CG Today : You started out your career as a senior animator at Pentamedia Graphics Limited, an award winning company with a reputation to envy. How did that help you jumpstart your career? Can you tell us more about your first project as animator and the challenges it presented?

Dominic : The exposure I gained in Pentamedia gave me a strong foundation to withstand in this industry for such a long time. Still I could not believe that I have worked on mocap files around 15 years ago. Such was the exposure I gained at Pentamedia and it helped me a lot in my career.

My first project was CYBOARS, an international project involving humans & boars, animated using motion capture for body & face. It was just the beginning of my career and working on SoftImage 3D and motion capture files was a challenge and I treasure that experience.

CG Today : Is it a career progression to go from senior animator to things like production team coordination and managing the production pipeline or a personal choice?

Dominic : It was never a personal choice. I took things which came my way and never hesitated to accept the challenges. Whenever I was offered a new role, whether technical or managerial, I accepted it without hesitation and gave my best. This is how I progressed in my career.

CG Today : You are also in the process of budgeting, preparing milestones and selecting the right talent for the next project at Sun Animatics, Ronnie’s Romeo and Juliet’s Jennie, a full length 3D animated film slated to be released in 2014. Can you tell us a bit more about the concept?

Dominic : Apart from Eshan, a project which my Managing Director, Mr Vinod Suryadevara is holding close to his heart. Currently, it is in the initial stages of pre production and I will share more when it goes into production.

 

 

CG Today : One of the most impressive points on your CV has to be the setting up of 16 camera motion capture studio at TIL Studios followed by handing of 24 camera motion capture studio of Accel. At TIL, you were still a senior animator when this opportunity came along. How did you make the leap of faith? Can you also tell us about the kind of work that goes on in the present day motion capture studios?

Dominic : In Pentamedia we had an 8 camera motion capture studio, but I did not get hands on experience on it. But in TIL, it was the trust my peers Mr Subheesh & Mr Vetri had on me which made me feel confident in setting up the studio. From unpacking of the cameras to the first capture on the floor was really a great experience.

Motion capture in India has a long way to go as many are not in favor of it. Accel has done some good works and they have extensively used mocap for Alibaba, a forthcoming 3D animated film. Mobility Art is also good and we used their services for Ghathothkach. Apart from this, both the studios are involved in motion capture for games & series.

CG Today : Motion capture technology will kill key frame animation deliberately; what is your take on it?

Dominic : I don’t believe in it. Each has its own strengths and drawbacks.

CG Today : Even at your first job, you were involved in full length animated feature films like Pandavas and Sinbad. Both used extensive motion capture, which, dare I say, is a relatively novel concept in 90s. How was the experience? What were the lessons you had picked back then that are still useful?

Dominic : Sinbad was really a great experience and I thank Ms Usha & Mr SPB for giving me the freedom to work extensively on it. Through this experience, I learnt all the technicalities in mocap and even today I am able to advice and provide solutions for mocap.

CG Today : Over your long career, you have held many roles from animator and rigging artist to managing production teams and other responsibilities that need your communication and crisis management skills? For young animators aspiring to make it big, is it important to take up every responsibility that comes their way or does the industry have space for niche professionals as well?

Dominic : It all depends upon the person, his attitude, his confidence and his capability. I have seen many in my career shying away from additional responsibilities. But my suggestion to aspiring artists is to take up every opportunity that comes his way.

CG Today : Dominic, after working for so many animation studios for more than a decade, is there a specific aspect you look for in the work culture when you join a particular animation studio or are you completely focused on the role you have been offered?

Dominic : Primarily, I am always focused on my role. I have worked with established studios and start up studios and I have never looked for the work culture before joining it. But work culture inspires you to do more and to put that extra effort which is always needed. I always liked the work culture in Synergy Images and Ken Kreative where the management was very understanding, supported us when we had to meet some tight deadlines and gave us the freedom to work at flexible timings.

CG Today : Finally, how is it like working with the bigwigs of the movie industry like Singeetam Srinivasa Rao, who has made some of the most groundbreaking movies in Indian cinema history, a great example being “Pushpak”?

Dominic : It was a very different experience working with Mr Singeetam Srinivasa Rao. It was for an animated movie titled Ghatothkach where we worked together for motion capture and animation production. Mr Singeetam Srinivasa Rao had already worked in animation movies and he knew what is possible in motion capture and I was very comfortable in working with him.

CG Today : Dominic, thank you very much for spending your time with us and sharing some of your valuable insights which I am sure, will greatly help to enhance the outlook of our readers and assist young animators further. We wish you all the very best for your future endeavors.

Dominic : It is a pleasure and I also thank you and Muthu for this opportunity.

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Dominic Chander – Head of Animation at Sun Animatics

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

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