Animation leaders discuss technology at Zion Summit

Held on November 7 at The Leela, the Mumbai edition of the multi city technology summit, `Changing World of Indian Media` organised by Zion Integrated Services, was attended by close to 100 plus technology professionals from the digital media & entertainment vertical. The event was inaugurated by Jesh Krishna Murthy (CEO, Anibrain Digital Technologies), Rajesh Thurakia (CEO, Maya Ent.) and Sunil Brid (Sales Director, NetApp). Other eminent speakers from the VFX, animation, gaming and IT industry included stalwarts such as Chandrashekhar K. (GM, Tata Elxsi), Prashant Buyyala (MD, R&H India), Vishal Gonadal (CEO, Indiagames) and Manoj David (Technical Manager, AMD Advantage) who discussed amongst many issues topics such as how cutting edge technology empowered Indian studios. Also discussed along side the main theme of technology were issues such as the challenges faced by the animation and VFX industry in India and the measures that need to be taken to overcome these challenges. Other than the top management from the various studios, quite a few techno- creative entrepreneurs from the digital media and entertainment field attended the summit and the constant interactivity between the speakers and audience made the conference lively and interesting to attend. Taking first strike, MEL CEO Rajesh Thurakhia spoke about `Tackling Challenges at all Levels`. The presentation covered various issues such as challenges faced by the animation and VFX industry in India and their response to it, low funds with weak infrastructure, inadequate creative and irrelevant show reels, the industry being in a nascent at the moment and no government support. Rajesh eneded the presentation by saying, “We need to create a `Brand India` for animation and work actively together in collaborative competition. Everyone in the industry has to unite and work towards a common agenda.” “At NetApp we work towards simplifying digital asset management and solving challenges in the animation space especially those related to rendering” stated Sunil Brid of NetworkApp whose topic was themed around the solutions that NetworkApp can provide artists when encountered with animation and VFX related bottlenecks. Prashant Buyyaia (MD, R&H, India) gave a detailed and through extensive presentation on the way R&H approaches CG creation. Amongst the highlights of the interesting presentation was the work that R&H has done for Supeman Returns in which he explained how the animation and VFX was actually done by touching lightly on the processes that were undertaken to make the scenes look seamless. “Creating water for the sea rescue scene was extremely difficult for which we had to write a new software called FELT and also had to get fluid experts on the team. Being an Indian compant, we now want to create characters that are Indian.” VCL`s turn next with Chandrashekhar K. who presented VCL`s showreel on films, TVCs and elaborated on three broad topics including challenges in the VFX industry, changes in the VFX industry expectations from Indian studios and VCL`s initiatives in promoting animation. The VCL GM also spoke about the studios plans to develop a game engine. Speaking at the event Chandrashekhar said, “There are entry barriers in the Indian VFX industry but there is still a steady increase in the demand for it. There is a shortage of manpower and very little time to completea project.” Speaking about a prestigious Hollywood project Highlander Jesh Krishna Murthy spoke about the extensive VFX and animation that was created with over 940 VFX shots and presented sequence by sequence of the work that was done. Jesh shared at the summit, “We are now expanding our area of work and setting up shop at Pune. At Anibrain we give each artist enough space to grow creatively providing that as incentive to do better work.” Moving away from the sphere of animation and VFX, Vishal Gondal (CEO, Indiagames) spoke about games and Indiagames saying “Our approach is towards creating IP and not towards providing services.” Vishal feels that the Indian animation industry does have enough resources but for this the right kind of projects have to be undertaken with the right talent. Manoj David (Technical Manager AMD Advantage) spoke about the technology available to professionals in the field of animation and VFX and what the advantages are of using AMD and how Sun Microsystems can help in better data management. The summit was concluded by a panel discussion and question answer session which was moderated by Jay Natarajan and with Jesh, Prashant and Vishal on the panel. The heated topic of discussion during the Q&A was the kind of software and hardware that should be opted for and how one can make the right choice from the range of products that are available at hand. A common issue of concern among all the speakers was the situation of the animation industry in India with low funds and paucity of talented artists. With experts in the field speaking on pertinent topics related to IT in animation and VFX, the summit proved to be informative while at the same time interactive with queries of those in search of information being addressed. connect@animationxpress.com

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