The renewed interest in comic books — the sector had been dormant for some years, with the advent of cable television and 24x7 cartoon channels — started a couple of years ago. Analysts point to the growing popularity of gaming and graphic novels among older teens and young adults helping the trend spread to younger consumer groups as well. Then, in 2006, a group of non-resident Indians, in partnership with maverick entrepreneur Richard Branson, author and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra and film maker Shekhar Kapur, launched Virgin Comics to not only address the comic book market, but also tap into the Indian creative pool for the global market. While the arrival of new competition propelled the older players to rexamine their growth strategy, what finally moved them into higher gear was a change in management at both publications this year. Last month, India Book House sold Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle for an unconfirmed Rs 10 crore to ACK Media, a newly formed entertainment and education company for pre-teens and teenagers, while Geodesic Information Systems paid a similar sum for Chandamama in March. Why is everyone treating comics as such serious business? The revival is heavily influenced by the huge market potential — 300 million Indians in the 6- to 17-year age group. Granted, they’re not all likely to read comics — the 300-million figure covers all income groups and education levels — but the publishers aren’t complaining. Chandamama India CEO L Subramanyan claims that sales of the magazine (newsstand price: Rs 15) have increased from 160,000 a month to 360,000 over the past year, while ACK Media reports monthly sales of 140,000 for Tinkle (Rs 40 per issue). Virgin refuses to divulge sales numbers. Also, according to estimates by PricewaterhouseCoopers global media and entertainment outlook from 2006-10, while magazine publishing revenues in India (comics come under this category) is expected to grow at a CAGRof 13.3 per cent, revenues from home videos (CAGR 41.5 per cent), TV networks (11.2 per cent) and filmed entertainment (11.9 per cent) are also expected to deliver healthy growth rates. The global opportunity is equally big, points out Sharad Devarajan, co-founder, CEO and publisher of Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation. The market for comics and related products like merchandise and films is estimated at $40 billion (roughly Rs 160,000 crore). Japan, with its Manga books, makes up 30 per cent of the market, followed by the US and Europe. In stark contrast, India accounts for under 1 per cent. The players are determined to change that. Which is why they are planning to take comics beyond the traditional book format to not just films and television serials, but also online games, social networking sites for children and so on. ACK Media CEO and co-founder Samir Patil agrees there is a huge global audience — primarily NRIs — waiting to lap up diverse and differentiated Indian content. It plans to reach them through online services like the ACK Shop, which also sells products made by competitors such as Karadi Tales, Tulika Books and so on. Meanwhile, it is building an online base with a children-oriented website, tinkleonline: the “social networking” site allows children to earn points and exchange them for games, books and toys. Needless to say, the site also allows online shopping of ACK products. Chandamama, too, has turned to new media. Apart from uploading its stories on the Internet, it has also tied up with satellite radio service provider Worldspace to bring the Indian story telling tradition live through radio. In a couple of weeks, the company will also announce its tie-up with a national FM radio station for a weekend story-telling slot. Television and film are also part of the new focus. Chandamama has already created a story cell that will produce scripts for animation films and programmes, while ACK is exploring tie-ups with production houses that will replicate its comic storyboards on film. At present, neither ACK nor Geodesic are looking at creating new characters — they just don’t see the need. Amar Chitra Katha, for instance, published more than 400 titles over the past 40 years, while Tinkle’s characters, too, enjoy high recall levels. “It will take years for consumers to become acquainted with new characters,” points out Patil. Geodesic, too, plans to leverage its existing strengths — Chandamama reportedly has a story bank that will last 15 years. That’s not Virgin’s strategy, though. In fact, the huge dearth of new original characters is the raison d’etre for the organisation — Mickey Mouse was created in the 1920s, Batman a decade later and Spiderman in the 1960s. They still remain the most popular animation characters. The only recent addition is Pokémon, and even that is over 10 years old. “We decided to focus on India as not an outsourcing destination but as the source for new comic characters,” says Devarajan. In line with that decision, Virgin Comics are made in India, for a global audience. The company already has a 200-executive-strong studio in Bangalore and plans to set up two more across the country next year. In fact, when it comes to the beyond-books strategy, Virgin is far ahead of the other two players. In a move that will facilitate transit of its comics into Hollywood films, the company has started a Director’s Cut Comic Line series where it has associated with Hollywood directors. In this series, Hollywood directors such as Guy Ritchie, John Woo, Terry Gilliam, Shekhar Kapur, Jonathan Mostow, Ed Burns, and Nicolas Cage associate themselves with the creation of a comic title. For instance, Guy Ritchie’s Gamekeeper, which was released through Virgin Comics, will be adapted into a film co-produced by Warner Bros. Virgin has also tied up with two Indian production houses — UTV Motion Pictures and Studio 18 — to create Indian superheroes and horror films, respectively. The company has also entered into a partnership with Sony to develop online games on its Ramayan 3392 AD title. For the television medium, it has a partnership with Sci-Fi channel. The power of content from India is also a top draw. Gotham Chopra, chief creative officer, Virgin Comics, claims that Virgin’s titles like Virulents, The Sadhu, Ramayan 3392 AD and Devi, all part of the Shakti series, have fared as well as Director’s Cut books. “India is the biggest celebrity because of its mystery and exoticism,” he says. (courtsy:Business Standard)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Click to Watch the Video
The third video of music band Agnee's self-titled debut album is making waves not only for some great music but also for the extensive use of animation in it. 2mins 04 seconds of classical animation has been incorporated in the video of 4 mins 33 seconds which intersperses seamlessly with the live footage featuring the group. A team of 30 people has worked on the animation and the job was completed in three months. It has been developed using avid, premiere, 3D max and combustion. The creative part in the animation has been done by final year students of various animation and design institutes of Pune. These youngsters were experts in cell animation. "Basically it's not about what technology we used to create content, but it's about the CONTENT itself. We wanted to give it a very retro India animated feel. The characters were finalized after a million thoughts and discussions!" stated Alok.
