4 minute read

Autonomous Animator

A Young Trailblazer

India’s innovate studio 88 Pictures stays ahead of the competition.

When Milind D. Shinde, founder and CEO of 88 Pictures, was working at the Oriental Dreamworks, China unit of DreamWorks Animation, he gained an interesting outsider’s perspective on how the Indian Animation industry was perceived. “I spent time in doing the so-called ‘need-gap’ analysis,” he recalls. “I always believed that some extraordinary talent existed in India. All I needed to do was to create an entity that could house such talent and challenge them by attracting of the best projects that were being done in the animation space around the world.”

About four and half years ago, Milind Shinde along with Siddhie Mhambre founded 88 Pictures, a state-of the-art CGI studio based in Mumbai, India, that focuses on creating beautiful CGI imagery across all formats from episodic TV to feature films. “Our studio specializes in 3D animation services from asset build to final color delivery in traditional CG pipe as well as new generation tech such as real time Engines,” says Shinde. “We have just completed a feature short using Unreal Engine. I always wanted to create a ‘value game’ rather than the ‘volume game.’ My mantra for the first five years of the company was stay nimble, stay agile and stay focused .We started small with 35 artists is 2016 at one location and now we are close to 350 to 400 staff working out of two locations, Mumbai and Bangalore.” 88 Pictures specializes in animation services from concept design to final picture. Among the top-notch projects the studio has worked on Trollhunters, Wizards, Tales of Arcadia, Fast and Furious, Dragons Rescue Riders, Usagi Chronicles (in production). “We are also working on a very high-end Warner Bros. TV show and also contributed to features such as Scoob!, UglyDolls and Tom and Jerry to name a few. The feather in our cap is going to be Guillermo Del Toro-directed DreamWorks feature Tales of Arcadia: Rise of the Titans which will premiere on Netflix this summer.

An Eye on Future Technologies

Aby John, the studios’ COO and producer says he’s very proud of the studio’s leadership in technology. “Technology is at the core of what we do,” he notes. “‘Inspiration to Innovate’ is one of our core values of the studio. Our core pipeline is built with a proprietary technology and many software used are mostly open

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans feature courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Siddhie Mhambre, Co-Founder Milind D. Shinde, Founder and CEO

source. Animation is mainly produced using Autodesk Maya for most of the projects. We also use Blender for previz and on some shows for modeling to color delivery. We are completing a very high- end animated short that’s entirely executed with Unreal engine. We have also produced an award-winning VR project in Unity. Our goal is to “up” the quality of work from project to project whether it is a new style of animation, real time previz, unique look and feel or cool shading techniques”

According to John, the studio’s core workflow management is based on many in-house developed tools which are used in conjunction with the production management tool Shotgun. Manish Kumar, Head of Animation and Founder member adds “We have custom rigging tools to support animators for achieving some of the stellar animation we recently did for Tom and Jerry and Scoob!’s marketing material. We are constantly wanting to reinvent ourselves by adopting newer technology stacks for facilitating production. Our talented leadership and a passionate crew is always ready to push the envelope across all disciplines.” Co-founder Siddhie Mhambre chimes in, ”In the last four and half years, we had set clear goals for 2021 from the day one. We have achieved the business, creative and technology goals that we had projected for 2021. Our rich body of work speaks for itself for the accomplishment we have achieved over the last five years. We also want to tell compelling stories which are made in India, with our ‘Local for Global’ vision in mind. There are some interesting projects we are developing which will showcase Indian talent and stories to the world in a way that has never been seen before.”

Shinde believes that these are very interesting times for animation content. “Everyone is hungry for animated content,” he adds. “How do you stay relevant in the coming times is the key to success and longevity in this business. Our core philosophy is to stay under the radar and let the work speak for itself. The service module will continue to push the envelope with some challenging projects in the pipeline. We want to tell great stories which are local to global and share it across the world, so the focus will also continue to develop those unique IPs. We’d to appeal to anyone who is looking to push the boundaries of CGI and create some groundbreaking shows. So, now you know where to find us!” ◆

For more info about this fast-rising company, visit 88.pictures