Computer Graphics World

April-May-June 2023

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26 cgw a p r i l • m ay • j u n e 2 0 2 3 M y name is Kannan, and I'm a VFX supervisor at Future- Works. I've been in the industry for nearly 30 years, working across various projects from stop-motion animation to big Bollywood blockbusters. I also over- see our entire VFX pipeline, helping guide new talent to succeed in their roles. Recently, I worked on Netflix's Hindi-language sports drama film Jaadugar, which was shot during the COVID pandemic, creat- ing real technical challenges for the whole production. I'm here to share this experience, including how we overcame various issues, and also to give advice to anyone starting out in this industry. Origin story As a kid, I was always fascinated by the vibrant colors and pat- terns of traditional Indian paintings. It all started when I first visit- ed a fine arts exhibition organized by M.F Husain—one of the fin- est cubist painters in India. I was awestruck aer seeing an artist recreate one of Husain's paintings on a computer. It inspired me to step into a whole new realm of digital arts. There were lots of in- dustry people at the event, and I met the owner of a post-produc- tion studio in Mumbai who gave me my first chance working as a graphic designer for commercials and the advertising Industry. I went on to work for Plus Channel, one of the first private broadcasting partner companies in India, as a graphic animator. There, I learned all about post-production, which enabled me to move into VFX and train as an Autodesk Flame artist. I had a lot of space to experiment and really find my way around the technology, producing mockups, so I knew exactly what ev- erything did and how it worked. It's because of the technical un- derstanding I gained that I was able to land the job I have at Fu- tureWorks in 2018, and I've been here ever since. Featuring at FutureWorks At FutureWorks, my role is essentially ensuring that all shots are created on time and up to standard, which sometimes requires wearing a lot of hats. One moment you'll be producing concept art and mockups to show a client, the next you'll be sitting with other artists guiding them through Maya, Flame, Nuke, and Aer Effects. We have a core of experienced artists with a thorough knowl- edge of the industry, and it's our job to impart that to those we mentor, so they can go on to produce their best work. Each new project presents itself with new challenges. The director or pro- ducer will come to us with an idea about what they want, but it's my job to translate this into the practical ways of working with VFX. That can be straightforward, but at other times—to misquote a famous VFX-heavy dinosaur franchise—life gets in the way… Creating VFX for Netflix 's Jaadugar On Netflix production Jaadugar, I worked with co-VFX supervi- sor Vinay Singh, studying the film's storyboards and animatics to ensure that the VFX shots matched the creative vision. Jaa- dugar—the story of a small-town magician who has to lead his local football team to victory in order to marry the love of his life —was particularly challenging for us as we had to deal with the usual schedule and budget constraints, along with complications brought by the pandemic. Restrictions meant that only 50 vaccinated people could be on set at any one time. That's quite an issue when the climax of your film involves a huge football match with a bustling crowd of thou- sands. What's more, production was put on hold for six months, so when we picked up filming the actual crowds again, the lighting conditions were completely different. We had to get really cre- ative. For the crowd multiplication scenes, the solution that the co-supervisor, director Sameer Saxena, and myself devised was to use 2D VFX techniques to turn 50 actors into 200. The film didn't CAREER PROFILE A FUTUREWORKS VFX SUPERVISOR DISCUSSES HIS RECENT PROJECTS & SHARES ADVICE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION BY KANNAN T

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