Added Mohan, "We had not seen any of their previous work. But they took a lot of pains on the storyboard and showed it to us with all important scenes and characters. The physical drawings looked too good as they had done great hard work. They have been successful in maintaining a balance between the band's scenes and the animated story. We feel this is a path breaking venture and we are very happy with it."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Cadbury’s have just launched a £6.2m campaign for Dairy Milk featuring a gorilla playing the drum solo of Phil Collins’ track ‘In the Air Tonight’. The ad was written and directed by Sony Bravia ‘balls’ creative director Juan Cabral of Fallon London. Rather than wet our appeite for gorgeous tasting chocolate, the ad simply aims to entertain.Laurence Green, planning director of Fallon, “Cadbury traditionally did well-built ads for the interruption age when consumers had an implicit media deal with advertisers. In exchange for free TV they would allow us to interrupt their programmes with commercials,” says Green. “The nation has a massive soft spot for CDM and it is deeply embedded in the national psyche. For a brand that is so well known, it’s arguable whether the old style interruption advertising model is the best model for the future. So we are trying to engage more genuinely with our audience.”
The website TellyAds.com named the top 20 favourite adverts based on the number of times each clip was viewed online. Its founder, Jon Cousins, said: "There are those who say TV advertising has had its day, but a lot of people who visit our site tell us they think the ads are often better than the programmes. It's interesting to see that there have been around 4,000 new TV adverts produced this year alone. Created by the award-winning Fallon agency in London, the commercial has stimulated great interest, partly because it does not feature the product until the very end. (Guardian)
Saturday, November 24, 2007
"I am making an animation film on a cockroach, called 'Very Aesthetic Cockroach'. It is the story of a cunning yet endearing cockroach, named Vicky. He has friends all over the world – in Greece, Spain, Russia, etc. " said Shekhar Kapur in a quiet excited way.
He has found out that cockroaches can survive the holocaust, and is quite kicked about it. Then he wonders why humans rule the Earth, when it rightfully belongs to the cockroaches. He has somehow managed to convince AR Rahman to be on board for this project. Titled Suitable Cockroach, the film is being worked upon by animation studio, Prana. Kapur, who is known for his story telling, is scripting the film. The story of Suitable Cockroach revolves around the most hated Asian creature - the cockroach. What's more, Kapur plans release the movie on the internet first, after which the theatrical release will follow.Speaking to Businessofcinema.com, Kapur says, “I never go by what’s being done. The new media is a fascinating medium and I would love to experiment my film on the net. I intend to release it on YouTube.com first.” About the expected returns, he adds, “Downloads are the most expected returns for a film being out on net first. I will be setting a new trend.” Kapur has been approached by some animation studios to ink film deals. He informs, “I am in talks with an animation studio called Animal Logic based in Sydney. It will be a one film deal.” This apart, he is also planning to upload all his work in relation to Paani on the net in terms of designs, pictures and blogs. When queried on the reason behind this, he says, “I want my audience to get linked with the movie, so that when they watch the film they feel that they are a part of the cast and crew. It is wonderful to communicate, I am the producer-I can do it.”
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Indian advertising has just scaled a new high. India has moved up six notches from 21 to 15 in the list countries with the highest advertising awards, according to the Gunn Report of 2007. India has moved ahead of China, New Zealand, Mexico and South Africa, among others, to notch up a total of 39 points for award winning campaigns in Print, TV and Interactive. In addition to this, HappyDent Palace, one of the most awarded commercials from this year, made it to the top 10 most awarded commercials in 2007.
Besides HappyDent, only one other Indian ad made it to the most awarded list. Ogilvy & Mather’s ad for Indian Association for Adoption, which was the 12th most awarded print campaign of 2007. The most awarded TV ad was Sony Bravia’s Paint ad, created by Fallon, while the print honours went to Clima Bicycle Locks, created by Leo Burnett Bangkok. As a result of creating two highly awarded ads, both McCann Erickson and O&M have made it to the list of most awarded agencies globally. McCann stood joint 22nd while O&M stood joint 45th. This year, the Gunn Report has also included interactive as a category to evaluate creative performance for agencies, and a few Asian countries haven’t had enough to show in this category. Had India been evaluated on Print and TV scores alone it would have been ranked 13th. The most awarded agency for 2007 went to TBWA/Chiat/Day (New York) which was ranked a lowly 43 last year while BBDO retained the most awarded agency network for 2007, making it five wins out of nine Gunn Reports.
Click to read for more from The Econimic Times
Friday, November 16, 2007
The awards are a benchmark for excellence in animation in India and will empower the industry to its next level of growth. You are the driving force and a hero of the Indian animation revolution. It is now your time to shine and present to the world your creative genius.
Click to Know More
Contact for more information
Friday, November 2, 2007
While gaming as an industry is growing in India, distribution, pricing and perception are three key challenges preventing rapid growth.India's broadband penetration and government tariffs on gaming consoles are stifling growth, said India's leading gaming companies, in a panel discussion at Nasscom Animation and Gaming India 2007. Microsoft country manager entertainment and services division Mohit Anand said that the company made several observations of the Indian gaming market. "We've learnt that the Indian gamer wants the latest and the best content at the same time when it releases internationally. Sales of Halo 3 in India have exceeded about 10,000 units already and considering the current size of the market, this is very encouraging."However, distributing content is a major drawback. It is still a logistic challenge to have it on retail shelves on the day of its international release," he pointed out.Microsoft launched its Xbox 360 last year in India and in November will bring the Xbox 360 Live. "We've realised that this is a very complex business and having an online plan in the gaming experience can be a killer app," he asserted. Zapak Digital Entertainment COO Rohit Sharma said that while casual online gaming was picking up in India, there is need for segmentation. "There is a need to check how content should be segmented. You must include social networking features and promote community sites within gaming portals to ensure that gamers are loyal to your portal," he said. Indiagames founder and director Vishal Gondal highlighted the need for low-cost revenue model for starters, to receive mass adoption. "What we did, was to get the lowest common denominator to sample the aggregation of the best content on mobile, for a small amount. We can then track the kind of handset infrastructure and graphic card the consumer uses and deliver the same information to technology companies, thus initiating new relationships with them. This creates a possibility of upscaling revenue models." Contests2Win founder and chairman Alok Kejriwal pointed out that it was important to offer the consumer an option to make money while playing the game as well. "So you have a gamer who's paid an amount to race this really cool car, collect stickers and be the king of the game. Now you've to offer a value proposition to him, where he can, say auction his car to another gamer in exchange for a handsome price."
