CG Today : Kumar, you are an animator, a model-maker, and a visual effects creator. You have worked with 3-D, software, you have taught, you have been a producer and a director. You are a veritable renaissance man. Which of these areas do you find the most rewarding?

Kumar : Definitely teaching and next would probably be modeling. Teaching someone and then seeing them contribute and succeed, gives you a joy which cannot be matched. Of course I still enjoy trying to be hands on but currently most of the time goes in trying to be an effective and efficient manager.

CG Today : Could you share with us some of the animators who have inspired you?

Kumar : There have been many. On a global scale, I have always been an avid fan / devotee of the Looney Tunes show, Tom and Jerry and most of the Hannah Barbara shows and most of Pixar's work. I am also hugely inspired by the creators of South Park to have come up with such a simple style of animation for storytelling.

I am also an avid student of the works of Frank Frazetta, creature maker Ray Harryhausen, Raja Ravi Verma and most importantly, my mother who is also an artist :)

From the people I have worked with, I would have to say, P.C.Vikram is one artist who has inspired and made me raise my quality bar more than once. Mostly, I have worked with amazingly talented artists and directors in my journey so far and have learnt from most if not all of them.

 

 

CG Today : What part did you play in the making of “Higgly Town Heroes” for Disney and Wild Brain?

Kumar : That was one of the most fun projects I have worked on. I played a dual role as series modeling lead plus as an animation lead for a few episodes.

CG Today : Your bio on the Sanraa Media site says that you have in-depth knowledge on variety of 3-D and 2-D applications, like Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, Max, Shake, Digital Fusion. Is there one application that you like to work with the most, or that makes your work easier? In other words, if your house were on fire, which application would you grab first, and why?

Kumar : I started out as a generalist who tried putting his hand in different areas of the production chain and it has mostly stayed that way. The drive was and is to try to learn the process of story telling either through art or animation through the digital medium.

On picking a particular package, it would be without hesitation, Autodesks Maya. It’s a complete storytelling package and that’s what you are looking for in a software with few or no dependencies. I do enjoy digital sculpting a lot but when it comes down to the crux, I believe today Maya is probably the best. I might be a little biased here as I started my career with Power Animator (the earlier generations to Maya) and later found it very easy to migrate from PA to Maya.

But truly I would say that though it’s extremely clichéd, it is true that irrespective of the software, it is the artist who is using it that counts.

CG Today : In your 12 years or more in the animation and gaming industry, what project are you most proud of?

Kumar : Though it may again sound clichéd I pride every project I was lucky to contribute in. Each has had its own set of challenges to deal with and succeed.

CG Today : You have served on juries at FICCI Frames, which is Asia's biggest convention in the Business of Entertainment. Frames is a three day global convention covering the entire gamut of Media & Entertainment like Films, Broadcast (TV & Radio), Digital Entertainment, Animation, Gaming, Visual Effects, etc., with nearly 2000 Indian and 800 foreign delegates participating. What are you looking for when judging a film or television project?

Kumar : Mainly look for original ideas, storytelling ability and entertainment value. Methodology or technique is secondary compared to these but does carry weightage as well. Good work invariably stands out and would warrant no further debate.

CG Today : Another tidbit from your Sanraa bio (by the way, great caricature of you) is that you worked on the Warner Bros animated film, The King and I. Was this a memorable experience?

Kumar : That was my first real CG project and it was a feature film. To top it off, my employer at the time, Pentafour selected me as one the few artists to work with the master production unit at Rich Animation Studios, Burbank, CA. I was a total newbie in a studio where artists had 20 + years of experience on path breaking animation films. It was mostly a traditional hand drawing studio and the environment used to be fantastic. It was a total learning experience which I cherish till today.

CG Today : We get the feeling, from all that we have read about you, that you are in exactly the right field. That is, you love what you do. Is this correct?

Kumar : Spot on. I was always interested in model making and story telling and used to try making my own toys when I was growing up with plaster of Paris, clay and mostly all other available household stuff. First started encounter with digital 3d was with 3d studio back in ‘95. I managed to get my head around it and it was a whole new world suddenly in front of you. All of a sudden the expenses and limitations of actual physical film equipment were lifted and the possibilities to explore were limitless. Initially it was a huge challenge to even create something as simple as a chair or a table but wanting to learn further, I did a quick course with CADD centre and then Alias Power Animator training with Pentafour and there has been no looking back on a career choice from then on. I was hooked!

CG Today : Thanks so much for being with us; Best of luck on all your future projects.

Kumar : Thank you and wish you the same.

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Kumar Chandrasekaran - Head of Operations

Sanraa Media.
Chennai, India.

Website :
Sanraa Media | Kumar's Blog

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

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