Cosmos Animation Academy announces winners of 2D & 3D animation contest; judges share nuggets of insights in a webinar

In collaboration with Cosmos Animation academy, AnimationXpress launched a webinar focused on imparting insights on creating 3D & 2D videos by distinguished studio experts followed by the announcement of winners who had won the animation contest.

Moderated by Cosmos Animation Academy HFICUA business head Priti Karandikar, the webinar was graced by Maya Digital Studios Animation director Maharashi Vyas, Maya Digital Studios Animation director Vikram Kadoo and Cosmos Maya Academy dean Ram Dhumne.

Kadoo who comes with 22 years of rich experience in the animation space shared a golden insight about showreels at the outset. Speaking about how applicants can make their work stand out and shine, he shared, “One can benefit immensely by picking out a popular dialogue from Bollywood movies and integrating it into their animation by voicing it on the character.”

Naming software like Flash, Harmony, Adobe etc, he asserted that while there is a raft of software one can learn on, ‘the most important skill to hone is sketching and drawing along with the understanding of volume.’ Speaking about the skills required for 3D, he shared, “Our observation skills should be on point. Whether you’re in a market or train, you must be able to see and note what the elements of that scene are and recreate that. Because you do something of your own, we find it more impressive.”

Illustrating his advice, he segued into a participant’s 2D animated entry clip featuring an old man clicking a button on his glasses to make cars collide while he begins to cross the road. Highlighting what he liked in the clip, he shared, “I like the tracking part and environment of the busy road. The design is also good.” Contrasting that with the next entry he played, he shared, “In this one, the major element is missing. If you want to show traffic, you need to show that the road is busy and there are vehicles but vehicles are nowhere to be seen in this one.”

Elaborating what makes characters come to life, he shared, “Character expressions are also important, like looking at the watch, emoting different expressions, like desperately wanting to go somewhere.. how will you show that with the expression. Camera angles are important if you want to establish something. All movies starts with the wide angle.”

He advised the budding artists to start watching movies with a technical lens of a director rather than being an audience. He shared, “Don’t watch movies to fritter time, watch why they do it.. you must see the movies with the director’s perspective and understand his vision. The Maaya institute that we have started is good because our faculty is adept with decades of experience. Since we know what is important to learn, we focus on those very things that hone their skills.”

Vyas who has played a key role in supervising all the major Indian TV cartoons is a 3D expert and also the jury member who evaluated the 3D entries and chose the winner. Acklowdeging how each and every entry submitted had an impressive set of elements that he was struck by, he shared, “So many people applied so many different things together so it took me time to select the best ones. No doubt, it has to be the best. I tried to analyse the shots using various things. 3D comprises everything from audio, framing and observation. Observation is an important ingredient for the shot.”

Elaborating on how one can depict an old man in a 3D animated video, he suggested, “If we analyse these things, like you are creating a 75 year old man, how should he be acting? So we need to observe that old men shiver a little. They are slouchy or you could use a stick. We need to get an idea that he is kind of an old man. He is waiting for the signal to clear up so that he can move forward. We need to show the traffic so it gives us an idea that the old man is standing on the footpath.”

Speaking about the criteria that entries are majorly judged on, he enlisted, “It is the composition of shots, more than a story it is an event. we do the shot by acting. Sketching is also important. Layout, timing, framing, sound, the understanding of theme, acting and animation are the principles we used.”

Playing another clip, he shared, “In this one, we see that there is proper use of elements ranging from shadow and silhouette but framing could have been cleaner. I can see there are references of his own acting and no exaggerations which is good.”

Karandikar who was moderating the session followed it up by sharing, “The way to create something good and progress is to keep critiquing and making sure we apply those lessons. Raise the bar higher than what you did yesterday. It is important to keep bettering ourselves.”

Dhumne stressed on the importance of timing, framing camera angle and direction as the main criterions that entries are evaluated on. He shared, “Artists want their art to be seen. That’s why they  thought of coming up with the competition to recognise and evaluate the artists. 

Before revealing the winner, there was an unplanned presentation by Dhumne on “How to make an effective showreel” on public demand which was sussed from the comment section. 

Few tips for perfect showreel as discussed in the presentation are as follows :-

  1. Length should ideally be 30-40 seconds.
  2. The first 30 seconds becomes the deciding factor. 
  3. Show your best, structure, what you’re showing in the showreel and define your profile. Show the process :- keep it sharp and process driven, show the process like layering, transformation etc, music is important ; always use fast and catchy music. 
  4. Add sfx and mfx in between to make showreel more prominent, always remember, 50-50 share of music and visuals make content more lively, treat it like a client project:- add small but important details, maintain proper layout, font selection, lively colours, avoid glitches, shot continuity. always update your showreel :- add your latest and good work.”
  5. Software credential. Don’t forget :- Full name, Email, cell number, use watermark helps ensure that there is no misuse.

The day concluded on a high note with the winner announcement who won free 2D and 3D animation courses at Cosmos Maya. We congratulate Vishal Kamre who won the 2D contest and Shawqik Mondal who won the 3D contest. With the industry booming everyday and studios hiring 100 to 200 artists regularly, Cosmos Maya Animation Academy is fast emerging as the much-needed beacon for the budding artists. 

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