1

It’s not enough to create a character. What makes a difference is the way you portray it. Illustrator Neeraj Menon works on one of his creations to render it a disposition that presents it in a new light. He explains the process.

Render
Render

Step 01

Started out with a basic sketch. Used a fairly large canvas, usually A4 at 300 dpi, in case you would want to print it out later. It also gave enough room to zoom in and add detail.

Render
Render

Step 02

Rendered the basic details on the face. Modified the drawing on the left arm slightly. Used only grayscale on the majority of this painting. Realised this was the best way to ensure values and separations remained correct. Blocked in the shape of the goggles and added in the orange lenses. This would be one of the only actual colours used in the entire piece. Used a basic calligraphic brush for most of this painting.

Render

Step 03

Blocked out the basic shape of his flowing coat. This would help form his silhouette. Also blocked out basic folds and lines at this step. Cloth is usually tough to render and it helps a lot to have ready reference at hand. It’s best to shoot your own reference if possible.

Render

Step 04

Added in highlights and detail on his coat, such as bullet holes and tears/rips. Also, to help in the design of his armour, opened up alchemy, a free drawing software. Saved the design and imported into a Photoshop file. The free-flowing shapes in alchemy helped come up with a unique design which could be used as a base for the armour design.

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Render
Render

Step 05

Started fleshing out the armour here. Added shapes and light. Also, added some screws all over it. Used a simple custom brush. Also, at this stage, added a layer of flat purple in pin light mode to give the greys a bit of colour. It helped bring out a sterile sci-fi look.

Render

Step 06

Modified the armour further and added more light and shade.

Render

Step 07

Added a hexagonal pattern on the armour to suggest high tech. Used a brush for this to control the size of the pattern. Used the texture setting on the brush and paint it in.

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Step 07a

Added some fiery/glowing edges to the bullet holes on his jacket and small wisps of smoke from them.

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Render

Step 08

Added in bullet impacts on his armour. Added some stitching on his armor which was a simple modification to the calligraphic brush and added some decals overall on his armour.

Render

Step 09

Moved back to the face again. Finished rendering the hair and added some cuts/wounds on his face. Used custom brushes for some of these, which were mostly scanned splatter effects. Such brushes can also be downloaded online.

Render

Step 10

Added in details on the goggles. Used a pattern to suggest texture/material on the frame.

Render

Step 11

Rendered the right hand and then moved on to the gun. Looked for references that would help.

Render

Step 12

Added light shade on the gun and added some screws and glowing bits to suggest it came from the same family as the goggles and armour.

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Render

Step 13

Used some photo reference to get the swordhand right. Added some rim lighting around the edges and tightened up some details futher. Removed the shell casings from the gun. Added a pattern in the background and some sparks with a red gradient in the foreground for an added visual boost. Also added a noise filter in overlay mode on the image for added texture.

Render

Step 14

Arrived at the final image.

Published in Issue 15

In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art like Vinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with Internationally renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives. So, go ahead

 

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Neeraj Menon

Neeraj Menon is a freelance Concept artist, Illustrator and comic book colorist based in Pune,India. Graduated in Communication Design, specializing in animation from the Symbiosis Institute of Design. His work has been showcased in leading industry journals such as Spectrum 25, Ballistic Publishing’s Expose 9 & 11, ImagineFX, and many more.


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In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art like Vinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with Internationally renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives. So, go ahead

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All of us watch online videos every day on our computers, smartphones and even on smart TVs. There is a surge in the rate at which video viewing is gaining momentum. Today, over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and above 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day. And that’s just for YouTube!

Here, Jaseem Thayal Shareef, the CEO of WowMakers Digital Media Studio explains the benefits of having an explainer video on your website.

As per Cisco trends analysis, the video is projected to take up 79% of all internet traffic by 2018 and companies should leverage the benefits of this online video boom as it is not going to slow down anytime soon.

In tune with this trend, using animated explainer videos has become an effective online marketing strategy. More and more companies (both big brands and small companies) are innovatively using videos to their advantage. Explainer videos became popular in the last few years mainly because of its affordability and effectiveness in enhancing your business. Though explainer videos bring a whole range of benefits but here are the top 10 benefits of using it.

