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“The Solutions that we seek today are definitely not in the domain of engineering unless you’re still looking for Aliens!”
- Vineet Raj Kapoor
If you’re still studying Engineering considering it as a path for innovation you’re barking up the wrong tree. If everybody you know is doing that you’re in the wrong country. And if you think that is the way to show your prowess, you’re in the wrong century! If as a Business Manager your background reflects a strong understanding of technical information and you hope to find good answers you’re stretching you luck too far. Innovation requires a strong understanding of everything under the sun – sports, music, psychology, neuroscience, geography, anthropology, literature, art, chess and of course engineering. So people who rely on their technical prowess and the ones who can’t get good answers and then they surround themselves with a lot of engineers and then crack the puzzle stepwise and still can’t find the answers. They watch their company go down the drain and do nothing about it since the only way to rescue the company would mean firing themselves from the company, and I am yet to see that happen yet. So now you know why the microsofts of the world suffer as the only way they can see is through the windows and getting the sun in for them is opening their windows. Employ an artist and tell him that you want the maximum sun in your room and he’ll tear down the wall – well that’s what innovation is about. Artists have a way of keeping themselves free from rules and yes they are tough to handle. But the country needs a lot of artistic and design knowledge to cross the next level since that involves innovation.
I’ve often been in a Panel Discussion or Seminar where India lack of Innovation invariably come up for discussion. Mostly that is treated as a trait and sidelined and people focus on more left-brained and compliant activities including backend work. Right-brained thinking has largely been accepted as the fiefdom of the west. That’s pure statement of the problem and wonderfully we see experts tout that as if they were stating a solution. Every time the issue of the large masses to be employed comes up and the entire buildup for innovation goes down the drain.
Many times people compare India to China saying that they are a worker oriented country and hence able to come up with high growth rates. I used to believe that too! Totally wrong! One look at Innovations and Inventions in Wikipedia and you come to know that roughly half of the inventions the world has seen have come from China! Woooow! And people pitch England and America as the powerhouse of the world. Well they took our breath away for a century when they automated everything and that was the time that the engineer took the front seat. However, a century is a long time and he almost had us believe that he owned the bus!
Also in the discussions and meets, the focus largely remains on Big corporations and the SMBs are ignored. Even in policy making largely the requirements of the SMBs do not get heard. The long term vision gets missed in sight of short term gains since Big Corporations promise instant jobs. However, they have the where withal to move away whenever it suits them. The SMBs are generally local and need some handholding (not arm twisting) so that they get on their feet quickly. Also, they would recruit more local people and they usually have new and innovative products which can lead to quick growth and IP creation and hence can look towards high margins and contribute more to the state exchequer. The only need is to be patient, since innovative product take time and there are many failures before the success. More than money SMBs need access to tools which are costly and out of their reach so that they can innovate. They need state support not in financial grants but in the form of purchase orders. Well, let’s get back to the original discussion :
Time has again come for us to pump creative thinking into our school and college curriculums unless we want the country full of dull people who can’t innovate. Time has come to ask students to throw their school scores out of the window and show us their portfolios. Show us the work you did on your own! What did you create, discover or innovate! How did you solve a complex problem through simplification. Could you use your knowledge of playing sport and change the way a company works. Is your company director the referee or the captain of the company? Does his role definition also give him the same powers? Did you make the company employees sportsmanship? Do you see slow motion replays of your competitor to plot a move? Do you create new moves on the drawing table or is your company playing a match without a time limit? Do you know where you’re goal lies? More than that are you aware of the competition’s goal?
We have to change the way we approach university education. Like in IT sector, we saw that an unregulated growth in IT gave us more in 10 years that 50 years of regulation couldn’t. Similarly, do we have the heart for unregulated education? Let it be between the student and the college. Are we courageous enough?
Peter Wiant, a corporate film maker from the US visited the Arena Chandigarh Campus on 2 December 2013. He had been also holding a 48 hours movie contest in the US. He premiered the short movie “Gandhi at the Bat” (which has only been showcased on the Goa Film Fest before). He also showcased “A person known to me” in which he was also part of the cast. During this he explained the issues and how the production team handled their artists leading to a wonderful result.
He also showed commercial movies made by Wiant Productions for different corporate and branding clients. He explained the background of the movie and how they handled the situations and found creative solutions to each challenge.
He also told about the use of research in movie making. Till you are able to do good research, the authenticity of the movie will seem questionable. He advised making movies even while on research since such shots may become the base of ideas for shots. Even talking to local people can give you characters and design ideas. He dwelt on the use of sound in movies and how they providing richness to the subject and treatment.
