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It’s interesting how all of us grow up with individual memories and experiences. It’s fascinating how transforming these memories to stories can create opportunities of telling unique tales that can emotionally connect to a universal audience. Animation filmmaker Balasubramanian explores his own memories and maps them to create engaging visuals and films.

Engaging
KING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. As the ruler
Engaging
MYSTERIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. In his mystic world

Everybody is Somebody

All of us grow up in a certain environment, surrounded by visuals, which are unique in their own right. For an artist and storyteller, it’s imperative to go back to these memories to find figment of characters and stories. Everyone’s upbringing defines the visuals, mood, emotion, choice of colour, lighting etc. that one works with. One should be aware of it. After all, it’s always an emotional turmoil and an urge to communicate that makes one a creator. Be true to these feelings and you’ll end up creating engaging stories that will connect and speak to the audience.

Engaging
RELIGIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Performing a tantric ritual

The Story is the Key

The process of narration can begin with a story, or a character, or justa few visuals. Any which way, it all boils down to one core story which is what you are working on. And this depends on a lot of factors. Who are you talking to? Which cultural mindset do they adhere to? What is the lifestyle and belief set they dwell in? And many more such questions that need to be answered before you take it forward. Next up, the story gives way to the elements of the craft – design, look-&-feel, camera angles, colours, lights etc. The key is to keep your story simple. If struck right, it will never fail to hit the audience and move them from within.

Engaging
Ideation for an Illustration
Engaging
WARRIOR SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The fearless warrior

For Your Eyes Firstly

A film is primarily a visual medium. Therefore, it makes sense to pay extra attention to what you are sketching. The visuals should be appealing enough to keep the audience glued and be attentive to the narration. While the story dictates the visuals, it is usually the choice of colours that define the mood. And to top it, use a careful arrangement of lights to heighten the drama and movement of the frame.

THOUGHTFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Glimpse of his incredible brain

FIGHTING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The magnificent warrior

Normal is Boring

There is no fun in being normal. As filmmakers, our job is to blow up proportions of a character or a story that turns it into dramatic, engaging and moving. Exaggerating characters and elements is, therefore, one of the most prominent tools. Caricaturing is an age-old phenomenon. Therefore, the idea of exaggeration brings with it lots of challenges and opportunities at the same time.

POWERFUL SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. Displaying supernatural power
FURIOUS SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. The indestructible force

Hold on to Your Thought

There are umpteen visuals, sounds and incidents happening around you that hold seeds of stories. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open and grasp everything that you can. You never know what is going to strike you, when and where. And once you have got the thought, hold on to it. Spend time with that streak of an idea and develop it into something that becomes a part of yourself, in a true and honest manner. That’s how you become a storyteller that’s uniquely you. Hit upon an idea, form a story and then leave it to your instincts to do the rest.

RIDING SAGE. Part of an unreleased project. On an incredible journey

Published in Issue 13

Coming from a country of stories and storytellers, Indian animation professionals are sitting on a gold reserve. Yet, we are miles behind the Western world. We spoke to few leading names to find out the reason and understand the Indian animator’s sensibilities and practices The house unanimously opined that we need to develop more original ideas and also create exclusive stories for animation, rather than going the other way round…

 

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The founder of ICD, Itu Chaudhuri, lets out his experience and insight in the field of branding. He expresses what goes into creating effective brands, and the various aspects or elements that play a role in the process.

Brand Identity for Taggd

CG. What is the relationship between the product and the branding? How does the former shape or inspire the latter?

ICD. For some brands, the product’s properties are the heart of the brand. For example, we know Mercedes by their cars, which are a model of stability and Germanic engineered perfection; not by their advertising or showrooms or their F1 Cars (which they do very well). For those brands, branding needs to reflect what’s special about the product, but rarely reflects the product itself. The ‘what’s special’ part, in turn, depends on the category. For more functional products, it’s about a clear benefit from using it (e.g. relieving pain).

Brand identity for thebo

For less functional brands, the benefit may be more in the mind i.e. how it makes people feel, or its ‘values’ (what it encourages its customers to believe in). This is also true for brands, which we know by their advertising more than by the special qualities of the product (e.g. a mobile service like Vodafone or Airtel). But, rarely does the branding show the product itself. If the product is a packaged product that’s never unpacked (think deodorants, or insect repellents, or a fizzy drink), then the branding and the product are practically fused (even when large advertising budgets support the brands).

Branding
Branding
Branding
Eicher Live.

CG. According to you, How and to what extent, does branding impact an audience?

ICD. Every customer knows that they are being manipulated. So, branding works best when it slips under the radar of the customers or escapes their ‘crap detector’. Yet, if the brand seems to admit this while managing to charm the customers, it works. The audience is then willingly helpless to resist. This means that the branding is, in some sense, invisible when it appears to belong or be inevitable as if there was no other way it could have appeared. This requires honesty on the owner’s part and linking the brand to what is true. Despite this, it’s carefully orchestrated. Simply appearing artless won’t do it. Done right, it can succeed in disarming the customer.