01 Clearly Conveys Objective

Using text to convey the product objective is a little tricky as it can be interpreted in many different ways. Explainer videos minimize the guess works and clearly explain the usefulness and basic function of a product or service.

02 Generates Interest in Consumers

More and more businesses are using visuals options such as images and videos to generate interest in their product as it is found to be very effective.

03 Intensifies Conversion Rates

According to Video Rascal study, over 80% of consumers prefer to buy a product if it is accompanied by videos.

04 Improves Ranking on Google

Websites with endless pages of block text and images are normally ranked lower in Google search. According to the Spork Marketing study, websites with videos rank much higher in Google’s global searches.

05 Increases Web Traffic

Going “viral” is a term that is closely connected to YouTube. Though there are no predefined ways to make a video “viral”, but many products have gained greater visibility through viral videos.

06 Helps Recall Information

More than voice or text, people remember what they see in a visual format. The average person remembers only around 10% of what they hear or read, but they remember 50% of what they see as per the Wharton Research Center study.

07 Brings Engagement

A multipage PowerPoint slide or a brochure with detailed text and pie charts are not effective enough to engage the audience. On the other hand, a well-produced explainer video with an interesting script and impressive visuals engages the audience in a better way.

08 Grabs Attention

When traditional web content and all those cool ideas are shown in an impressive video format, not only gives your website a cleaner look but also improves the chance to engage a potential customer.

09 Establishes Brand Identity

The prime reason that makes a customer come back to you repeatedly is the brand identity. It is important that the customer connects to your brand identity to gain trust and to make that happen; using explainer video is the best option.

10 Easily Sharable

An explainer video has a wider reach and it is not limited to just your website. People show interest in sharing the links of the videos they like.

Companies all over the world are creating videos about everything right from cause awareness to reviews, which clearly underline the gaining popularity of videos in marketing strategy. The promising future of video is waiting for you.

Published in Issue 34

This is a rebranding special issue focused on finding the answers to some of the basic questions like what is the right time for re-branding? or what all needs changing and how exactly? We interviewed some of the best branding studios like Landor Mumbai, Elephant, VGC, Inchwork, and many more. If you are considering rebranding or want to learn more about the art of doing it then this issue is a must read. So, go ahead

 

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One might think how hard could it possibly be to capture an object? Little do they know that product photography is an in-depth field that has a lot of science, technology, physics and dynamics being controlled by the master-the photographer. Clicking for a purpose, like a project, only adds to the pressure. Devang Singh, a product photographer, understands the basics and the tricks. Here, he shares his lens and his vision.

The Photographer

1. Understand the Brief and Your Subject.

Before the physical production of a photograph, the shoot needs to go through a mental process, regardless of whether it’s a 50 Cent Solitaire or something as large as a washing machine. During this process, ask yourself the following questions like ‘What is the scale of the product?’ because this will help you visualise the space required for shooting and lensing. Also, ‘How many sides/facets does the product have?’ as this will enable you to get an idea of the number of lights required along with the framing. This is followed by questions like ‘What is the surface material, whether it is metal reflective, matt, textured etc.’ and ‘What are the styling requirements of the campaign.’ Such a Q n A session with one’s self helps give direction.

The Photographer

 2. Prepare a Mood Board for Yourself/Client.

Once answers to the above questions have been obtained, start making the mood board to help bring into perspective your thoughts that enables team mates understand your vision. It helps in keeping all stakeholders on the same page leaving no room for miscommunication.

The Photographer
The Photographer

3. At Shoot.

At the time of the shoot, equipment that you will need is a 35 mm DSLR, 24 mm, 35mm, 50mm macro or non-macro, 85mm and a 100mm macro lens, minimum four light set up- 200W to 500W, light meter, light modifiers that include soft boxes, reflectors strip boxes, bounce boards- white, silver and gold, mirrors for concentrated reflections, a black chart to cut out extra light, a sturdy tripod with a sandbag and finally a laptop to tether capture and observe all details.

