Pre-Production | Production | Post-production

 

Ashoka was created using myriad software platforms across three different locations. All lead characters were hand drawn, then scanned and cleaned up for digitization. For minor characters as well as crowd scenes and long shots, the animation was drawn directly using Wacom tablets.

Ashoka - Layout

In some cases, the team was also able to do in between drawings digitally, especially for minor characters. This helped in reducing overall production time. The team had also tried to create a lip-sync plug-in but it did not work the way it was expected too. An off the shelf plug-in was purchased. However this had come late in the day and the team hopes to see its full impact in the follow up project.

“When you hand draw a person, it’s easier to get the nuances of their facial expressions, than if you use a computer programme. Then you’re limited by the commands set for the programme.”  However, it takes twice as long as computer-generated animation and if there’s a mistake, there’s a lot more to undo. But Jain feels it is worth it. “Hand-drawn animation has a timeless appeal — take the case of Tom and Jerry,” said Animator Deepak Kale, who worked on Ashoka -The Hero.

There were quite a few minor changes here and there to make additional creative impact and many times these calls were taken by the animators themselves on approvals from either the supervisors or the director. It was important to get input from people actually working on the shots as they had ideas which they had never been asked to share before.

Additionally, many animators, even while working on it, never thought they could pull this off. Therefore, allowing them the liberty to offer input, helped to slowly build confidence in their work.

Once the shots were approved the team started to send them across to their VFX vendors in Bombay & Delhi and these were then downloaded by their compositing team. The compositing team then began to render the final files and sent them across to the editing suite. For additional changes, the shots were either returned to the animation team or to the compositors.

Production itself took the team nearly 24 months and there was constant refinement of the project. There were times when the team had to completely shut down production to focus on client servicing projects which were critical to funding the INR 2.5Cr production budget. While this delayed the project, it allowed them to approach the work with a fresh perspective and with new insight when the team restarted on it.

Ashoka has been a tremendous team effort, we had troubles with one of our vendors which cost us dearly in terms of time, however, almost everyone came together and put together an amazing effort. I guess it pays to work with mavericks. - Palak Jain - Executive Producer

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