Using ‘Body Language’ to get the message across

- Notice the intact lead in the Natraj pencil - - Also notice how it looks strong as compared to the other one-
Famous Animation, the animation arm of the Mumbai based Famous Studios, has been one of the front-runners for creating animation for Indian Ad films. Recently its animation work for the Natraj pencil commercial received widespread appreciation. The message to convey was that Natraj pencils are stronger and have a superior quality of wood/lead. The UCC (Unique Creative Challenge) of the commercial was to to get the message across using the animated pencil’s ‘Body Language’. nullFollowing is an account on how the guys at Famous animation did it. In Famous Animation head E Suresh’s words (E Suresh has been Head of Animation at Famous Animation since its inception in 1998) ~MOTIVATION~ We had done the Natraj Pencils commercial for 2 reasons: one was for the interesting concept that the O&M team had come up with under the supervision of Xenobia and second was the challenge involved to execute these films without features for the pencil. In general people tend to make pencils with eyes and mouth for a pencil commercial and that is almost like a must for pencil commercial. This had a different storyline and I felt there was no need for the pencil to have eyes, nose, ears and mouth! The creative team from the agency had supported me on this. ~CHALLENGE~ The line between one being able to read the sentence while not getting carried away with the performance of the pencil was a fine one but difficult one to crack.
- The other pencil being smashed into pieces-
~STORYLINE~ The story line for the Ad was pretty simple. There is this flashy, jingbang, “Tapori Ishtyle” pencil that does his dance to a “tapori” number and writes this line e.g. Meri Mummy hain bahut badi Gaay..” and the lead breaks due to the inferior quality wood/lead used in it, making nonsense out of the sentence it was writing. The pencil gets all droopy while Natraj Bonded pencil enters the frame with a sophisticated style and flair and kicks the inferior pencil in mid air, breaking him into pieces.. and completes the sentence …Meri Mummy hain bahut badi Gaayika. and makes sense. ~TECHNIQUE~ In the entire action we are articulating the story with mere body language of the pencils and a proportionate support from the audio. It took us almost 25 days to finish the first set of films for presentation.
Animators at Famous studios working on the Natraj Commercial
We did the audio track first and then went into visual production. Deploying a combination of 2D & 3D character animation to execute this film, we drew a lot of poses and actions in 2D on paper before freezing on one particular structure for the pencil to be able to act and perform. Once this exercise was done, we modelled the pencil on computer and then texture, rigged and lit it making it ready for animation. Finally we got back to the sound studio to punctuate the actions with sound effects. Audio support becames almost 50% of the complete film in terms of weightage.

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