Phantom FX founder Bejoy Arputharaj delves into the VFX of ‘Kaadan’

With a whopping 9.1 rating on IMDB, Rana Daggubatti starrer multi-lingual movie Kaadan  titled Aranya in Telugu and Haathi Mere Saathi in Hindi has made massive waves in the world of cinema.

Directed by Prabhu Solomon, the movie revolves around Bandev, a jungle man who has been living with elephants for his whole life. The film highlights the fate of forest animals especially elephants who are being poached out from their own land by hunters and have to fight for their survival. 

Praised for not just its cinematic credentials but also alluring visuals and CG animals, this movie is a VFX marvel on all fronts. We reached out to PhantomFX founder MD and VFX supervisor Bejoy Arputharaj to talk about the process of creating CG animals, the environments, the scenery and the over VFX scene in general.

Here are some excerpts:

The VFX looks spectacular. What sort of CG elements did you have to create to support the imagery of the jungle?

Thank you. We have created CG Animals, Birds, CG Vehicles, and a CG Double for action sequences.

How many CG animals are there?

There were varieties of CG Animals created for this show, Tiger, Deers, Squirrel, Monkey, Elephants, Crocodile, Bison, Butterflies, and more. We created the details of the animals as per the shot requirements. So, for the shots where animals were far away from the camera, we created them with fewer details, and for the closer shots, we came up with elaborate details as those shots demanded more close-up views. 

What was the most difficult scene to create?

The elephants were one of the challenging sequences that we handled in this show. Since we had to create a group of elephants attacking the campsites, a lot of CG and Live elephants were mixed up in this scene. We had to mix and match the CG elephants as much as possible to the live elephants so that the audience will not find any difference. CG Elephants were used in most of the impractical action sequences.

How many shots were delivered?

We delivered nearly 500 shots for this show. The shot varies from set extensions to creature animations.

How many people worked on the project from your studio?

A team of around 80 artists worked for this show for about four months at any given point in time. More artists were also involved on a need-to-serve basis. 

What are your views on digital humans and virtual production?

Digital humans are not a new concept to the VFX industry as it is been used for decades. It is just the technology that evolves and brings in easier ways to create realistic characters. Digital humans and Virtual production are a long shot yet to completely takeover VFX but it does have a true potential when more players step in and some major breakthroughs are happening as we speak.