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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009, Welcome 2010 !

In a few hours, 2010 will be here...whew....another set of 365 days passes by !

Regardless of how 2009 turned out to be for you, its my hope that 2010 will be much much better in all aspects for you !

And it will be if you believe in yourself and do the best you can in whatever you do ! Remember it doesnt matter how you fare in comparison with some one else, but what really matters is how you fare yourself with what you were yesterday and what you are today !

Wishing you a truly fulfilling 2010 ahead !


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Importance Of Staging 'aka' Composition !

Recently I saw a movie - The Reader. This is a brilliant movie in many many aspects, be it the story, the performances(Kate Winslet bagged an Oscar for her superb performance) by almost everyone who came into focus in any frame, production design, the look and feel of the entire movie and the amazing work done from a Director's point of view in terms of Camera Angles and directing the viewer's eyes to the place which actually matters - Staging or Composition. I really recommend watching this movie.

Now this post is not about the movie per se, but to talk about how important Staging/Composition is in film-making(be it live-action, animated or a blend of both) with examples taken from the movie - The Reader. I have chosen 3 frames which stood out for me as to how powerful Staging can be to impact/heightened the story and the scene in particular and make the viewer see what has to be seen. Now this not to say, rest of the movie has bad staging, but for me these Framing were the cream so as to speak ! Watch the movie and see what else stands out for you !

So lets get started -

Frame - 1

To break it down in terms of shapes and lines -

In the above picture, from the Staging itself you can instantly understand who is leading the scene here or where the Director wants you to focus on.

Any frame can be framed in a million ways. This one works beautifully but so can many others. The key is to choose what will work best in any given situation.

Notice the green lines, how the objects, the characters in the scene are placed or are shot in such a way that naturally your focus will go on the circle where the action is taking place. Now the characters can be moved around as desired, but the background(props, objects) in this case doesnt have the flexibility to be moved around at will because of the scale of the set.

Again there can be a million different designs of how a classroom can be, but here this one seems perfect because the people behind the camera were able to squeeze out all the juice required. If the set was different, definitely the framing would have been different too.

Too many choices in any aspect can be good or bad. For films this is the really difficult part as there are no set way or rules to do it this way or that. There are so many different permutations and combinations possible and considering an equal no. of contrast in the audience, to have something which will please all is definitely not possible but if you can please majority of them you have done your work !

Frame - 2

To break it down in terms of shapes and lines -

Another fantastic example of a good framing. See how the stairs on either side, the character on the left side and the two characters on the right side converge in terms of geometric shapes to the people in the circle. Also notice the triangle which gets formed due to the placement of the characters in the scene.

There is another triangle on top of the circle thanks to the stairs on each side.

So two opposite triangle, both pointing to where it matters most. Awesome stuff !

Frame - 3

To break it down in terms of lines and shapes -

I simply love this one ! See how everything is framed to direct you to the circle. Also notice how the characters are place. See how the objects in the set also converge to the circle. You change one placement and the entire scene attains a fresh new composition. What if the girl was placed in the same row as the boy who is sitting on the table? What if the camera was placed somewhere else, say it was the left side from the character in the circle or it was on top, in the middle between the characters and focusing on the circle? It would look a whole different than it is now !

The magic of Staging and Composition !

Gesture Drawing : 29/12/09

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 26th December 2009 - 1st January 2010

Blue Velvet(1986)

Genre - Drama/Mystery

Directed By - David Lynch

Cast - Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper

What's It About - After finding a severed human ear in a field, a young man soon discovers a sinister underworld lying just beneath his idyllic suburban home town.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Must Read : Carlos Baena On Feedback

"Everybody needs feedback, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than paying a trainer."
- Doug Lowenstein

In any field feedback is the easiest and the fastest way to grow. If you stay isolated in your own cocoon you have no idea what you are missing.

This goes specially in Animation where its(should be?) mandatory to get and give feedback as Animation is all about team work and bouncing off ideas can have a powerful impact(both positive and negative) on our work. Now the key here is not everyone can take or give feedback in the way it should be. In my personal experience I had many bitter experiences where in when I gave feedback, they thanked me by sending me infuriating mails asking how can I criticise their work, that I have no right to my opinions, I am in no way superior to give feedback...blah blah blah.

