Shankar sir talking about ” I ” film Vfx work



Teaser of “I” – my latest project

Special Feature: V Srinivas Mohan – Putting Indian Film Industry On the VFX Map

Special Feature in

Special Feature: V Srinivas Mohan – Putting Indian Film Industry On the VFX Map

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“He has taken visual effects to new heights. He deserves an Oscar” – Robot (Enthiran) director Shankar on V Srinivas Mohan.

 V Srinivas Mohan – an electrician, computer programmer, animator at different phases of his career and currently, one of India’s most renowned VFX experts. Srinivas Mohan started out from humble beginnings and is still, like any of his interviews or his own blog suggest, very humble. However, the body of work he is involved in and more importantly, the quality, is colossal. For the greatly acclaimed movie, Enthiran, Mohan tried to deliver visual effects of international standards, offering an end effect which in Hollywood would cost 4 times the budget allocated. No wonder, he is one of Shankar’s favourites.

Srinivas who has initially been involved in a large number of movies in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada for digital compositing made waves with the movie Magic Magic for which he was the visual effects supervisor. A VFX supervisor, for those who don’t understand, is responsible for handling the VFX project and the personnel, managing both the technical and artistic aspects of the project. As someone who is responsible for determining the most cost-effective and technically efficient visual effects techniques for a concept, Mohan scouts countries for freelancers who can offer him the best possible results. From timings, negotiations and camera set-ups, there is a lot on the VFX supervisor’s plate. Mohan has rightly asserted, with ample reason that the VFX crew is made up of artists, not technicians, as they are usually referred to.

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For Magic Magic, Mohan won the National Film Award for Best Special Effects. However, the juggernaut was only starting and far from reaching the dizzying heights it was destined to. Srinivas Mohan worked with Shankar on several movies like Boys, Anniyan and Sivaji. The skin grafting technique used by Mohan in Sivaji creating a digital skin, proved to be one of the keys to his success that year, earning him a second National Award. However, he blew everyone away a few years later with Enthiran, a sci-fi wonder, the ilk of which wasn’t previously seen in India, earning him a third National Award. He was also the VFX supervisor for Maatraan, a story revolving around conjoined twins, a challenging VFX project in its own right.

 If, 2500 VFX shots in Endhiran, was colossal, one runs out of terms while discussing Mohan’s current project, Baahubali, a period drama that is slated to have as many as 4500 VFX shots, easily Mohan’s biggest VFX budget till date. VFX producers and supervisors are responsible for a lot in movies hinged on VFX, from handling the client’s budget to getting the best work done, while collaborating with art directors and other crew on the movie sets. That doesn’t stop Mohan from being vocal about encouraging local talent pool of animators and doing his own bit for the Indian animation industry. The VFX guru will also be overseeing the work of the company Rising Sun Pictures, for Shankar’s next, the Vikram starrer Ai.

 Mohan who can impress you with his knowledge about Animatronix, pre-visualization concepts, current software, CG, motion graphics and other VFX elements, is also the founder of Indian Artists Computer Graphics, one of the leading Indian VFX firms, based out of Chennai, that raises bars with each project, while working on budgets as low as 1/10th of the contemporary Hollywood costs. Still young considering how much he has achieved, the accomplished VFX giant has certainly traversed an arduous journey, coming a long way from doing wedding titles to heading Indian movie industry’s biggest VFX projects.

 April 10th is his birthday and Releaseday Team would like to wish him a very happy birthday and even greater success and path-breaking glory in the coming years. 

Baahubali all set to create a VFX splash – Times of India

Baahubali all set to create a VFX splash
Loaded with VFX splendor, Rajamouli’s film promises to be a visual extravaganza on an unprecedented scale. Director SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali is set to create a new benchmark for visual effects in Indian cinema. The film promises to be a visual effects extravaganza with over 4,500 VFX shots. This is a new record in Indian cinema, surpassing the likes of Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One and Hrithik Roshan’s Krishh 3.

Set in an imaginary medieval realm, the film is loaded with computer generated imagery that promises to blur the lines between real and imaginary. Producer Shobu Yarlagadda reckons the movie will be a ‘technical marvel’. “We want to offer the audience a real visual spectacle and have been working in that direction from the outset. It’s a period drama that will transport the audience into a world of ancient forts, palaces, epic war sequences and the works. The VFX is going to be the most crucial element in the movie. We have the best national and international experts working on the film,” says Shobu.