Monday, October 29, 2007
Mobile and online social networking portal Indyarocks.com has announced an online short film festival which amongst other categories, would include an animation and mobile content category as well.
The festival will commence on 18 October 2007 and will conclude on 15 December 2007. Nikhil Acharya, a well known and upcoming short film maker, will be the festival director.
The award categories are divided into two sections, namely, The Viewers choice Awards and The Jury Awards. "In order to to nominate a particular film for the viewer‘s Choice Awards, those interested can log onto Indyarocks and vote for the films that have been uploaded. following the ballot system, the movie which garners the highest number of votes would be crowned as the winner," shared Manyam. "While on the other hand for the Jury Awards, the entries would be judged by the jury members, whose names are yet to be announced," added Manyam.
Dr. Vishnu, Head of Strategy, Indyarocks, said "There is a huge amount of digital content created in the offline world and it usually never gets the kind of audience it deserves. This film festival will give an opportunity to everyone to display their creativity not only to their family and friends but to a whole new audience across the world."
Founded in June ‘07 by Kalyan Manyam and Dr. Vishnu, Indyarocks is a product of PhoneLinx Communications, a new age Mobile Lifestyle solutions company based out of San Jose, California and Hyderabad.
- The Film should be 1-10 minutes in duration.
- The Film can be shot on any format, including mobile phones.
- You can submit more than one short film for the IFEST.
- The Film must be uploaded on Indyarocks or sent on DVD by November 18th, 07 to the address below.
Nikhil Acharya, IFEST Director
186, Road no: 8,
Dhanalaksmi Colony, Mahendra Hills,
* Please note, before sending your creation by DVD you must create an Indyarocks account and mention the login ID on your DVD.
- If the film is not in English, it MUST have English subtitles.
- All copyrights must be owned by the Producer. Indyarocks is not liable for any copyright violations.
- The Film must not contain any obscene language, hate content and nudity.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Leading portal Yahoo.co.in has won the Web 18 - Genius of the Web Award in the category of best e-commerce online gaming portal. Yahoo won this award in competition with other nominees including Indiatimes.com, funtoosh.com, hungama.com and zapak.com.
‘Geniuses of the Web‘ Awards is a series of awards in multiple categories that recognizes outstanding industry achievements by companies that have done commendable work in the online space.
Elated on being adjudged the best e-commerce online gaming portal, Manish Dalal, Director of Yahoo India shared with AnimationXpress.com, "Yahoo has always striven to provide the best games to its customers. The online gaming space is a niche market and is growing rapidly and users are increasing manifold."
Surya Mantha, CEO of Web 18, informed, "As the Indian Internet community is growing, the online gaming space in India is nurturing at a rapid speed. Web18 and Genius of the Web Awards are committed to recognizing the new and pioneering efforts; it is our privilege to honor all these champs in the online space."
Under the Genius of the Web Awards, several other brands emerged victorious in their respective fields. Jetairways.com, Shaadi.com and Orkut.com were announced the winners of Best Airline site, Best Matrimonial portal and Best Social Networking website, respectively.
The announcement brought mixed reactions from the audience present for the award function, those who won cheered in pleasure and those who couldn‘t make it to the top, emoted the promise to come back to win the title next year!!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Zoom, the lifestyle and entertainment channel has re-launched its website http://www.zoomtv.in/. The channel known for its glamour and lifestyle programming will now make its show offerings available through the website and content packages through mobile platforms.The revamped website will carry Bollywood news, gossip, celebrities, and events. It is designed to cater to the global demand for Indian entertainment, glamour and lifestyle content from India.The website will also offer video library, celebrity interviews, industry news, movie reviews and more. The design of the website is in sync with the visual appearance of the channel. Zoom has also been running its official channel on
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
The 2007 Best of Show WebAward is presented to Walt Disney Internet Group, for their exceptional work on Disney XD . The site was also awarded Best Design WebAward. Disney XD is an online entertainment experience that's designed for how kids want to use the Internet.
Best of show runner up submitted by Atlanta-based IQ Interactive is UPS Whiteboard . Seamlessly integrating with the TV campaign, visitors to the site are treated with the ability to interact with Andy Azula, the actor from the 'Whiteboard' commercials.
Posted by Vijeta Bhatia at 8:04 PM
Friday, September 14, 2007
We love our logo. For real, we wanna take it out for an expensive candlelit dinner... TWO appetizers. Since MTV's inception in 1981 our brand's been the subject of countless artist interpretations by some of the world's most beautifully warped minds. We plan to keep that spirit alive with the new mtv.com and push it to the next level... YOU. This project is called MTV Hats (Header Art Treatments), and we plan to wear many of them. The works of art at MTV Hats are currently in rotation on mtv.com. Calling all artists? we want YOUR MTV.
To begin, download this Photoshop template. It's set up with actual dimensions, guidelines and a few samples of art in rotation on our site. Once your masterpiece is complete you'll need to email a high quality JPEG of your artwork here. We'll be scouring through submissions for the fresh, the fun and most importantly, the FREAK. If your piece is chosen we'll request a layered Photoshop file from you for our final output. The best of the best will be posted on this blog and go into permanent rotation on mtv.com for the world to adore. We apologize for any delay in posting your submissions- we're just getting started on this project and have to sort out a few legal issues. Please be patient!
MTV.com Design Team
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
On completing 60 years, Publisher and MD Vishwanath Reddi shares the journey of Chandamama Pvt Ltd. for our readers…Early years…Chandamama was the brainchild of two visionaries of Madras (now Chennai)—Mr. B Nagi Reddi, who later became a leading film producer in South India and who promoted the largest film studio in Asia, and Mr. Chakrapani, a litterateur in Telugu, Hindi and Bengali.They were volunteers in India‘s freedom movement and were anxious about the children of the country who, they found, had all along been denied much knowledge of their motherland—its heritage, hoary past, traditions and culture. They realised that the best vehicle to take children closer to these aspects of India would be through a magazine and to impart information through stories narrated in a simple spoken language supplemented by illustrations. In the ‘30s and ‘40s, there were no magazines for children; even most of the books available were of no literary value.The two friends launched Chandamama in July 1947 – first in Telugu language, followed by an edition in Tamil in the same month. When the two magazines began rolling out month after month, demands soon rose for editions in other languages.