Branding
The Almirah.

Branding
The Almirah.

CG. What do you do to ensure that the brand character comes across fully in the final design?

ICD. Personality is the key, and thus cannot be overlooked or sidelined at any stage. It’s a mental model of the brand that describes the brand’s character and attitude, more like a representative, and thus implies its appearance.

Branding
The Wild Stone Code Range.
Brand applications for ‘Hired’.

CG. What do you feel should be proportion, or how much is the need for balance, between minimalism and complexities in a design?

ICD. The point isn’t a balance: it’s more a purposeful imbalance. Different brands need different treatments, so that one may do best in a minimal style, and another with a busy, or even chaotic style. This is a necessary facet that one needs to recognise and remember throughout the process.

Annual Report Design for IDFC.
Branding

CG. What do you feel is an essential part of branding?

ICD. Deep understanding of the client’s truth is fundamental and most essential, but making sure that it’s attractive to their customers is of value, at the same time. If you succeed on the first count and fail on the second, you touch no one. The other way around and the attraction will be skin deep. It very clearly is a case of both or nothing.

Branding
Publication design for Breakthrough.
Branding
The Real Tea Range.

Published in Issue 38

This issue, we try to explore different views from many well-known studio owners and senior designers. While Anthony Lopez of Lopez Design shared tips on what a studio looks for in a designer, Mohar Ray from Codesign highlights the key aspects that play a significant role and make the difference in whether you are hired or not as a promising designer. Also, this issue has an insightful article on ‘Branding with reason and love’ from Itu Chaudhuri, founder ICD (Itu Chaudhuri Design) along with Siddhi Ranade, explaining his tools of story telling through his unique style of illustrations. This issue is a must read for a talented graduate to a branding expert. Order you copy and enjoy reading it!

 

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People are not too fond of throwing things away, and in the recycle-reuse world of today, people find ways to use small little things for their own unique purposes. Whether it’s a tin tea leaves box converted into a pen stand or gift basket used as home decor, designer Anoop Chalil believes it’s all about thinking one step ahead. Below, he outlines key points to help create innovative packaging that helps the product and its consumers.

Packaging for I am Pure
Packaging for I am Pure
Packaging for I am Pure

Experience comes with an Experience

It can be said that packaging design is more about the journey than the final creation from a designer’s point of view. It’s not just interacting with a product, but also with the people and culture behind it. These when combined enhance one as a packaging designer, giving you more insights and in depth knowledge of the skill.

Stationery for Club W
Stationery for Club W
Packaging for Club W

It’s not about doing different things, it’s about doing things differently

Every designer explores their own niche; their own style. And even though at first look, some designs by various designers might look similar, where it may look like identical tools or techniques have been used, a closer look reveals the small differences that make a difference. For instance, it’s easy for many to simply use the align tool in design software to arrange and organize objects. However, a difference can be made by using a grid system and zooming into each object to manually arrange them. Such detailed working style goes on to make a huge impact on the final outcome.

Stationery for Terrace
Packaging for Terrace

What you keep in mind should be kept in your design

The look and feel of the packaging are predominantly dominated by the product. However, simple and minimal designs stand out in a cluttered shelf. Before creating innovative solutions, it is important to keep in mind some simple points to make the journey smooth and obstacle-free. Staying simple and honest is key and so is researching consumers, markets and competition before getting onto designing. Also, packaging designs significantly depend on the type of material being used and hence a good understanding in such areas is crucial as well. Apart from that, product extension and legible typography are some more aspects that must be included in every design.

Packaging for Terrace

It’s not about who’s in the driver’s seat, but what car you’re driving

In the design world, everyone would agree that the clients have the ultimate say. But that does not stop any designer or design from coming through. It’s not easy of course and is a skill that comes with experience and confidence. As a packaging designer, it’s just not enough to simply create packaging that looks good; one needs to always have concrete reasons as to why that is so. Tell the client’s why using well-researched reasons and they will agree with your concept.

Packaging for Aura Cinema

For example, coming up with Tin packaging that could be used as keepsakes by consumers instead of using plastic bottles that the client initially demanded works a lot better to not only add to the designer’s portfolio but to work for the brand as well. Effectiveness is key and this way, designers can have the last word. But this by no means is disregarding opinions of clients. Designers must also be aware that companies spend two to three years researching a product before launching it in the market. Hence, it doesn’t hurt sometimes to try and understand where they’re coming from.

Published in Issue 26

Packaging is the first vital step towards enchanting the audience. Who doesn’t like a cute box or a trendy bottle? With this issue, Creative Gaga lets the cat out of the box to reveal the world of packaging design. Featuring various local and international designers like Petar Pavlov from Macedonia and Brandziac from Russia, Elephant Design and Impprintz from Pune, the issue promises to be a keepsake for many.

 

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Architectural structures should inspire while shaping the future. Believes Nuru Karim, Founder & Design Principal of NUDES. Here he explains how the projects transcend their initial purposes to create experiential spaces that connect people and places.

Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Shaan. The project explores the relationship between music and architecture
Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Shaan. Soft bodied forms are sited throughout the duplex penthouse
Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Shaan. Project for a celebrity musician and socialite wife in the heart of affluent Bandra.

Innovation Comes Through Asking the Right Questions

The dichotomy of ‘experimental’ and ‘real-world constraints’ is thought-provoking and acts as a fuel for innovation. As designers, are we immersing ourselves into continual combat with the limitations, both internal and external? Are we realizing the uncharted territories?

Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Mosque of Light

Are we being honest and truthful to the design process and socioeconomic forces that govern the world of design and the built environment? Are we really pushing ourselves into finding the right problems rather than focusing on solutions? Innovations have origins not in the answers but in the way we frame and put forward our questions.

Architectural design by Nuru Karim
Architectural design by Nuru Karim

The Process of Change is Bottom-up

Sustainable eco-urbanism requires an integrated multi-sectoral initiative involving community participation. It is supposed to be designed and led by the community. Of course, as designers, we have a crucial role to play, but largely the process is bottom up. Our job is to add the layer of sustainability to our understanding of urbanscapes. Appreciating the change in the social behaviour, hierarchy and ecosystem and responding to this transformation is an integral part of any designer’s growth experience.

BMB Art Gallery. An arthouse for paintings, installations, video Installations, sculpture etc.
BMB Art Gallery. The project explores painted zones of more or less opacity. Paint brushed with pixels and bytes

Tradition and Future Should have a Dialogue

The tension between the two words, ‘experimental’ and ‘traditional’ is something that gets design thinking going. Issues related to the design of products, interiors, architectural spaces and urban experiences are subject to enormous constraints revolving primarily around “code” and “budgets” immersed within a complex socio-economic and cultural context.

“Baori”. Water Well

It’s very important that the two contradicting worlds not only meet but also have a dialogue with each other in complete harmony. One could also analyse this construct through the lens of “using tradition as a springboard to dive into the future”. But really, the tri-relationship of ‘playful experimentation’, ‘serious research’ and ‘old-fashioned problem solving’ needs to be exhaled in a single seamless continuous breath.

Mathsurf, India

The design is an Open System of Interrelated Issues

An architectural solution engages design as a cohesive process of interconnected issues. The integration takes place between various subjects like typology, digital methodologies, sustainability, structure, fabrication, materiality, and tactility among others.

 

The solution also brings into its domain the use of larger networks of the social, cultural, and environmental phenomenon. Transfer of technologies and ‘smart materials’, just like the use of ‘digital’ in both design and production enables the transformation of ‘design history’ into ‘design future’.

RyeWood International School.

Don’t Think, Just Look!

Today we need to stop ‘thinking’ so as to start again to ‘see’. “Design as Research” is a fundamental methodology that should be integral to every designer’s thought process. The research could also operate at several levels, ranging from philosophical positions to sector-specific analysis to technological systems. We need to develop an art of description where we question the methodology by which design projects are conceptualised, processed and documented.

Boutique Hotel. The ‘wave-pixel’ skin explores the potential of digital interfaces within the city

Nature is a great teacher and a fantastic reservoir of research and design. Engagement with the nature-based systems in terms of researching and conversing is a way to both unlearn and re-learn. It’s very critical that architecture is deep-rooted within a context. But it should also address larger social, cultural and environmental issues.

Rebirth Retail Store. Differentiated hexagonal cellular aggregate formations created the central piece

In a Collaboration, the Inter-Disciplinary Lines should Blur

Successful collaborative processes largely involve both stakeholders and professionals as an integrated “team-based” mechanism, integral to the design process and evolution of space design. Our collaborations range from artists, engineers, social scientists, product designers fashion designers etc.

Bad, Mumbai

The next up is philosophers. The extent of collaboration depends and varies from project to project largely based on design methodology, strategy and scale of the project. These changes in architectural practice also collapse the differences defining various disciplines working together, blurring the line within these disciplines and manufacturing processes.

MoonLight, 3D printed Lamp

Materials are Defined by Purpose

Materials explain ‘what it does?’ as opposed to ‘what it is?’ Recent advances in both technique and process where materials are concerned to have emerged into broad heads such as Shape performance, Optical performance, Sustainable performance and Responsive performance to name a few.

Tent Hotel, China

In Japan, for example, researchers are experimenting with intelligent systems in the construction of seismic resistant structures, wherein building foundation equipped with sensors amplify waves producing a change in ‘Material Elasticity’ to absorb the shock wave impact. Materials that provide products with one or more life cycles and are advantageous in terms of production, workability, dissemblance, reuse and environmental preservation.

Colour Constructs, Not Embellish

“Colour” should be defined as “structure” and also as a tactile experience loyal and honest to its material origins. It is not wallpaper, ornament or a candy wrap of a building. Generally, white and black are timeless in nature and respond brilliantly to atmospheric changes and varying light conditions.

 

But sometimes, these decisions are also driven programmatically. For example, retail stores and art galleries are strategically washed in white to exhibit the artworks in all honesty.

