Graphics used with telling effect
SPECIAL EFFECTS, digital animation, 2D and 3D effects and computer graphics are some of the terms associated with modern cinema. They enhance the values of the film. Here, some personalities who have been using these techniques in their productions, speak about the trend now and what the future holds:
B. Kandaswamy, DLM Digital Studios.
Animation and special effects have come to play a very important role in the production of Indian films. What used to be common only in Hollywood movies has emerged as a trend in Indian movies, particularly in the past three or four years. Young directors are more aware and want to use computer graphics technology to create outstanding special effects in films. The development of powerful software tools along with state-of-the-art computer hardware technology have accelerated the trend.
The future is bright. Indian movies have a lot of songs and dance sequences which easily lend themselves to the use of CGI (Computer Graphics Interface). However it is important to note that people and not just equipment hold the key to success. Our Studios was established in November 1999, with the main objective of providing high-end special effects, computer graphics, animation for the Indian and International entertainment industry. It is the sister company of Kavithalayaa, whose chairman is Mr. K. Balachander.
We have executed special effects (SFX) for more than 10 films. Some of the hits on which we have worked are ``Rajakaliamman", ``Raja Rajeswari", ``Thali Kaatha Kali Amman", ``Pennin Manathai Thottu", ``Thirunelveli" and ``Bava Nachadu'' (Telugu). The company is also currently working with leading Japanese film companies for high-end animation as well as exploring a joint venture for a movie. The Rajinikanth-starrer, ``Muthu,'' which we promoted in Japan became a phenomenal success. We are currently engaged in developing the Japanese market further through exchange programmes as well as music, dance and cultural shows. Our company is working very closely with Multimedia Development Corporation in Malaysia to promote Malaysia as a film destination. For the first time, a complete film, ``Senior Junior,'' starring Mammooty, Harsha Vardhan, Vivek and others, produced by Shakthi Internationals and directed by K. Suresh was filmed entirely in Malaysia and the Malaysian Government extended all the facilities for this production.
V. Chandrasekaran, Pentamedia Graphics.
Thanks to our rich culture and heritage, creativity is abundant in our country. This, coupled with the engineering skills of the personnel, offers immense scope to the industry. The latest technology is now picking up in India too. Here, the main source of revenue is theatre but with the present stringent piracy norms and other rules, the post-release market that extends itself into home videos, merchandising, games, simulation rides to name a few. The characters of the movies get a strong branding through the movies and this is also the foreseen trend that will set precedent in around three years time.
Sure, we can face the challenges of the market, which is dominated by 2D and theatrically by 3D. With our flair for computers, India can aim for 3D products of excellence. Nascent markets like China, Taiwan and Philippines are good at 2D that reach out to the children while 3D has an immense reach amidst young adults too. We have made the world's first real time 3D animated motion capture film Sinbad-Beyond the Veil of Mists and this is the latest technology with real time motion capture. Hitherto, animation films involved creatures and animals centring around mainly audience below 12 years of age. This in turn involved only artificial gestures. However, real time technology has taken over and the next stage will be ``real'' hybrid films, which is a fine balance between natural and artificial films. One of our productions is ``Pandavas,'' a much talked about movie.
V. S. Sundararajan, Total Infotainment Ltd.
An alien sipping a Pluto special brew along with a rabbit in an ``all species pub." This is something that would have been next to impossible to achieve a few years ago. But today digital effects has made this possible and what is more it can be enhanced with an interaction between the two. All these are possible with photo realistic modelling and other animation techniques, which in combination with live production will provide all this and more, like explosions, crashes and space flights. The current decade has witnessed full transition from Unix environment to NT, the stability of which is no more a question and the Linux environment is very much coming into being. The hardware coupled with the efficiency of the software algorithms on motion capture and facial captures promise to cut costs on many fronts. With a friendly software environment, the training time for achieving skills have also considerably come down. All this will lead to, (a) Quality enhancement, (b) Scope to create fantasies which are beyond the areas of live action production, (c) Gives several alternatives for story telling and (d) Quality can be improved and errors corrected after production.
Newer formats of production such as Imax, laser projection, etc., will place exacting demands on the software and hardware. On the computer front quantum computing techniques would be available and on the software the trend is to have a more promising computer rendering and production capabilities. TIL has already been approached for niche quality contents with attractive delivers by customers from U.S. and Europe. The company order book is at $14-millions with additional U.S. $20-million in pipeline. On special effects we made a very significant contribution for Tamil film ``Alavandan'' in collaboration with Hollywood special effects consultant, Mr. George Merkert.
S. Anirudh, Digital Fx
Jurassic Park, Titanic, MI-2, Jeans, Amman, Kadhalan, Mudhalvan. What is common among these films? Visual effects that have impressed everyone. Visual effects are employed at different levels in English and Indian movies. In English movies, the story is made and then graphics or visual effects are added to enhance the scene. Indian movies are woven around graphics. So the treatment of the scenes and the final output suffer when the graphic visual is imposed on the scene. Also the money involved. Still, we have managed to touch international standards. All that is required of our producers and directors is the time factor and the ability to spend money. Of course a better understanding and judicious use of graphics for best results. But compromise has always been with us all through. What we can hope is better understanding of the medium of graphics and making it a better way to show images which otherwise could not have been imagined.
I have personally done animations for many movies starting from Sarath Kumar's ``Raghasiya Police'' to the Ajith starrer, ``Poovellam Un Vasam". Other films include director Shanker's own production logo (S Films), ``Dum Dum Dum" title animation, ``Nuvvu Naaku Nachavu" (Telugu) title animation for Sravanthi movies, ``Deja vu'' in English, ``Maharathi'' in Assamese, director Raja Senan's ``Darling Darling'' in Malayalam.
S. R. ASHOK KUMAR
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