Mile stones…It is a universally accepted fact that India is a land of stories. However, till Chandamama appeared in the print media as a colorful, multilingual story magazine, many of those stories had remained beyond the reach of children. Chandamama can boldly claim itself, perhaps, as the key player in promoting children‘s literature with a multi-layer national spirit. By promoting the use of spoken language without hurting the literary flavor of many a language in India, Chandamama had played a pioneering role in taking children closer to their mother-tongue and cultural heritage.
Mr. B Nagi Reddi’s words….Our nation, too, celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Independence this year, and it is indeed sad to observe its apathy towards children. Whether it is children‘s literature, children‘s theatre, children‘s films or children‘s welfare, they come next only to all other programmes and priorities. The concept woven round the magazine has been preserved intact all these 60 years.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Warner Brothers Pictures has inked a worldwide distribution deal for Made in China, a Hindi film to be produced by Ramesh Sippy and directed by Nikhil Advani. According to an official release, the shooting for the film which for the first time will see an Indian production in China, is expected to get underway in January 2008. The film, written by Sridhar Raghavan (Khakee, Bluffmaster), stars Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone and music composers are Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The story is centred around Kumar who plays the role of Sidhu, a lowly Mumbai cook mistaken for a martial arts hero.Warner Bros entertainment India country manager Blaise Fernandes said, "We are excited and proud to be working with such respected partners as Ramesh Sippy and Orion. We will count on our partners' expertise and will do everything in our power to make a well-crafted, popular and successful Indian film."Advani will be helming an action film for the first time. He has previously directed the drama-musicals Salaam-E-Ishq and Kal Ho Na Ho. Besides directing Sholay, Ramesh Sippy has produced films such as Bluff Master and Taxi No 9211.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Digital artists around the world relied on Autodesk Inc.'s (NASDAQ: ADSK) media and entertainment solutions to deliver this summer's blockbuster entertainment. Transformers, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Surf's Up, Pirates of the Caribbean: at World's End, Penelope and countless other feature films have been created using Autodesk technology.
Autodesk software offers creative solutions that help artists raise the bar, push boundaries and deliver visual masterpieces that make for a truly authentic movie experience each and every time, said Marc Petit, Autodesk Media & Entertainment senior vice president. This summer's blockbusters offer something for everyone, including surfing penguins, hammering llamas and transforming superheroes. We continue to support and applaud those artists who create magical images, transporting audiences to exhilarating new heights.
Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and his posse returned in the long-anticipated trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. Post-production facility Asylum completed 315 shots with a visual effects pipeline that included the Autodesk Flame and Autodesk Toxik visual effects solutions, Autodesk Maya 3D animation software, and Autodesk Lustre digital color grading system.
In one scene shaped by Asylum using Flame, Sparrow is exiled to a desert purgatory where he begins to hallucinate and sees 20 clones of himself dressed as his crew. The Flame system was also used to create the climactic maelstrom backdrop along with computer-generated characters, mast extensions on miniature ships and track shots.
Toxik was used for compositing, color correction, and final tweaks.
Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was the main visual effects house for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End. ILM used Maya and Flame as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system to create computer-generated characters and Maelstrom sequence.
Michael Bay's summer powerhouse Transformers exploded onto the big screen as evil Decepticons re-wage war on heroic Autobots. ILM used Maya and Inferno as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system to complete 460 shots for the film. Maya was used for all character animation, including the challenging opening sequence in which a robot attacks an American military base in the Middle East.
Autodesk Inferno was used on two key compositing sequences, including the Bonecrusher scene where a destructive 30-foot rollerblading robot shreds through a moving bus. The robot's bones were created using Maya and imported into Inferno, and were animated and combined with flying and burning debris.
Mark Casey, ILM's SABRE/Inferno artist, explained: Creating and combining production plates, particle elements, computer-generated elements, practical pyrotechnics, and lens flares all in one shot can prove challenging and intimidating; knowing that all these elements can be tamed in Inferno is all the reassurance any artist needs.
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer soared on the big screen, showcasing a battle between the powerful Silver Surfer and the planet-eating Galactus. The Orphanage completed approximately 120 shots on the film, with the majority of shots involving Maya 3D animation software.
"Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer presented us with an ever-changing array of challenges, from superpowers to surfboards. Maya was there for us at every step, allowing us to develop complex new effects easily and quickly," explained Stu Maschwitz, VFX supervisor at The Orphanage.
Up-and-comer surfer extraordinaire, Cody Maverick (Shia Labeouf), takes audiences on an animated journey in Surf's Up, from Sony Pictures Imageworks. The wizards at Sony Pictures Imageworks used Autodesk Lustre color grading system for the film's final grade. Also, a combination of software was used to create the final water animation, with much of it completed using Maya. Maya is the core of the front-end pipeline at Imageworks, explains Mike Ford, character set-up supervisor. It is used for modeling, layout, animation, and some effects work.
By leveraging the power of Maya Embedded Language (MEL) Python and Maya's API scripting, the Sony Pictures Imageworks team customized the Maya software to overcome many of the film's challenges. Comments David Schaub, animation director at Sony Pictures Imageworks, We never have the question, Well, can the software do that? Because if it doesn't, the way Maya is built allows us to create a tool that will do the job.Modern-day fable Penelope is the story of pig-nosed Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci) and her family's secret curse. Double Negative turned to Maya to create the complicated computer-generated tree that helps tell the tale in the film's opening. The complex construction of the growing tree involved building the basic tree shape, including the trunk and main branch structure, using blend shapes to go from one small shape to one big shape, and using a combination of plug-ins to populate the smaller branches and leaves.
The Reaping, Are we Done Yet?, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, and Hairspray were films completed with EFILM using the EWORKS color grading system to complete the digital intermediate. The EWORKS system consists of a proprietary configuration of Autodesk Lustre and Autodesk Incinerator technology.