The students came out excited to make their next attempt at movies once again with renewed vigour.
The team is bolstered by the arrival of its latest faculty, Houssem Ben Amor, an expert Game Designer and ardent 3D Modeler from Tunisia.
The team is committed to take this batch to a new level.
The 2013 Batch for Bachelors in Animation and VFX has started with quite a few enthusiastic students. Like always the batch was full from th
e first day itself. Soon the students got involved in many creative activities and began getting into the right attitude for their studies. As always this initial period is the key to unlocking the student’s potential and creating or reinforcing their passion for the field of design and animation. Once they go through the entire range of activities, most of them would have picked new hobbies and pursuits and would be clearer on their possible paths.
“Learn The Secrets of becoming a VFX Pro!!” A Seminar was held today at Arena Animation Academy, Sec 17, Chandigarh, by VFX Artist, and Specialist Aayush Chopra (Masters Degree in VFX from Bournemoth Universty, UK), on the path to becoming a VFX Professional and the learnings required to become one. Being privy to the latest happenings internationally, Aayush was in an excellent position to share the secrets of the professionals.
He demonstrated the entire VFX Pipeline to the hall chock-a-block eager students. Going through the pipeline step by step he uncovered each step and the various measures taken at each step to ensure that reality of the scene is not compromised. He also dwelled on the major savings in cost by the intelligent use of VFX quelling the myth that VFX is a costly option. In fact he showed why it is cheap to opt for VFX than go for a live constructed scene.
Trained in the Art of VFX by eminent VFX artists from the world over during his Masters at Bournemoth University, UK, Aayush shared various tips given by the experts to avoid costly equipment and the way simple utility items could achieve the same end result.
Arena Chandigarh also later demostrated state-of-the-art VFX Equipment directly imported from UK by their Studio VirtualSoft.
Bhanu Sharma, our Alumnus of Multimedia Program from 1997-1998 came visiting the campus to interact with the students and faculty on 28 Dec 2011. He spent some time interacting with the students sharing his experiences and answered their queries. He’s currently working in Ericcson as a Product Design Head and is located in the US. He recapped his long journey that started at Arena and through many different positions at Wanadu, Macromedia, Adobe and his own startups and upto the current position. He guided students on various aspects of tackling career issues and taking career decisions.
He gave away Awards to some Arena Toppers.
The world started seeing moving pictures through animation and not as live movies as per the popular notion. Sets of sequential pictures have been seen all over the world in different cultures. All Buddhist stupas have the entire storyboard of Buddha’s life left for us in accurate detail. Good enough for you to make out his life and transform into a movie or an animation.
Human beings learn maximum when the essence is delivered in terms of a story. This is especially in case of conceptual learning. To tell a story we have to put together a crew. Now sometimes our story becomes too difficult to tell when the setting is a fantasy, or if the risk involved is too much (like acting with a lion – over come in Narnia). And most of the folklore which build our character are fantasies of one’s mind. So it became important that man was able to create such imagery and animation became important.
Since the animators have to deal with such complex decisions. Art decisions are the toughest decisions and no computer has reached the point where it can take artistic decisions yet. Hence animation and storytelling require people who are artists by heart and willing to experiment and toil till they find the right answer.
Typically an animator is a person who is full of patience and reads voraciously (bookworm for the less initiated) and love literature and languages. The animator would usually be good at drawing and/ or painting. Some of them are good at acting or love to perform on stage in form of dancing. A few of these even write stories or poems. In short they are dreamers and usually can be expected to learn disciplines which give wings to their dreams. They do not care about money and are more likely to lend money on hunch than an engineer since they are emotional. This empathy is what makes them achieve emotion of screen.
To make a good career in animation you must start working on your drawing and there are some good books like “Drawing from the right side of brain” (Betty Edwards) which claim that anyone can learn drawing within 5 days. There are other experts too who claim similarly that drawing is a skill that can be acquired.
Parallely you could be working on your drama or literary skills as well. Being able to develop communication skills like these would anyway serve you all your life so do not hesitate just because your education board doesn’t know how to rate these skills and they go missing from your marksheet. I must state here that there are much more subjects you need to learn in your life that are not there on your high school marksheet than those that are on it. It can easily be stated that a little less knowledge of mathematics would not be so detrimental as a small lack of confidence that the stage can give.