And then when I asked for feedback, it was as if they had some personal grudge against me and this was their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get back at me with vengeance. They pointed all the mistakes in all aspects of my life but just leaving a small bit of it...that was in the context of my work I showed them !!!

Now I am not saying that I am a "Yoda" in giving or taking feedback, but the examples I gave were at the two extreme opposite ends of a spectrum and clearly their reaction was not warranted at all.

Now I can go on and on, but it seems prudent to direct you to read what Carlos Baena(Animator, Pixar and Co-founder Animation Mentor) has to say about giving and receiving feedback.

Though everything in that article makes a lot of sense, there is one line which I think every Animator should have it posted somewhere where they can see it all the time :

"It's important to know that getting feedback is about improving a shot, and not judging the animators skills."


Monday, December 21, 2009

Gesture Drawing : 21/12/09

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Short Film : Alma

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 19th December 2009 - 25th December 2009


Genre - Biography/Drama/History

Directed By - Gus Van Sant

Cast - Sean Penn/Emile Hirsch

What's It About - The story of Harvey Milk, and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Gesture Drawing : 18/12/09

This one is more of object than gestures, but nevertheless an exercise in drawing.

Gestures -

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mindblowing : Iron Man 2 Trailer

Does this look awesome or does it look awesome ??!!

I would happily leave the discretion to any discerning viewer !

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gesture Drawing : 16/12/09

Stunning Short Film : French Roast

I am a bit late to holler this one out as I have come across this one been mentioned on so many blogs/animation sites already. But in case you still happened to miss this one, this is a beautifully done short film by Fabrice Joubert a former Animator but currently wearing the hat of an Animation Director.

This short works splendidly on many different levels be it Animation, look and feel of Characters, Staging, Lighting and so on.

And it has also been nominated for an Academy Award in the Animated Shorts category !

Watch the film !

Check out the production blog !


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gesture Drawing : 15/12/09

Monday, December 14, 2009

New Animation and Podcast Site On The Block

If you have been following my blog, you will know that I am a huge sucker for Podcast in the field of Animation(besides other areas like Music, Health, Educational and so on).

In terms of Podcast for Animation the only two which comes to mind(and the only two that exists in my knowledge!) is Animation Podcast and Spline Cast. The good news is there is one more now !

To quote from the site -

Who are we?

Well, we’re four professional animators currently working in the animation industry. Having been inspired by Animation related podcasting ourselves, we sought out a chance to help give back to the same community that informs, inspires, and entertains us. Speaking of Animation was created to deliver even more engaging content. Come along with us as we interview our friends and fellow artists about their craft and thoughts on animation.

Now these professional animators are from DreamWorks Animation Studio and they would be speaking to super talented people within their studio(not only Animators), people who are not in the lime light or very well known but nonetheeless they play a huge role in entertaining us thru the work they do to make those movies.

For me these Podcast are a huge source of information and inspiration as after hearing their experiences and journey, we realize that in our continuous struggle to grow in our creative pursuits, we are not alone and that everyone goes thru this at some point or the another. If they can do it, so can we !

Also my huge respects to these four guys doing this and also to the people who would be interviewed in the Podcast. These things takes time and to take out time from their as it is grueling and busy schedule is a very noble thing to do and simply shows their community spirit and their passion to share their knowledge !

So head straight to this site without any detour !


Starting A New Habit - Gesture Drawing !

I used to do gesture drawing on and off, but unfortunately it never really transcended to a habit. But now I really want to nail this down as an everyday habit like I brush my teeth/take a bath/eat breakfast and so on.

It will be my endeavor to post at-least 10 drawings everyday. These drawings will not be a mark of my draftsmanship but rather my effort to understand human anatomy, line of action and how just the body language in a few very rough lines can convey so much. All this is to help me in my Animation in terms of posing, as poses are without doubt the foundation of any and every good animation. Once you have the main key/storytelling/golden poses working for you, then its all about building on top of that.

So here my poses for today -

Any suggestions on how to improvise in this direction is very much appreciated.



Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 12th December 2009 - 18th December 2009

Rocky III(1982)

Genre - Action/Drama/Sport

Directed By - Sylvester Stallone

Cast - Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers

What's It About - When Rocky is defeated by a brutal challenger, Apollo Creed offers to retrain him in order to regain his fighting spirit.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 5th December 2009 - 11th December 2009

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Genre - Comedy/Crime

Directed By - Robert Zemeckis

Cast - Bob Hoskins, Joanna Cassidy

What's It About - A toon hating detective is a cartoon rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

New Theatrical Trailer - Toy Story 3 !!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 28th Novemeber 2009 - 4th December 2009

Rocky II(1979)

Genre - Drama/Sport

Directed By - Sylvester Stallone

Cast - Sylvester Stallone

What's It About - Rocky struggles in family life after his bout with Apollo Creed, while the embarrassed champ insistently goads him to accept a challenge for a rematch.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 7th November 2009 - 13th Novemeber 2009

The Shining (1980)

Genre - Horror/Thriller

Directed By - Stanley Kubrick

Cast - Jack Nicholson

Whats It About - A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

First Teaser Trailer : Dreamworks Animation - How To Train Your Dragon !

Trailer of this highly awaited movie is out ! For me, if the movie is as endearing as this Trailer, Dreamworks Animation has raised their previous benchmark set by Kung Fu Panda.

Have a look and decide for yourself !


Friday, October 30, 2009

Animation Reel September 2009

After much delay, procrastinating and then time managing, prioritizing, I have finally compiled a reel for myself to gauge my progress and growth as an Animator on a consistent basis.

Animation Reel : September 2009 from Anirudh Bhalotia on Vimeo.

If you like it, a lot of credit goes to the wonderful Animation Mentor Community, for their generous and continuous supply of feedback.

If you don't, then its entirely my fault, but please feel free to point out where I can improvise, so that my next reel is much stronger than this.

Thank You !


Weekly Movie Recommendations : 31st October 2009 - 6th November 2009

Genre -

Directed By - Elliot Silverstein

Cast - Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin

Whats It About - A woman seeking revenge for her murdered father hires a famous gunman, but he's very different from what she expects.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Catch Up Time : 26th October 2009

Hello Readers,

Sorry for the very erratic flow of posts since last 4 weeks. Its been a very challenging time since last one month. Challenging physically and mentally, but I would say more mentally. Allow me to explain.

P.S. - What I am about to share may not be interesting to many of you and that's fine. But I believe there is a lesson to be learn from here and hence the very idea of this post.

Also I am not sure whats my real motive is to write this post. May be its a way to share my experiences and in the process feel lighter within myself, may be its a way to let others know what all can happen out of the blue and be prepared for it. Or it may also end up being amusing or stupid or fun to read what ever follows from here on. Or it may be to find out what you would have done had you been in my place. So any feedback is most welcome.

2nd Oct'09, me and my family moved to another house. Fortunately we found another one in the same area where we were staying before, so there was a comfort of knowing the surroundings against exploring everything from scratch.

Now ironically, the main shifting was a breeze, we had hired professional movers and packers to pack and move the goods and thankfully they stood by their claims of being professional and efficient. But what followed(and still following) has been nothing less than nightmare.

I want to add that the amount of phone calls I had to make in the last month, was equal to the amount of calls I normally make in around 9-12 months. Now you may ask why ! Well read before and you will know why !!

Strike ONE (STRIKE as in Baseball, 3 STRIKES and you are down and out)
To begin with, a day before I was about to move, I called my Phone/Internet Service Provider to take a request for shifting my connection so that my old number remains the same and also I 'thought' it would be a faster process against applying a new connection. Alas how wrong I was.

It took 16 harrowing days and 100 calls to get the connection finally set up at my new place.

I would like to mention that on day 15, I was so fed up/frustrated/angry/irritated of this delay which was affecting my other work, I got myself a portable modem which cost me around 3 months of my rental which I pay normally to my Service Provider. The moment I got the modem, it seems as if there was an instant vent up of all my not-so-desirable inner turmoil and I felt so much more relaxed. If only I knew it was just a matter of one more day. Or who knows it was an intentional play of cards by the almighty.

