Kaumudi’s Creations

Kaumudi has been exploring the 2D animation feature of Blender called as Grease Pencil. She has picked up this task of creating an introductory animation for the homepage of the language learning website: http://www.dwibhashi.org. This website helps learning a new language with the help of the language you know already! Kaumudi has done most of the reference images for the site already, however, to give a relevant graphic look, the site team decided to have a small animated GIF to be displayed on the home page. The decision was to have a festival depicted in the animation.

Kaumudi started off last year around the same time last year to explore Blender Grease Pencil. As an added attraction, she also finalised two characters a boy (Dwi), and a girl (Bhashi) to be shown in each of the animation. The task was quite difficult, since there were not many resources available to learn this on your own. However, Kaumudi persisted, and tried various methods to bring Santa to life in the month of December.

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Next month was January, and the topic was the Makar sankranti! Kaumdi tried the kite flying animation. The Grease pencil features of 2D animation were helpful, however, it was a uphill task to achieve a finished look for the animation.

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She also added one more animation in a record time, on the eve of the Republic Day. I chipped in with a 3D animation of the fluttering flag as a background for this animation!

26Jan_Final_Watermark-giff.gifFebruary was for the Holi! The biggest challenge in all these animation is its requirement of playing in a loop. It was a new challenge to animate the colours on the clothes  in a loop! Kaumidi used a tree as a prop to hide Dwi, in this short gag she animated!

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In March, since not a particular festival was to be depicted, she created a generic animation of the children (Dwi and Bhashi) playing the skipping over the rope game! This has been used as a filler, in case a new animation is not available.

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Come April, and Kaumudi moved Northwards, and animated the famous dance moves for the Baisakhi!! The characters were shown in the traditional Punjabi costumes in the green fields!!

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Month of May was a holiday, when we were traveling, and Kaumudi had to ask for the repeat of the rope skipping animation to be displayed once again. During our trip to Barcelona, we met one of the gods of Grease Pencil: Daniel Larra! Kaumudi shared her experience of using Grease Pencil, and got some interesting tips from the grandmaster!

June was showing the Eid-E-Milad animation after rejuvenating trip of Europe! Kaumudi had also learnt about a new software: Krita, which is an excellent option for Photoshop (especially for drawing and painting).

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July month was reserved for the Rakhi-pournima! A huge backdrop of the full Moon, made both characters look pretty! The animation of the flame was interesting.

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August was hectic, since Kaumudi was also playing a host to Lord Ganapati at our house! The animation had more motion than ever, and she tried to depict the new craze of the girls playing the big size drums in the Ganapati processions! We released the GIFs as a teaser, by adding one character at a time, and soon it was an instant hit!

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Since the calendar shifted this year, we had the Navaratri in September. Kaumudi picked the Raavan Dahan as the topic, and Dwi-Bhashi were shown hitting the Raavan with their arrows!

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October has Diwali this year, and Kaumudi is ready with yet another animation. The speciality of this animation is that it is created entirely using the free drawing software: Krita!

 

 

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Teaching-Learning at scale

Red leafJust checked the course enrollment page on http://www.iitbombayx.in, and was pleasantly surprised to see that 3000 participants have enrolled for the course. It is NOT a big deal anymore to have thousands of students. Well known fact that merely 8-10% of the MOOC participants actually complete the course, has made me think about two important issues:

  1. What will be the components of the course, which these large number of participants (from various parts of the country) will find interesting enough to complete the course?
  2. What are those components (present or absent) which will refrain the participants from completing the course?

I would seek your comments on the same, in order to address this important problem faced internationally! I would wait for your comments. Later I will edit this blog post (by referring your comments), to complete this thread, that I have started!

Keep those comments coming in…

Chennai express-ions 2.0: The food

img_8966.jpgChennai  food was great from the time I landed. Early morning when I visited Anna University the first couple of nice filter coffee really set the tone.  My next stop was Loyola College. After the interactive session I was terribly hungry and the Principal Prof. Jose  took his car out so that we can go to the most famous Chennai restaurant: Saravana Bhavan. It took some courage to order the South-Indian full Thali, however I was pretty sure of the taste and the variety. And it did not disappoint at all.