Other summer films created using Autodesk solutions include:
· Evan Almighty: Rhythm + Hues used Autodesk Maya to create computer-generated characters and CafeFX used Maya to model and animate sixty CG salt-water tropical fish
· 28 Weeks Later: Prime Focus London used Autodesk Flame, Inferno and Smoke to create all of the film's photorealistic 3D shots, including the napalm bombing sequence of London's Canary Wharf
· Live Free or Die Hard: Digital Dimension completed 182 shots using Autodesk 3ds Max to create 3D cars, 3D buildings, 3D crowds, 3D smoke and matte painting
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Skymatter is a privately held New Zealand-based company. Skymatter’s Mudbox software offers a new paradigm of 3D brush-based modelling, allowing users to sculpt organic shapes in 3D space with brush-like tools. Appealing to both traditional sculptors and digital artists, Mudbox provides a simple and fast toolset for creative modelling, prototyping and detailing. 3D assets created in Mudbox are often imported into Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya software for texturing, rigging, animation and final rendering.
“Entertainment and design markets are demanding more integrated technology workflows, as well as increased realism and sophistication,” said Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “In order to create advanced digital characters and models, 3D artists are relying on Skymatter’s Mudbox software, along with Autodesk’s 3D solutions. By acquiring Skymatter, Autodesk will be able to offer a more complete solution for film, television and game pipelines, as well as new workflows for other design disciplines, such as automotive and industrial design.”
Mudbox is used by leading visual effects and game development companies, including Weta Digital, Blur Studio, Cinesite, Epic Games, Pandemic Studios and The Orphanage. The software has shaped photorealistic creatures for the blockbuster film King Kong, as well as upcoming films The Golden Compass, Fred Claus and Inkheart.
Skymatter founders Andrew Camenisch, Dave Cardwell and Tibor Madjar will join Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment business. These computer graphics veterans have production experience from Weta Digital and Electronic Arts, as well as design experience from Ford, GM and Mercedes Benz.
Skymatter’s Madjar commented: “We’re excited to join forces with Autodesk. Autodesk develops the most popular 3D modelling, animation and rendering software products in the world. Mudbox offers a strong complementary toolset and an innovative way to create 3D models. We look forward to working with Autodesk’s product teams to evolve the Mudbox capabilities to meet the expanding needs of a wide variety of digital artists and designers.”
Emmy Award-winning Toon Boom Animation has released Toon Boom Digital Pro, its latest high-performance animation software.
Packaged in an easy-to-use interface, Toon Boom Digital Pro is the complete animation software for professionals, offering advanced content creation, animation and compositing capabilities within a single application.
Productivity tools such as state-of-the-art vector engine, palette management, lip-sync, true 3D space, morphing and inverse kinematics enable users to unleash their creativity. Toon Boom Digital Pro comes with kick-start programs to ensure successful and seamless studio integration, extensive training material and reliable customer support. Digital Pro is the tool of choice for animation projects ranging from the simplest to the most detailed, from digital to complete cut-out styles.
"We are committed to releasing easier-to-use products to meet the demand of a broader range of users. Toon Boom Digital Pro certainly offers a smooth creative experience, in addition to significantly reducing operational costs with its integrated pipeline, leading-edge toolset and paperless production. Combined with Storyboard Pro, Digital Pro offers all creative minds the most advanced toolset to create animation digitally," shared Joan Vogelesang, President and Chief Executive Officer at Toon Boom.
Feature highlights include:
Superior Animation Tools with a rigging tool made for robust framework, morphing for automatic in-betweens, inverse kinematics for natural looking animation, automated lip-sync, a virtual light table and a rotary animation disk.
Asset Library to store animated cycles, sounds, effects, characters, backgrounds, props, templates for reuse and to maximize the drawing substitution tool to easily swap elements and create new poses and expressions.
Advanced Palette Management to create colour models with independent palettes, easily change colours of any element at any time during production, all in real-time.
True 3D Space to place elements at different depths and automatically preserve their perspective using the real-time multi-plane camera and easily add a depth of field effect for an even more realistic render.
Sparkling Effects and Compositing to apply any combination of effects on elements instantly anytime during the production using the effect network, selecting from over 50 special effects and seeing changes implemented in real-time with interconnected windows.
Unparalleled Image Quality, relying on a state-of-the-art real-time vector engine and offering full resolution independence for outputs to every media, from web and handheld devices to film and HD.
Artistic Style Unleashed to develop any project from cut-out animation to frame-by-frame without having to compromise quality or style, and to mix cut-out characters with traditional vector animation over bitmaps of 3D rendered objects.
Integrated Workflow, covering all the production steps from storyboarding to final rendering, working freely in a non-linear workflow.
Toon Boom Digital Pro is offered in three versions: commercial, educational and personal learning edition. Toon Boom Digital Pro sells at $2,999 US and is now available .
Toon Boom Animation Inc. is the worldwide leader in animation software solutions. Toon Boom carries entry level and high-end animation software solutions for film, television, web, games, mobile devices and training applications. Toon Boom’s solutions also include powerful pre-production tools ideal for all animated or live-action projects. In 2005, Toon Boom was granted the Primetime Emmy® Engineering Award by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for its significant contribution made to the animation industry targeted for television, in North America and throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East. In 2006, the IT Federation of Quebec (FIQ) awarded an OCTAS 2006 in the Multimedia – educational and cultural sector category, for Toon Boom Studio V3. In 2007, FIQ awarded an OCTAS 2007 in the Technological Innovation category, for Toon Boom Storyboard Pro.
Toon Boom's client base ranges from major studios creating Hollywood blockbuster animated films to individual animators creating their first masterpieces. Market-leading studios using Toon Boom's products include Nelvana, Warner Bros., Mercury Filmworks, China Central Television, Toonz Animation India, Starburst Animation, Answer Studio, Alphanim, Cosgrove Hall, Cromosoma and Lanterna Magica, to name a few. Some of the prestigious productions done with Toon Boom’s technology include Les Triplettes de Belleville, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Rugrats, SpongeBob The Movie, Curious George, Go West: A New Lucky Luke Adventure and The Simpsons Movie
Posted by Vijeta Bhatia at 6:01 PM
Everyone wants to watch movies, but no one wants to queue up outside multiplexes for tickets. That, simply put, is why online booking of tickets has been seen as a viable e-model for cinema houses. Now, there’s a new player – http://www.bookmyshow.com/ – that has unveiled a one-stop-shop for online purchase of movie tickets across the country.