The Photographer

4. Understand Camera Settings and DOF.

If shooting in a controlled environment, like an indoor studio, it is important to keep a few things in mind. It is preferable to shoot custom white balance using a grey card. It’s also important to control shutter speed. For example, always shoot below 1/160 when using staple light setups of Profoto or Elinchrom FX/RX series. This is to make sure the camera syncs with the light and doesn’t give you a black band at the edge. If you are shooting splashes or moving subjects which demand faster shutters, take a wider shot and crop the black band or use a speed light at low intensities like 1/32 or 1/64.

The Photographer

5. Two Scenarios You Shall Face.

If you are shooting products for a catalogue which requires shooting the product in focus through and through, then maintain a distance of at least four feet from the product and try shooting at apertures from f/11 up to f/16 from a 50mm lens.

The Photographer

When conducting a stylised product shot which demands the product to be separated from the background and other props, then there are various ways to deal with it. One can go as close to the subject using wide lenses with wide apertures like f/1.8 and blur the background. Another option is to use a telephoto till 100mm at mid apertures f/5.6 – f/8 to avoid compression of the frames and make the product look smaller than it really is. Finally, one can also use low angle with forced perspective, head on, side or even a 45 degree top down.

The Photographer

6. Understand Lighting and Light Attachments.

Light plays the most important role in creating a spectacular image. It’s best to pre-plan using lighting diagrams in order to avoid any surprises on set. Use soft light for reflective surfaces and cut light with cutters to create gradation. It’s also important to understand highlights and shadows and to always have the final image in mind. The treatment in post-production should already be in your head while you shoot. Another point to add is the use of hard light for rims if required to separate subject/product.

The Photographer

Essential Tricks:

1. Carry a polarizer to minimize highlight and to get details in burnouts on reflective surfaces.
2. Carry a dulling spray to make glossy surfaces matt. Please note that excessive usage of the same can result in a wrong representation of the surface of the subject. Hence, use carefully.
3. Lock down your tripod and maintain a frame and add things to make the image.

The Photographer
Product and Automobile Design

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 

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Devang Singh

With rigorous training from the Life and Light Academy in Ooty, Devang Singh gave up on his corporate career to take control of the camera. Starting his own venture called Studio Fry, he also manages production and handles the business side of things.


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This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

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LA-based freelance concept artist and illustrator, Shreya Shetty, shares her insights about handling and organising finances as a freelancer, so that it no longer feels a daunting task.

Working as a freelancer means you have a wear a lot of hats. Being smart about your finances will allow you to continue to operate smoothly. Here are some ways to help you through the ups and downs of the freelance life.

1. Know Your Worth

Charging a below par rate is going to hurt you, over time. Talk to your peers and know the general rates. Sources like ArtPact, Glassdoor, etc. help find out the hourly and per piece rates for illustrations and such.


2. Budget for Taxes

Freelancers pay at a higher tax rate. Consider this when you quote your prices, and budget for this when you have expenses. Virtually, all work related expenses can be written-off as business expenses. Find out all possible allowed business expenses that you can claim as a freelancer. Be sure to keep your personal and professional spending separate.


3. Consistent Clients

Try to have consistent clients so you know that you will be making a certain amount per month. Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to have a couple of different clients, so even if one stops commissioning work, you won’t be out of work.



4. Invoicing

Be prompt about sending in your invoices as soon as the job is done. Most of the bigger companies have fixed billing cycles so if you are late and don’t send your invoices in by a certain time, it might take up to the next cycle to get paid.

5. Passive Income

It’s always great to supplement your commissions with passive income. This means that you can generate revenue with minimal effort, based on the work that you have already done. Examples of this would be Print on Demand (POD) services for prints, licensing; selling content like tutorial videos, brushes, and so on.


6. Plan Downtime

Plan for the downtime and try to save up at least 3-6 months of your basic living expenses. When you start out keep your overheads low, embrace the frugality till you know you have saved up enough to not panic if the work dries up for a while.

