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

Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Class 2 Progress Demo Reel as a Student At AnimationMentor.com

Here is my 3 months of hardwork during my Class 2 - Body Mechanics at Animation Mentor - Character Animation School.

Although i should have posted this earlier, but then i moved to Class 3, things got busy and was caught up with life so i hardly got time to polish and compile it. Anyways, better late than never !

These 3 months were super fun and a huge learning experience. Body mechanics was one area where i was lacking a lot and i was looking for solid guidance prior to joining Animation Mentor. And thankfully i was lucky to have a mentor like Dana Boadway who was extremely supportive and encouraging. With huge experience in Animation, Art, Theatre and what not and a trained dancer with around 15 years of dancing experience, she sure knows what she is talking about.

Body mechanics is the foundation for any animator wanting to pursue a career in Animation. Whatever I learnt in Class 1 - Basic Foundations started to making more sense in Class 2. Body physicality and believability in motion just cannot be ignored. No matter how much detail you put in terms of acting and emotions, if your overall motion is not working, it just wont connect with the audience and it will fall flat.

I wont say i have mastered Body Mechanics, but i definitely see a massive improvement in my understanding of it and hopefully it will show in the following video. In animation the more you learn it seems the less you know. Thats the beauty of this field. Every day is a fresh day with loads of stuff to learn and immerse in your self.

Animation is never finished, its just abandoned as every time you see it there is always scope for improvement. I am sure there is quite a lot which can be refined, but i am not sure whether i would go back and tweak more. Its easy to get stuck with a particular piece of animation and its important to move on. So I guess i would try something different to keep getting better at it. But so far i am quite pleased with what i have done so far. Thanks Dana ! :-)

Hope you like it !

Feedback/suggestions/advise/comments are always welcome !

P.S. - Requires QuickTime

Don't have ? Get it here.

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 30th August 2008 - 5th September 2008

Genre -

Cast - John Wayne, Claire Trevor

Whats It About - A simple stagecoach trip is complicated by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area. The passengers on the coach include a a drunken doctor, two women, a bank manager who has taken off with his client's money, and the famous Ringo Kid, among others.

Why To Watch It - Regarded by many as the best Western ever made, STAGECOACH shot John Wayne to stardom and elevated the prestige of a genre that had hitherto been considered a B-movie province.

Described by Orson Welles, who watched the film innumerable times before making CITIZEN KANE, as his cinematic textbook, STAGECOACH is superbly made in every respect, layering humor and sharp characterization into an exciting plot that includes a spectacularly photographed chase in Monument Valley.

Have a view right here -

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Why No Involvement....What Are We So Occupied With...

I have been thinking of this since quite sometime and the more i think the more i fail to understand. Ok, now before you give up to understand what i am talking about and leave my blog i will get to the point -

Why there is so less activity/involvement of artists based in India, in the online forums, blogs, etc ? Now since my field of interest is Animation, I may be speaking more about Animators, but i am sure even other areas like Modeling, Rigging, Lighting and so on, the forums are not filled with 1000 of artists and their posts all sharing their passion and knowledge of their art.

Now everybody is talking about India when the topic of "hot spots" for animation is discussed, but where is the collective effort. I don't see any collaborative effort happening anywhere among the artists anywhere. As an artist sharing knowledge, discussing art and emerging technologies, getting feedback on their work and giving on others, bouncing ideas, conversing about the animation in general is of paramount importance and it makes sure the artist is growing everyday. The day any artist doesn't learn anything every single day or if they feel they know everything he/she is virtually dead. And if anyone working in the industry feels that why bother when i have a full time job, i am able to pay my bills, thats all it matters. Well to this i feel sorry for that person. He cant be further from truth and decency be damned, he/she will and should regret for this pathetic attitude. Some one said -

Where INDIA fails INDIANS shine.

As an individual Indians are fantastic. We are good at work to an extent, can get a job and survive at that too but where team work comes, no one is interested. Why should i share the knowledge with others....only to let him succeed higher than me !!! Whether you agree or not, this type of attitude is not uncommon. I am no way generalizing, but it definitely exists. You agreeing or not agreeing or simply shrugging off cannot change the fact.

Now its not my intention to blame the artists. My point is thanks to technology and the online world, the amount of possibilities which have opened is tremendous. So much is being discussed in the online world and that too for free, its fantastic. Blogs are a terrific way to reach out to so many people thru out the world. Animation is such a vast field to learn out both technically and creatively, it only makes that much more sense that we share our experiences with others, grow and learn from it.

So far i have worked in 3 studios, animation being a small industry, many of my friends i had, also moved to studios as i did and out of these 3 studios, 2 of them are the among the biggest in India(head count wise). But not a single person i know is active on any of the forums or has a blog !!! Yes it may sound "whats the big deal" to many, but its shocking ! I was lucky enough to have worked with fantastic people but its sad to know that they have stayed away from the online world till now. They can contribute and share so much and in return also learn so much. I have asked many people about this and all they say is "where is the time" ! I mean come on, how can you not have time to gain more knowledge about something which at the end of the day is getting you a salary and paying your bills. If this is not complacency then we need to re-define the word to a new meaning.