Now the side effects of all this was that I used to be very irritated all day long. The irritation was not entirely because of the delay but because of a lack of concrete response from my Service Provider as to what exactly is the problem and precisely by when can I expect my connection. Everyday whenever I used to call them, they used to say it will be done today, but that today came after 16 days.

Strike TWO
Next came the pain of getting my Air-Conditioner(AC) set up. Now there were two steps in getting it set up. First was to make a provision in my window for the AC to fit in and second was to get the delivery of the AC and getting it fixed by the technicians.

Luckily the AC's were delivered reasonably on time. It was getting it fixed which turned out to be a long long wait. I called the concerned people to come to my house to take the measurements of my AC and do the needful in the Window. The person said he will be at my place in 15 mins.

Can you imagine that, that 5 mins came after 5 days and 25 calls. Even till date I am unable to find the exact answer as to why it took so much time. All I heard was excuses like "was busy", "rains", "weekend came", "I went on leave" and so on. I mean is work ethic totally dead. And why all this was happening only with me ?

There is more, the person came finally, they took the measurements, they said they will have to make an Aluminum Frame to hold the AC to make sure there are no gaps. I asked how many days, they said 2. I thought I have waited so many days, 2 more days wont hurt. I said ok and requested them to speed up if possible. Now my guess is that the definition of "speed up" for that person was to "take extra time". The frame came after 4 days !

Fortunately the final installation was done the same day as the frame arrived. Whew, had to wait close to 10 days for a good night sleep in a cool environment.

Strike THREE
Last week while animating on my desktop, suddenly everything went still in my comp, nothing was moving, I tried to restart using Ctrl+Alt+Del, nothing. Tried to reboot directly from CPU, again nothing !!! Finally I had to remove the plug from the main power source to switch it off.

I kept my fingers crossed and started it again. What I dreaded happened. Monitor started blinking with no display whatsoever. Also the lights on the CPU were not blinking which meant nothing was happening in the CPU. I thought may be its one of those times, when suddenly it goes off and suddenly everything comes back to normal. I tried again 3-4 times, no luck. I decided to give it a break and only after few hours, I tried again, but no improvement. Finally I decided to call my Computer Technician from a Computer Vendor(from where I have an Annual Maintenance Contract) and have a look. He came, tried every possible trick he knew, still no luck. Finally he said he will have to remove the motherboard and take it to his testing center to find the exact cause. He said, if the motherboard is fine, it may be a Power Supply problem in which case, next day itself he will get a new Power Supply. But if its the motherboard issue it can take more time. I asked him how many days. He said he cant say until he checks it thoroughly and promised to give me a call next day itself. Now this was Tuesday. Till Friday I didn't hear anything from him. I called them around 10 in the morning and some stupid operator said that she is aware of my problem and will give me a call back. Till 8 in the evening no call came. I tried calling back but no response, which means they have wrapped it for the day.

I called them the next day and blasted the hell out of them. They promised to call back. Finally after a few hours, the owner(of the company who had my Annual Maintenance Contract) themselves called, apologizing like a criminal pleading for mercy and said they will give me a replacement the same day. Saturday passed, Sunday passed and no replacement came.

Then today I thought enough is enough its time to take some real action. I called them and threaten to cancel all my Contracts I had given them thru various sources. In addition to this I told them to give me my motherboard back as they were too useless to repair it and that I shall get it fixed by somewhere else. They said to kindly wait for one last time and that they will call me in 15 mins to tell me the exact date when I will get my motherboard. They called in 10 minutes and said that on Wednesday they will surely come and fix my motherboard. Now I really don't know whether they will stand by their word or again one of their empty promises, but I am really hoping that they do, as its been close to 8 days, all my animating and other work has been on hold and I am feeling like a new born baby, totally helpless to do anything.

Now is this really a co-incidence that I was been served by pathetic customer service on and on with no end in sight ?? Or is it that God wanted to test my patience and my character ??

But one good thing happened, because of my desktop crashed I was forced to tackle my laptop problem which I have been ignoring for a long long time. My laptop had problem of bad sectors in the hard disk and shutting off automatically and abruptly at no particular interval of time. I got a new hard disk and also fixed the problem of shutting down abruptly. Apparently there was some issue of Thermal Sensors on the CPU. Whatever that means !

