Saturday, 8 December 2012

Animation express released an article on RUTURAJ AROLKAR, Director of our school ANIMATION AND ART SCHOOL GOA

What made you start Animation and Art School Goa?
Sometimes situations just force you to do things you never imagined. Animation and Art School Goa is exactly an outcome of such a situation. I had dedicated myself completely to make Takshaa – Academy for the Artist one of the best schools in India for animation. I had co founded it so I never thought otherwise. Well lets just say things do not happen the way you wish they would and I decided to move on. I had an option of either moving to a desk job or continue on my own to still go on and make a school that is well known for art and animation. My well wishers had told me to take up the desk job as an artist and I chose the other way. The hand that wanted to slap me could also give me a pat on the back, only time shall tell.

Why did you start the school specifically in Goa? Why not in other regions?
The very first requirement for a budding artist is a free mind. A mind that is not drained off its creative ability by long strenuous commutes just to get to class. You need an environment that sets you up for the day rejuvenating you by staying close to nature. Life is not just about work, now is it? What better place to be in when you just need that time away from your daily routine to do something different. Probably draw people live, sketch some new environments and with the rich heritage and colonial structures everywhere you have great subjects to study within 5 minutes from wherever you might be in Goa. Which other place offers such freedom? Unfortunately lot of parents have a very different view of what goa has to offer. The real Goa is very different from what most know about it.

What is your education philosophy and teaching methodology?
“Get your 100 bad drawings out of the way before you can see your first good drawing” Students expect their first choice to be their best when creating anything in animation as they do not understand the meaning of this sentence.. There is a big learning curve and lot of subjects that are taught off the computer have a tangible impact on your creations. “If you cant communicate it on paper, chances are you wont be able to do it on a computer either.” I always have believed that any piece of art is 80% planning and 20% happy accidents. You just need to be trained enough to know when those happy accidents occur and how you can use them in your final work.

The word Art is very prominent in your school, so does that mean your school will also have courses like fine arts and commercial arts?
Animation is a derivative of the Art form with heavy use of technology. If you want to belong to the creative side you need strong fundamental art skills. If we look online for the best schools in the US and other European/Asian countries in animation you will find ART schools teaching Animation. They are not just animation institutions!! That is the simple fact. Having studied at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco CA. I realized how important fundamental Art knowledge is for the field of Animation and this i speak from personal experience. My engineering background did provide me with the technical knowledge required but earning my BFA after my BE was the best thing that happened to me. To answer your question, yes we will always have the Fine arts and Commercial arts stream at this school because it is the core of Animation education.
For all the various verticals within animation, color theory and its applications are of great importance for the filed of Texturing, Lighting and Visual Effects. In-depth knowledge of Anatomy, Forms/Shapes and Volumes are key basics for a Modeler and a digital character designer. Good readable and expressive poses whether exaggerated or subtle are of paramount importance for an animator not to mention these artists need a good sense of composition. These essential traits are learnt without the computer at the traditional level. Students who directly try and jump to 3D fail to understand important feedback because they do not have the right kind of Art vocabulary or a catalogue which can help them visualize better in turn gravely affecting their work.
What is the set up of the school like?
The school is spread on 2 floors. The administrative block, A dedicated Art room, a sculpting room, a Design room and 2 computer class rooms sit on the first floor. The Library and the Labs are on the 2nd Floor. We have fabricated sculpting tables so that it can accommodate sculptures from 3 feet to small maquettes. Like a traditional art school we have horse benches and easels foe the artists and drafting/design tables for the conceptual art classes. The computer rooms have high end machines will all the requisite software. We also provide hostel facilities to students who come from other states.

How many students are studying in Animation and Art School Goa at present and how many have passed out so far?
This question would be appropriate for a school that has been around for 3 years at-least as that is the time required by a school to make its presence felt through its graduating batches. Since we are fairly new, actually just over a year old operationally, we have 5 students who have passed out who had enrolled in the specialization course. Their work is available online to see.
The school intakes 15 students in a batch as we feel that is the right size so each student gets personal attention. Another 15 are in the current batch. We also have courses for the young budding artists from age 12 – 16 years. Since this is the age when children start developing their traits we train them professionally at secondary level you will be surprised how well they perform, it is the exposure to this medium of animation that trains their mind right at home. Its much easier for them to grasp concepts.