You ask 10 people working in the animation industry and i can vouch for you that hardly 1-2 or not even that also, will be happy with the state of affairs going around them. Everyone cribs, but no one wants to do anything about it. People have seem to have forgotten that Animation is all about having fun. Ok i may have oversimplified it, people do need money for paying their bills, but if we don't worry about the money factor each time we set a key on a frame and just think about having fun and giving your best, i can guarantee you money will come. You put your best, honest and sincere efforts in your work and there is no way that you wont be rewarded for it. And the excuse of not having time is just an excuse and that too very very cliche. We speak everyday about avoiding cliche in our work, atleast try to get a new excuse for starters. People have time to spend on Orkut and Facebook and what not, but they don't have time to read about something which is affecting or can affect them in their future and which can be so helpful for their own good in the long term.

I think the problem lies in the way our perception is towards the vocation called Animation. Here everyone perceives it like a 9-5 job. You go to work, sit on your desk in isolation, do your scenes, go for coffee breaks and crib about deadlines and less salary, come back again stay isolated and so on and then in the evening shut down your system and head back home. Next day the same thing is repeated. If this is how you want to spend your life, why not join a bank or something like that. This is no way the workday of an animator and how it should be. Whenever people ask me what i do and when i say "Animation", their eyes just lit up. They feel so excited about my line of work. Just imagine their dismay if i tell them whats the day at work for an animator. This is definitely not animation. By living such a life, we are doing so much injustice to this beautiful vocation and missing out on the real fun part of being an Animator or being a part of the Animation fraternity.

Animation is all about team work. Discussing the scenes, discussing how best a particular emotion can be portrayed, asking your peers to look at your work-in-progress and see whats working and whats not and in return doing the same for them. By doing all this we are opening ourselves to so many different ideas and at the end each one of us learns something new and which gets reflected in the final output. I don't think we even care what the person sitting next to us is even doing. Sitting on your warm chair all day and doing your work is not Animation my friend. Animation is to see, absorb, feel, experience whatever is going around you and then try to use that to the best of your ability. If every scene of yours feels the same why will anyone come and see your work. If you have nothing new to offer, why animate. If you have to animate a person who is walking and is very happy, how would you do it sincerely..just by focusing on your screen all day long ??? I don't think so... get up from your chair, observe your friends, observe if some one is happy, see how they walk, observe the nuances when a person is happy. We do have imagination, but its limited to our own experiences. To expand that we need to stretch it more, see more, observe more. Imagination wont grow on its own. It needs to be nourished, it needs to be tested. Like a bird cant fly in a cage similarly by limiting ourselves to our chair and our screen we are loosing our ability to let our creativity fly.

Agree we all are busy with deadlines, loans, worries, families, kids, wives, girl friends and so on...but so what. Cant you spend time to attain and learn new things about your chosen field of work. I am not saying forget everything and be online 24 hours, but at least once a day or once a week or even once a month, you can share your experiences, help others who are new to this field, i am sure even you will learn many new things along the way. Being animators is not like doing business, where each step needs to be guarded so as not to let our rivals know of our plans. We need to be free mentally to put the best in our work. We need to let go of our apprehensions, our inhibitions, our ability to take every criticism personally(inflated egos is a big problem nowadays) and maintain a healthy atmosphere which will be conducive to creativity.

Strength can be shown in two ways - either by pushing others down or by pulling others up.

How about using the latter?

Think about it !

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Been busy...

Hello...moving to a new home in a new city is taking more time to settle down than i had anticipated...but nevertheless i'm enjoying every moment of it.. :-)

I will be back next week with my Weekly Movie Recommendations .

Apologies for the break ! :-)

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Class 1 Mentor at Animation Mentor Chris Chua on Filipino Daily Inquirer

My wonderful mentor Chris Chua for my Class 1 at Animation Mentor was recently interviewed by Filipino Daily Inquirer.

It was an absolute joy having Chris as my mentor. Even though we were beginners, he never felt us that way and was immensely encouraging and supportive thru out the term. Brilliant artist and a wonderful person.

A must read article.

Check it out yourself.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Like i said, i will be posting some cool things, well i couldn't have started with a better thing than this !

Animation Mentor has released its 4th Student Showcase !!!

Quote from the school -

"Welcome to our 2008 Summer Student Showcase! This reel is a compilation of creative work from 31 of our students, who reside all over the world in countries ranging from India to Germany to the U.S. to Australia and Brazil. Each of the featured clips was created exclusively by our students, demonstrating our students’ solid knowledge of character animation concepts.

The 2008 Summer Student Showcase, which is the fourth installment of our Student Showcase to date, is a testimony to why so many of Animation Mentor graduates have landed jobs at studios. The reel exhibits our students understanding and principles of body mechanics, weight, character arc, acting techniques, and demonstrates our students’ ability to show emotion and concepts that add life and originality to characters.