The website is promoted by BigTree Entertainment, which recently received funding from the TV18 Group. BigTree is not new to the business; over the past five years, they have been offering ticketing and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions to major multiplexes such as the PVR chain. Buoyed by the fact that BigTree Entertainment helps sell around 2 million tickets annually, it’s not surprising that they have now decided to come up with their own online ticketing facility.
Bookmyshow.com offers consumers the ability to book movie, play and concert tickets in real time, either through the site or through their call centre. It has tied up with major multiplexes such as PVR, Adlabs, Fun Cinemas, Inox, DT cinemas, Prasadz, Wave, M2K cinemas and 24Karat.
Initially, Bookmyshow.com’s booking services will be available across 27 cities from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Lucknow to smaller cities such as Agra, Aurangabad, Indore, Latur and Panipat. According to Ashish Hemrajani, CEO, BigTree Entertainment, Bookmyshow will later expand to cover ticketing facilities for venues all over India. There is a strong focus on boosting the number of call centres across India; right now, only 11 cities have call centre facilities.
What about the new site posing competition to the online ticket booking systems (powered by BigTree) owned by multiplexes? Hemrajani feels there will be no clash and that his site will only augment the total number of tickets sold.
When a ticket is booked through the site, an SMS is sent or a voucher is mailed as a booking receipt. The voucher needs to be printed out and taken to the venue to get the ‘real’ tickets). To book through a call centre, a consumer needs to call on a number (39895050) and order a ticket, which will be delivered at his doorstep.
A consumer has to pay a convenience fee of Rs 10-15 per ticket, whether booked through the call centre or online. “Right now, Bookmyshow.com is not offering SMS-based booking, but will launch SMS booking and Pay by Mobile services soon,” says Hemrajani. Apart from booking the tickets, a person can choose his seats, too.
The major revenue stream is going to be the convenience fees charged for booking tickets, which is Rs 10-15 per ticket. Right now, there are no ads on the site and Hemrajani is not convinced about offering space to advertisers because he thinks it will create transactional hassles for customers.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Marc Petit, Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment Senior VP said, “With Spider-Man 3, the artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks have reached new heights in character animation and visual effects. We’re proud that they used Autodesk solutions to enhance characters’ performances with digital doubles and to generate detailed, photo-realistic sets. We congratulate them on this milestone film.”
Sony Pictures Imageworks used Autodesk Maya 3D animation software for modeling, texturing, rigging, match-moving, character animation and visual effects animation on approximately 50 percent of the shots completed by the facility. The Autodesk Flame visual effects system was used for character face replacements and to composite live footage of the main characters into fully computer-generated environments.
For the “Birth of Sandman” sequence, the most technically complex and dramatic sequence in the entire film, Flame technology was used. During the three minutes of on-screen magic, a pile of sand slowly gathers itself into a sentient being and poignantly transforms into the human that is Thomas Haden Church in the role of Flint Marko.
The first shot in the “Birth of Sandman” sequence is approximately three minutes long (2,672 frames), without a cutaway, starting with a few dozen grains of sand that gradually gather with billions of others as the creature is formed. The computer-generated Sandman was created at Sony Pictures Imageworks by a team led by Visual Effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk, Animation Director Spencer Cook and Digital Effects Supervisor Kee-Suk Ken Hahn. The work also highlights the talents of CG Supervisor Bob Winter, Sand Effects Supervisor Doug Bloom and Software Engineer Jonathan Cohen.
“The Sandman shots involved many paint-fixes to blend between different takes of sand simulations,” said Peter Nofz, Sony Pictures Imageworks’ digital effects supervisor for Spider-Man 3. “The Flame system’s versatility and speed enabled us to deliver extraordinary results. Overall, Flame was used in the final step of the production pipeline. It was the tool of choice for many difficult changes and fixes.”
In addition, Sony Pictures Imageworks used Maya to design the “venom” goo. The use of this software in the design of the evil, shape-shifting symbiote allowed animators to build goo-rigs on a shot-by-shot basis. The artists could then animate each shot with those rigs, retaining very precise control over the animation. The result is a powerful, alien-looking black silky goo that slithers and pulls itself along with dramatic fluidity.
“One of our most significant accomplishments on Spider-Man 3 was integrating character animation with effects animation, as they are were very closely related. The Autodesk Maya software‘s flexibility and adaptability made it possible for character animators to work concurrently with effects animators to produce seamless results” concluded Nofz.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Watch the trailer:
Emmy Award-winning Toon Boom Animation Inc. encouraged all animation lovers and Simpsons fans to go see The Simpsons Movie and experience the Toon Boom technology at its best. In addition to winning 23 Emmys and 22 Annie Awards, The Simpsons is the most popular primetime animated series and the longest running half-hour sitcom in the history. Its success on the big screen is more than promising.
Produced by 20th Century Fox and animated at Film Roman, a Starz Media company, The Simpsons Movie is done in 2D animation using a combination of Toon Boom Harmony and Opus. To create animation of the highest quality, the team has taken full advantage of Toon Boom‘s powerful network solutions from the design stage to final rendering. The impressive use of special effects applied on characters, the extensive number of characters, the breathtaking backgrounds and the smart combination of 2D and 3D animation makes the whole adventure worth watching.
David Silverman says close to 100 animators worked more than 18 months on the movie, and brand-new animation techniques were devised to show crowd shots of most of the population of Springfield. In the end, there were 100 speaking parts. And all this after it took four years just to come up with a script that everyone could agree on.
Friday, July 27, 2007
Mumbai based Famous House of Animation has recently created a refreshingly wonderful 2D animated TVC for Cadbury Mini.
The TVC Nanha Jadugar was worked on by 20 artists and was completed in 22 days.