Dive in to Make a Difference

Besides chasing design philosophies and related commercial issues, it is critical that we commit ourselves to larger social/ humanitarian goals. Architecture has the power to do that. India faces several issues, including and not limited to lack of housing, lack of infrastructural services, lack of property rights, air pollution, traffic, serious lack of urban governance and many more. Question on a daily basis why you are here. The responsive design will augment the process of change.

S2. The hospital ancillary services building explores the topological transformation of a ‘mesh skin’

Published in Issue 04

The issue with the best insights from some of the top space designers and advertising tips from Happy Creatives with some exclusive mix of media experiments in type and digital art. So, go ahead

 

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Forget technology for a while and try lifting that fountain pen or a paint brush. Dip it into the world and paint that stroke. It feels different. The magic that hands creates can never be matched by technology. Calligraphy is one such area of design where the old way rules. Graphic Designer Anup Shah does wonders with delicate letterforms to depict stories and create an aura. He tells us more about his meditative designs and his gratitude for the guidance from his father, Kiran Shah and calligraphy mentor Achyut Palav.

Calligraphy - Anup Shah
Calligraphy - Anup Shah

You are the World You are in.

In most instances, the environment we grow up in determines the likelihood of what one chooses to pursue in life. If the ambience around you since childhood has been papers, ink, books on the design they become your muse and instil a sense of curiosity that soon gives wings to your talent and sets you on a path of a lifetime – the path of a designer.

 

Such exposure is beneficial and offers a great platform to learn from experienced people. A creative environment is important for any designer and for those growing up to become one.

Calligraphy - Anup Shah

If you Think You’re Right, You are Right.

This should be the attitude of any designer in today’s world. Self-doubt is your biggest critique and is unnecessary. The process of design can be described to be consisting of the following key words – See, Think, Imbibe, Explore and Execute.

Calligraphy - Anup Shah
Calligraphy - Anup Shah

These five simple words can easily be the constitution that dictates the actions and behaviours of any artist. If one is sensitive to things happening around and make a conscious effort to capture the essence by reflecting them in their work, then one can say that half the battle is won.

 

And what this philosophy translates into is the fact that one need not convince anybody about what one’s work says because people will automatically understand and know.

Calligraphy - Anup Shah

Do Away with Technological Dependence.

For today’s tech and net-savvy youth, it’s imperative to understand how this may be hampering their design growth at times. Because what technology is doing is only killing creative strength by preventing thought and only allowing you to polish, modify and execute things which are already there.

Originality is losing its charm. Back in the days, designers would create 50 different options not variations to create a single logo. Today, it’s rare to see such an instinct. It’s all about speed now, it’s all about being the fastest. What this is doing is making them less designer and more operator.

Calligraphy is Relative.

Every single alphabet has its own sound and characteristic. For example, ‘L’ relating to famous singer Lata Mangeshkar paints imagery of something soothing, soft and silky whereas if ‘L’ was depicting Laden, it would be read as something bold, rough and wrong.

Calligraphy - Anup Shah

Hence, the letters never communicate on their own but always in conjunction with a central element or subject. Also, for those taking up calligraphy and typography, it’s important to make such hints as subtly as possible. In other words, create a story by animating letterforms to depict the theme so that when simplified forms mixed, creates an expression. Understand that every stroke should have a meaning.

Published in Issue 30

Since stone age when individuals were identified with certain marks, branding has always been an integral part of our life. It has evolved so much that now every success can be connected to great branding behind it, but still brand creation has always been a mystery. We interviewed the branding experts, who are behind some of the very successful brands. In brief, this issue is packed with branding and typography design experts who can help you solve the mystery of the brand creation! Order your copy here!

 

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In a want to make the UI and the internal functionality of the brand as easy as the services the brand provides to its users through its app, Uber teamed up with Wolff Olins to create their dream brand system through rebranding process.

Brief

Uber is a tech start-up connecting riders and drivers that turned into a global mobility platform in a short and quick span of only eight years.

 

Having embraced new and future modes of transportation—from bikes, to tuk-tuks, to flying cars, it needed a holistic brand system that was instantly recognizable, works around the world and was efficient to execute, accommodating all of its needs and services within.

Brand System

Solution 

Wolff Olins partnered with Uber to reimagine how the world moves, creating a system that connects with all modes of transportation, in all places, for all people—including internal Uber teams. The project was an intensely collaborative effort between Wolff Olins, the Uber Brand Experience Team, and MCKL Type Foundry.

Brand System

For All Places

With Uber operating in 660+ cities and having its highest growth areas in regions outside of the US, such as Latin America and India, the brand had to have a system to be able to work globally.

 

Keeping this in mind, Wolff Olins adapted a universal ‘beyond-simple’ global brand instead of pursuing a complex identity system, localized through colour and pattern. This universal system gave teams the freedom to make it relevant to their audiences with culturally specific content.