Srinivas Mohan is working as the VFX supervisor for the movie which has a slew of internationally renowned VFX artistes. Some of the visual effects are being done locally while some are being outsourced to foreign technicians around he world. Considering the scale and quality of the VFX work, the film is tipped to have the highest budget for VFX in Indian cinema.

Buzz is that the budget of the film is a staggering `100 crore. However, Shobu gets a little cagey when talking about the budget. “I cannot comment on that since I don’t know about the budgets of other films. It is a very expensive film,” he says.

Starring Prabhas, Rana, Anushka and Tamannaah in lead roles, the film is set for a 2015 release across all South Indian languages.



Nano camera – Captures Z depth data of translucent objects

“Nano-camera” that can capture translucent objects, such as a glass vase, in 3-D   – MIT News Office Cam

Z Depth, Motion Scene Camera

Baahubali Making Vol -1

Visual effects – 100 years of South Indian Cinema

Hi friends, in this 100 years of South Indian Cinema celebration, being a part in this industry from 1997, I thought of preparing the list of  best visual effects films from South India,  I have put only few, please help me to fill the rest.

Eega Telugu Jagadekha veerudu athi loka sundari Telugu
Maattrraan Tamil Apoorva Sagodharargal Tamil
Dhamarukam Telugu Anjili Tamil
Viswaroopam Tamil Bobbili Raja Telugu
Endhiran The Robot Tamil Aditya 369 Telugu
Anaganaga O Dheerudu Telugu Raja Chinna Roja Tamil
Aayirathil Oruvan Tamil My Dear Kutti Chethan – Stereo3d Malayalam
Arundhathi Telugu Navarathri Tamil
Magadheera Telugu Ghatothkhachudu Telugu
Sivaji Tamil Sri pothuloori veera brahmendhra swami Telugu
Dasavatharam Tamil Bhukailash Telugu
Madhrasapattinam Tamil Jaganmohini Telugu
Anniyan Tamil Sri Krishna Pandaveeyam Telugu
Yamadonga Telugu Dhana Veera Sura Karana Telugu
Boys Tamil Jaya Simha Telugu
Mudhalavan Tamil Vinayaka Chavithi Telugu
Anji Telugu Gulebakavali Katha Telugu
Devi Telugu Sri Krishnarjuna Yudham Telugu
Devi Puthrudu Telugu Sampurna Ramayanam Telugu
Alanvandhan Tamil Bhatti Vikramarka Telugu
Jeans Tamil Jagadeka Veeruni Katha Telugu
Bhairavadweepam Telugu Baktha Kannapa Telugu
Indian Tamil Ramanjaneya Yuddham Telugu
Kadhalan Tamil Mai Ravana Telugu
Gentelman Tamil Baktha Prahalladha Telugu
Ammoru Telugu Mayabazar Telugu
    Pathala Biravi Telugu
    Keelu Gurram Telugu
    Allauddin Adhbhuta Deepam Telugu

Srinivas Mohan
Vfx Supervisor

Interview @ Animation Mentor Blog about Vfx industry in India


Renowned in India as VFX Supervisor and CEO, Srinivas Mohan comes with 15 years of industry experience and a handful of awards. He is also an essential member of the VFX Advisory Board for Animation Mentor. We caught up with Mohan to talk VFX in India, hiring, and tips for junior artists.

Learn more about our online visual effects courses. Apply to start CG Basics this September.

-The Animation Mentor Crew

What inspired you to get into visual effects?

Mohan: During my childhood I loved watching Indian mythological and effects based regional films like Jaganmohini, Mayabazar etc. James Cameron’s “The Abyss” made a big impact in my life. I admired it so much that I watched it more than 20 times in the theater. It was like magic……water coming to life….taking the shape of a girl face….it was fascinating. Much later, while I was working as a software programmer, I saw my competitor working on a logo animation for his software launch. I challenged myself to animate a logo for my software launch. I got to know about “3D Studio – v4”, played around with it for a few days and animated a logo for the software SAM (Share Accounting Manager). My animation career started from there. Initially I did titles for wedding videos and then moved on to film title sequences, advertisements, television, and finally to feature films. I made the transition from 3D artist to visual effects supervisor in a span of 10 years. In this journey I have had many great moments and wonderful experiences. The best part is, my passion became my career.

What do you look for in new hires as a VFX Supervisor?

Mohan:In the current filmmaking scenario the VFX supervisor’s role is as important as the Director, DOP, Production designer, Editor etc., So, more than the knowledge of VFX tools and techniques, aspirants should have a good grasp of the entire filmmaking process. Along with creativity and technical knowledge, they should also have good problem-solving skills. Many unpredicted problems will arise in production and they should be capable of handling those situations. Good communication skills will help solve these issues. In India, most of the visual effects supervisors have to play the additional role of VFX producer as well. So, aspirants need to know about budget and production-related tasks as well.