Divided into three sections the story of the commercial revolves around a kid magician ‘Nanha Jadugar‘, who turns big things into small to entertain his friends.
The Creative Director, Famous House of Animation E. Suresh shared, "I was very clear that this will work very well with 2D. And 2D has once again become rare in terms of its presence in the TV ads. 3D and clay have become very popular lately, so I felt a need to showcase more variants within the 2D animation category to make people bold enough to go for this medium."
The first section has the Nanha Jadugar making his dad‘s car into a toy car but fails to get it back into its original size. Dad is furious, the kids run off.
The second situation is where the small kids play cricket against big bad boys and Nanha Jadugar comes to their rescue by making the opponent bats-man‘s bat really tiny like an ice-cream spoon and gets him clean bowled. The big bad boys get furious and the kids run off.
In the last section the kids feel like having Perk and other Cadbury products, but they have only Re 1 and 2. So, the Nanha Jadugar swings into action by making a section of Cadbury products smaller in sizes to make them available at the same price. The kids are all excited with the new twist in the story for once without any repercussions like the earlier situations.
Suresh said, "2D as a style seems to be very unimpressive when one has to take a client through to get him/her on board of a 2D animation production ship. It is comparatively easy with 3D and clay animation. Many clients view clay as a very exclusive medium to use and rightly so as the craftsmanship availability is rarer and that makes it very expensive too."
"But we in India, especially our TV audience are not oriented at all to the wide range of possibilities that 2D animation as a medium can offer. I would jump at an opportunity to make a stylized animated ad any day given the right amount of time, budget and patience" he concluded.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Be it movies, casting, daily soaps, or even marketing. Animation has always been a prolific medium of communication and of late, it‘s now being used in every possible aspect of marketing and branding.
Recently music major Radio City 91.1 FM has rolled out with its new marketing campaign ‘Fun ki Nayi Bhasha‘ where animation has been used intensively.
Click to Download Video
Click to Watch the Video
As part of the campaign, Radio City has taken idioms, added a fun twist to them and created a fun experience by using flash animation in viral ads and interpreting them literally to demonstrate a whole new refreshing take on life. "The idea behind the campaign is to get our audience to participate and add to the new language of fun on Radio City" said Rana Barua, National Marketing Head of Radio City.
Barua shared, "Animation is a very pertinent tool that we have decided to use to take our ‘Fun ki Nayi Bhasha‘ across to our listeners. I believe that animation should and can be used effectively to express thoughts and key messages that one would like to communicate."
The Bansuri webisode (viral) of duration 80 seconds has been conceived by the creative team at Meridian. As the future plans of Radio City, there are other webisodes which are in pipeline and will soon be out on the net.
On being asked about the response of the campaign, Barua said, "We are quite thrilled on the response we have received so far. It‘s really been very positive, be it from our listeners or other players across industries."
"Combined with Radio City‘s previous pioneering initiatives, the viral campaign will further enhance and amplify the communication listeners across the length and breadth of the country. Through the viral campaign listeners will be able to view and experience a sense of unshackled spontaneity and associate that with the brand Radio City" concluded Rana.
Watch the Video Here
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), announced on 18 July ‘07 the redesigned company web site, www.station.com, will host more than twenty free games, a new look and improved functionality. Station.com is the user-friendly main portal for SOE’s games, communities and information. The newly revamped site will host free trials of the majority of SOE’s MMOs; casual games such as PopCap’s Bejeweled® 2, Jeopardy! ® and Wheel of Fortune®; and mobile games such as Q*Bert™, Snoop Dogg Cruisin’, and the recently released God of War™: Betrayal. In addition, the Station Pass has transitioned into a free online game service available to all players.
“As SOE continues to grow its business and acquire a wider variety of titles, it was only appropriate that the Station.com website be redesigned to offer a more user-friendly and immersive experience to our diverse player base,” said Torrie Dorrell, SVP Global Sales & Marketing, Sony Online Entertainment. “Players from around the world will be able to obtain news and information surrounding upcoming and live games, visit community sites, download a casual game or two and even check out SOE’s latest offerings for the PLAYSTATION® Store. The site is launching simultaneously in English, French, German and Japanese, with plans to role out more languages, services and games in the coming months.”
Players can obtain a Station.com account for free by simply registering on the homepage. From there they will have access to free online games and trials of SOE’s live games in addition to access to community discussion forums, podcasts and more.
Simultaneously, the Station Pass games have become free. The Station Pass consisted of the full versions of the three casual, online action-based strategy games: Tanarus®, Cosmic Rift™ Online and Infantry Online™. Each of these games has consistently maintained a steady fanbase for the more than five years they have been live, and this transition to a free service will allow new and current players to experience these titles.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
At times VFX is about sheer technique, at times it is a lot of hard work!
Sample this: Rajnikanth starrer Sivaji-The Boss has a song sequence (Style song), where the wheatish skinned super star sports a European Complexion.Sounds like a case of color correction? or DI? It would have been so, but for a small thing, the makers of the movie wanted the star to not only have light colored skin but a soft fluffy texture as well!
Enter Chennai based studio ‘Indian Artists‘ which came up with the idea of Digital Skin Grafting.
"After the song sequence was shot with Rajnikanth, Cinematographer K.V.Anand and our team actually reshot the same song with an enchanting European belle who performed Rajnikanth‘s steps in the same lighting conditions. All the 630 shots with Rajni and the additional 630 shots with the European model were scanned in 4K resolution. Each of the 9000 scanned frames ware rotoscoped to separate the body parts (face, hands, legs etc.). The lady‘s skin was mapped onto the Rajnikanth‘s image using Eyeon "Digital Fusion" software. And finally the actor got his glowing white complexion with a soft fluffy skin texture" shared VFX Supervisor V. Srinivas M Mohan.
"There were two difficult aspects in this project. One was matching the girl‘s action with the hero‘s action and the second was matching both of their body proportions during mapping. The work involved was laborious and painstaking. Great attention was paid to detail right from the shoot until the final print. It has taken 25 dedicated CG technicians almost a year to achieve this 6½ min. feat" he added.
