The world`s only independent GPU company NVIDIA on Tuesday launched its India specific initiative `Digital Bollywood` with much fanfare and industry participation at a grand event at Mumbai`s J.W. Marriott. This event was a very significant one for Indian digital content creators as it marked the commencement and reinforcement of NVIDIA`s India focus.
The global graphics giant believes that looking forward India is going to be at the nucleus of the digital content creation universe.
The speakers and presenters at the digital Bollywood summit included internationally renowned VFX producer Volker Engel, NVIDIA`s graphics genius Dr. Larry Gritz, and Sr Vice President Dan Vivoli, film maker Govind Nilhani, Anirights Ashish Kulkarni, Anibrain Jesh Krishnamurthi, MEL`s Rajesh Turakhia, Crest Animation`s Krishna Prasad and R&H Prashant Buyayala.
The keynote was delivered by Volker Engel who emphasized on the fact that it has been forgotten that VFX was invented to save money and nowadays it has instead become a trend to publicize the huge budgets that were being pumped into creating FX extravaganzas. Volker stressed that despite all the advances in technology and the wonderful technically capable talent pool available, his studio and most studios were always on the look out for artists with strong fundamentals. “We are always on the look out for artists with a fine arts background and an eye for detail and an understanding of composition”
The clips and reels that Volker showcased had the audience awestruck and they were even more amazed when Volker shared that at times his studio had executed shots at 1/20th the regular Hollywood costs as a result of innovation and sourcing. The VFX wiz also showcased clips from the Emmy Award winning series The Triangle. Some of the shots for the series had been worked on by Indian studios and artists including Filaments Visual Effects Amit Dhawal and TheSign.
Giving the audience a glimpse into the potential of the latest real time rendering technology, NVIDIA`s SVP Dan Vivoli spoke with a live demonstration being showcased on how it was now possible to have light, interactive water, slimy skin, translucent eyes, and other complex CG features in real time leaving all the audience amazed.
About NVIDIA coming to India he confessed, “Initially India was a choice for off shoring but when we came to India we realized that our original idea was wrong and India has a real passion for visual entertainment which resonates with our philosophy at NVIDIA”
The evening`s proceedings also included a line up of brief presentations by Indian studios and producers that had technology partnerships with NVIDIA.
All the Indian stakeholders who took to the stage welcomed NVIDIA`s Digital Bollywood initiative and shared with the audience how creativity was empowered with technology.
Showcasing the top three short films from this year`s 24FPS, Turakhia shared, “We are partnering with NVIDIA to train students in Gelato, the team at MAYA is very excited about the prospects”
Anibrian`s Jesh Krishna Murthy showcased clips from Highlander on which his studio has worked on 700+ VFX shots in a short span of four months. “We are focusing on rendering technology in a big way as well as scalability and programming” said Jesh
The R&H India show reel that Prashant Buyyala showcased with clips from Narnia, Superman Returns, FF3, Garfield 2, etc made one feel proud of the quality that India has achieved in VFX. Buyyala also donned his ASIFA India hat and presented a wonderful montage of the recently held International Animation Day celebrations. “R&H India has been working with NVIDIA for last couple of years and we welcome the Digital Bollywood Initiative” shared Prashant.
Sharing some rendering related anecdotes, Anirights Ashish Kulkarni spoke about how even till as late as 2002, processes such as rendering and reviewing caused a lot of friction between the technology and the creative teams. “That was when I first approached NVIDIA to help provide rendering and other visual processing solutions. And today I can very confidently say that the creative is empowered by technology”
Krishna Prasad, the technology genius from Crest Animation made a simple effective presentation, the gist of which was `Technology will keep on advancing and it is always useful. But one thing Indian animation needs to focus on is nurturing creativity and the creative talent which according to KP was stagnating and not growing much`
Giving immediate velocity to the Digital Bollywood initiative, Film Maker Govind Nihalani announced his maiden 3D animated feature `Kamlu` which will be produced at Chennai based Iris Interactive. Nihalani presented a short clip from the under production venture and shared with the audience that for him technology meant the liberty of never having to hear `No` from the production side.
Nihalani also shared with the audience that the Kamlu clip that was showcased was created in less than a week and was rendered using Gelato.
He also stressed on the fact that these days technology is ready to deliver and is challenging man but now he wants to challenge technology.
Close to 200 people in the audience and such experienced speakers the launch of Digital Bollywood initiative could not have been better. And to top it all there was a big surprise for the students. Delhiite Ranjit Kumar from MAAC was awarded a sponsored trip to Sup Infocom at France, and was personally congratulated by Dr Larry Gritz on stage.
Speaking to AnimationXpress.com, about the initiative to encourage Indian students like Ranjit, NVIDIA`s Jeff Brown shared, “As part of our education initiative, we are sponsoring students to attend events around the world and for this we`ve been scouting animation schools. We`d gone to SUP INFOCOM. Three students from the school had done a movie called overtime which was brilliant. When we were talking to the students there about the film industry and academy awards and the like, they had absolutely no clue about it. As part of our endeavor we want to help students make connections, see high quality movies and set their goals on those standards. One has to experience and not just learn out of books. We want to sponsor deserving students and give them the exposure that they require by attending events such as SIGGRAPH, FMX, Sup INFOCOM and the like. From India we have chosen Ranjit Kumar who would be attending the event from 5-8 Dec. We prefer to extend this sponsorship to our partner institutes at first and then hopefully to students all across. Let`s see how things unfold. The aim is to add value and build experience amongst the community”
Dr Larry Gritz had words of praise for Indian professionalism. He also shared that, “India has a large film industry, is a powerhouse of technology and we at NVIDIA are also observing how it is now also becoming a digital content creation hub. All this makes India very integral to our future strategy”
To sum up, the NVIDIA Digital Bollywood launch was very much an Industry gathering and to quote Ashfaq Munshi one of the chief architects of the initiative “The whole idea is to energize the Industry out here and to catalyze growth”
NVIDIA Digital Bollywood includes the following components:
Technology: NVIDIA GelatoÂ® rendering software and NVIDIA QuadroÂ® technology tailored for the Indian market.
Education: The `Digital Production Curriculum,` with the first two courses consisting of Gelato certification classes and Advanced Digital Production pipeline techniques.
Expertise: Access to DCC experts from around the world, including the DCC Guru Lecture series, a series of monthly lectures delivered in multiple Indian cities, along with domain and product experts located in India.
Community: Close working relationships with ASIFA, TASI, ABAI, and other animation societies to strengthen the local community.
Partnership: MAAC and Whistling Woods to teach the `Digital Production Curriculum` in their respective schools, in addition to close working technical collaboration with: Acris, Anibrain, Anirights, Crest, EFX, IIT, Maya Entertainment, NID, Prana, Prime Focus, and VCL, among others.