FOUR (its not really a STRIKE)
On hindsight may be this is the problem which is making me over-react to the above strikes. Since we moved in, I have applied to a few places(in my city) to offer my services as a 3D Character Animator. Its been almost a month and no replies yet. I understand these things takes time, but is it too much to ask even for some notification, whether yes or no. If its Yes I can jump with joy and even if its No, I will at-least know whats working and whats not and get on to tackling those issues. Some one has said "no news is great news" but here in this case its definitely not doing me any good. I sometimes really wonder, some things/actions/events just cannot be explained in human simply understandable terms.

Now you may be wondering what is the lesson behind all this. For me it is :

1. Things wont be hunky dory all your life. Regardless of how good life is going for you, there will be times when nothing, nothing at all seems to work. Thinking otherwise is being extremely naive !

2. You can never have enough patience because how much ever you feel you are cool and composed, there will be events that will just freak you out and drain all your patience.

3. Every event good or bad is an experience.

4. There IS a reason why anything is happening in your life.

5. To practice letting go. To not revel in good things/event for long and to not drool over not so good things/events for long.

6. To not judge any event, just savor it in the present moment and take it as it comes. The definition of good or bad is nothing but your viewpoint at work.

7. Never never never give up. I will be very forthcoming, this time in my life has tested me the most. But I am determined to not let it get the better of me. I will keep going regardless of what happens. If I have to walk against very strong winds, so be it.

8. Find your own avenues in these trying times, which can make you relax a bit and get distracted from all the negatives. For me its being with myself. When I am alone and quiet I feel my batteries recharging. Introspecting is a very powerful tool. Try it.

9. Appreciate the presence of your near and dear ones in your life. Without doubt I have been in the worst of my moods and behavior in the last one month than I have ever been in my whole life. But I am thankful to my parents for their undying love and support all the while despite my erratic mood swings and temper. I am convinced God made parents because he couldn't be everywhere at the same time.

10. When you are at the very low of your life, see the good part, the only way you can go from here on is UP ! I absolutely feel the same currently.

Before I get deeply engrossed in emotional talk, its seems prudent to wrap this post up. I really don't know what made me write and share all this with the world at large. But I am feeling a lot better, bringing all this up and sharing with you.

If you have anything to share in the context of this post - be it your experiences of testing times, be it advise/suggestions for me, be it about how you would have handled it if you where in my position, please feel very free to do the same.

Thank You !


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 17th October 2009 - 23rd October 2009

Oldboy (2003)

Genre - Drama/Mystery/Thriller

Language - Korean

Directed By - Chan-wook Park

Cast - Min-sik Choi, Hye-jeong Kang, Ji-tae Yu

Whats It About - After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Event Coverage : Anifest India'09 - 18th September, Mumbai, India

Last Friday (18th September) I attended Anifest India'09, an event which is for animators, by animators and which was organized by The Animation Society Of India(TASI). Incidentally it was my first Anifest India whereas it was the 5th Anniversary for Anifest India. Better late than never !

P.S. - This is not the entire coverage of all the 3 days, but whatever I could attend. Also instead of a passive coverage (just mentioning verbatim whatever happened in the event) I decided to throw in my views also, where-ever I felt the need to share something.

Thanks to CGTantra for all the images !

As with every Animation related event in India, I go with neutral expectations, nothing great, nothing less and so far I all the events I have attended I have come out feeling satisfied and content.

The track record continues !

Ok I will admit I had a slightly higher expectations with this one, as this event was focused primarily on Animation, unlike other similar events, where the focus invariably goes to marketing the sponsors, most of the time they are training institutes which makes it even worst and the content of the event takes a back seat. Since this was for animators, by animators the vision itself was a lot different from the organizer's point of view.

Now there is a management lesson here the way I see it. How any event/project turns out, matters a lot on how the people at the helm wants it to be and what vision they have. Here the people organizing and handling were very clear what they wanted and what they didn't wanted and it clearly showed thru out the event. My guess is that around 8-12 people were involved full time since many months chalking out everything for the event. Yes they had the fantastic support of numerous volunteers, may be a hundred overall, but what made them contribute fully and efficiently was the guidelines set right at the start.

