Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Chandamama then and now

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

'Indian Splendor' to become annual Indian event in US

Encouraged by the response received in the United States, the organizers of the recently concluded event 'India Splendor' have decided to turn this into an annual fete.The next edition of 'India Splendor' is scheduled to be held from 15 to 17 August 2008 in Los Angeles, according to MCorp Global President and India Splendor director Bhuvan Lall. India Splendor was celebrated across six days from 10 to 15 August on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence and was attended by over 5000 people. It was designed to present the best of India’s arts, business, culture and spirituality.Said Lall, “We have been overwhelmed and humbled by the tremendous response by the citizens of Southern California to the first 'India Splendor' event this year and have decided to have a sequel next year.”Notable Indians and non-resident Indian participated in the extravaganza which included some of the country’s most prominent filmmakers, artists, performers, scholars, business moguls, politicians, spiritual leaders and others.

Warner Bros. to distribute Nikhil Advani's 'Made in China'

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

Autodesk Technology heats up the big screen with Action, Adventure and Animation

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

Rs 40 Million ‘Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang' all set to light up the Silver Screen in December'07

Produced at a cost of Rs 40 Million ‘Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang‘, the first feature produced by Elecom Fiesta Entertainment, is all set to light up the Silver Screen this December.Elecom Fiesta Entertainment is a joint initiative between Kolkata based Elecom Toon and Mumbai based Fiesta Entertainment, where both companies have jointly set up a corpus for producing animated features.If the brochure and other publicity material of the venture‘s first feature are anything to go by, the 80 minute long 2D animated feature looks like a winner.The 80 minutes long film has drawn inspiration for its title from the 1964 children’s book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming (which later inspired the 1968 film by the same name). The 2D feature’s story is neither a copy nor an inspired version of it.Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang revolves around two Kingdoms of Ants who are at loggerheads with each other. However, it is not a battle story altogether. There is a romantic twist too, as the Prince and Princess of warring Kingdoms fall in love. The film in fact works on the premise that ‘War Never Pays’. It endeavors to drive home the point that with unity and peace are the driving factor’s for a nation’s health.Story, script, animation direction, pre production and production are being done in house at Elecom Toon and Fiesta Entertainment is working on all aspects of post production including sound design. The feature will be released in six Indian languages with the Bengali and Hindi versions to hit screens first.Fiesta Entertainment Director N D Nagpal said, "Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang is the first movie from the bouquet of Elecom and Fiesta joint venture. We have invested a lump sum of Rs 40 Million and an additional Rs 10 Million is expected as investment in our marketing plans and promotion of the movie.""We plan to make one animated movie each year for the next three years. Soon we will be announcing other animated feature which will be based on a famous Indian novel. We also have merchandising plans as part of which we will introduce books, toys, stationery, contests and other promotional activities"On being asked about the production schedule, R D Malik, CEO of Elecom Toon shared, "The production work began in April this year and close to 100 artists are working round the clock. The movie is almost complete and we are planning release it in theatres with four hundred prints‘Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang also features the voices of well known Indian actors like Ashish Vidyarthi, Mahesh Manjrekar, Asrani and Anjan Srivastva.Nida Fazli‘s awe inspiring lyrics in the film find voices of renowned singers including Shaan, Shreya Ghosal, Kunal Ganjawala, Sudesh Bhosle and Rashid Khan

2D Animated Advertisement

Watch "Thakur Ka Intequam" at
A 2D animation created by Webchutney for orbit white chewing gum advertisement.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Autodesk To Acquire Skymatter

Autodesk Inc. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all the assets of Skymatter Limited, the developer of Mudbox 3D modelling software. This acquisition will augment Autodesk’s offering for the film, television and game market segments, while providing additional growth opportunities for other design disciplines. Autodesk anticipates that the transaction will close in the next two months. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
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.”

Animation Pure & Simple With Toon Boom Digital Pro

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

A one-stop online movie tickets booking portal for India

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 – – 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. 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,’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, 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.