Now once you’re ready to learn, there are 2 kinds of paths that you can take. One is the path of self learning that the best take (people like Gandhi, Chaplin, Einstein, Disney, Ghalib, Steve Jobs, CV Raman, Kabir, etc fall in this category). This is no way a safe path and more people fail than succeed in this path. The other is the path for lesser mortals. There are more chances of a safe career but consequently lesser chances of astounding success. However, it ensures that you go through structured learning within a reasonable time frame. However, this method is not able to keep pace with rare/ exceptional people, but is the best for the rest. Anyway not to confuse you further, mostly this path would be apt for you. Now you must choose a curriculum or an institute. If you are very clear about what you want to do, choose a curriculum and enroll for it. If you want to create a solid base go for an institute you like. Nothing but your innermost talent and passion should lead you to the course and the institute you choose. Go speak to people over there and see if you like their philosophy and they change your perspective. Try their website for more details. Typically go for a school which offers all the information including faculty on their website if all other things are the same.
The leading institutes in this field in the world are CalArts, USFCA, Sheridan, Vanarts, Seneca, Gobelins, George Mieles, Animation Mentor, Gnomon, Ringling, Savannah, USCLA, etc. Closer home in India some of the best would include IIT-IDC, NID etc. Then there’re the Arena, MAAC franchises (always research which centres are the good ones). There’re even some new colleges that are coming up and it would take some time before a college stands out from others in terms of quality.
Typically you must try to learn both the art of 2D as well as 3D animation to start with. Later on in life you may opt for one of these once you’re surer on what works best for you. Also, there’d be many options in 3D like lighting, rendering, texturing, modeling, rigging, blend shapes, animating etc. Similarly in 2D, like background artist, key animator, in betweener, in and paint artist, key compositor. There are some common areas too, like storyboarding, character design, background design, art research, compositing. There are some periphery areas too like sound design, voice artist, actors, story writers, screenplay writers etc. In fact, similarly there are many techniques of animation that you can work in – like clay animation, paper animation, light animation, sand animation, paint animation, jib jab animation, puppetry animation, pixilation etc besides the usual ones like flash animation, 2d animation, and 3d animation. There’re even periphery and neo-animation areas like Visual Effects, Motion Graphics, Web Design, Graphic Design, Matchmoving, Motion Capture, Stereography, etc.
While you are learning the art of animation do also work alongside on other creative areas like film making, photography, clay modeling, drawing, theatre, etc. Get reviews by knowledgeable people and take feedback without responding emotionally to it. Keep on visiting art galleries and improving your art appreciation ability. This would develop your creative eye and judgment. All this is immensely useful in creative decision making. Do also attend all workshops in your college and also take up paid workshop if a good expert is visiting. These workshops would help build your perspective. Try to find a faculty you resonate with and if you feel confident about the faculty do take suggestion and mentoring from him/ her. Do remember that faculty can change and do not respond personally to it, try to adapt yourself to change in environment and take everything in the right spirit. Also learn life skills by working with people you don’t personally like, when they are in your teams, especially if their skill set is good. Do also take faculty help in identifying good books and make it a habit to read a minimum of one page per day. You can mail me for a list of books if you like at firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally once you’re ready to step out of college, do build your portfolio to the desired level even if it delays your start. You can also go for an internship before going into the real market. This would help develop your skill to the next higher level. You can also form a group with some of your likeminded friends and work on a personal movie. A good movie can kick start your career like nothing. Also, if the movie wins a prestigious award you can expect to grow exponentially as the studios would not like to miss out of talent. For e.g. two of the students of gobelins school production “oktapodi” were hired for good sums and send to india to rhythm and hues to work on Hollywood films.
The Alumnus of Arena Chandigarh met on 4 March 2012, to celebrate completion of 15 years of the First Batch.
The event was a Lunch at Hotel High Point at Sector 17, Chandigarh.
30 Alumnus alongwith their wives/ husbands and kids came forth to celebrate the life they had at the centre. Anjali is a Lecturer at Govt. College of Fine Arts, Rajiv and Cheena run the leading IT company of the region Intelligaia. Sandeep Dogra, Parminder are well established professionals, Chanderdeep Singh runs the famous Food Chain Froyo!! Ankit Saxena runs his own studio whereas Jasmeet Singh runs a leading Design House of the city.
The day started with a lot of surprises at the changes in the faces and reviving of old memories. Thereafter it was party time when Alumnus exchanged their lives and shared their progress with other. Thereafter, they all gathered to discuss the serious matters, like contributing to the growth of the design community of the city. They left with a promise to contribute their bit to the industry that gave them so much.