For All People

With a new wave of leadership at Uber came a renewed commitment to safety which until now was product-driven. But safety was a much larger context. It was the brand’s need and requirement to speak equally to riders, drivers, and employees, which led to answering the question, “What does safety mean for different people at different times?”

 

This resulted in the introduction of Safety Blue to the colour palette. It’s unique to Uber and meant to be used sparingly to indicate important moments of support, care or connection between the user and the brand.

Brand System

For All Teams 

The decentralized nature of Uber’s operations meant the company needed a system that could be easily implemented by a wide range of practitioners around the world in a broad spectrum of digital and physical applications. The system isn’t just for marketing designers, but for product teams, customer service, and beyond. Its success depends on how useful teams find it.

 

This required brand system of Uber is made up of nine elements, each one explained below.

Logo 

A wordmark instead of a symbol, the logo is approachable, easy to read, and takes full advantage of the name recognition. Optical kerning, refined weight, and defined clear space, as well as well-delineated placement in relation to other content, all help to make it as instantly recognizable as possible.

Brand System

Composition

The composition system is elegant in its sheer simplicity of use —  it creates a subtle “U” wherever it appears.

 

By defining the grid based on the logo, the system stays flexible and beyond easy to apply. The U-frame optimized for content is used for hoardings, billboards and other advertising formats.

Typography

The typography is as unique and easy to use as Uber is.

 

Inspired by the world’s best used transportation examples, it was designed to maximize its impact across all applications while keeping it easy to read, own-able, and highly recognizable.

Iconography

The icons are inspired by global transportation iconography and drawn from the same shapes as their typeface, creating a seamless system from text to icon.

 

The arrow is part of the iconography but can be used in copy as a shorthand between destinations, whether geographic or states of mind.

Brand System

Colour

A tight colour palette, dominated by black and white, draws on the colours used in global navigation.

The high contrast of black and white, the primary colours of Uber’s palette, make the text as legible as possible.

The use of a set of bright secondary colours makes the UI interesting.

 

The Safety blue, unique to Uber is used sparingly to call out moments of support, assurance and other important interactions between a user and the brand.

Motion

The motion system expresses the simple and easy movement that Uber makes possible. In an attempt to create a completely own-able motion system, the broadcast packages and the key motion states within the product are aligned in a manner to have just one set of motion principles and base motion states.

Photography 

The photography inspires Uber’s audience of young and old, partners and customers, local and global. It builds on how it feels to move from motivation at point A to the emotional payoff of arriving at point B.

Illustration

The illustration draws from Uber’s logo and the transportation language inspiration of the typeface. Simple shapes, clean lines, limited colour and heightened reality give the illustrations a branded feel and make it easy to understand at a glance.

Tone of Voice 

Uber’s global tone of voice focuses on the mindset they share with their users: they see the world as it could be and work to make it a reality. Beyond word choice and style choices, Uber’s tone of voice focuses their belief in putting their audience first.

Conclusion

Built from stakeholder input from around the world and tested on the ground with creative teams, Uber’s brand system is simple, flexible, and globally recognizable.

 

The learnings of what the business needed globally during a period of transition were used to drive their work of creating a brand that both served their business and engaged the audience.

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In an exclusive interview with Creative Gaga, storyboard artist Sachin Tiwari has given tips and shared his insights about creating a storyboard.

Storyboarding

CG. What was your inspiration to choose the field of animation as your career?

Sachin. Growing up watching animated series like He-man, Barba-papa and many others. Seeing the characters perform various actions like talk, laugh move and dance always fascinated me. I wondered how it all works. Loving to draw, I would copy those characters in my sketchbook or even on any surface where I could draw, and eventually, it took-up as a profession by undergoing a formal training from a reputed animation production house. This marked the start of my professional journey as an Animation artist.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding
Storyboarding

CG. What is a storyboard and what is its importance in a project? What are the different fields where storyboards are essential?

Sachin. A storyboard is a shot by a short sequence of any written script represented visually using graphics or illustrations. It explains how the video will unfold shot by shot or look like on-screen just like a comic book. It is very important for a video/visual-based project to have a proper storyboard of the script being produced.

Storyboarding
Storyboarding

In our everyday lives, sometime we have to draw a rough sketch to explain our point of view to make it easy to understand. Similarly storybord is like a road-map to visualise something which otherwise is not easily understood only through written words of the script.

Visuals make people understand the whole thing better. Thus, a storyboard undoubtedly plays a significant role in video production when a director needs to make the production staff understand his vision and show how exactly the product is going to be mapped out.

Storyboarding

These days many industries, apart from the animation sector, such as advertisement, live-action films, business explainers, television production etc., use storyboarding for their productions. The art of storyboarding is a powerful tool to help communicate ideas, and when used properly it helps to avoid common mistakes like a broken storyline, mis-matched dialogue and playback timing issues and keeps the whole team aware of what is to be done.

CG. As stories are an integral part of storyboarding. But how critical are the characters of the story?

