probably right and you should think about it seriously.

Now when getting feedback be very open to it. Shed the excess baggage of ego and attitude and develop a thick skin. If you cant, just change your field, you just cannot succeed as an animator anywhere. Period. Dont take any feedback personally ever. Please understand that the person commenting on your work is not an enemy and is not giving you a critique just to level scores or anything like that. He/she is just sharing what he feels about your work and how you can improvise it. Animation is an art and art is subjective. Every one sees art in a different way and interpret in their own way. So listen to everyone's feedback and use your own discretion/knowledge to take or leave the feedback. If you do not agree to something dont go around blasting that person that what he/she said was wrong and you are right. Its like digging your own grave. To put it rather bluntly, just remember a lot has been accomplished before you started animating.

Now in these kind of events the last session consists of an open forum, where anyone can share anything they want to show such as short film or any thing related to art. I think its a wonderful thing to have, as this gives you a ready audience to see your work and get feedback on it instantly and discuss it further on how to improvise it.

In this session, one guy named Prashanth showed his short film. Prashant is a professional VFX artist and the fact that he took the effort to make an animated short film is truly commendable. Whether that short film was good or bad is totally irrelevant and i wont even like to talk about it here. Its the effort, the enthusiasm to experiment is what i am fond of. Even though many people gave their feedback on his work(including myself), some good and some on how to make it better, Prashanth was extremely open listening to the critique instead of debating or arguing his view point. This is what i was talking about when taking feedback. I wish Prashant good luck in all his future endeavors.

Overall it was a Saturday evening spent very nicely and judiciously. Though i am extremely disappointed by the lack of attendance from professional animators/friends who are working in some of the major studios in Mumbai. These sessions don't happen often and that makes it all the more reason to attend them. Anyway its entirely their loss and their ignorance(sorry mates, its the fact. I understand many people may have prior commitment and so on but virtually no one attending is nothing but ignorance. I feel the event was well marketed and the word was spread thru many many mailers and thru appropriate channels.). But in future i really hope to see a lot of turn out and not just from students but also from professionals in these events.

For the organizers i just want to suggest to be as punctual as possible and to make sure that the volunteers or the organizers themselves are the first to reach the venue and that too well before time and to make sure the event takes off smoothly. Or if the event is suppose to start at 5:30, but you want the audience to be there by 5 to reserve their seats, please mention it explicitly on the poster or thru whatever means you are spreading the word. Its definitely not a good things to keep people waiting. Just my thoughts though.

Now this event coverage is not as a substitute for not attending the event. Its just my experience of it and just to give you an idea what these events are about. I had no intention to be biased in the form of praise or criticism. Its my take on the event, you may like it or may not like it or feel i was a bit biased, well fair enough, its your views in the same fashion as my views on the event. So if you had attended the event and feel that i have missed out many parts, do let me know and i will try to fill in as much as possible. After all its only so much one can remember, specially when the event was so much engrossing.

Hope you had fun reading the above and it was informative to you, however minuscule it might be.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Animators Are Some of the Happiest Workers in America, Survey Finds

AnimationMentor.com (Animation Mentor), the leading online character animation school created by animators for animators, today unveils key findings from an animation industry survey that shows a vibrant and healthy workforce with a bright future. Animation Mentor commissioned independent research firm Knowledge Wave International to conduct the survey to gain insight into an insider's view on industry trends, job titles, job satisfaction and salaries. "Behind the Characters: Professional Animator Job Satisfaction, Career Outlook and Salary Survey Report" is based on the responses of more than 1,200 professional animators from over a dozen countries who participated in the August 2008.

Get the complete report right here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 11th October 2008 - 17th October 2008

Genre -

Directed By - Alejandro González Iñárritu

Cast - Sean Penn, Naomi Watts, Benicio Del Toro

Whats It About - A freak accident brings together a critically ill mathematician (Penn), a grieving mother (Watts) and a born-again ex-con (Del Toro).

Why To Watch It- 21 Grams is the film from the Academy Award-nominated director of Amores Perros, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. It is a story of hope and humanity, of resilience and survival.

The lead actors in 21 Grams are three-time Academy Award nominee Sean Penn, Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro, and award-winning actress Naomi Watts. The actors were all honored at the film's world premiere at the 2003 Venice International Film Festival, where Sean Penn won Best Actor and Benicio Del Toro and Naomi Watts earned the Audience Awards for Best Actor and Actress. 21 Grams, written by Guillermo Arriaga (Amores Perros), explores the emotionally and physically charged existences of three people over a period of several months.

A moving, but frustratingly-structured drama with superb performances.

Have a look at the trailer -

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 4th October 2008 - 10th October 2008

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Genre - Drama

Directed By - Paul Thomas Anderson

Cast - Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano

Whats It About - A story about family, greed, religion, and oil, centered around a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business.

