Suresh Eriyat decodes the creative process of Studio Eeksaurus’ JSW and ‘Har Haath Toofan’ advertisements

The studio behind animated short films like Kandittund, Fisherwoman and Tuk-Tuk, Tokri, Studio Eeksaurus, has been actively involved in creating some incredible creative advertisements for Ogilvy India. Animation Xpress got a chance to interact with Studio Eeksaurus founder and creative director Suresh Eriyat to get to know more about the creative process and challenges behind creating the animated JSW and Thums Up  advertisements.

Starting with JSW advertisement, the ad has been created using clay animation where various artists worked  together and sculpted each and every element of the ad film. Talking about why they chose basic clay animation for creating this advertisement, Eriyat mentioned, “Clay animation was chosen, firstly, because of the similar traits which are shared between clay and steel. The idea behind the campaign was that steel is all around us, yet invisible to the eye. The malleable quality of steel allows it to be present in the infrastructure of our buildings, in our cars and even in the pipes of our houses, but we never acknowledge it. Similarly, clay is known for its malleable and sturdy nature. We felt that this flexible nature of steel could be best represented by the constant transitions and transformations which clay animation allows one to do.”

The ad film was directed by Eriyat, executive produced by Nilima Eriyat. Hashim Bachooali served as an associate producer. The project was led by Rajib Mandal and sound design by Resul Pookutty, Vijay Kumar. Santosh Sawant served as an animation director and Suryakant Ramesh Ghorpade as the director of photography.

Breaking down the creative process, the director said, “The creative process involved a lot of trial and error with techniques, treatments and approaches until we found the one which stuck. Like all our projects, we initially jumped into finding the right references which would become our base to build and experiment upon – whether it was for music, sound design, style, etc. Once the references were in place and the treatment of using clay animation had been locked, we started brainstorming about how to achieve this in the limited amount of time. We tried several methods like 3D Printing, hand-sculpting and finally arrived at replacement animation.”

 He further added, “In terms of style, we did not want the objects and clay models to look clean and symmetrical, we wanted it to have that coarse and rugged feel, which is symbolic of steel. We also wanted the flexible yet malleable property of steel to come across. So all our models had that chiseled and unsymmetrical look to them. We wanted to maintain the raw and simple quality in all aspects of the film – whether it was style, framing, composition, music and sound. Ultimately, that paid off and we were able to come out with a unique film.”

It took one and a half months for the film to be completed with music and color grading. Decoding the challenges faced while creating the film using clay animation, Eriyat added, “For this particular project, we had initially devised a treatment where only the basic objects would be crafted in clay and the in-betweens would be hand-sculpted while shooting but this did not work out. With the 2D animatics, we realized that there were several frames which could not be hand-sculpted. That is when we decided to do replacement animation where every element, which is seen in each frame of the film, was sculpted separately. So maintaining that continuity in the objects and their transformations, especially in the in-betweens was challenging. Another challenge was the timeline. The animation of the film needed to be completed in two weeks which was really tight considering it was 90 secs long and it was clay animation. So we had to get a large crew and an organized mechanism in place, where prop-making, sculpting and animation took place simultaneously side by side.”

The music was a masterpiece. The sound effects and music involved in the advertisement was mostly made through beatboxing and simple human created effects which made it standout and unique. Rajat Dholakia was the creative music supervisor and Sandip Patil served as a music director. John Chittilapilly oversaw sound engineering in the film. Commenting on the sound design, Eriyat commented, “Since the style of animation was very basic and raw, we wanted the musical language of the film to also be in that same tonality. That is how we arrived at not using any form of instruments in the film. One music form which was a source of inspiration for us was the Kecak dance from Indonesia, which is like a battle between two groups. It is very primal and raw. Taking that as an inspiration, we arrived at beatboxing. Beatboxing is also a musical form which relies on producing beats from our mouths, although it is more nuanced and modern. Thus, giving it a modern yet raw quality. These two qualities also represent steel very well. The sound design was created with the use of metal objects in folly. So, even though we are seeing clay in the film, the sound of metal which we hear with each movement gives us that association with steel.”

https://youtu.be/lbTPee6pVAs

Recently the studio also worked on a Thums Up’ Har Haath Toofan ad film which paid tribute to famous personalities like Avani Lekhara, Sourav Ganguly, Nikhat Zareen. Describing the visual style and creative process, Eriyat explained, “For this film, the visual style, mood and tone needed to be bold and fierce. Each of the events/characters depicted in the film have played a historic and symbolic role in the progress of our nation. The connecting theme in the film is that of the underdog who goes against all odds and turns the tide of battle. So, to bring forth this messaging and idea, we chose a bold and vivid style, with swift and quick transitions between each scene along with the integration of the Thums up color and their symbolic ‘thunder’ identity. The process which was followed involved our tested process of storyboarding the film first after which we created the animatic and timed it along with a rough VO and soundtrack. Once we had locked edits, we went into production and animation.”

Studio Eeksaurus and Ogilvy India have worked together on various projects including

Amaron’s ‘last long really long’ campaign with Hare and Tortoise and Kumbhakaran, Brooke Bond Taaza puppet animation campaign, Cadbury Kitna Maza aaye re, Gems IPL stopmotion, Gems super heroes toys, Rajasthan Tourism sand animation, Google Android bots campaign, Usha sewing machine ads, IPL Karmayudh.

Not disclosing much about the future projects, Eriyat said, “We are working on multiple content projects including a feature length project, a couple of original TV series projects, short films and of course some exciting ads.”

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