CG Today : That's great. You have said in the past that one needs an artistic bent of mind and with a little training in art and theatre an aspirant can become a success in 3D animation. This would surely inspire a few people aiming to join the industry. What has led to this basic belief? Did you find anything interesting while being involved in career counseling to create awareness for 3D animation, visual effects and game design and development?

Anjan : An artistic bent of mind and basic drawing skills are definitely an advantage for an animator. Unfortunately this is vastly overlooked since emphasis is given more to software skills. Everything in the field of animation can be broken down into basic design concepts. An animator armed with these art and design skills would definitely be better able to pose and compose shots better. Animation is finally nothing but a series of poses. Then the concept of timing, excellent timing skills can be cultivated by working on traditional cel animation. This is where you physically get to space your drawings and see how it affects the timing of your animation. I often get asked by experienced computer animators working on the best of software on how I get the timing perfectly right the first time in all my animations. For example, when asked how many frames would be required between certain key frames and I give an exact figure such as say 7 frames, they are taken aback as to how it is done. This comes through an experience with traditional animation techniques.

There is no dearth for talent in our country. Efficient training is required to bridge the large gap between raw talent and the necessary technical skills.

CG Today : You were also involved as the creative director for Buddha, a Pentamedia production that cost $6.3 million in the making. The movie involved hundreds of animators, ink & paint artists, clean up artists and layout artists. The production was followed with some dynamic marketing strategies as well. How was your experience working with a group on such large scale?

Anjan : My experience with working for “The Legend of Buddha” was one of the best in my career. We worked under a lot of constraints then. There were a lot of challenges that we faced. The production was completely handled in the Philippines. Pentamedia had acquired this animation studio there. Mr.Falke who was heading the project was a source of inspiration and but for his steadfastness this unique project would not have seen its completion. It was in fact he along with Pentamedia who were pioneers in starting the Filipino connection to animation in India. This caught on very quickly and many more studios jumped into the bandwagon. We had hundreds of Filipino animators working on the project both in the Philippines and in India and during the course of production, we also trained about one hundred students from Singapore. It is sometimes amusing to see every new animation film that hits the screens to this day claiming to be “India’s first animated film” when we at Pentamedia were indeed pioneers and done that way back in the 90s.

CG Today : What other notable projects have you worked on?

Anjan : I was the creative director for the 2D animated feature “Shakuntala” produced by Dawsen Infotech of Kolkata which is slated for a release this year. I have also designed and directed a few video games including “Full Throttle”, a truck racing game by Red Octane Technologies which developed the famous game “Guitar Hero”. “Full Throttle” was nominated at FICCI – FRAMES BAF Award 2007.

 

CG Today : You are very bullish on the future of 3D animation in the country. Do you think there is tremendous talent not only amongst the urban population but also in the rural countryside that can be nurtured and honed?

Anjan : There is tremendous talent available all around the country. There is however no awareness about the possibilities and not many can afford to train in this discipline. There has been a vast gap between actual available talent and the people who take up animation as a career. Unfortunately, animation today is seen more as a technical skill rather than art and talent. This has misled many to believe that training in software is sufficient to become a successful animator. They realize the folly rather late. This is very unfortunate. Training sources should not make false promises for a quick buck. This affects the industry at large.

Quality training should involve all the nuance of animation film making if we really have to see the Indian animation industry at par with the rest of the world. I am not talking about the few successful outsourced projects that are happening around the country but of original quality content that we should be producing to really make a mark in the international arena. Lot of hot air is being said by industry sources for more than a decade now but we are yet to see the projected results. Various factors are involved here and only addressing these factors can see a noticeable change in how we move forward into the future of animation in India.

CG Today : As someone who has garnered several awards and career defining projects along the way, what was your favorite project of all time and why?

Anjan : My favorite project of all time would be my first project “Tara ki Duniya”. For its simplicity, excellent storyline and voice talent, the wonderful team that I got to work with, the ambience of the studio and of course a great boss!

CG Today : You are the founder member of Jeep Thrills, the first and only off-road club in the country. Has it been a childhood fantasy coming true for you? What motivates you to grow and develop this off- road community known for its expeditions and knowledge sharing?

Anjan : Automobiles have been a passion for me since childhood. I come from a place called Coorg where I grew up among Jeeps. I guess I was bitten by that bug then. “Jeep Thrills” was created to popularize Jeeps and off-road’ing as a sport. The club turned six years this month and we have more than eight hundred members from across the world. Our annual day celebration involves stripping a Jeep completely to its parts, explain the workings to the members, reassemble everything back and take the same Jeep on an off-road trail the next day.

CG Today : Mr. Anjan, as a man of numerous talents, you are also a Reiki Level II practitioner and also an Inventor with 5 patent pending products. Can you share with our readers your experiences on the same?

Anjan : I have been active in the field of animal welfare and conservation and that’s when I took up Reiki as a means of traditional healing to help animals. Thanks to one of my best friends who is a specialist vet I have got to work with all kinds of animals including crocodiles and king cobras.

Anjan Cariappa

I’m also an inventor and have more than 7 patent pending products now. One of my inventions, an active safety system for automobiles was showcased at a prestigious international conference in Germany last year. We received fabulous reviews for the system and I am currently in talks with some automobile majors. When implemented, this system can save countless lives on the road.

CG Today : Mr. Anjan, thank you for providing your valuable insights and sharing your experiences with us. We wish you all the very best for future endeavors and further glory as well.

Anjan : Thank you and I wish the same to CG Today and all its readers. I am thankful to one and all with whom I have had an opportunity to interact with and who have knowingly or unknowingly inspired me to become what I am today. I hope this interview was of some help to people in the animation industry and to the ones aspiring to enter this fabulous and promising career. All the best!

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Anjan Cariappa - Independent Animation Consultant

e-mail : muckati [at] yahoo [dot] com

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