BENGALURU: About 10 to 15 years back there were no films in Karnataka that used animation or VFX. But, today, the situation has changed dramatically.
“Now there are hardly any movies that do not use animation and VFX. It has become an integral part of filmmaking,” says Udayaravi Hegde, managing director of Unifi Media, which works with as many as 60 films in the Kannada industry every year. He was at the Bengaluru GAFX Conference that drew to a close on Sunday.
Unifi Media, presently one of the most well-known VFX and animation studios in the Kannada movie industry, was started in 2006 by Udayaravi and has been involved in designing the VFX affects of local blockbusters such as Uppi 2, U-Turn, Lucia, Maasti Gudi, as well as movies from other industries such as the Baahubali movies.
Making the Change
Udayaravi studied animation for two years before he plunged straight into the television industry working for a few years as a graphic artist and editor. He was involved in a number of productions such as serials like Nanda Gokula. He had a hunch that the wind towards animation and VFX would bring big opportunities and therefore decided to set up his own company early on. And it seems the move has paid off.
“Back when I started, visual affects formed around only one or two per cent of a movie. These days some movies have as much as 30 per cent done using visual affects,” he says.
Artists for the South
Presently, Unifi Media caters to as much as 40 percent of the movies of the Kannada film industry every year says Udayaravi. “In addition to the local industry, we also cater to other film industries in the South. We have been a part of movies such as the Surya-starrer 24 and many others in Tamil Nadu. Work on visual affects of few Bollywood movies such as Ghajni and Ghayal Once Again was also done in our studios,” says Udayaravi.
Presently, Unifi Media has an office in Bengaluru as well as in Chennai. “We have a total staff of around 120 people,” he says.
While there might be many international animation studios that are based in Bengaluru and cater to movies from Hollywood, Udayaravi says that he is extremely proud that his studio is providing his services to the local industry and helping the local animation and VFX industry grow. “There are definitely a number of challenges especially in terms of the investment and the technologies. However I am glad that I am part of something that will be very big,” he says.