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

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 -