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Entertaining by Design

Redha Habib and Mansoor Toorani

3D is envisioned as the future of digital entertainment, but is the region ready to embrace this technology, asks Bahraini artist duo Redha Habib and Mansoor Toorani.

52 May 2012 BTM

As the pioneering 3D artists on the Bahrain media scene, Redha Habib and Mansoor Toorani are out to prove a point. The duo is racing against time to complete their first 30-episode animated comic series in time for Ramadan. If received well, the Diary of Bu Talool, which serialises the humorous adventures of a jack-of-all-trades, will open the gates for more action on the 3D front. “There’s a huge demand out there for 3D animation. Many channels are interested in buying the series and are awaiting a preview of the final product. We’d rather create the product locally with an Arabic flavour, than ship it all the way to Iran, China or India as other producers in the region are doing,” says Mansoor Toorani, co-founder, Reality Animation. In addition to more seasons of the series, the artists plan to dabble in music videos, documentaries, jingles and advertisements — all in the realm of 3D. Eventually, they hope to produce a full length animation movie.

The phenomenal success of Avatar, Kung Fu Panda and Toy Story 3 has spawned a trend that’s seen every major Hollywood producer riding the 3D bandwagon. The GCC region has been slow in catching up, producing only three animation series so far. The region outsources its 3D production work to markets such as India, China, Iran and Italy, with producers shelling out as much as US$150 for every second of a clip, raising the cost of a full length 3D movie to over US$1 million. Self-taught musician and sound artist Redha decided to join forces with architect-turned-designer Mansoor last year to transform his recording studio of 25 years into an audio-visual studio specialising in 3D animation. Business angle Tenmou has invested BD30,000 in the company for a 20 per cent stake, providing much-needed financial support and mentorship. Tenmou is helping them market the series and is also talking to investors to help raise more money. The going has not been easy thus far. In absence of adequate high-tech equipment, every 24-second sequel takes about 12 hours to render a computer generated image in 3D. The project also demands qualified and talented artists, a rare breed in the Kingdom. “We received 90 CVs in response to our advertisement, but only two candidates matched the profile we were looking for. Both are expatriates. We’d planned to hire at least five designers, but are now working with three,” says Redha. Short of qualified professionals, they’ve brought onboard some enthusiastic Bahraini youngsters who are passionate about design. The duo realise they will need to nurture local talent if they’re to produce quality animation locally. “After the series is ready, we’ll enlist help from investors to set up a media training centre in Bahrain. If this market is to expand further, we’ll need trained animators, modular designers, computer graphics professionals as well as sound engineers and camera crew who specialise in 3D,” says Mansoor. Investors will not have reason to regret their decision, they assert, as the appeal of a well-made animation series can be long-lasting.

xxxxx We’d rather create the product locally with an Arabic flavour, than ship it all the way to Iran, China or India as other producers in the region are doing

Bahrain This Month - May 2012  

Bahrain This Month - May 2012 ~ Vol. 16 ~ Issue 5