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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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Step 06

Modified the armour further and added more light and shade.

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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.

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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.

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Step 10

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

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Step 11

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

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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.

11 Intensifies Your Inbound Marketing

Explainer videos can help intensify your inbound marketing strategies. You can hire one of the best inbound marketing agencies to integrate your videos to your existing digital marketing strategies, such as email marketing and content marketing.

12 Increase Trust and Rapport

Explainer videos help promote your positive image. Whether you own a small, family-owned, medium-sized, or big business, uploading explainer videos help increase people’s trust and rapport among your target customers.

Tips When Creating Explainer Videos


Focus on a Well-Written Script

This is the key to creating a successful explainer video because it is the foundation wherein everything else is built. You can hire the services of a professional scriptwriter or “outsider” who can provide a fresh look at your business and explain your message in a way that your target audience can understand.

 

Keep It Short

The rule of thumb for an explainer video is 150 words per minute for the texts. It provides a time and breathing room for your message to sink in. Keep your explainer videos straightforward and concise to avoid boring the viewers.

 

Focus on the Benefits

Benefits heavily matter to customers. While the list of features goes on, it's crucial to let your audience realize what they’ll gain when availing of your products and services through your explainer videos.

 

Explain how your clients will experience an improved quality of life or better living instead of tackling the technical aspects. Highlight the benefits instead of talking about the specifications. Leave them to review sites or product review videos.

 

Show the Fun Aspect

Create a video that clearly resonates with your target audience. Entertain people while adding value and positive experience to your potential and existing customers.

 

Use a Professional Voice

Poor audio can ruin explainer videos quickly. Make sure that the voice in your videos are polished and delivered properly.

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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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

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Every year many exceptional design briefs are being answered with brilliant solutions by many talented designers. Some manage to reach the limelight through awards and other recognitions, but not all. And that is where the ‘DCS-01’ comes into the picture with detailed case studies highlighting the challenges, research, and the unique solutions to each obstacle faced in reaching these final design solutions. An inspiration and a collection of quality design projects created in India recently.

 

So, if you are creative freelancer, agency, studio, corporate or a design student, who needs inspiration and want to know the process of making great designs, then this is a must-have book for your collection. Order it today to reserve a copy of this limited stock book.

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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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Aman Khanna

A graphic artist, illustrator, sculptor and a visual storyteller, Aman Khanna has his hands full with ‘Infomen’ that he started in London in 2005 and ‘Infonauts’ in New Delhi in 2009. His latest venture goes by the brand name ‘Claymen’ which is a set of functional and dysfunctional objects as well as unique handcrafted sculptures.


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This issue has advice from many experts such as Ashwini Deshpande and Gopika Chowfla who gave the secrets of choosing the right intern for their well-known design teams. And on another hand, Rajaram Rajendran and Ranganath Krishnamani advise young designer to gain multiple skills and be the best at them.

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Bored of two dimensional design, Aman Khanna started exploring the third dimension of it by getting his hands dirty, literally! He got inspired by local Indian potters who breathe magic into a simple raw material like clay. Aman started molding sculptures and day to day knick knacks from clay.

Your Hands Dirty
Gray Water
Your Hands Dirty
Seek and How
Your Hands Dirty
Colour Me White
Your Hands Dirty
Pourer
Your Hands Dirty
Conscience of a Subconscious Mind
Your Hands Dirty
Shared Burden

What People Want

In India, the design is perceived in various ways; what works about Claymen is that it caters to a wide spectrum of users. Functional objects satisfy the practical shopper; dysfunctional art-oriented pieces attract the fanatics and the clay sculptures appeal to almost anyone who looks at them. Aman clearly understands the needs and more importantly the wants of the people thereby bringing to the table a fresh take on art.

Your Hands Dirty
Man and Woman v/s Society