Interview with Dhimant Vyas

Dhimant Vyas, a veteran in the field of Animation Film Designing has a lot of successful ventures to his credit. His recent project which has received immense acclaim is Taare Zameen Par. Another contemporary project of his is Creature Comfort USA, a TV series for USA (stop motion animation) Company – Aardman Animation Ltd. Aardman Studios is an Academy Award winning animation studio based in Bristol, United Kingdom. Before that he was involved in BBC’s Stop Motion Animation series called On the Air with Joel Simon, Flicker Pix Animation Studio, Belfast, UK.

VP: How has art contributed in your life?

DV: Art has immense contribution in my life. As a child, I always visualized vibrant images and I always yearned to add life to these images. Art has always been my favourite subject in school and I knew I would end up doing something in the field of art. It has changed my perspective and widened my visual vocabulary. It has undoubtedly helped me to be a better human being and has enabled me to communicate with the world at large. Art has instilled artistic, aesthetic values in me. It is very important to be honest and sincere towards your work to produce a good piece of art and above all to be a good human being.

VP: Do you feel art and craft is important in our daily chores? If yes why?

DV: Art should be present in some form in our daily chores. It is a kind of spiritual practice which helps you to connect to the humanity. In this fast pace of life, art acts as a buffer. It helps to refresh your brain. I feel art is indirectly related to Almighty and directly to Nature. It helps us to remain attached to our basic roots and principals. It is not important that practice art one has to be a creative person by profession. All brains are creative and they can execute their creativity in their own manner. One doesn’t have to be extremely talented by birth. Even an engineer is creative but the only difference lies as to how he projects it.

VP: How does art and craft help in the development of one’s character?

DV: The greatest gift which art can give a person is to make him complete. It opens up a wide horizon for thinking. Art helps a person to grow mature and connect with the bigger world. There is immense purity which resides in a person who practices art. Art is multi lingual and this is a common factor which connects the humanity. It is a universal language which has the power to break all forms of barrier. I can site an instance to make it simpler. At present Indo – Pak relations are at its worst state, yet, Pakistani music is extremely popular in India and singers like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan are remembered as legends. Similarly Indian musicians, actors are very popular among Pakistanis and they just adore them. Art is one language which is understood by all.

VP: Was there an inspiration which helped you to make a mark in this field?

DV: There were a lot of inspirations which motivated me to step into this field. I was an avid lover of art and spent a lot of time observing artists, listening to musicians and interacting with people of film industry. I love the work of Ishu Patel. He is one of the key animation filmmakers from India who has produced some of the best works in the field of animation. Peter Lott’s works are brilliant. There have been many other animators whose works have inspired me to move ahead in this field and attain refinement in my work.

VP: You have excelled in a special genre like Claymation, how will you explain this genre?

DV: This genre is not a new one it is an extended version of animation. It was started by an animator named Will Vinton. He used clay extensively in his animation works. Nick Park is a four time Academy Award winning English filmmaker of stop motion animation, best known as the creator of Wallace and Gromit. He used a lot of clay in his works. Usage of clay is extremely convenient in animation due to the flexibility of the product. It is available in innumerable colours and it does not dry off. This medium can be used and reused. Claymation is a part of stop motion in which clay puppets are made placed in miniature sets with lots of lights. Then the motions are captured in the frames. We have to make 25 frames for 1 second of video. It’s like capturing the images and when you play them you can view it in motion. An animator should know the principals of the classic animation and should have a keen observation. Timing in this field is very important and this skill one acquires through rigorous practice. Another important aspect of this field is that one should know the technicalities of the field. Claymation takes a lot of time but it is fun when you see the objects created by you in motion. Your imagination takes full control and you can execute whatever you feel like.

VP: What can you tell about the future of Claymation in India?

DV: Future of claymation is very good in India. There is lot of awareness among common man. When I was a student in National Institute of Designing (NID) there were very few animators, but now this field is expanding. But there is again a loophole intertwined within it. People are currently taking up this field because of the money factor. However, if one doesn’t have talent, he cannot make a mark in this field. People should have genuine creativity to outshine in this field. It is totally performance oriented. Success in this field depends on passion, dedication, patience and time.

VP: Parents consider art and craft as a hobby. But do you feel children can aspire and take up art as a full fledged career.

DV: These ideas were much stronger in earlier times. Times are changing now and awareness about this field is increasing rapidly. There is a lot of scope in this field but one should completely dedicate themselves in this field. Commitment is extremely important to make a stable career in this field.

VP: What kind of audience do you keep in mind while designing your films?

DV: It varies from project to project. It mainly depends on the subject and it should support the story and should not stand out. It is basically a story telling technique. I try to communicate my ideas the best way suited to them.

VP: What is the motion capture technique? Are you aware of Soumitra Rannade’s new film Friends Forever? He claims that this is the first Indian film in which this technique has been utilized. Your comment.

DV: Motion capture is a technique in which the movements are recorded and the movements are translated into digital model. In film making, actions of human actors are recorded and the information is used to animate digital characters in 3D animation. This technique has been there in India for quite some time. In South, this technique has been used for quite some time. Prasad Laboratory in South has this equipment.

VP: Your current project?

DV: I am going to UK, at Aardman Animation Studio to make the second part of the animation, Shawn and the Ship.

Compiled by :
Sridatta Gupta