P.S. - I would like to add that I was not part of the organizers and haven't spoken to any of them, so I am not very sure how they made it happen, but I sense this must be the framework they glided along. (If any of the organizers are reading this, kindly correct me if I am wrong or if I am missing something)

Now coming back to the event...thanks to the way it was organized, registration, etc was a breeze. In less than 10 minutes I was done with everything and all ready to savor the first session.

I want to add, volunteers do play a huge role in any event. They are like an icing on the cake, if its good, it can enhance the taste, but if its bad it can make the cake taste horrible.

Here all were very smiling, cordial and friendly. In few of my previous events, some volunteers had no interest and it seemed as if were there because a gun was put on their head. You see a smile its contagious, you see a depressed face, its contagious as well. Got the idea ?

First Session : Character Animation & Story Telling by Bill Miller

Bill Miller

Session Brief as given in the schedule - This session explores how a better understanding of story can help you bring out more character and empathy in your animation. Using examples from classic films, we will break down concepts such as, film, structure, scene structure, subtext, character arcs and point of view. Your job as an animator is telling a story and this session will show how to animate your scenes keeping the big picture in mind.

About Bill - Bill had stints in Dreamworks Animation as an Animator, then was a faculty at Takshaa Academy(Bangalore, India) and at present is with Visual Computing Labs(VCL), formerly called Tata Elxsi as a Producer. If you havent heard of VCL, they made India's first 3D Full Length Animated Feature - Roadside Romeo.

They couldn't have got a better way start the event. This event is nothing less than the real meaty/juicy part of Animation and something which at the end of the day is what we Animators strive to excel.

But unfortunately Bill reached the venue late, thanks to the pathetic traffic in Mumbai. It was a weekday and peak hours. I don't blame him.

So the session instead of 10 AM, started around 10:30-10:45 and because the next session was schedule at 11:40, this session hardly lasted an hour or so. What a pity considering that Bill was hosting it very well and kept the audience glued thru out. Now this is a session which deserves a full day for sure. There is so much to talk about, so much to discuss, so much to learn from different footage from movies. I really hope TASI organizes such session for a full day with lunch/tea breaks in between. It would be a real treat(pun intended) for all !

As to the actual content of what Bill spoke out, to me it sounded a lot similar to what Robert McKee says thru his book STORY and in his seminars, which is good because there is no better than Robert McKee to learn about Story and his book Story is without doubt the bible for Story Writing and learning the ropes about it. And since my guess is that 99% of the audience wouldn't have heard about Robert McKee or his book, you can imagine how useful Bill's session would have been to the audience if it was a whole lot longer.

Bill also recommended a few movies which are exceptional from a story point of view and also in the way they are crafted. Sorry but I only remember the ones I haven't seen - Misery, The Verdict.

In the end of the session there was a Question and Answer session, which as always is very very interesting to me !

QNA Session

The questions which stood out for me were -

  • What defines a character's personality ?
  • How to Animate/Show personality when there is no audio involved ?
I really cant recall what was Bill's answer to them, but these are very very important questions and since I have some more from the sessions which followed, I will try to answer them in a separate post. So keep watching this BLOG !

Second Session : Entertaining India by E. Suresh / Rudra Matsa (2 sessions on the same topic)

E. Suresh

Rudra Matsa

Session Brief as given in the schedule - This session aims to explore the future of creating content in India and also for Indian audiences. Watch and learn as those who have managed to cross over, share their secrets to success.

About E. Suresh - Alumni from NID, currently Content Developer at Famous House of Animation.

About Rudra Matsa - His forte consists of Hand-Drawn Animation and also Manga Style of Anime.

Since this session followed up Bill's session, I was really hoping it better be good. And also because Bill's session was not extended even by a minute so that the next session could start on time. Yes I know I was putting undue pressure on the speaker of this session, as all the organizers were doing was stick to a schedule to be fair to all the speakers. But in future, it really wouldn't harm too much to have some extra time in hand for any unforeseen circumstances.

