CG Today : One of your skills is the ability to light the shots and match the character and prop element lighting with that of the matt painting backgrounds. What tools and techniques do you use for the same, given that it is one of the more important aspects seen in animation films?

Arun : It was quite challenging to match the 3d elements to the hand painted matte painting BGs in case of LAVA - KUSA. We used the techniques of toon shading and contour rendering in Mental ray to achieve the look. Initially it was very tough to get the elements’ matchup as it took a lot of time to matchup the looks as per the director’s requirement. Later as the project progressed we were not facing many difficulties as everyone got used to the techniques and project was moving along smoothly. I can proudly say that for such a small team it was definitely a great achievement as and our efforts as a team paid off. I can never say that a particular set of techniques work for all the projects. It really depends upon how the final look has to be. Sometimes the tested techniques work but sometimes we have to look for some new techniques to achieve the results that are required for the projects and I think craving for new techniques and methods is what driving the industry to improve the standards and come out with new techniques, otherwise we would have never seen films like Toy story, Avatar, Lord of the Rings etc.

CG Today : Arun, as part of your role at Superhit Friends Pvt. Ltd. you was responsible for management of the movie and overview of production and post production phases. How was this experience? What were the challenges you faced? What made you switch from the role of an executive producer to that of a 3D artist?

Arun : My role at Superhit Friends Pvt ltd was only limited to that particular project. As it was a movie produced by my parents, they asked me to join the project. I was given a very daunting task of managing the crew and finances through the various levels of making of the movie. It was totally a different experience as I learnt how much hard work and time is put in by various people in order to give a 2.5 hrs of entertainment to the audience. My childhood interest was always animation as I grew up watching the famous cartoon shows like Tom and Jerry, Duck tales, Jungle book, etc. and was more determined to become an artist so that short stint of executive producer role didn’t really affect my career goals.

CG Today : You have honed your skills at the workplace as well as through training at Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics and Jedi Masters Academy. Would you recommend this sort of training for all aspiring animation and 3D artists? What is your take on the standards of animation education currently available in India?

Arun : I wouldn’t agree to the fact that education alone helps you to develop your skills; it may be in the case of other professions but not for animation Industry. Working in a production environment is where you get to learn about a lot of things which are never taught in the schools. Education in animation institutes gives only the basics of the software and techniques. As far as MAAC is concerned it’s a good institute where you will be equipped with various production techniques as it was run by production studio and JEDI Academy is purely a production based training environment.

Nowadays, animation education quality has drastically decreased as you can see there is an animation institute in every nook and corner that train the students just for the sake of money and are spoiling the careers of the students who come with a lot of ambitions.

CG Today : Your first brush with 3D related work was at ARS Frames Pvt. Ltd. where you worked on visual effects for a regional feature film. You had a chance to work on Rotoscoping, wire-removals, colour correction and title animations. How did this work excite you and how was the first experience of working as a 3D artist.

Arun : I have joined the ARS frames Pvt Ltd as trainee artist after completing my course in MAAC. During my short stay at ARS Frames I worked on regional movies. As a trainee I was given an opportunity to work on various aspects like Rotoscoping, wire-removals, Color Corrections and Tittle animation. It is in this place I really developed my interest towards the 3D animation pipeline particularly Texturing and Lighting under the guidance of my superiors and it was a very friendly environment as it was a small set-up and everyone helped me to improve my skills. Then I learnt about the project LAVA-KUSA and I moved to RVML to be full time 3D artist.

 

 

CG Today : You have worked in 3 different categories viz. TV Commercials, full length animation feature films and visual effects in movies. What is the difference in the work approach for each of these categories? Do you have any specific preferences?

Arun : In the production point of view all the three categories have different work approaches and pipelines. But the core part of the pipeline would be the same. It’s the quality requirements that make few projects a little more challenging than the others. I don’t have a specific preference as there are different ways of approaches for different projects and I’m still in the learning process.

CG Today : As a 3D artists with more than 4 years experience in the industry, what is your favourite animation movie and why? Do you think India is close enough to the expertise and standards required to create animation feature films like the Oscar winning Toy Story?

Arun : Usually I watch a lot of movies and would never miss an animated movie. I like PIXARs animated movies a lot as they all have a very good stories with interesting characters which can really make you emotional. Apart from the Pixar Movies I like some of the movies of Dreamworks and Bluesky studios like Shrek, Kungfu Panda, Ice Age, Etc. I think India is definitely having enough expertise and standards required to create a world class animated feature film if only we can come up with some really nice scripts that can appeal to the global audience, as looks alone don’t appeal to the audience.

CG Today : Finally, do you have any specific advice for aspiring lighting and texturing artists who want to make it big in the animation industry?

Arun : I don’t think I have really achieved so much to give advices for the artists. But I can give only one small piece of advice that is KEEP LEARING and try to be up-to-date with the new techniques.

CG Today : Mr. Arunkumar, thank you very much for your time and your valuable insights which we are sure would be of great help to other aspiring artists. We wish you all the very best in your future endeavours.

Arun : Thank you so much. I would like to truly appreciate CG Today’s efforts in encouraging the animation industry in India, I wish all the best for the great future ahead and hope it brings out more artists into the limelight by recognizing their talents.

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Arunkumar Boyidapu

Lighting & Composting Artist at Sparky Animation, Singapore

e-mail : arun3dartist [at] gmail [dot] com

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