Sachin. Our sense of curiosity engages us to see what will happen next. Stories capture attention and we are hardwired to respond to that. An artist while drawing the storyboard, aims at creating visuals that convey the right message and the storyline and are relatable too, by the people. For this, a character is must to imbue the emotions. A story/plot is always designed or said to give a message, but without a character or protagonist, it is not possible to create any storyboard.

CG. What are the different kinds of projects that you take up and how do you decide upon the concept of creating a storyline for your projects?

Sachin. Majority of the projects I work on are story-driven cartoon film productions which are either episodic or full-length films. To start a project, one needs to understand a few things like references, layout, framing, layering and lastly finishing. Although boarding is a team-based activity and anyone can contribute, but in today’s scenario storyboarding artists have to create and complete a storyboard, more or less, individually and have it approved by the directors.

CG. What are the different mediums that you use for creating story-boards?

Sachin. I personally don’t find myself dependent on any particular medium to create a storyboard. Choosing the medium should be result-oriented, whether you use pencil to paper or any kind of computer-based software. In general, I use paper and a pencil to create rough basic thumbnails. They’re pretty much scribbled for my reference. When satisfied with my scribbled drawings, I start creating them digitally with Adobe Flash. After translating the thumbnails into fine drawings, I then add the sound to set the storyline and timings for the final output.

CG. Time frames are an essential requirement for any creative project. How does time framing make a difference to the final outcome? And how do you balance?

Sachin. Yes, time frames are always there, and I try to adhere to them as much as possible but not at the cost of compromising the quality of work. I pass on the final work to the client only after being satisfied with the desired quality. I don’t prefer taking up projects with unrealistic time frames or where it is difficult to provide satisfactory results.

CG. What are the important factors to be kept in mind while storyboarding for a project?

Sachin. I work as a freelance boarding artist. Freelance means that you don’t always have work but the upside of working freelance is that no two projects are the same. There is ample variety and it is exciting to work on animation projects of different styles.

But still there are some important factors or a checklist, which remain same for every project and should be kept in mind, like:

 

+ Have I read the whole script?


+ Do I know the storyline?


+ How am I going to execute the scene?


+ Do I know the essence of the scene?


+ Do I have the proper material such as character sheets, prop sheets, backgrounds, audio etc.?


+ Do I have proper references?


+ Is my scene in-sync with the style of the animation required and flow of the episode?


+ Are characters matching with the layouts’ perspective?


+ Do I know where to minimize my efforts without affecting the quality?


+ Am I doing something to make the simple scenes better?


+ Am I planning according to the time deadline?

Issue 45

Published in Issue 45

When celebrations are all around for the new year, everyone is curious about what this new year will bring. So, the rounds of looking back to the past year and trying to predict the new one starts. We started the same exploration through this issue by reaching various experts for their take on the trends for their respective fields. So, go ahead.

 

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Fashion photography blends commercial photography and fine arts. After you understand the communication objective, it is important to understand the role of different elements as well to fix the final frame. Fashion Photographer Omkar Chitnis shares few techniques and insights that help in getting a visually dynamic fashion frame.

Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Campaign for Tiana Jewellery
Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Campaign for Tiana Jewellery
Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Campaign for Tiana Jewellery

Choosing the Subject

The process starts with the subject. It can be a model, a product, a service, anything. The other elements should be used to support it. Magnification of the shot comes next. For example, if you are shooting for a clothing brand, you need to take a full-length shot. If you are shooting for makeup, you have to take a close-up shot. The background is a very important aspect of any picture. It enables you to complete the image.

Warp n Weft
Warp n Weft
Warp n Weft

Planning the Frame

Unlike Landscape photography, in fashion, you design a shot and accordingly go about models, magnification, poses, lighting, etc. The kind of lights, the distance at which they are placed, the shutter speed, the aperture etc. everything makes for the final frame. Keep in mind two key factors, the amount of light and the expected temperature of the image. Also, in the post-production, temperature and tones of the picture should be adjusted accordingly to justify the picture.

Floglow for Afrostyle Magazine Vol11

Choosing the Tone

There’s a vast difference in lighting for colour and black&white images. While shooting in colour, tone and intensity of colours matter whereas in black&white, grayscale of the colours matter. Some tones may look interesting in colour but flat in black&white. So, as a photographer, understanding the grayscale of every colour is important. Thus, clothes, accessories, background and even the hair colour of the model matters in a black&white shoot. Capturing a frame in colour and then making it a black&white is a wrong technique

Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Millenial Maiden for Khushi Magazine
Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Millenial Maiden for Khushi Magazine
Whos That Chic campaign for Peacock Magazine

Setting the Context

Expression and attitude of the model is really important to make an impact. But since fashion photography is also about clothing, you need to ensure clothes are not getting blurred or losing the colours, details etc. Make up and model should compliment the clothes, the subject of the shoot. Keeping the lighting soft gives soft results, retaining the softness of the skin and expressions.