Published in Issue 37

The issue includes interactions with Preeti Vyas from VGC on ‘How to pitch for clients or retain the existing one’ and Ashish Deshpande from Elephant on ‘Challenges of working with a startup’, along with some best freelancers like Archan Nair, Shreya Shetty and Paul Sandip, sharing their knowledge of working with various clients. Also, Sachin Puthran from Thatzit.com gave a 10-point no-nonsense guide for studios to handle their finances. A must read, if you are planning for the financial year ahead or worried about your handling your money matter.

 

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Strategic Design & Communication Agency VGC have been Aditya Birla Group’s brand custodians since 1997. The latest campaign, conceptualized and executed by VGC, is the next step in the Aditya Birla Group’s brand journey.

Aditya Birla Group

Brief:

The vision of the Chairman, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla whose deep commitment towards creating a brand of immense worth based on solid foundations of impeccable values, has seen the Group journey across many a milestone to emerge as a multinational power-brand of statesman stature, in the matter of just two decades.

Aditya Birla Group

The Group’s radical shift from being architects of a global India to a powerhouse across the globe & various sectors has now led to the understanding of how ABG is a big part of peoples’ lives at every step.

 

This called for revamping the group’s identity to match with the contemporary world.

Aditya Birla Group

Solution:

VGC has partnered Aditya Birla Group over two decades to build an iconic brand and continues to do so.

 

Over the years, VGC has conceptualized and developed all of Aditya Birla Group’s brand campaigns. Starting with the ‘Taking India to the world’ campaign, which introduced the Group as an Indian Multinational with diversified interests across the world, VGC through continuous strategic and creative efforts has helped the group reaffirm their position as a powerhouse across the globe and across sectors.

Aditya Birla Group

VGC refreshed the company’s identity, defining it as a new mark for new milestones. Based on this, the new brand language was extended across various touch points and collaterals, the details of which can be read here

To add more power to the deep-rooted brand that the Aditya Birla Group already is, VGC as its strategic brand and communication partner took the campaigning spirits to a whole new level!

Aditya Birla Group

Following the logo change campaign in 2016, VGC conceptualized a brand communication campaign called ‘Big in your life’, to highlight the Group’s journey to a super-brand that enables and empowers people at every step in their life. The campaign in India was launched as a television commercial and was digitally broadcast across USA, Canada, the Middle East and Japan.

Aditya Birla Group

While the previous campaigns highlighted and established Aditya Birla Group’s ‘Big’ geographical presence, economic might, omnipresence of the Group’s products and the way they touch lives across the world, this latest campaign showcases the narrative of the company moving from ‘Being Big’ to creating and delivering ‘Big Value’ for its consumers and people at large.

Aditya Birla Group

It introduced a new icon for the group – the Aditya Birla Giant, who travels across the world enabling, empowering and enhancing the lives of millions.

 

The film, directed by the globally renowned Eli Sverdlov and post-produced by Gravity from Israel, carries forward the surreal epic signature of all Aditya Birla Group’s films.

Aditya Birla Group

Conclusion:

The television commercial is about the group and its journey towards crossing new milestones, culminating with the logo reveal. With the conceptualisation of this commercial, VGC has taken forward the ‘Big In Your Life’ position and adds a greater purpose to the group. Big is what big does.

Aditya Birla Group

The evolution of the brand with time to keep up with the versatile eye-catching recognition-screens of the present day while still being true to its roots is a symbol of its genuineness and client-commitment that it has followed since its inception.

__________________________________________________________________________________________


Client:
Aditya Birla Group
Design Studio: VGC
Film Director: Eli Sverdlov

__________________________________________________________________________________________

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Art is all about materialising your expressions. Vishnu PR takes us through his tutorial of how he transforms the expressions in his mind or even the expressions visible in a piece of art into his style and statement by creating a digital portrait.

Creating from imagination and references is one thing, adding your personal touch to these references and imaginative thinking completely changes the structure of the artwork for the good, defining the artists’ style.

 

For the creation of a portrait, inspired from an oil painting, in his own style, Vishnu has represented his personal touch in various forms of detailing like managing the light, shadow and highlights and addition of textures in just the right amount.