Why To Watch It - The film is visually stunning, and alternates between lush widescreen shots of the desert and meticulously composed, darkly lit close-up of his actors, presenting complex images of the American landscape and the souls that dot it. As a narrative, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is told with a sense of economy, yet never at the expense of the film’s inherently grand scope. It’s difficult to determine precisely what Anderson wants his viewers to take from the experience: the film is, in the end, appropriately complex and ambiguous. THERE WILL BE BLOOD forces us to confront Plainville, who seems to be a larger-than-life personification of evil; that we don’t entirely understand him at the film’s conclusion is not a shortcoming, but rather a tribute to the depths of this most vile creature and this most brilliant film.

Widely touted as a masterpiece, this sparse and sprawling epic about the underhanded "heroes" of capitalism boasts incredible performances by leads Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano, and is director Paul Thomas Anderson's best work to date.

Have a look at the trailer -

Catch Up Time

Its been quite sometime since i posted on the blog. So i thought i will let you know a bit as to what was keeping me occupied.

Firstly my sister and my beautiful 3 years old niece are here in India on their holidays. So i am trying to spend as much time i can. Family definitely comes first for me. And since they stay outside India, i really look forward to spend some time with them. Nothing can take the place of your near and dear ones and the times we spend with them is truly cherished for a long long time.

Then i was in goa for about 4 days with family. It had been a long time since i had gone on holiday and specially with family. And since my new term at Animation Mentor(AM) was yet to start, it was the perfect way to rejuvenate before starting a new term at AM. Hopefully, I will try to post some photos about my goa trip and bit about the entire trip.

And finally, my new term Class 4 - Advanced Acting has started here on AM. I was on a break last term and since 3 months a lot has improvised over AM, what with many new mentors and a super fast new site. Though the changes are majority on the back end side, so it feels more faster and am sure in times to come i shall feel more difference in the overall working of the site. Kudos to AM team for their new much faster and spruced up student's site.

My mentor for this term is Sean Ermery. He is a freelance artist and his last stint was with ReelFX as an animator on several projects including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Open Season 2 (releasing on DVD in the beginning of next year). I had my first QNA with him last night and seems to be a cool guy and i am really anticipating a fun filled Class 4.

I guess thats all whats been happening at my side. I will try to post more regularly in times to come.

And oh yes...AnimationMentor.com has launched a new completely redesigned site with a new section for free animation resources for animators. Its looking great overall. Check it out here !

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Disney's 3D Animation "Bolt" - New Extended Trailer

Here is the new extended trailer for Disney's BOLT, a 3D animation feature hitting the screens on November 21st. After watching this extended trailer i am totally waiting to see the entire movie. I am having an intuition that this one will be entertaining all the way.

Have a look -

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Simply Superb - The Day The Earth Stood Still

Check out this awesome EXTENDED preview of an upcoming sci-fiction movie "The Day The Earth Stood Still". It stars Keanu Reeves who suits this particular role so seamlessly, it seems he was born to do this movie !!

I think this movie has the potential to do what the Matrix Trilogy did to cinema. The preview looks absolutely brilliant !! This has become the most awaited movie for me in this year as much as Quantum Of Solace.

Have a look and decide by yourself.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Asifa India CGMEETUP 13th September - Case Study By Aardman Animation Studios

I went to my first every CGMeetUp here in Mumbai. Infact my first ever MeetUp since my existence as an animator.

The event was organised by Asifa India and was a case study by the world renowned Aardman Animation Studios and was supported by CGTANTRA.

It was a totally fun experience watching the awe-inspiring work of Aardman who have been pioneers in Stop-Motion animation for many many years(or is it decades?).

Alan and Andrew were kind enough to come down to Mumbai, India representing Aardman and sharing their wonderful work(past, present, a bit of the future).

Aardman's Upcoming Projects

The session started with Alan and Andrew both taking the mic alternatively and speaking about Aardman, its history and finally getting started with the case study in terms of showing their work. They have a huge experience in Stop-Motion and have also entered the CG medium, using it in their work as a blend of stop-motion,CG and 2D. Needless to say the end result is absolutely beautiful.

They showed a wide range of commercials, pitches, how does the pitches work(or why it doesn't work as in getting a client or a project), their shorts, their critically acclaimed, multiple award winning short film Pearce Sisters and some of their work done by their amazing team of artists in their own time just as a hobby or to pursue their creative endeavors.