This session was as good or even better than Bill's, primarily because it got the minimum time it deserved. It was not rushed or hurried along. The other reason being that E. Suresh speaker was very good and the content and the topic was very inspiring for me.

E. Suresh is a veteran in the Indian Animation space, who started sometime around 1998, when Animation was hardly known in India. What stood out for me was when he spoke about the challenges/obstacles he faced when he wanted to sell his Animated content, how it was very difficult to sell during those days, how no one was ready to take a chance and buy Animated content. To me this is a very good example, of how we need to be passionate about what we are doing and at the same time add persistence and perseverance in our endeavors. E. Suresh had all three of them and in the end it paid off.

Now I should add here that E.Suresh's expertise is not 3D Animation to the likes of Disney/Pixar (he humbly admitted the same on stage too), but more of other forms say Stop Motion, Cut-out Animation and so on.

Artwork Copyright - Famous House Of Animation

Contrary what media may say, the truth is that Indian Animation Industry is going thru its worst phase, since the boom started in 2005-2006. As of now, Animation in India can be broadly divided into 2 categories - 2D and 3D. Several made-in-India 2D and one 3D feature have been released in India in the last 2-3 years, but overall the performance has been disaster to say the least. So if we can find other mediums/areas in Animation, build our expertise and bring it on to mainstream just like 2D and 3D, it will result to many new, different but positive possibilities at many different levels. New medium will demand more professionals, which in turn will create many new jobs. And once we are able to generate local content which can be consumed by the local market, it will be a turning point for the Industry. Right now 80-85% of the work in 2D/3D is outsourced, but because of the global financial meltdown, outsourcing took a massive hit and India got affected directly as its exposure to outsourcing is huge.

Though the type of Animation E. Suresh is doing, it has a decent local market in areas of Ads, for channels like MTV, Channel V among others but if we able to expand this to TV and Feature, it will certainly help to promote new mediums and at the same time, create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign markets.

Overall a very good session by E. Suresh and I would love to hear more from him in the future. And I am sure I will !

Next session on a similar topic was conducted by Rudra Matsa. He started by showing what kind of work he and his team was doing, which I think is very very good.

Artwork Copyright - Rudra Matsa

But to be frank, if the enthusiasm level in previous session was 90%, in this session it took a nose dive and was around 40-50%. I think the reason being that the audience was not very sure what Rudra's session was about and they were at some level not able to connect with what he was saying. At-least that was the reason for me, personally speaking. He kept jumping from one thing to the next, which made it worst. To describe it best, it lacked the fluidity and flow which is required to keep the audience engrossed. But I have to give credit to Rudra for attempting this. It takes a lot of courage to stand in front of a thousand plus audience and host a session. I have no doubt that with repeated attempts, Rudra will be able to host sessions in a much better way.

As with the first session, these 2 session also had some very interesting questions. A few questions were answered just by Rudra and for a few even E. Suresh chipped in with his views. Overall the questions which deserve more discussions are -

  • Is India conducive for Content Creation ?
  • Proper courses for different animation disciples ?
  • Can we position ourselves with our animation in the global animation industry ?
  • What is the most essential skill to be an animator ?

Third Session : Animation and eLearning by Sameer Sahasrabudhe

Sameer Sahasrabudhe

Session Brief as given in the schedule - eLearning is growing as a massive industry and animation has become a staple component of it. The requirement of the animation techniques and style may be a bit different from the conventional entertainment domain, but the fundamental remains the same. This session will present an array of the existing styles and forms of animation prevalent in the eLearning domain, with a few case studies.

Staying interested in sessions after lunch has always been challenging to me, specially when the lunch served was good, as in this case. What made it slightly more difficult was the nature of the session. It did have many good info. Actually it was suppose to be a BLENDER session, where people from BLENDER, were suppose to do a demo on how powerful BLENDER (as an open source and free 3D application) is compared to other known software like Maya, Max, etc. But due to swine flu scare, Anifest India had to be rescheduled at the last moment and hence they couldn't make it as per the new dates. Still the short Big Buck Bunny which was made entirely in BLENDER was screened and every-time I see it, I love watching it as I did when it first came out.