 

Follow the step by step guidance to know the secrets of making a digital portrait look real and surprise yourself with your own creation.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 1

Start by making an outline of the image that you want to create.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 2

A suitable base colour needs to be added to the created outline. Base colour is an important factor to create a digital art or portrait.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 3

The next step is to add different tones of colours in order to achieve the desired light and shadow effects. To give the skin a realistic look, use texture brushes to create a textured effect on the skin.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 4

In your mind, divide the picture into multiple parts and start by detailing out one part of the picture at a time. This organisation helps in a clear analysation of what exactly needs to be done next and is a smooth way of developing the picture.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 5

Then comes the time to adjust the levels of light, shade and highlights. This will take the picture art a step closer to the actual image.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 6

The fixing of lights and shades is followed by the addition of textures. The more accurately the textures are added, the more detailed will the outcome be.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 7

The textures add depth to the portrait. This is then followed by the detailing of the face and its parts like the eyes, nose, lips, etc.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 8

Now focusing on the hair and detailing it out to perfection. But always keep in mind that doing the hair is time-consuming and requires a lot of concentration.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 9

Finishing up the hair gets us very close to the finished portrait. Make sure that all different parts are detailed out in the proper manner and in the right amount of detail. As a mistake, as small as that of placing a strand of hair at the wrong place can disturb the portrait.

Make a Digital Portrait

Step 10

The final steps to finish up the portrait include last-minute touch-ups and detailing.
The amount of time put into creating a portrait is directly proportional to the outcome! This painting in particular was done by Vishnu in about 15 hours.

It is not easy for an artist to explain all the details and steps required through just a few words! Every step described above is needed to make it look the way it looks. Missing out on even one step can change the final result.

Published in Issue 43

With the changing weather comes the season of Interns, with fresh new energy everywhere and your talented creatives wanting to test their skills and knowledge in the real world of live creative briefs and super creative professional environment.
This issue is a must-read for internees and fresh talents. Go ahead and order your copy here or subscribe to not miss any future issues!

 

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Sabeena Karnik

Sabeena Karnik has a degree in Applied Arts with a major in typography. She joined an ad agency straight after graduation and started designing paper products. She is now a paper typographer and an illustrator.


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The first interactive issue of Creative Gaga with Augmented Reality features. This issue focuses on the transition of Advertising from real to virtual and blurring the boundaries of both at the same time. Also bundled with lots of interesting articles and interviews.

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To coincide with 100 years of Bauhaus, the German art style made famous in the early 1900’s, recently relaunched YouTube channel DW Euromaxx have released a new series showcasing some unique, simplistic designs.

YouTube

The series, hosted by architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel, features an easy to follow ‘how to’ guide so even beginners can introduce home-made, fantastic Bauhaus inspired creations into their homes.

In episode one Van Bo creates a simple, but versatile, wooden stool design with just a few pieces of wood, some screws, and whatever shade of paint suits you. He then shows us each step in detail to ensure that viewers can follow along at home. It’s the perfect project for people looking to get into design, with a wide range of uses, from stool, to table, to shelves.

In another episode Van Bo challenges viewers to recreate his minimalistic, yet hugely stylish lamp design. This one is a step up from the stool, and involves some slightly more challenging techniques, such as filling a metal rod with salt so you can bend it without it cracking and some basic wiring. It may seem daunting to those who haven’t tried these techniques before, but the step by step style of the video should ensure that anybody should be able to follow along without any trouble.

The DW Euromaxx YouTube channel also features other How To Bauhaus videos, with more episodes due for release over the coming weeks.

Bauhaus was named after the German design school, founded by an architect in 1919, which focused on creating modern, simplistic designs which have remained popular to this day. The school may have closed in 1933, but DW Euromaxx and Van Bo are ensuring that even people new to design can learn to work in this fantastic, accessible style.

If you find the DIY furniture and want to keep getting inspired then we recommend you check out the DW Euromaxx YouTube channel and why not see if you can recreate some of Van Bo’s created designs for yourself?

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