Asia’s largest animation, visual effects, gaming and comics (AVGC) event, was inaugurated by Biren Ghose, President, ABAI and committee members today at The Lalit Ashok.

Inaugurating the event, Mr. Ghose welcomed the enthusiasts who have gathered from all over the world and invited them to join the unique three-day experience that is Bengaluru GAFX 2019. Bengaluru GAFX 2019 is organized by the Government of Karnataka and the Association of Bangalore Animation Industry (ABAI) and intends to identify and provide a global platform to talents. It also attracts industry veterans, professionals, students, academia, technology partners, animation, VFX and games studios, and production houses and generates jobs. 

The inauguration was followed by session ‘Around the World of GAFX,’ where experts from all over the world took the audience through the AVGC industry internationally. Avrill Stark, the CEO/Executive Producer and creative leader of A Stark Production (ASP) based in Sydney, who joined the session through video conference, Angela Salt, CEO of Salt Content Ltd. from UK, Sheila de Courcy, Creative Specialist from Ireland, President and Executive Producer of Branscome International LLC, Catherine Branscome, Cristian Jezdic, Producer, VFX/CGI supervisor and IP specialist from Italy and President and CEO of Unlimited Media Inc. Neil Chakravarthi, offered insights into the world of animation, gaming, VFX or motion graphics in their respective countries and worldwide. The session was followed by a panel discussion,  where the students and professionals from the AVGC sector interacted with the above-mentioned experts. 

The panel discussion on ‘Changing CG production in India Centre of Excellence: Disrupting Traditional Production’ saw industry biggies talk about the future of motion graphics and how it is disrupting the sphere of animation, gaming, and visual effects. 

Moderated by PC Vikram, the ‘Comics and Beyond: Presentation and Panel’ saw the coming together of graphic novelist and animation film director Somnath Pal, illustrator and animation film designer Saumin Suresh Patil and Anand Radhakrishnan, a graphic novelist and art director. Kirini Rambhatla also presented on ‘Chitrakatha’- the future of graphic novels. 

Session on ‘Indian IP – A Pictorial Journey & Future Pathways,’ moderated by Ashish Kulkarni, witnessed the homegrown experts explaining the inception and growth of various Indian animated tv series and films. 

At the session, ‘Take your 3D assets and environments from the first draft to final frames,’ the audience was hooked onto Autodesk’s integration of groundbreaking technology for the design, production, and rendering. The day also saw a video conference with Arielle Martin, Creative Specialist at Foundry from the UK, who introduced Katana and explained its significance and usage. 

The other sessions include ‘Mentor 360 – Connecting Students and Studios,’  moderated by Ganesh Papanna of ABAI and attended by Anand Baid, Vishal T.M, and three principals from ABAI and Karnataka Government’s Digital Art Centers, ‘Deals with Wheels – Global Productions Looking for Indian Partners,’ attended by Angela Salt, Sheila de Courcy, Neil Chakravarthy, Avrill Stark and Catherine Branscome, and GAFX exclusive that revolved around the making of Chota Bheem Kung Fu Dhamaka. 

Speaking about Bengaluru GAFX, Co-chair of Bengaluru GAFX 2019 and Secretary, ABAI, B.S. Srinivas, said that the turnout at the GAFX 2019 has been massive as animation and visual effects, gaming and comics enthusiasts and professionals, industry veterans, academia, technology partners, animation, VFX & games studios, and production houses have been taking part with great passion. This defines the future of the city and the state as the leading leader in AVGC sector, he added.

What is Bengaluru GAFX 2019?

‘GAFX 2019,’ Asia’s most prominent and largest AVGC conference, organized by Government of Karnataka and ABAI, intends to attract experts, studios, production houses, game developers from all over the world. This one-of-kind-platform for artists of Games, Animation & Visual Effects Industry will bring together industry veterans, professionals, students, academia, technology partners, animation, VFX & games studios and production houses under one roof to provide exposure to talents as well as subject matter expertise to professionals, artists, and students. 

More than 3,000 students from 25 colleges from all over Karnataka are taking part in the conference. 

