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Bengaluru GAFX 2024: A Confluence of Creativity, Technology and Innovation

February 12, 2024

 Bengaluru GAFX Conference 2024 has recently concluded, leaving behind a legacy of a rare convergence of industry luminaries, creative visionaries, and cutting-edge technologies. The dynamic event was organized by the Ministry of Electronics, Information Technology, and Telecom, Government of Karnataka, and ABAI, which woven a captivating tapestry of knowledge, including masterclasses, captivating panel discussions, and insightful sessions on the transformative landscape of Animation, VFX, Gaming, Artificial Intelligence, and Technology.  

The Bengaluru GAFX Conference 2024 kicked off with a grand inauguration ceremony with the Honourable Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D. K Shivakumar, along with Biren Ghose, Managing Director – APAC at Technicolor Creative Studios, who collectively inaugurated this momentous occasion. 

Also, on the occasion, the Kannada version of “The LiFE Song” by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was released, which was composed by multiple Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej and accompanied by an animated film produced through the partnership between The Mill and Technicolor India.

At GAFX 2024, more than 45 distinguished speakers represented Technicolor India, offering a wide range of sessions and panel discussions. Technicolor India played a central role in over 20 of these sessions and panel discussions, contributing significantly to the event’s richness and depth.

Mikros Animation: Exploring Captivating Features, Trends and The Evolution of Acting in TV Animation

Bengaluru GAFX 2024 witnessed a captivating exploration of TV animation, features, trends, and the evolving art with Mikros Animation. Russell Tracy, VP, Creative Operations at Mikros Animation was part of a panel discussion on “Producing Independent Global Animation Films” where he explored contemporary independent films, especially with heavy involvement of creative and technical forces in India, such as Mikros Animation, which has co-produced Ozi, Voice of the Forest.

Russell also moderated a panel discussion on “Delivering Spectacular Features from India” alongside the Mikros team, which allowed participants the opportunity to gain insights, behind-the-scenes stories, and a deep dive into the magic of creating stunning animated features such as DreamWorks Animation’s Orion and the Dark.

The captivating discussion on “Raising the Bar – High-End Animated Episodic Productions from India” featured Michael Earnest, Head of Creative Operations (Episodic). The focus of the discussion was on the tremendous potential of the Indian animation industry, emphasizing that with strategic collaborations and a commitment to quality, it can continue to compete on the global stage.

Raghuram Palasamudram, Head of the Department, CG, was part of an exciting panel discussion on “Emerging Technologies in Animation TV Series and Feature Production.” The discussion provided an insightful exploration into the evolving landscape of the animation industry. Raghuram shared his insights, discussed the latest trends, and talked about the impact of emerging technologies on animated TV shows and feature films.

 An engaging masterclass entitled “Animators Are Actors: The Unique Evolution of Acting in Animation” was presented by Sean Mullen, Associate Global Head of Animation, who examined the role of animators as unseen actors shaping character development. This exclusive session highlighted the evolution of acting in animation, illuminated the challenges and opportunities animators encounter in creating characters.  

MPC: Crafting Visual Feats and Exploring the Data-Driven Film Frontier

At GAFX 2024, MPC captivated audiences with a series of discussions and masterclasses on visual effects within film production. An exceptional masterclass was presented by MPC on “Making of Hollywood Blockbusters – Antman and the Wasp: Quantumania.” With Malte Sarnes, VFX Supervisor for the film, and key members of the film’s VFX team, including Karthikswamy S, Sandesh R, and Amey Todkar, this session provided insight into how to create mesmerizing visual effects through collaborative efforts across departments. 

In another masterclass, MPC offered a behind-the-scenes look at the groundbreaking VFX work in the Tamil blockbuster film “LEO,”Jateen Thakkar, VFX Supervisor, MPC India and Nimish Shah discussed the development of the critically acclaimed photorealistic hyena sequences, revealing the details of the VFX workflow, from pre-visualization through seamless integration with live-action footage.  

Jateen also hosted a VFX Masterclass, where he shared invaluable insights and took participants behind the scenes of the “VFX Supervisor Role on Set,” moderated by Kranti Sarma, SVP, at MPC India. Jateen shared real-world examples, challenges, and creative decision-making associated with bringing cinematic visions to life, based on his extensive experience.  

A unique session delivered by Matt Everitt, Oscar-nominated Animation Director at MPC Adelaide, titled “Crafting Unforgettable Character Animation: 3 Lessons from 30 Years”, discussed how to create memorable characters and what creative and technical elements are involved in leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

 An exclusive masterclass on Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio by MPC captivated enthusiasts and professionals alike. This session titled “Achieving the Look for Oscar-Winning Director Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio,” took the audience on a journey through the fascinating world of visual effects. A team of MPC artists, led by Kiran Kumar, Inigo Roy, and Aaron Weintraub, explored the intricate details involved in transforming the stop-motion animation of Del Toro’s visionary Pinocchio into a cinematic reality through groundbreaking visual effects.  

 Rajarajan Ramakrishnan, Creative Director, VFX-MPC India, participated in a panel discussion on “Cinematic Intelligence: Revolutionizing Film Production with AI and Data Insights.”. During this session, participants explored how data science has influenced scriptwriting and film final editing, as well as how computer generated imagery and visual effects have been enabled by a data-driven approach.

A highlight of the occasion was witnessing Vijayakanth K, Lead, 3D DMP bagged the first prize in the art competition under the Professional Digital Painting category.

The Mill: Crafting Game Cinematics Trailers, Unveiling AI’s Impact and Exploring VFX Beyond Films

The Mill India presented an enlightening session at the event, which focused on “The Art of Game Cinematic Trailers.” During this session, Robert Sethi, Executive Creative Director (LA), Sudhir Verma, DFX Supervisor, and Hari Anumula, Head of 3D at The Mill India, offered an in-depth look at how to create compelling trailers for the gaming industry.  

 Another noteworthy panel discussion, “AI for Animation and VFX Production,” was hosted by RK ChandExecutive Director. The purpose of this session was to explore the impact artificial intelligence has had on various aspects of animation and visual effects production. The participants gained a deeper understanding of the technological landscape and its advancements and challenges by learning about the advancements, challenges, and potential applications of AI within the industry.  

  In addition to the AI discussion, RK Chand and Rakesh VHead of Creative Operations, hosted an engaging session on “VFX Beyond Films.” The session focused on how visual effects have expanded beyond filmmaking and can be used in a variety of industries. The panelists discussed the ways in which VFX are being applied in areas beyond the conventional film domain, highlighting the versatility and adaptability of visual effects in today’s creative environment.

Technicolor Creative Studios: Navigating Challenges and Forecasting the Future

Bengaluru GAFX 2024 witnessed an insightful and engaging masterclass titled “Building from India for the World, “featuring Ojas Vipat, CEO, Mayhem Studios and Biren Ghose, Managing Director – APAC, Technicolor Creative Studios. The focal point of the discussion was the immense potential India holds in the AAA gaming sector.

Shajy Thomas, Regional Head of Technology, APAC, took on the role of moderator, steering insightful panels on two significant topics. The first panel, “Augmenting Large-Scale Global Productions,” delved into the intricacies and strategies involved in enhancing expansive international projects. The session facilitated a rich exchange of ideas among industry professionals, fostering a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play in the global creative arena.

Continuing the exploration of technology’s impact on the industry, Shajy also led a panel discussion titled “Technology – The Software Driven Studio – What’s Next.” This session provided a forward-looking perspective on the role of technology in creative studios, forecasting upcoming trends and potential advancements.

Vikrant Kapur, VP, Human Resources APAC, took the stage to lead a session titled “Augmented Intelligence, a Talent Imperative.” This discussion focused on the intersection of human talent and artificial intelligence, exploring how augmented intelligence is becoming a crucial element in shaping the talent landscape within the creative industry.