In the end(from Aardman) they also had an interactive session where the audience was allowed to ask any questions they had. Some of the very interesting questions were -

1. Is it necessary to specialize in one field or be a generalist ?

2. How does Aardman decides which medium to use(Stop-motion, CG, 2D) or does it depends on the client's sensibilities ?

3. Recruitment process of Aardman.

4. Suggestions/advise for people starting in the industry and for the entire fraternity of artists on the whole.

At the end of the event, they had an open mic forum where anyone could share their shorts or any news or information about anything they wanted to. Vaibhav Kumaresh another person doing some great work in Stop-motion, shared some of his beautiful work. It was brilliant and extremely entertaining. Also as a person Vaibhav is quite friendly and a jolly good fellow.

I was surprised to see Dhimant Vyas, the guy who did the highly famed animation (claymation primarily) work in Taare Zameen Par. He spoke about his future projects a bit and in general. With the kind of talent he has and the work he has done, he seemed to me an extremely humble and down to earth person. We need many more people like him for our industry, its so very inspiring.

Overall it was indeed a pleasure and so much fun attending this CGMeetUp and now i am eagerly looking forward to the next event. Attending these kinds of events for the first time,i didn't know a lot of people and hence couldn't interact much, but i am looking forward to that in the upcoming events.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 13th September 2008 - 19th September 2008

Genre -

Language - Italian

Directed By - Vittoria De Sica

Whats It About - A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job.

Why To Watch It - The recipient of international acclaim, Vittorio de Sica's Italian Neorealist masterwork, THE BICYCLE THIEF, is a treasure of world cinema.

Thematically, Vittoria de Sica's THE BICYCLE THIEF details an everyman story of loss of innocence in the face of a destitute society, while the film's poignant acting and directing creates an individual and heart-wrenching tale of one man's struggle to feed his family. The film is often considered one of the masterpieces of 20th century cinema.

The Bicycle Thief' has been a critical favorite for decades, and for good reason. It is a must-see film for any cinema loving person.

Have a sneak peek and decide for yourself -

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Quantum Of Solace - Bond Movie New Trailer 2 !!!!

Quantum Of Solace(QOS) new trailer is out !!! Its the 2nd official trailer to be released. I am quite a fan of Bond movies, I loved Casino Royal and Daniel Craig's performance in it as James Bond. Though i was not quite eager for QOS after seeing the first trailer, this new trailer has got me completely hooked. Its got some real kick-ass action scenes, some deadly camera angles and yeah a new Bond girl too ! :-)

If this is the trailer, i am dying too see the full movie !!!

Enjoy -

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Interview Of Animation Mentor's 2 out of 3 Co-founders - Shawn Kelly and Carlos Baena

Fantastic interview of Shawn and Carlos, the co-founders(including Bobby Beck) of Animation Mentor - Character Animation School, with Tim Formica of Blender Nation.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 6th September 2008 - 12th September 2008

Genre -

Cast - Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, Tom Sizemore

Directed By - Ridley Scott

Whats It About - 23 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.

Why To Watch It - Mark Bowden of the Philadelphia Inquirer told the story of the battle in his exhaustively researched, critically acclaimed book, BLACK HAWK DOWN, and filmmaker Ridley Scott (GLADIATOR) and screenwriter Ken Nolan have done an amazing job of bringing the dramatic story to the screen. Like Bowden's book, the film does not thoroughly examine the context of the conflict, but gives a detailed and intense blow-by-blow account of the fighting. The outstanding ensemble cast includes Josh Hartnett as a competent but nervous Ranger sergeant leading his first mission, Ewan McGregor as a "desk jockey" who excels when sent into combat, Eric Bana (THE INCREDIBLE HULK) as a cocky and enigmatic Delta, and Ron Eldard as a downed Black Hawk pilot. The violence of the film is brutal and nearly constant. Scott unflinchingly captures the chaos and mayhem of battle with tremendous visual finesse.

There cannot be a better action movie to make the most of your weekend. Get your home theater working, catch a big bag of chips/cheese balls/popcorn, get that 8-10 pack of your favorite beer/cola/whatever, lay back and enjoy the endeavor. Trust me you wont be disappointed. And oh yeah, you need not involve your girl friend also. This way you will have a much wanted time and space to yourself, have a much over due boys movie time and you will save yourself those tears which you had to bear while watching romantic movies with your loved ones !! :-)

Have a sneak peek right here -

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome Is Here - IE and Firefox, beware and be scared..very scared !

Google the undisputed leader in Search Engines and Email has done it again. It has launched its own free Internet Browser  - Google Chrome

First impressions looks very neat and slick with minimal design and nice use of pastel colors which are quite pleasing visually. I can go and on about Google Chrome and its new features but i highly recommend checking out the following links and videos. Though its in Beta, its definitely worth to give it a try !  Enjoy the Chrome !! 

10 Features Of Google Chrome

Story Behind Google Chrome