What an amazing road show it was!
ARK Infosolutions in partnership with Foundry organised an event named as “Road show” at St. Andrew’s auditorium, Bandra, Mumbai on 30 October, 2017. It provided a platform for international speakers and local partners to discuss various aspects about the animation and VFX industry about how some of the recent biggest blockbusters were made. Framestore London’s VFX supervisor Alex Wajsbrot demonstrated the VFX break down of the upcoming movie ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. Assemblage Entertainment Mumbai, Anibrain from Pune and Framestore London were the studios who joined the Mumbai event. Intel and Lenovo were the main sponsors of the roadshow.
ARK Infosolutions has been associated with Foundry for over 5 years now. Through this partnership, ARK has introduced the latest technology, products and services in the VFX and 3D animation industry.The roadshow had some of the latest versions of the market-leading toolsets, including Nuke, Modo, Mari, Katana and Cara VR which helped in understanding how the software is being developed to overcome future technological challenges.
“Foundry is a well-known player in this segment and through our strong partnership, we aim to help the VFX and 3D animation industry in delivering high-end visual effects and animation content for films and television,” said ARK Infosolutions director and CEO Rishi Khemka.
ARK Infosolutions country head media and entertainment Rajeev Pathak said, “ It is a great platform to learn and exchange about the latest technology updates on the product portfolios. We are happy to have participation from leading studios like Anibrain, Assemblage, Firefly, Gemini Studios and BotVFX who showcased their work as well.”
Gary Buyers from Foundry
The first session was by EMEA head of sales Gary Buyers who was on video conference. The audience was fully packed with students from institutes like Arena as well as working professionals from VFX and animation studios. Rosie Burgess EMEA marketing coordinator from Foundry hosted the event with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.
“We were looking at a partnership which would help increase our footprint in the Indian market and ARK being one of the leaders in media and entertainment distribution in the country, we are very happy to partner with them. India is an important market and we will together be able to cater to the needs of our customers and add value to the industry through our offerings”, said Foundry EMEA head of sales Gary Buyers.
Foundry head of sales for India,East Europe, Middle East and Africa Ezequiel Sarser spoke to Animation Xpress, “The event is called a roadshow because Foundry comes out and kicks the event in the road in many cities. This time we are doing it at three main hubs of India outside Bangalore- Mumbai,Chennai, Hyderabad. The curious things in India is about so many companies which are involved in VFX as well as students.We have brought the three pillars of the community-education, professionals and the studios in one platform and our motto is to give back to the community. We also showcased what we do with our softwares in international level and also try to bring them closer to the international market. Providing the right know how is very important.”
Foundry spoke about its emerging software Katana. Sarser said,“It is one of the emerging tools that we want to deploy in India and bring into attention so that some companies can start using. Some of the biggest studios across the world are applying it and a lot of smaller ones have also started using it.”
Katana is quite acessible than before. The main advantage of Katana is focussed on increasing the efficiency, doing the boring task easily and focus on art and not waste time. One can do things much faster with it. For example, complex architecture of 3D can be done easily. It also minimizes the cost.
Martin Mayer from Foundry
The next session was by the first speaker of the event that is Foundry head of creative services Martin Mayer who spoke about Foundry’s emerging software Katana. In his adroit talk, he explained the technology behind Katana, its mechanism as well as how it works. Bot VFX, Digital Domain, After Studio, Prana Studio, NYVFXWAALA, RedChillies, Anibrain, Pixstone images, Rotomaker are some of the clients who use Foundry.
Anirban Das and Saurabh Dalmiya from Anibrain, Pune
The next speaker was head of VFX operations and production Anirban Das from Anibrain Studio, Pune. He praised the road show saying it gives a very good global exposure and was quite humorous in his talks. Interestingly, Anirban spoke about the problems he faced in his own VFX career.He spoke about his own company, finding talent and also its educational institute named as “School of Media and Design”. He stressed on the fact they nurture their employees with care.
Das showcased the film Olympus, where Nuke and Mari software has been used. Tools that have been deployed are smart vector and mapping that helped in tracking. He showed the behind-the-scenes video of Olympus movie and explained how relighting in Nuke gives better control in redefining the shots and also thanked Foundry for a wonderful association. Lot of students, technologists, VFX and animation professionals cheered from the audience.
Das said to Animation Xpress, “ This roadshow allows the visitors to showcase their talents, projects and display what India is capable of. We displayed some of our own projects that show how the softwares of Foundry has benefited us and the importance of Nuke for our studio. The roadshow gives us a global exposure and also allows us to interact and show our work to students and professionals.”