Yet another compelling session featured Sivaram STExecutive Producer, at Mikros Animation and Rakesh VenugopalHead of Creative Operations at The Mill, exploring the nuances of “VFX for OTT/Episodics- Is it different from Films?” This session provided valuable insights into the aspects of visual effects within the context of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms and episodic content. Using their extensive experience, they discussed the differences between traditional filmmaking and the unique challenges and opportunities presented by the evolution of OTT and episodic formats.

Biren Ghose, Managing Director – APAC, Technicolor Creative Studios, was the moderator of the panel discussion entitled “India’s Future for World Gaming Markets: What are India’s chances of achieving 10 percent share of the global gaming market valued at 245 billion dollars.” The panel discussion included esteemed participants, including Priyank Kharge, Honourable Minister, and Sai Srinivas, Co-Founder of Mobile Premier League (MPL). In this engaging session, Biren guided panellists and audience members through an exploration of many avenues and strategies India can use to establish itself as a major player in the global gaming market.

Technicolor Games- Shaping the Future of Videos Games

 In a series of impactful sessions, the Technicolor Games team discussed the concepts that shape visual narratives in the dynamic world of video games. A noteworthy panel discussion was spearheaded by Paul Houlders, VP, Global Head of Art at Technicolor Games along with Vichar BN, Sangram Yevale, and Selvam V, titled “Foundational Art for the 21st Century Games Artist.” Participants gained a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of art that guide contemporary game artists today.  

Suresh Padala, Senior Assets Supervisor, led a masterclass titled “Modular Workflow in Victorian Architecture,” which demonstrated innovative approaches to incorporating Victorian architecture seamlessly into gaming landscapes. During Suresh’s presentation, he delved into the intricacies of a modular workflow, providing valuable insight into the nuanced integration of Victorian architectural elements in the dynamic realm of gaming.  

BN Vichar, Art Director was part of an engaging session “The Concept Art Forum,” which traced the evolution of concept art within the gaming industry. Vichar shared insights on the pivotal role of concept art in storytelling, which explored the dynamic journey of visual ideation and its impact on shaping the immersive worlds of video games.

Technicolor Academy: Navigating Industry Demands and Fostering Creative Excellence

Sandeep Sharma, Head of Academies at Technicolor India, moderated a distinguished panel discussion titled “The Making of Production-Ready Artists and Roadmap.” In this session, the panelists explored the many steps involved in becoming production-ready artists, emphasizing the importance of effective communication and teamwork within creative groups, the transformative impact of technology on production processes, as well as the crucial role of professional development. The purpose of this comprehensive exploration was to provide aspiring artists with valuable insights as well as a roadmap for navigating the dynamic landscape of the creative industries in order to achieve success. 

Paving the Way for A Transformative Future in Content Creation

During the valedictory ceremony, Biren GhosePresident of ABAI and Managing Director – Asia Pacific at Technicolor Creative Studios, delivered a closing address that underscored the significant facets of the AVGC sector. Throughout his address, he stressed the importance of collaboration from industry partners to the success of this sector, emphasizing the three key pillars of creativity, collaboration, and content.

The occasion also witnessed the unveiling of AVGC-XR 3.0 policy by the Karnataka State Government, which represents a united vision for the AVGC industry to be thriving, innovative, and globally competitive. This policy aims to guide the sector’s growth until 2029, reflecting the state’s commitment to fostering a supportive environment for the industry.

Technicolor Creative Studios, with an active participation at Bengaluru GAFX 2024 not only showcased our innovative contributions to the animation and visual effects industry but also highlighted our commitment to pushing creative boundaries. A key participant at the event, Technicolor demonstrated its commitment to continuing to advance technology, foster collaboration, nurture talent, and shape the future of immersive storytelling. 

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