What kind of courses do you offer?
We offer the following courses that range from 1 year to 2 years. Since this is a lot of information I would urge you to go to our website, for more detailed course descriptions:
  • Film Production
  • 3D Specialization – Modeling, Animation, Lighting and Texturing, Visual Effects.
  • 3D Asset Development – For Hi end feature films and Game concept design
  • Pre Production Design – Character/ Creature designs and environment design plus a lot more.
  • Illustraion
  • 3D Layout & Set Design
  • 2D Visual FX
  • Contemporary Media
We also teach Online classes for any specialization.

What is the syllabus for these courses?
Syllabus is the core of any course structure. My long association with education in animation right from my time in the US as a Teacher’s Assistant to help set up my universities online courses back in 2004 till date, along with my production experiences on features and commercials have given me a good idea of what the Indian Animation Student requires to build a good skill-set. The Syllabus has been an end result of all this years of this association and has been indigenous crafted to fill any void that arises from a standard course structure. As we have a lot of programs it would be difficult to even summarize them all here. Again the info can be obtained online by sending a request to the student counselor.

Do you have entrance examinations? What are the eligibility rules to enter “Animation and Art School Goa”?
I am sure this industry will soon see coaching classes for training students for these Animation Entrance Exams (A.E.E). “India’s First or maybe Worlds best A.E.E training facility” will be their slogan. I believe this to be a complete marketing gimmick.
We ask students for their personal work, their portfolios which even contain doodles and photos, we need different insights on our students to help them better and that we obtain from their personal work. By the way we also train students who have passed out from other Animation institutes who have given such entrance exams.
We have a simple policy of stringent grading method. Anyone can enter based on seat availability but only the ones that perform in the semester go the next level so if you are not cut out for this you vacate the seat for another deserving person. Hence we do not insist on taking the fees upfront. You can pay as you progress that way if you cant cope, we don’t waste your time and you don’t waste your money. Absolute transparency.
Some are born artists and it is a clear decision for them but some need time to discover and wake the dormant artist with in them and an eligibility criteria would be unfair to them.

Who’s the faculty at “Animation and Art School Goa”?

Every Faculty at the school has a BFA degree at least. Then they have minimum 3 years of experience in production that too working on international projects from feature films to commercials and TV productions. I personally teach too and i have been in this field since 1995 over all learning and working professionally. With Feature film and TV production experience right from working an artist to Directing, I have been nominated at the FICCI Frames and the Golden Cursor award for my work.
Another key person is Aditya Chari who is well known in the art fraternity and the animation industry. Aditya along with Dattaraj Kamat and Shiraj mulla is responsible for the traditional and digital art classes. Aditya has written 2 text books in drawing for human figures and portraits which are used all over India and abroad as reference materials. He is just brilliant and has loads of experience from designing for virgin comics to doing conceptual art for major films and actors alike. Dattaraj has worked with UTV in the design department and has a big fan follow online and Shiraj has over 11 years of experience in matte painting and concept development. Vinay Prasad, an animator by profession handles the Animation classes.
The most important factor for them is passion and the will to make a difference. It is a big task at hand but we strive to make a difference. There has to be a good combination of a proper progressive curriculum and experience d faculty who can provide good critiques.

When is the next batch commencing?
We have begun a Trimester pattern at Animation and Art School Goa so we be having new admissions every four months which is January, May, September.

What are your future plans for “Animation and Art School Goa”?
To be one of the best Art schools in India. We really do have an extensive curriculum and i have done my rounds at various art colleges in different states and I can say for sure most of them need to upgrade their course ware to meet the current trends. They have an environment where people who are naturally skilled can get by but creating talent from the mediocre lot needs a real good setup which exposes them to things from renaissance art to the emerging trends. Unfortunately we as a community are satisfied with mediocrity and it is plaguing the industry. Animation and Art School Goa is a system where the like minded need to bond and create a difference they want to see it is not a one man show and it is right now just an effort that needs to be molded for future creatives. A long way ahead but wih a goal in sight.

How was your experience teaching at Takshaa?
Takshaa is and always will be my first creation as a co-founder in the education field. People still talk about it and believe it was indeed one of the best. There is a good lot of students who have learnt under us there and who are doing real good in the industry. It was the perfect place to be and i have now created the next step to it. The best thing about Takshaa was that the faculties were all working professionals who had industry experience and could share it with their students on a daily basis right from Hollywood to Bollywood.

One official quote from your side
Be wise to know that only you can see the world your way from you shoes. Recognize your strengths and work towards them. It will be the best thing you ever did for yourself.


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