Creating the Mood

Sometimes, shooting in low shutter speed helps you create depth and mood, being helped by a little-blurred hair. Shooting men is different from shooting women. One should decide the look of the model – sexy, confident, soft or blunt. Lighting comes to play here. Generally, a bit of contrast works in men’s shoot to enhance the sharp features. It’s important to understand the anatomy, nature and character of the personality. When features are a bit blunt, bright lighting helps you enhance the features and hide the flaws. Similarly, high contrast lighting creates drama.

Unwavering Heritage Lofficial July 15
Unwavering Heritage Lofficial July 15
Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Unwavering Heritage Lofficial July 15

Shooting in the Open

Outdoor photography is a different task altogether. If you are using only sunlight, you will have to be very precise about the time, the angle of the light and the location. A study of the light source helps you a lot. Sometimes you can use sunlight as a key light and use flashlights or continuous lights to fill the excess shadows or vice verse. When you shoot in just sunlight, background matters a lot. Remember to not let it overpower the model at all. If need be, light up the natural background as well.

Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Blood Moon
Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
Falguni SND Shane Peacock SS20

Adding the Elements

Many a times, the fabric on the model creates drama. Keeping the overall image dark makes it more interesting. And a blurred background creates a nice depth. Using backlight can create a nice dimension. Having a bit blurry foreground creates mood in the picture.

Presenting it Perfect

After selecting the final shot, colour correction is a very important step. Just a tinge of colour helps you create a different mood altogether. Cropping the picture is also an important part. While shooting you should know what to shoot, but you should also know what should be kept and done away with while editing.

Fashion Photography - Omkar Chitnis
The Red Opera

Published in Issue 10

With this issue, we are exploring yet another discipline of design – Web and UI. With the changing times, Indian designers are increasingly opting for this new medium. But are we really prepared to take the global challenge? What’s missing and what do we strive on? We invited few leading practitioners of the industry to deliberate on this issue. So, go ahead

 

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Advertising is one such arena where one can achieve as much as they’d like; provided, that they’ve got the skills, talent and of course the courage. Nasheet Shadani, believes it’s for every illustrator to make the most of this opportunity and create magical pieces that can manifest themselves as memorable communications.

Advertising
Poster for Vodafone India
Advertising
Poster for Vodafone India
Advertising
Poster for Vodafone India

If the Idea is the Soul of Any Work Then Illustration is the Body.

It is common belief that it’s tough for a fresh college graduate to walk in with a portfolio and land into advertising directly. Common notions are that one needs ‘contacts’ and ‘references’. That’s not true. A good portfolio is the key into this exciting world, provided that the work contains not only cool designs and illustrations, but strong and unique ideas behind them as well. Once you make your way in, the world is yours. And for an illustrator, it’s a very exciting place. There is a bit of illustration in everything you create, whether it’s a logo design, typography, calligraphy or even a photo shoot.

Advertising
Poster for Vodafone India
Advertising
Poster for Vodafone India
Advertising
Poster for Vodafone India
Advertising

Love Problems More Than Solutions.

Pablo Picasso once said, “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things”. Once a new style is cracked, the job is done. Then it’s all about moving on to explore something new. It’s important to go for the best style that suits the brief rather than retro fitting what you are good at. It also depends on the brief, if the best solution is a minimal vector graphic then why waste energy and time in creating intricate miniature art?

Poster for Vodafone India
Poster for Vodafone India
Dancer Meets Potter, Dancer Meets Puppet. Surajkund Mela theme is used to invite people on behalf of Vodafone using vivid and vibrant illustrations.

Do the Doodle.

Whatever is the result, it all starts with a doodle. Never sit on the computer directly. It is always better to think, let your subconscious work on the problem then transfer your thoughts into paper and use that doodle as a building block. Remember that even though we’ve got incredible programs and software at our disposal, they can’t do the thinking; they cannot generate ideas. Surrounding yourself with interesting and creative things can help inspire. Whether it’s things you collect from your travels or simply dig deep into the rich Indian culture, design and artistic forms are all around us.

The Elves and the Shoemaker, Santa’s Gift and Wicked Harry.

What’s Stopping You?

Short deadlines, overnight work, client’s not so friendly feedback and budget issues are few things that, sometimes, stop us in doing great work. But it ultimately depends on the kind of brand you’re working with. There are clients like Vodafone who love illustrations and there are other clients who are more focused on photo shoots or stock images. Can you imagine Amul advertising without those funny illustrative ads? Once you figure out that illustration is the best answer to this brief then the real job starts to convince the client on the benefit of using illustration in that particular case. Illustration in advertising is very different from illustrations elsewhere. Here, every single line must serve a purpose and should add to that overall message.

Advertising
ORIYA, URDU, MALAYALAM. A campaign to promote the dying art of calligraphy.
Advertising
COUPLE. A print ad to show the ill effects of bad breath in a funny way.
Advertising
Illustration for Taxi Fabric

Published in Issue 24

Gone are the days when Illustrations would take a back seat. Now, they are becoming more proactive and are evolving the way we communicate. This time, Creative Gaga focuses on how the advertising world is opening its doors to this exciting form of design. Featuring renowned Illustrators like Chris Beatrice, Nasheet Shadani, Vijay Kumar, Gabriel Mareno and much more, this issue promises to leave no page unturned!

