GAFX 2022 wraps up with a hooting response; all participants cheered the physical version

Bengaluru GAFX 2022, the two-day gathering of industry stalwarts of animation, visual effects, and gaming  at The Lalit Ashok and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, was a refreshing change for the speakers as well as the attendees. The second day’s line-up had been packed with the presentation of blockbuster films like Dune, K.G.F: Chapter 2, RRR and Beast. The enthusiastic bunch of young crowd immensely enjoyed these sessions, pitting intelligent questions as wells going crazy with the appearance of their favourite stars during the VFX breakdowns.

The key takeaway of the AVGC discourse was that the face-to-face interaction almost after two year hiatus was the need of the hour. Most of the speakers were amazed to witness the footfall, interact with tomorrow’s talents, meet industry friends and exchange ideas.

As training of new talents is raising high on the priority chart, the day began with an educational session conducted by Technicolor Creative Studios academics head Sandeep Sharma. While taking on ‘The Making of Production ready artist and Roadmap’, he pointed out that one cannot be “production heavy” while at school. For that it is important to get industry exposure.

Sharma pointed out the importance of skills over mastering of softwares. Houdini or Maya is just a tool and one needs to show what they can do using those tools. “If we don’t train production ready artists, how will India lead,” he asked.

Technicolor Creative Studios academics head Sandeep Sharma

Up next was the session on ‘The Indian Comics Story’ which highlighted the power of comic books in making you a master story teller. Alok Sharma, Saumin Patel, Bhanu Pratap Singh, and Somnath Pal all grew up consuming stories.

“If you understand story-telling, you can contribute anywhere in films, animation or games,” Sharma said. He gave the reference of the caves paintings of the Paleolithic age where they communicated using images. Singh believes in breaking the rules and trying to explore and innovate. He feels that the audience have become smart so content creators need to surprise them.

Emphasizing the importance of practice, Patel said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity; this is a very profound line. Everything needs compounding. If you love something, you need to practice it at least for an hour every day. Pal who moderated the session also feels that nothing can beat hard work and practice.

Thalapathy Vijay’s film, Beast, another VFX heavy film, had a jam-packed audience. Phantom VFX head Ravindran along with his CG supervisor Anish Sreedhhar presented the making of the film.

Anish revealed that they had only 60 days time to deliver 1800 VFX shots. They had created digital doubles as most of them were action oriented sequences.

Further moving ahead, Aptech president & executive director Anuj Kacker launched Arena Gaming, as they observed the sector booming. He takes pride in seeing the name of his students in the credits of movies like Dune.

Jigesh Gajjar

DNEG VFX head Jigesh Gajjar shared the VFX breakdown of Oscar winning film Dune and explained what went into the making of the out worldly visuals. Royal Ornithopter in the film was as axample of photo real model and Dunes of Arrakis was done using effects simulation. All of these involved a lot of Research and Development work.

They made use of Mo-Cap suits for some of their fight sequences. The enriching sessions invited curious questions from the audience who wanted to know how the Mo-cap works, etc. to which Gajjer that even motion capture has to be manually animated.

The the next session, Technicolor Creative Studios studio head Kranti Sarma and Technicolor Creative Studios creative director VFX Rajarajan Ramakrishnan conducted a session titled as ‘Breaking myths and making bridges for India’s AVGC industry’. Both these experienced leaders tried to answer recurring questions. The studio that has almost 7000 employees in India aimed to build bridges.

Sharma revealed that not just the students need a break but the industry too needs them. Ramakrishnan highlighted that how the creative minds here in India put things together.

One of the most awaited sessions for the day was from Makuta VFX. The division head and chief technical officer Pete Draper’s presentation on the Making of RRR. The VFX veteran is a regular at GAFX and was surrounded by the students who wanted to extract more and more of VFX knowledge.

According to him, if one tries imagining something for modeling, there is a chance of getting it wrong. So, one should always depend on references. Not only he stresses on pre-visualisation, his team had also done post-vis for some sequences of the period drama just to see if all key master shots were in place.

From left to right: Ganesh Papanna, Bhuvan Gowda, Suresh Kondareddy, Uday Ravi Hegde

With the movie breaking new records every day, the blockbuster session for GAFX 2022 was also on ‘The Stars Behind the Visual Grandeur of K.G.F: Chapter 2’ which brought Unifi Media MD Uday Ravi Hegde, VFX supervisor Suresh Kondareddy, DOP Bhuvan Gowda together to grace the occasion. The initial video and the breakdown reel with superstar Yash was received with hooting and whistles.

In the session they interacted with ABAI VP Ganesh Papanna and discussed how the hard work of the film’s director encouraged everyone to work seamlessly.  As the day drew towards closure, there was an entertaining dance performance by a group of youngsters.  Higher Education, IT/BT and Skill Development Minister Dr CN Ashwath Narayan graced the occasion and appreciated the progress of the Kannada film industry.

Parallel competitions were held at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath. The winners and runners up of the event were felicitated at GAFX.

In his vote of thanks, ABAI secretary B.S. Srinivas regaled the success of their come-back in physical form. According to him, GAFX 2022 has surpassed all previous editions in terms of footfall and overall response. Everyone drew the curtain to this year’s edition with a feel-good factor.