We hope you enjoy the showcase and are inspired by the amazing and imaginative work!"

Enjoy the impressive work right here.

Catch Up Time !!!

Hi, firstly my apologises for not posting anything for sometime. A lot has being going on lately in all facets of my life and so far everything seems to be in positive color. By gods grace it will remain this way for a long time to come.

To begin with me and my family have moved to a new city, Mumbai. And trust me moving to a new place is so so much of work, what with first packing, then unpacking, settling down, getting the basic things like in place like a phone connection, broadband connection, new bank accounts and so on. Its been 10 days since i moved in to my house, but its only today that my broadband connection has been setup, so you can imagine my restlessness in the last few days.

Though the settling down is far from over, atleast with my broadband connection now active i can get back in the groove. Since i moved in i realised how we take for granted basic things like these and only when we are inaccessible to these very things we feel how handicap we are. Technology has definitely made our lives easier but provided we dont have to wait for the technology wherever we are located. I guess all these is a part of moving and settling down to a new place. Its an experience nevertheeless.

While i was away, loads of stuff been happening. Animation Mentor wrapped up yet another graduation of their ninja students and with what i heard it was a blast, the best ever graduation ceremony so far. Siggraph - the biggest every CG festival also happened. There is so much to catch up as every year Siggraph is one of those events which no artist would want to miss. Though ofcourse nothing can beat being there physically, but atleast something is better than nothing and hence the online world can be a very effective substitute in the form of forums, blogs, where people share their Siggraph experience and are kind enough to keep the dope flowing for all those who couldnt be there in person. I will try to post something about it as and when i come across something which is super exciting and need to be told. I am also busy working with my Class 2 Assignments at Animation Mentor and getting it ready for public consumption. :-D

So keep watching this space as there is a lot of exciting stuff which i will be sharing with you all!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 9th August 2008 - 15th August 2008

May be off the net for some days. More on that as a separate post soon. So this time getting in the Weekly Movie Recommendations early.

12 Angry Men(1957)

Genre - Drama

Cast - Henry Fonda, Lee J.Cobb

Director - Sidney Lumet

Whats It About - A dissenting juror in a murder trial slowly manages to convince the others that the case is not as obviously clear as it seemed in court.

Why To Watch It - his film is superb, in fact as Shakespeare once said "Its the bees' knees". The film captivates the audience from the beginning. Each of the twelve jurors are introduced to us as they are introduced to themselves. The characters are well draw out and individual, each with his own personality.

The tension of the characters draws the audience in from the start. We imagine that the case is open and shut, 11 me saying guilty and 1 not. We feel the discomfort of Henry Fonda as the other characters belittle and mock how he can see any reasonable doubt in the case. But we also share his victories and the enthusiasm as he proceeds to refute or add doubt to the arguments for guilty and are captivated and draw in as other jurors begin to see doubt in the proceedings.

The audience can also see the arguments for guilty and wonder if Fonda's character is correct in saying that he doubts. Yet they also feel the shame of the characters as he disproves that a previously sound theory is iron tight, joining his side as members of the jury do.

On top of this they are wonderfully woven in human elements such as the misconceptions that influence people and the growing tension between different characters. This is brought to life even more by the amazing performances, Fonda, Lee J Cobb and Joseph Sweeney are of particular note.

Have a look right here -

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dreamworks New Animation Feature - Monsters Vs Aliens Trailer

Funny, hillarious, should be hell loads fun to watch.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Spline Doctor's Spline Cast with Doug Sweetland Part 2

Here is Part two of the Doug Sweetland Interview. In this part Andrew and Doug talk about how music relates to animation as well as Doug's directorial debut on Presto.

Get the Spline Cast here.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 2nd August 2008 - 8th August 2008

Match Point(2005)

Genre - Crime/Drama/Romance

Cast - Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Scarlett Johansson, Brian Cox, Emily Mortimer

Directed By - Woody Allen

Whats It About - At a turning point in his life, a former tennis pro falls for a femme-fatal type who happens to be dating his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law.

Why To Watch It - Match Point is a cool, classically elegant and concise film that addresses all of the big questions--love, morality, death, fate, chance--without ever seeming heavy or self-conscious.

the opening shot, the film draws you in and doesn't let up, moving from shot to shot with a fine sense of rhythm and a narrative drive that builds the viewer's curiosity through a series of unexpected switchbacks. Allen has put together a superb cast of young actors who bring his near flawless script to life so convincingly that one almost immediately suspends disbelief and becomes absorbed in the story. The shots of London are luxuriant and spacious, never self-indulgent. Few films, novels, or plays manage to form such rich dramatic material out of characters' inner obstacles. A classic piece of drama that reaches toward the likes of Shakespeare and Dostoevksy, every facet--from structure to dialog to editing to sound--is brought off with panache. This is not only Allen at his best but an example of what the cinematic medium is capable of when properly exploited.