As a VFX Supervisor, what was the hardest project you worked on and why?

Mohan:“Enthiran – The Robot” was one of the hardest projects as VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer. It was India’s first film with 2500 visual effects shots and it was India’s most expensive film as well. A lot was expected of me and my responsibility was huge. I needed to deliver high quality within an Indian budget! In order to save time and money, I introduced a few steps to the Indian VFX industry like Previz, Animatronics etc. To avoid usage of motion control rig, I brought back few old techniques which were used in the optical days, like using click sounds for matching both the layer trolley and camera movements. I used an entirely new technology like “Light Stage Scanning” for photo realistic digital face and developed a skin shader plug-in for Maya called “Jupiter Skin”. Thanks to Paul Debevec for great help. For the first time, on this project, I used many international studios for post-production work and had to face issues based on work culture. Eventually, the team effort paid off and we got a lot of recognition and awards.

What tips do you have for junior artists who want to work in visual effects in India?

Mohan:The main aim of visual effects is to make things believable. As an artists we take things that are impossible and make it realistic. In order to make things seem plausible you need to have artistic talent. Also, you have to learn the concepts applied behind creating a shot and not just how to operate the tools. A great visual effects artist should have knowledge pertaining to the overall techniques required for making a film. It is essential that the artist is creative, not just a person who has been trained to use sophisticated software tools. As I mentioned previously, we are a part of the storytelling process, we create or manipulate emotional content and we need to understand the emotional content of each frame.
Are you an aspiring VFX artist? Get started in our visual effects classes.

- See more at:

Visual effects design changed in digital era: Srinivas Mohan

Visual effects designing was not a product of digital era but had been used in film industry for decades in different forms and techniques, award winning designer V Srinivas Mohan said here today.

“Visual effects is not a new thing. It had been used in different ways in many movies decades before. We had once done such effects manually, but now we do it digitally,” he said during a seminar on “The Magic of VEX film Making”, organised by the Animation, Infotainment and Media School (AIMS) here.

“Everything is overall the same at the concept level. Only medium and techniques have changed,” he said.

Mohan, who has been in the industry for the last 15 years, is the brain behind the much acclaimed visual effects in blockbuster movies like “Endhiran, the Robot” and “Shivaji”.  He also won a number of recognitions including the National Awards for the Rajnikath-starrer movies.

Elaborating on the technical details of the visual effects, he said every visual designer is like a music composer or magician who creates an entirely novel thing using a handful of tools and techniques. A successful visual effects designer would know every detail of film making including the characterisation and background of the story, he said.

“Just doing your job or applying theories correctly would not help anybody to become a good visual designer. Otherwise, he has to observe and try to know every aspect of cinema like a director,” Mohan added.

Talk(Podcost) about Mattrran Vfx and Indian Vfx Industry @ FPT

Check out my casual talk on Mattrran Vfx at Film production Talk blog (FPT)
Thanks to Varun for taking efforts to improving Indian Vfx industry.

It was around 55 min lengthy talk and below are time breakdown details
starts with “Maattrran” film and story and main Vfx starts @ 7:50 min

@ 7:50 min about Mattran VFX 
@ 17:30 min about Surya sir
@ 37:30 min about Rat sequence and Firefly
@ 39:35 min about Shankar sir “i”
@ 41:00 min about Rajamouli sir “Bahubali” & “Eega” 
@ 43:10 min about Indian Vfx

Maattrraan Vfx Awards article @ Animationxpress

Srinivas Mohan - EME Awards 2013

 Double Whammy for Maattrraan – Wins Special Jury Award for VFX in a Motiona Picture at FICCI BFA Awards and Best VFX in an Indian Feature at INFOCOM-ASSOCHAM EME Awards 2013.
Full article link


Deserving or not – The debate on Life of Pi’s Oscar – My interview


Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’, a visually stunning 3D tale of an Indian boy adrift in the ocean for months with a Bengal tiger, won critical and commercial acclaim across the board. The film received several accolades including 4 wins at the 85th Academy Awards which included Best Director, Original Score, Cinematography and Visual Effects. While several feel that the film truly deserves all the honors there are some who think otherwise, primarily for the best cinematography.