Business Development head Saurabh Dalmiya said,”I think this is a great event because usually studios are busy doing their own work and stay in their bubble. This event gives us an opportunity to see what others are doing, to meet people and come together. It is really exciting to see your colleagues and the work that is happening in India. As Anirban said, there are students who come and we get to interact with them as well. It enables networking, raises awareness and helps in socialising.”
Arjun Madhavan and Sam Vinod from Assemblage Mumbai
The next speaker was Assemblage strategy and new business development head Arjun Madhavan. He was accompanied by Sam Vinod who is the head of information technology at Assemblage. Madhavan spoke about feature film focussed CG and animation studio Assemblage and how Foundry shaped it.
Madhavan presented his film Trollhunters which is already out on Netflix. He also showed the making of Norm of the North and Trollhunters where Google cloud platform has been used and the application of Nuke software for these projects. The icing on the top of his presentation was when Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared on screen saying how a Mumbai studio named Assemblage worked on it doing a marvellous job. There was a big applause from the audience.
He discussed the benefits of the software Nuke developed by Foundry. This high-end software offers cutting edge toolkits for node-based composting, editorial and review. It is specially used for blockbuster movies, episodic virtual effects, commercials, games and much more. The use for this software is immense.
Madhavan said to Animation Xpress, “I feel that the roadshow that has been happening annually for a few years has taken a lot of effort. Foundry has developed one of the best softwares and because of this show it gives us the experience of associating ourselves with the people behind Foundry. We showcased our showreel and each of our projects like Norm of the North and Trollhunters that have used Foundry’s Nuke and Nuke X on the composition side. We also get to network with the industry as well learn from others as well. ”
Assemblage technology head, Sam Vinod spoke about a special plugin for Nuke called Reelsmart motion blur. This plugin helps provide a more natural looking motion blur to a sequence. Also with the use of Nuke software, the clean ups or frame-by-frame paint work is relatively easy, takes lesser time and reduces man power. The software includes everything you require to make every frame feel realistic. Foundry is constantly working to improve Nuke in every way possible.
Alexis Wajsbrot from Framestore London
Framestore’s VFX supervisor Alexis Wajsbrot was pretty excited about the roadshow. He added with childlike enthusiasm that he got a good opportunity to visit the Gateway of India at Mumbai. Wajsbrot said,“ I am very happy that Foundry invited me to be a part of this event, it’s very well organised.”
He explained that at Framestore, the company does all of the composites using Nuke, it’s much faster to do a proof of concept and show a sample to a client. We also use the software Mari for texturing. Framestore has been using Nuke for a about 7 years.
‘Thor: Ragnarok’ Showreel
Framestore’s VFX superstar Alexis Wajsbrot demonstrated how Foundry’s Nuke was used on Marvel’s upcoming superhero epic, it was a total of 459 shots with a crew size of 309. He is the VFX supervisor of the upcoming film ‘Thor: Ragnarok’. He showed the Thor showreel explaining stats of Thor like 459 shots, 356 days of production, 38,052 man days, 309 crew size, 954 version for a single shot.
There were 8646 buildings in asgard, 195 shots in one week, 43 shots in one day and it took 766 TB of disc space. Act three is the main area where Framestore did the VFX especially the big fights. He explained about some of the major sequences like Asgard’s arrival, Hulk vs Fenris, commodore crash, Asgard bridge battle staging and also showed how Asgard was made into a city block. Other things he explained were crowd multiplication, creating mist, how Hulks’ muscles were made, animation design of Hulk and creating his wrinkles, lighting, smash bridge shot, smoke simulatons,Uber Thor designing, lightning effects and Dr Strange’s development.
Alexis shared an interesting story of the Black Dog character. He narrated how initially the concept of a wolf was made which went on to a zombie dog and then it was finalised to a black dog with green eyes. There were animated shots of Hulk vs Black Dog on screen and Alexis kept on saying sorry for the spoiler alert.He showed how Hella was designed, especially a lot of work went on to create the headgear with a lot of perfection. He confirmed that the only live action part is her face and rest is computer generated. Alexis said to Animation Xpress, “At Framestore we worked on the big fight which is Act 3 which is about 40 minutes. It has 500 shots, we worked on Fenris which is a giant wolf and Hulk, Thor and the lightning and Hella who is the main bad guy. We worked on Asgard, it’s the world that will be destroyed. The VFX for Thor:Ragnarok took us one year because it was a very big show for us. Since there was a lot of VFX we focused mainly on Act Three. Our VFX team was of around average 200 people.”
He confessed himself to be a Marvel cinematic universe and a comic book fan. There was a lot of applause from the crowd with this presentation and lot of selfies were clicked with Alexis. On 1 November, the road show was done at Hyderabad and will continue on November 3 at Chennai. Firefly, Gemini Studios and BotVFX are the studios who are part of the road show in these southern cities. Lot of actions to be seen. Stay updated with us for news about these two events.