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With numerous items seen here (and some not seen like: the starters and the deserts) in the picture, you can imagine the task of finishing this gigantic thali! My student, Romey (extreme right) gave the much necessary helping ‘hand’ to finish it, and had a ALL VEG meal after a long time!

After couple of sessions and many more meetings at the end of the day, the team at Loyola took me to another famous restaurant Murugan’s idli! Restaurant greeted us with a very basic but clean atmosphere, nice banana leaves, and minimalist but functional menu which was really tempting. I was extremely happy to see the range of chutneys served, irrespective of the main course you order!

 

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The only person who knew what all we had that day was the waiter, who kept on getting various forms of Vadai and Dosai, until we all said ‘enough’! As per the custom, I folded the leaf to half, and indicated the end of my battle! However, it was not possible to say no to the excellent aroma of filter kaapi!!!

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Only words I could utter were: अन्नदाता सुखी भव ||

In remembrance

Since morning, the date, 23rd September was ringing a bell in my head. I wasn’t able to recollect why is that. Until, I opened my old diary having birthdays noted, to see that it was the birthday of one of the most beloved teacher of all times: Prof. I S Mathur.

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I still remember him meeting us two days before the inaugural function of ZICA. He was busy planning the program with meticulous details. Most striking was his ability to communicate with each and every person. Be it the Telugu speaking stage decorator, or the Russian faculty member. He used to make it look super easy, and each one of them had a smile on their faces after the conversation!

I personally feel, planning the 1st batch, is something ZICA should have documented better! The program design, curriculum, time tables, even finer details such as the room allotment had a ‘designer’ mark of ISM on it! I realised this when we were told that the room partners CANNOT be changed! I was extremely happy with my partner (Pankaj Srivastav), since he was a musician, but later did I know that this was by design!

His classes on film language were worth recording. Now when I see mediocre ‘experts’ uploading badly shot/edited/composited videos on ‘YouTube’, I feel we have done a gross injustice to the excellent teachers, by not documenting their lectures.

This is more shameful, when it happens in a media school, having all the facilities in the world. We are bad in documenting, and I really repent on that!

I remember going to him before the Diwali vacation with a request. I wanted to video shoot the proceedings at the institute. He permitted me immediately, and I still have that recording, which I think is the ONLY one existing, which shows glimpses of the humble beginnings! We should have done the recordings of his Film language course, aah, but that is an after thought! I appalled by the current ZICA site, which doesn’t even mention the founding Director. However, I think Prof. Mathur was much beyond that, and he still lives in the hearts of his innumerable students and colleagues!

Remembering you Sir on your Birthday!

 

 

When passed out students surpass the teacher!

There is a definite reason for the catchy title! Many students and even my animation friends often ask me, “What level have you attained in Blender?” I have to disappoint them by saying, “Not much beyond the basics”. They are flabbergasted! Many of them cannot believe their ears! Understandably so…because when you are known as a teacher in a particular domain, then it is a valid expectation that you excel in that domain! I have realised that I am not too good at the software, however, I can be a motivation for many, who want to achieve bigger things!

One such experience is worth sharing. Last year when I was offering the Architectural Visualization course on IITBombayX, I got a call from Solapur. This person was constantly asking me the difference of workflow/features between Sketchup and Blender. He was Atek!

After that call, I saw him take my course, and participating quite actively in it.

He was posting questions on the Discussion forum, as well as answering those which he could! I got another call after a week, and this time he was almost through with the Blender basics, and asking me for further ‘guidance’ to pursue his ideas! I gave him a few links and thought that was it..but NO. He used to come up with unique problems and questions, making me scratch my head and the net-pack to search all over the place and get him an answer!

After the course ended, we had found a good Discussion Forum Moderator in him, for the next offering, and he did that, quite nicely!

During that time, I started receiving well crafted images, but without a chronology of topic/theme. The images were quite good, and had a new challenge for all of us at the course team center! Have a look:

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One fine day I got the reason behind this. “I am creating imagery as a freelance 3D artist, based on the requirement of the client”, he told. Well, I was not so shocked this time, since I had met another student of mine, who was doing this as a source for his pocket money!

This post is an interview (by my colleague Amit Shukla) of this great artist: Atek, who will explain us the process he is following to create imagery as a freelance artist, the pros and the cons of this, and some pointers for others to follow. He can be contacted by clicking on his name to get his eMail ID.