On being asked as to why not color correction or DI, Srinivas pointed out that, "The complexion would have changed, but the texture would have remained the same. Besides with fair complexion, there is a lot more translucency and hence very less shadows"
Why not CG? "With the full CG face, 3d tracking, matching expressions and lighting of the hero are again difficult and time consuming tasks and besides we are specialists in compositing" he elaborated.
The film ‘Sivaji-The Boss‘ starring Rajinikant is amongst the costliest film made in India. It has been Directed by S.Shanker, Music by A.R. Rehman and Produced by A.V.M Productions.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
So. You've got your iPhone and you've got your favorite movies on DVD. Now what? How do you bring the two together?
Innovative Solutions has got . . . well, an innovative solution for you. It's a piece of software called DVD to iPhone and it takes all manners of video content (DVDs, home movies, whatever you downloaded from the Internet, etc.), works some sort of "cyberspeed technology" voodoo magic on it, and gets it all nice and pretty for optimized viewing on the iPhone.
The best part? It takes just two clicks. Well, four clicks really because you have to head over to dvdtoiphone.com first and download the free trial, but let's not split hairs.
The full version of DVD to iPhone is available at an introductory rate of $30 and, ironically, is not Mac-compatible.
Posted by Vijeta Bhatia at 7:24 PM
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Animation -- it's an art, it's a part of entertainment and it can be your career! Toonz Animation Academy has launched a professional animation training course in Mumbai, and at a series of seminars held in the city last week, dean of the academy Dino Cordero discussed both the course being offered and a career in animation. Philippines-based Cordero has worked with several animation studios across the world; he has been a part of popular cartoon series like 'Loony Tunes', 'Tom and Jerry', 'Winnie the Pooh' and 'Fantastic Four'. He has also worked on 'X-Men' and 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'.
Animated cell phone displays, commercials, cartoons and movies are a big part of life in today's modern world, but India so far has played a very small part in the global animation industry. There are about 10 animation studios across the country, and only around 3000 animators work for them. "The industry is bottlenecked when it comes to procuring skilled professionals for jobs. There are many people who are familiar with the software, but they are not qualified animators," says Binu Raj, marketing head, Toonz Animation.
Entertainment, though, is not the be-all and end-all of the industry. It has applications in various fields. Defence personnel use animation to design armaments, forensic scientists use it to recreate crime sequences and it is also used in the fields of space research and medicine.
Click to know about the variour institutes which offer animation courses.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
The much anticipated iPhone from Apple will finally be launched in the US on June 29. It will pack a phone, audio/video player, a 2 megapixel camera, internet capabilities and intelligent touch screen operation onto a single device. It will cost approximately $599 for the 8 GB version and $499 for the 4 GB sibling.
While US consumers will get their hands on the iPhone this June, Europe will have to wait till the end of the year. The rumoured launch date for Asia is early next year. As for the Indian launch date, on contacting Apple India, all we received was silence. So if you plan to buy an iPhone during your next trip to the US or order it from there, there could be a problem.
Phone is a revolutionary new mobile phone that allows you to make a call by simply tapping a name or number in your address book, a favorites list, or a call log. It also automatically syncs all your contacts from a PC, Mac, or Internet service. And it lets you select and listen to voicemail messages in whatever order you want — just like email.
Apple plans to launch the product with specific service providers in mind. For example, it has tied up with AT&T in the US and might tie up with Vodafone in Europe, though there is no confirmation on the latter.
It's all in the details: It has a 3.5-inch 'multi-touch' screen, that lets you operate the device with just your fingers. The software that works in the background ensures that inputs from more than one finger are understood and acted on effortlessly. How it would actually behave in a real-world scenario remains to be seen.
The iPhone also features a predictive QWERTY touch keyboard, where you type by tapping at the screen with your fingers. Again, while this enables the iPhone to have a larger screen, how comfortable it will be to use remains to be seen.
Power talk: The battery has enough juice for five hours of talk, video or browsing. Apple promises up to 16 hours of audio playback, which is on par with the top MP3 players. Videos will look good, thanks to the 320x480 screen resolution.
It also supports IMAP, POP3 email and Yahoo Push email. With POP3 you can download mail and contacts from the server on to your device, while IMAP will allow you to access your email directly from the server without having to download it. Via push mail service, you will be updated about your emails as you receive them.You can even use the on-screen display to make three-way conference calls or manage calls from two different sources.
To browse the web, the iPhone will make use of Safari browser. Hold on to your wallet: On the negative side, it is rumoured that the iPhone won't support MMS messaging for pictures or videos. Plus there is one thing that has always bugged even iPod users: not being able to play say a DivX or any other video file other than what iTunes supports.
The iPhone too will support content that is compatible only with iTunes. Then, for Indian users, the biggest limiting factor as of now is that the phone function will work only with the service provider Apple has tied up with. So hold on till the India launch.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Adobe Premier Express, a flash-based video remixing tool extents its service to use YouTube & MTV.com
If you YouTube, then you might want to check out the latest video-editing-cum-remixing software from Adobe that is available (free) for YouTube and MTV.com users. The nifty app, called YouTube Remixer aka Adobe Premiere Express, allows you to create (and edit) your own videos online by combining video clips, music, photos, effects, transitions and titles.
So when you're in the mood to create some mischief, you could dish out your own video with all the appropriate effects by simply using the Remixer's easy-to-use drag-drop interface. And if you manage to catch some wows doing that, your video could be played out on MTV!
The software is available on YouTube's TestTube site. You'll need Flash 9 installed on your PC to get started.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Live Color is new in Illustrator CS3 and a large step towards helping you find "good" colors, experiment with colors right on your artwork, and manage your colors as a group. Live color is composed of 3 major parts:
1. The Color Guide panel, which is a lightweight interface to find compelling color groups. 2. Changes to the Swatches panel, which include the ability to save a set of colors as a group, view grouping structure from within the Swatches panel, and extract all used colors from specific selected artwork. 3. The Live Color dialog box, which allows you to find compelling color groups right on an interactive color wheel and to define custom color groups. It also gives you the ability to constrain color group selection to specific Color Panels/Color Spaces (for instance WebSafe or Pantone®).
Posted by Vijeta Bhatia at 8:59 PM