The conference plays host to a number of activities including “GAFX Art Animathon” – Asia’s biggest art & animation competition. The competition has 8 categories to compete for, enabling professionals & students to try for the INR 8 Lakhs+ cash prize & premium goodies. This time it’s even bigger with the introduction and indulgence of new emerging technologies like AR/VR & MOCAP.

For the first time, GAFX is conducting ‘Kalayodha-2019,’ a contest exclusively for all digital art centers across Karnataka. Apart from this, a special session called ‘Sketchbook,’ is being held where artists from various platforms — independent creators of content, independent animation filmmakers, illustrators, art directors and principal artists from top studios and gaming companies come together to talk about the process of sketchbook where ideas are born. 

The event comprises of talks and presentations, film screenings, panel discussions, and competitions. The eight categories of competition are as follows: Traditional painting, digital painting, clay sculpting, 3D modeling, 3D character animation, 3D game art, storyboarding and story writing.

Centre of Excellence for AVGC

The discussion at the session ‘Changing CG production in India Centre of Excellence: Disrupting Traditional Production’  began with Shiji Sunil, Founder Director – Spirit VFX Studio Private Limited and Animale Solutions Private Limited and Centre Head, CoE, unveiling the Centre of Excellence for AVGC. Arul Moorthy, Managing Director, Digital Magical Visuals who worked on the design of CoE gave insights into the infrastructure the Government of Karnataka has developed. 

The 30,000 sq.ft one-of-a-kind studio has a variety of equipment that can be listed as the “gold standard of the motion picture.” According to Mr. Moorthy, the CoE will be a service facility that helps small and medium studios to make use of high-end technology for their productions. The panel had a unanimous opinion on the rapid growth of technology. Shajy Thomas, Head of Technology, Technicolor Film & TV— who has worked on The Lion King— believe that network has been a huge boon to the CG industry. “3,500 artists working in three locations— Canada, US, and India— with huge amounts of data transfer is possible only because of the technological advancements we have seen in recent years,” he said. 

Anand Baid, Founder, Native Puppets and Parth Shah from Centroid Motion Capture presented their works in the field of motion graphics and animation. Emerging talks about motion graphics replacing animation were addressed by Parth Shah. The panel came to a consensus that motion graphics is not going to replace animation, but is going to supplement it, making the production pipeline faster. The four panelists with the moderation of Shiji Sunil asserted that advancements in technology, automation, and cloud systems have been essential in pushing the boundaries of the AGVC sector.

Need for courage

The speakers at the ‘Comics and Beyond: Presentation and Panel’ discussed the most pertinent question of the comics industry that if it is a lucrative field to step into. The speakers could not stress enough about collaboration with writers, thinkers, and creative artists. They reiterated on the need for courage to approach people and to put work out there.

Session on ‘Indian IP – A Pictorial Journey & Future Pathways,’ moderated by Ashish Kulkarni, witnessed the homegrown experts explaining the inception and growth of various Indian animated tv series and films. 

In a pictorial journey into the Indian Intellectual Properties and exploring the future pathways, Munjal Shroff of Graphiti Multimedia took the audience down the memory lane of Graffiti studios which was heralded by Ram Mohan who is also known as the Father of Indian Animation. The panel discussion that followed was attended by the other renowned industry names such as Indranarayan Datta of Toonz Media Group, Munjal Shroff of Graphiti Multimedia, Rajeev Chilaka from Greengold and Ketan Mehta from Cosmos-Maya, who discussed the rare gems of Indian animation industry and narrated the journey from advertising, tv commercials to long format animated shows to an enthusiastic audience. 

The session on the first draft to final frames, the creators of Crazy Alien, Tau Films, addressed students and professionals on the timeline of creating a product from the first draft to the final frame. Anoop AK, Pipeline Composer, and Rochana Jalan, Production Manager, spoke about the pipeline, production and management processes in their project. 

Live sessions: Clay sculpting and Sketchbook

Bengaluru GAFX 2019 saw some interesting canvases. The Sketchbook was attended by carefully curated artists handpicked for their unique artistic personalities. On the lawns of The Lalit Ashok, visitors to Bengaluru GAFX 2019 saw these artists indulge in live sketching and clay sculpting. Artists Abhishek Kesarkar, Anand Radhakrishnan, Sanjana Desai, and Saumin Suresh Patil were a few among those who filled canvases.