 

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Vibrant colours, dark themes and Metal would define the artist and drummer Aaron Pinto who shares the influence of art and music on his quarantine time.

Boop. Digital illustration contributed to “Design Fights COVID” which provide food and medical supplies to stray animals

How did you cope with quarantine and how has the situation affected your art and creativity? Have you been struck with any unexpected challenge?

Aaron. I have been coping well. My home doubles as a studio and therefore my workflow is uninterpreted and just as it was before the quarantine. I created some exciting pieces, as well. This process of creative isolation has made me take a step back and analyse and refocus. The only challenge I’ve faced is maintaining my energy level since I couldn’t properly exercise.

Tarot Parrot. An imaginative wordplay on Parrot and Tarot.

Have you participated or came up with any art challenge? How you spent your quarantine time?

Aaron. I’ve participated in ‘Design Fights COVID’, an initiative by Art and Found and I’ve also partnered with a few bands to create some COVID specific creatives. Apart from that, I’m working on my apparel line and a series. This is something I’ve always wanted to do.

Can you elaborate on your contributions to ‘Design Fights COVID’?

Aaron. Design Fights COVID partnered with a few NGOs which are helping smoothen various aspects of life. As I love animals, the NGO I partnered for is ‘World for All’. It is an organisation which provides medical aid and food to stray animals.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto
Manifest. A comment on the superficiality of people and their pursuit of online validation.

This pandemic has proven that during a crisis, people turn to art for solace. Do you think this will leave a lasting impression in the field of art?

Aaron. Whether it has created a lasting impression can only be found out in retrospect, but in general, I think people will feel a little more connected with art. Art therapy is universal, and I believe that everyone does this intentionally or otherwise.

How has quarantine impacted your livelihood?

Aaron. I believe I’m one of the lucky few to be busy with a lot of commercial work this quarantine since jobs are scarce with many brands busy taking stock of the current situation.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto
Day off. A surreal pop take on a creature of dark taking some time off.

How do you manage to differentiate workspace from your home? Has your productivity been affected due to this?

Aaron. I assign a time for each task I’ve set out for the day. That way, I’m able to be productive and not lose my mind by just working the whole day. I also have my drumkit at home and use it to break the monotony. This was my life before quarantine as well, so very little has changed.

What are some of the projects you wish to pursue as soon as this quarantine is over? What are the projects we can look forward to from you?

Aaron. The apparel line is my top priority. I’m actively pursuing mural since I’ve always wanted to do that. I’ve also got some unreleased work in the pipeline with international bands, which will be released soon.

Squishy and Spongy. Merchandise developed for the single Squishy and Spongy by the band Primitiv.

What is the influence of music on your artworks?

Aaron. The music I listen to guides my artwork and helps me finish the piece. Conversely, I create a visual to help me produce music. Since music is always playing at home, I am continually inspired. I’m currently working on a series inspired by synthwave and metal music.

Vibrant colours and gothic themes seem to be your signature. When did you start incorporating Metal in your artwork? How did you develop/discover your style?

Aaron. If I define my work in a sentence, it would be – using bright colours for depressing themes. I’ve always had an affiliation for Metal, comics, cartoons and toys and these have a significant influence on my inking style and colours. Album art should define the aesthetics of a band, and I’m exposed to this from childhood. This, I believe, is the most significant factor for my style. Even though I’ve worked with various bands, I don’t think I’ve reached my signature style, yet.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto

How is album art different from other types of illustrations? How do you develop an illustration for an album?

Aaron. Album art is music translated into visual form. It must represent the music, and the listener must witness the sync between the music and art. Before I commit to a band, I listen to their music, because I cannot work with a composition I don’t enjoy. I go through all the lyrics and immerse myself into their vibe. I then adapt to music and work with it. I always finish the linework first, since I believe that every artwork must look good in black and white first.

What is your advice to aspiring creative professionals?

Aaron. Find your style and own it, since there is a lot of art out there. If you are true to your voice, it will pay off in the end.

Quarantine - Aaron Pinto
Eviscerating India. Tour poster for the band Gutslit and Godless 2020 India tour.

Published in Issue 50

We all started this year anticipating many things, but nobody thought of life coming to a complete halt. The Coronavirus pandemic has forced every human to re-evaluate their attitude towards nature and life. We also have been forced to lock down in our houses. Though we are no more in the lockdown, still many unfortunate ones continue to lose their lives and livelihoods. This isolation has given many of us the time we needed to finish our long pending tasks. Some have turned to art and craft for peace and solace. While most got relaxed and enjoyed their time with family, others used the focussed time to prepare themselves for the life post lockdown. On the other hand, creative freelancers found it helpful for them to focus and produce more as their work setup usually is within their homes. So, to understand how all the creatives have handled the lockdown, we reached many who have been creating and sharing inspirational artworks during this time. So order your copy if you are looking for inspirational COVID lockdown artworks and some advice on how to handle the current slowdown more creatively!

 

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