Image Copyright- BLENDER

Unfortunately that's all I could remember from this session.

In future, I really hope the sessions immediately after lunch are power packed and interesting to keep the momentum going.

Fourth Session : Screening of Short Films made by Students and Teachers/Trainers

I would be frank, I stayed post-lunch primarily for this one. Watching films made by Students is always very very exciting, as it brings so much variety in terms of the films been made, as every student is so vastly different in his/her perception of film-making.

There were around 28 films by students and 4 by Teachers/Trainers.

Without doubt the students film were far far better than the Teachers/Trainers.

All these films were vying for the Tasi Viewer's Choice Award(TVCA).

We had to choose just one movie each from Students and Teachers/Trainers category. So in order to remember which ones were good...I rated them all out of 10.

Out of the Students film, around 7-8 films crossed the 8 mark for me. Many were in between 5-7 and an equal number between 1-4.

Out of the Teachers/Trainers, it was heavily skewed. One was around 6 for me and rest 3 less than 2 !!!

Overall I am happy by the selection of Students Films, but the Teachers/Trainers category could have better selections for sure. May be they got just a limited number of entries and these four were better than the rest.

This session went for a good 2 hours, but the good thing is it hardly felt long. So yes I thoroughly enjoyed this session all the way.

It was tea break and time for me to head back home !

Overall Anifest India'09 performed well on the expectations I had. I have been also told that the rest of the sessions on the remaining days were good and very informative too. Hopefully next year I will be able to attend on all the 3 days.

Kudos to TASI for Anifest India'09 !!!


Siggraph Asia 2009 : Computer Animation Festival Trailer

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 26th Septemeber 2009 - 2nd October 2009

Office Space (1999)

Genre - Comedy/Romance

Directed By - Mike Judge

Cast - Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston

Whats It About - Comedic tale of company workers who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Animation Test - Pantomime

On similar lines of my previous Anim Tests, this time I wanted to do a Pantomime. These Anim Tests is my endeavor to keep pushing and exploring my skills.

Pantomime in my view is one the toughest thing to do in Animation, because all you have is an empty slate and you have to make a meaningful performance out of it. When you Animate to a audio clip, you have the cues in the Audio itself, as to how the timing can be, where are the main accents and so on. But in Pantomime you have nothing at all. That's what makes it so challenging and at the same time very very rewarding.

Initially I had also planned to have a full detail facial performance built in the scene, but then I wanted to further push myself and emote just using the Body Language primarily.

Physicality & Pantomime from Anirudh Bhalotia on Vimeo.

Whether I have succeeded or not, feedback is most welcome ! Thanks!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 19th September 2009 - 25th Septemeber 2009

Genre - Crime/Drama

Directed By - Francois Truffaut

Cast - Jean-Pierre Leaud

Whats It About - Intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Animation Mentor September 2009 Newsletter !

Another info packed newsletter from the folks at Animation Mentor.

At a glance :

Check it out !

Register here if you haven't already and to make sure you don't miss any from now on !


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 12th September 2009 - 18th September 2009


Genre - Crime/Drama/Thriller

Directed By - Jeffrey Nachmanoff

Cast - Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce

Whats It About - When straight arrow FBI agent Roy Clayton heads up the investigation into a dangerous international conspiracy, all clues seem to lead back to former U.S. Special Operations officer, Samir Horn.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

New Spline Cast From Spine Doctors

Andrew Gordon of Spline Doctors has a new Spline Cast with Ricky Nierva, Production Designer on Pixar's UP !

As always its a pleasure to hear this one too.

Direct Download

On iTunes


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 5th September 2009 - 11th September 2009

Genre - Action/Adventure/Comedy

Directed By - Peter Segal

Cast - Steve Carell, Anne Hathaway, Dwayne Johnson

Whats It About - Maxwell Smart, Agent 86 for CONTROL, battles the forces of KAOS with the more-competent Agent 99 at his side.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Movie Recommendations : 29th August 2009 - 4th September 2009


Genre - Drama/Sport

Directed By - John. G. Avildsen

Cast - Sylvester Stallone

Whats It About - A small time boxer gets a once in a lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.