Q: How to get online job for Blender modelling?

There are various websites available on the net such as www.upwork.com or www.freelancer.com etc, which offer such types of jobs by the clients. All we have to do is to create our official login/ ID for the same and proceed.

People from different professions have the liberty to search for jobs as per their specifications. For instance you may filter on whatever field you belong to such as Photoshop or MS word or any other relevant software and search of modelling jobs.

We have to work strictly as per the client’s requirement. We should not use our own preferences against what they have mentioned as their requirements. We can make suggestions but the result file has to be entirely as per their requirements.

I have also suggested Sameer Sir to create such similar login for IITBombayX so that students or interested people can make use of this site and earn.

Q: How to charge them? 

The rates/charges entirely depend upon the service provider’s budget. The specifications and charges are already mentioned on the webpage. These rates are either fixed or in the form of bids. For instance, they mention beforehand that ‘Although you are agreeing to perform this job in $5, we will accept the job of someone who is willing to provide the same quality in less than $5’.Here you have to make your choice.

Q: How to handle technical things? Such as bidding the cost, transferring files, and getting payment in your account? 

Money transfer is usually done in the form of PayPal or Western Union which again entirely depends upon the service providers/clients discretion. The charges for a particular job are always mentioned on the website against that job title.

Transferring your files and then getting the money deposited into your account happens entirely on the factor of trust. You have to trust them completely because at times it happens where they mention a condition that first you transfer your files and then only we will get the money transferred into your account. Again its your choice to proceed with it or withdraw.

There are also certain deductions in the final amount that you get, the bifurcation of which is duly mentioned on the page. For instance, the amount that certain website charges is also deducted from the final amount. So if you have performed a job of $100, you may probably get some $90/$92 after making the official deductions.

Q: Any tips on estimating the charges? 

No we cannot make any estimation regarding charges; we have to agree as per the rates fixed by the clients. It is the clients who offer the job with their pre-fixed rates in the form of fixed charges or bids and it is up to our own choice to accept it or not.

The only condition to getting things done smoothly is to strictly stick to the requirements of the client with no deviations in the result file.

All the very best Atek. You are an inspiration to many, and also the answer to those who keep asking, what should I do after I do this course! Thanks!

 

Quiz 1 of SKANI101x uploaded

Quiz1-fb-02The course is LIVE, and today we uploaded the first quiz. The quiz has three sections, and variety of questions, related to Chapter 1 and 2. We would be releasing the two quizzes subsequently.

Many students are asking if the Quizzes have a deadline, since they have some exams/classes going on currently.

Let me clarify through this post that the deadline for ALL the quizzes (including this one) is going to be December 12th 2017.

December 12th is the end date of the course. Therefore, don’t panic. We have ample time for you to attempt the quizzes. However, make the most of it, by answering ONLY AFTER you verify by checking it in Blender. In the past, this has helped the successful candidates!

Another important announcement: PLEASE refrain yourself from discussing the quiz questions in an open forum. We would be taking serious action against someone who does that. In case you have a doubt, join the WhatsApp group of the course, and send a separate message to us. Avoid a public discussion!!

We have also started a new way to interact with you. It is called as Padlet. Here is an example Padlet we have created. Go to this link and post your queries. Our team will respond on the same. The best part is that Padlet DOES NOT require you to register on their website, for reading/posting. In addition, it also has a mobile app, which gives you a handy way to check/interact with us. Go ahead, install the app from here / OR / visit this page to check the padlet / OR / just scan the QR code displayed below. Use this document to know more about using Padlet: Padlet_Instructions

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Chennai express – ions 3.0: Blender Meet up

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The Blender Meet Up was organised by Loyola ICAM. It was a mixed audience. Their way students teachers and also a few professionals.

It was a mixed audience. Their way students teachers and also a few professionals.

But the most interesting part what’s the topics of interaction.  People from outside narrated their experience and shared the details of the current projects they’re working on.

One of them is working on fluid mechanics simulations while other person mentioned that she was working on a simulation of how an infection will spread over a city like Chennai.

I am pleasantly surprised and amused to hear the various applications and was happy to see how just a simple basic cause of blender can grow up into so many branches applications and experiences.