Fade in from black to white: the journey of White Turtle Studios re-defining VFX in India

White Turtle StudiosIn the 80’s when VFX was first ever used it was nothing short of a miracle. Imagine having the power to create a world different from what we see, a world where anything is possible, absolutely anything. The 90’s witnessed Hollywood’s first big VFX hits like Jurassic Park and Terminator which revolutionised the way directors, filmmakers, actors, and audiences perceived films. Followed by decades of marvellous hits such as Matrix, Interstellar, Life of Pi, Inception, Planet of the Apes, and many more, it has changed everything. It has made possible everything anyone ever labelled as impossible.

But while Hollywood and the entertainment industry around us were growing and evolving exponentially, India seemed light-years behind. It was 1998 that India saw the first-ever release of a Sci-fi Indian show—Captain Vyom, starring Milind Soman on Doordarshan, which leveraged the power of VFX in its series. Not the best, but it opened up the possibility and showcased the potential that this technology offered.

Still, 20 years down the line we are longing for Indian animation marvels and VFX masterpieces to be recognised on a global platform. But on the flip-side, today, a majority of the labor-intensive work is being outsourced to India, owing to two major factors, cost and language. It is estimated that the US studios can save up to 30 per cent-50 per cent of their VFX budgets if outsourced to India.

So if there are the talent and expertise, what is stopping India from becoming the world’s largest VFX hub? The majority of work outsourced to India is Rotoscoping, Keying, wire removal and more labour-intensive tasks which do not require a creative mindset. But there are a lot of upcoming, leading studios not only doing this, but also producing an exceptional level of output that is slowly emerging on the global VFX scene.

White Turtle Studios

One such studio tucked away in the suburbs of Mumbai is White Turtle Studios. Unlike a stereotype production house, this is a haven of creativity and world-class execution offering a complete range of services from pre to post-production. It’s a team of 50+ artists from various walks of the industry brought together to create noteworthy work for leading brands such as Amazon Prime Video, HUL, Star Bharat, Sony SAB, Mercedes, Discovery, Hot-Star, Cadbury, MagicBricks, ICICI, Tuborg, Kingfisher, and many more.

Spearheaded by Avinash Rajan and Ankit Bhatia, White Turtle Studios is not just another dream studio for them, but a clan of the expert team praiseworthy of raising the VFX standards in India at affordable prices with a major competitive edge which they can offer over other studios while exceeding execution capabilities. Aesthetics is of primary priority for them as it is one of the most vital factors in this field that differentiates outstanding work from the average run of the mill jobs. Whether it’s about understanding the core subject they’re working or hiring experts to connect with the realism of creating something life-like, they can do it all!

And it doesn’t stop there. With the industry prioritising digital campaigns, innovation and content, White Turtle Studios has managed to execute and ideate leading social media campaigns for movies and TV shows such as 3 Storeys, APV’s Breathe and many more, while successfully leveraging the power of their in-house digital and creative teams.

Rajan proudly recollects, “I remember when we got our first major animation project. It was for a Magic Bricks’ TV commercial where they wanted to create an animated 3D squirrel interacting with the existing live surrounding. We were told that the agency had doubts about Indian studios being able to create such high—quality graphics and wanted to approach international clients. We took it up as a challenge. Surpassed their expectations and set a benchmark for quality animation in India at reasonable costs compared to higher quotations that other studios offered. This project laid down the very foundation for the VFX team that they have built today.”

With high production costs and a bleak interest for animated content, India in the past has not seen much of homegrown content, until now. Giants like Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are competing to create exceptional Hindi, regional, and kids’ content which has in-turn given a major boost to the VFX and animation industry. Simultaneously, there has been an increasing demand for animated content and characters for various mediums and markets in India including television as well.

Leading show channels such as Fox Network owned ‘Star Bharat’ have created various animated title sequences for their daily soaps, which have been created by White Turtle Studios. The studio has worked on multiple shows like Kaal Bhairav, Nimki Sarkaar, Om Shanti Om, Chandrashekhar Azad and many more, creating a new era of modern-indie visuals that appeal to today’s generations. Do you remember India’s most-watched show Naagin on colours where the protagonist turns herself into a snake? White Turtle Studios worked on some of that too.

White Turtle Studios

On a visit to the studio, AnimationXpress witnessed a world full of creativity, artwork, imagination, and bold inspiration. Whether it’s a luxury vacation, wearing what you like, picking a convenient time slot, a movie of the month, a personal workstation, an entertainment hub, a stocked kitchen or simply brain-storming with Rajan or Bhatia, this studio offers it all and a lot more. With its transparent working and flat management system, work morale is always at an all-time high!

Bhatia adds to this by saying, “In the ever-changing landscape of media where everything requires high-impact, high-quality, and creative work, it is a challenge to be ahead of the curve. The eco-system that we have been able to build thrives under such challenges. White Turtle Studios started with just three employees in its inception five years ago. This year we are already 50+ and heading for more! The road has been challenging but with each bump, we have been able to grow stronger and better together.”

Over the coming years, we will see many more milestones achieved by White Turtle Studios due to their team’s determination, expertise, commitment, and smart work. Wait for the future to unfold, but witness the past work through their showreel here: