Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

One Life

Done using oil pastels on a canvas meant for acrylic painting. First time with oil pastels.Used a photo reference,an image of a fireman during the Oklahoma fire trying to rescue a dying infant.The image was so poignant that I hoped that that child had survived the fire.At least in the world of my painting,he does.


Coming soon. ;)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Shadow Lover

A soft pastel piece done as a pre-development visualization for an upcoming film.More on the way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year New Beginnings

Enough said.The Year of the Pencil cometh.
This year is gonna be etched in sketchbooks.

I flag off my new blog devoted entirely for sketching
Here is an image from the first post of the blog.

Also,launching is a blog that - well,just collects the works of a lot of artists I really admire.
Here is an image from the first artist I 'featured' in the blog,the amazing Chriss Foss.

Why this sudden launch on the momentous occasion of the New Year you ask? Well, lets just say I take my resolutions a bit too seriously.
Happy New Year to all.


"Patience can't be acquired overnight. It is just like
building up a muscle. Every day you need to work on it."

-- Eknath Easwaran

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thinking of the 3rd Dimension - part 3

Here are some of the animation exercises done in Maya,(a continuation of the last post). 'An animation critic's desert',I would say.There are way too many issues with all of the videos in this post, but then again,the stuff I learnt and overcame are of far greater importance.3D animation is,by no measure of reasoning,an easy thing to master.So here goes.

Walk Cycle

Walk Cycle from Alok N R on Vimeo.

Run Cycle

Run Cycle from Alok N R on Vimeo.

Weight Lift

Weight Lift from Alok N R on Vimeo.

(Click to go to my vimeo profile where I share the stories (often painful ones) behind the making of these small clips)

Process:When doing character animation ,I first take a reference video,preferably from the front and the side of the actual action (usually enacted by myself). Then I sketch out the Key poses onto paper,to capture the gesture right with the required exaggeration .I make a storyboard,where I stage the action and decide the camera angle.The camera position is the first thing I set in the scene on the software. After this I proceed to block these key poses in Maya and then finally connect the keys with the in-between poses.

That sounds all great on paper but actually executing all that is a gargantuan pain.Sticking to the process helps,and if nothing else ,that is one thing that the past one year has taught me.To religiously stick to the process.To have faith in it.The quality of your outcome can always improve provided you know how to get there.


So how do I find it, looking back at a year of nothing but 3D-maya-software learning,after making it through the ordeal ? Am I thankful to the visionary HOD for his 'foresight'ful decision to cram the curriculum with all the haphazard 3D assignments?
Nope.Not one bit.I'd rather have made my own movies in that time.

Artists should be able to chose the path they want.And follow them with conviction. And that is how things OUGHT to be,no matter how much the world compels you to earn your bread and butter first and then think about your passion.
An artist is forever, a free man.

Well, comments,suggestions and tips are always welcome ,so feel free to drop em by.
End of part 3.And until next time.Peace.

Thinking of the 3rd Dimension - part 2

Here is some of the stuff I did in Maya from (Aug-Dec 2011). These are the non character animation works.You can see a clear improvement in the presentation and quality of the work,though there is still much to improve.

The Piranha Sub

The Piranha Sub from Alok N R on Vimeo.

Building No:2

Modelling and Texturing of a Building from Alok N R on Vimeo.

Character Modelling and Texturing

Untitled from Alok N R on Vimeo.

Character Rigging and Skinning

Character Rigging and Skinning from Alok N R on Vimeo.

Character Expressions

Untitled from Alok N R on Vimeo.

(Click to go to my vimeo profile where I share the stories (often painful ones) behind the making of these small clips)

None of these(the sub,house or the character)are my original designs,lest someone come crying about copyright infringement.I ve based them on real image references.
Next,I'll share some of the animation stuff that I did.

Part 2 ends here.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Thinking of the 3rd Dimension - part 1

Your normal everyday animation-ignorant-man walks up to me one day.
and asks : "So you are doing animation eh?". I nod.

"Its a booming industry I hear!with so many animation schools all over.So what soft wares do you use?".

In a fleeting moment my mind raced through all the points I normally cover while I convince a normal human being about the vastness and scope of animation as a story telling art form,with a special 15 min chapter dedicated just to emphasize the importance of sketching.Then I stopped myself.

"Maya",I replied.

...regardless of what the common man would talk about from that point on,my mind would have already drifted.Wandering,wondering,pondering over the ironic truth in what I had just said.

Autodesk Maya 2011,to be precise,is the 3D software that I have been learning to use for the better part of the last one year.I refrain from saying learning to animate because I am simultaneously attempting to learn Modelling,Texturing,Rigging,Skinning and Lighting in addition to this. (A task so mammoth that even a wooly mammoth would go like, "WHAT THE F#*!".But I digress). Not to mention learning how to cope with the many million issues that this software gives. My college had condemned me to two semesters of compulsory Maya education,which for a pencil loving 2d maniac like me was like a life sentence in Auschwitz.

Anyway here is some stuff from Sem 6 (Jan - March 2011)

Building No:1

Modelling and Texturing of a Decapitated Head

I modeled a Human head based on a live reference.Figured a great deal about texturing and modelling.There are few things more complex than the human head.Learnt that lesson once again.

Human Body Modelling

(Click to see enlarged images.)

My attempt at modelling a real life reference of a human body.Despite its freaky appearance here,barring the abs ,I think it was a fairly decent attempt.Most of these images are all that remains of many months of labour that went into these works.If only I had a better understanding of how to render out good hi res images out of Maya back then..Well, we never ever manage to learn the right things at the right time,do we ?

Anyways,Part 1 ends here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Watershed reflections

I recently came across some student projects by some of the great animators out there in the industry today.Its a weird feeling when you see the work of these people,whom you had always looked upto for inspiration ,and see what they had done so many years back, when they were your age.To see the kind of experiments they did and the level of perfection they sought in their creations.The first ever animations and student films or the first ever time a soon to be claymation giant made a film in clay....

Once the awe and admiration dies down a bit,you slowly turn your gaze inward.A question slowly floats down and settles on your heart,"What have I been doing all this while?".The self pity that follows is countered only by your mind trying to logically find an explanation for your ineptitude for all these years.Your mind argues and blames all the counterproductive circumstances you had to live through trying to pursue this career.
'I mean,its not like i didnt do anything,right?'.

Cut the crap.Being an animator in India is hard.Damn straight f!@ckin hard.And if you've decided to become one, you darn well have to learn to live with it.

As an artist you gotta be intensely honest to yourself.Not that you lie to yourself otherwise on a regular basis.But am sure we all know there is a huge difference between lying to yourself and not being entirely honest with yourself.When you become absolutely honest with yourself you become an embodiment of all those ideals and convictions that you stand for.You come to realize that your actions and thoughts have meaning in this world(or you find meanings for them) and that you are not at anyone's mercy,if you chose not to be.This almost always means that some people would end up liking you and some would end up loathing you.

No matter what we believe in we always have our justifications for them.(And you SHOULD be able to justify them). Only then would 'it' start flowing out from within you and make itself seen in your work.And for an artist that 'it' is everything.

From what I've gathered in all these years of running around in a design college and otherwise,there is just one absolute truth that rings true for any thing you pursue in life.A simple straight forward law.Tried and tested and never failed
- 'The more you do something the better you get at it'.

Its a universal law!Something you know for sure works!Just find what you enjoy doing and keep at it.Eventually you'll get good at it.Don't bother thinking about those prodigious talents out there and all those who had lady luck shine on them all too often in their lives.Skip it.Focus.Remember the "spend 10,000hrs on it to become world class" theory.And indulge in your artistic pursuit.

I know it aint easy,but think of it this way.Imagine this line as the premise of your life's story.'The more you do what you love the better you get at it'.Everything else is built around it.From fame and fortune down to keeping your family happy,everything will happen.Believe in it and just keep at it.Now you decide what should remain in your life's script and what should be chucked.Which character needs developing and which needs pruning.If it goes with your premise retain it,else remove it.

When your reel ends lets see how the film plays out.Hopefully it will all turn out to be a fairy tale.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


An Interpretation of Time

A stop motion film we(Nikhita and myself) made last week,as part of PJ's course,in like six hours or so on the theme 'Time'.(Wrote,shot and edited all in 6hrs mind you). Was trying to explore the stuff we could do with the medium of pixilation. Looking back I feel we could have explored a lot more. But then again we learnt quite a bit.It was crazy being in front of the cam though,trying to react to all the funny things happening around me,while Nix tried to animate them.Had a lot of fun making all those weird sounds for the audio.The audio was later re-used in the birthday clip(the one I last posted).
Hope you find it interesting.


"Do it well, finish it properly, and move on."
-- Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Friday, November 18, 2011

The dance of the free spirit

Sunshine's Dance

A Stop motion dance sequence I did last week (completed in 2 days).

Process:I made the armature in a couple of hours.Then a bunch of us jammed together creating music out of junk (no instruments at all). I set a base tribal beat going and the others added in with their own junk instruments and spiced up the track.The 1 min track was cut down to 15sec incorporating the better elements of the takes.I then story boarded and made an animatic of a tribal dance for the 15 sec track which I then went ahead and animated in a day. I know it plays out a bit too fast , guess I'll take more time and care with the dope sheet next time.

The truly eye opening part of this exercise was when PJ coaxed us into making our own music for this clip.As dumb as a dodo as I am towards any sort of music sensitivity,little did I expect myself to generate music at all forget leading a jamming session.But as is the case with most things when PJ is around - it happened. Now my friends and I try to make it a point to jam every once in a while with all that junk we've collected.

"Each of us has been put on earth with the ability to do
something well. We cheat ourselves and the world if we don't
use that ability as best we can."
-- Gracie Allen

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

happy bday PJ !

A stop motion (pixilation) short we made for Prosenjit "PJ" Ganguly on the eve of his birthday. ;) Cast n crew of three. Tapan Aslot (the guy who flies,even at 4am in the night) Nishit ( camera man cum post-it co-ordinator) and myself (lead animator on Tapan cum stand by camera man). Shot on a Cannon 1000D (perched precariously at the end of a horizontally placed tripod which in turn was dangerously glued onto the balcony railing with clay and cello-tape).

All that effort paid off when we showed it to PJ the next day (rather unceremoniously in the comp lab). A small surprise party followed.

Hm.. Birthdays sure bring out the best in people.

I'll leave with a quote that I bet PJ himself would vouch for.

"If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is
made up of."
-- Bruce Lee

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Portfolio (April 2011)

This is my portfolio as of April 2011.Had spent months in compiling all the past years' work and making this.Kinda pleased with how it looks.Definitely a lot to improve both skill wise and presentation wise, but i think ill now shift focus onto making a demo reel.Will be updating on my animation work in Maya soon.

"The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that
you were there... and still on your feet."
-- Stephen King