This has sparked off a debate amongst the film fraternity on whether ‘Life of Pi‘ actually deserved the Oscar for Best Cinematography when it largely is a film driven by visual effects. There is also a section which feels that the acceptance speech of the Life of Pi Visual Effects Team winners, who spoke about the threat facing the VFX industry, was blatantly cut off to suppress larger issues.

The debate has also found voice amongst Indian filmmakers. Pandolin spoke to two such renowned artists, CinematographerRavi K Chandran and Visual Effects Designer V.Srinivas Mohan on their thoughts on this issue. Their valuable opinions present two interesting sides to this debate.

“Our government still sees us as technicians and are not providing good education, good provisions for local films, local creations. They still depend on people from abroad,” V. Srinivas Mohan

For example, almost 80 per cent of the animation content that we see on Cartoon Network is from abroad. If the government uses some kind of a clause that states that every day each channel should air atleast 30 minutes of content created by Indian companies, it will help in a big way. This is one of the ideas I thought of. They rely on content from abroad mainly because the content there is very cheap.  But we have a lot of good talent that the channels can use. The Government needs to recognize our talent instead of outsourcing the job. We have outsourced a lot, have good knowledge of how Hollywood works, now India should focus on its artists here and provide good facilities, reduce taxes, give subsidies to local animation films etc.”

Continue…….    Full article @

Another feather in Maattrraan’s Cap – Ficci Frames BFA award 2013 – VFX

Surya & Surya

Ficci BFA 2013

Ficci BFA Maattrraan

Thanks to the jury for selecting Maattrraan for Special Jury Award.

Thanks again to Director K.V Anand, Actor Surya,  Dop Soundhar, Editor Antony, Make-up Banu, Art director Rageevan and producers of AGS for great support.  Thanks to Paul debevec, his team and Hao li for technical support.

Special thanks to entire team of Vensat, EFX, Firefly, Gemini, Pixon, Whitelotus, DDP, Image metrics and Indian Artists. Thanks to entire film crew.

The wait is over: Animation Mentor – VFX Fundamentals is now open

Animation MentorHappy to be part of Advisory board.

“Maattrraan” won “EME award 2013″ – Best Vfx in an INDIAN feature film category

EME Award 2013

Excellence in Media & Entertainment (EME Award 2013)


Excellence in Media & Entertainment (EME award 2013)

Thanks to the jury for selecting “Maattrraan”

Thanks again to Director K.V Anand, Actor Surya,  Dop Soundhar, Editor Antony, Make-up Banu, Art director Rageevan and producers of AGS for great support.  Thanks to Paul debevec, his team and Hao li for technical support. Special thanks to my entire VFX artists team.

Maattrraan article in top visual effects site –

I’m extremely happy to share the news that Maattrraan Vfx article published in world’s top visual effects site FXGuide

Maattrraan Vfx

check end of the article

Thanks to K.V Anand, Surya, Soundhar, Antony, Banu, Rageevan and producers of AGS for great support.  Special thanks to my entire vfx team.

Detail making of  videos :

Interview on Sun TV(Tamil) – Nov 15th


Conjoined Twins VFX – Played by Single artist

Conjoined Twins – Maattrraan

About Film :

“Maattrraan” is a Indian(Tamil) feature film based on the life of conjoined twins. This film is directed by K.V Anand and actor Surya played both twins roles. We did around 2000 Vfx shots for this project.

Film Teaser

Making :

In “Maattrraan” both the characters are joined together at all times, because of which there is interaction in each and every frame. So we decided to go with Body Double with head replacement option with two methods.

Method A : Digital Head replacement

For faster head and body movements, mainly in action and dance sequences, we have used Digital Surya. We scanned 22 facial expressions of Surya in Lightstage, LA. Thanks again to Paul Debevec for helping with the scanning. We have used “Image Metrics” team for facial animation, because of budget constrain, we have used them mainly for wider shots. For closeup shots we redesigned a rig using those 22 scanned shapes. Initially we created morph targets manually based on the scanned expressions, but we could not get a 100% match. Later on Hao Li from LA helped us to create accurate morph targets by warping the rigged mesh with the 22 scanned expressions. To record Surya’s facial performance, we created a simple head rig with a helmet, LED strips, CCD cam and iphone4s. It served our purpose well. Thanks again to Jupiter Jazz team for Skin Shader and Autodesk Maya is our main software.

Digital head process


Method B : Live Head replacement with 5 Camera setup

In this method the main issue was matching Body Double’s camera perspective with Main Artist camera perspective while shooting his head separately in green screen. In order to solve the perspective issues, we decided to capture few extra angles of the Main Artist’s head, so we can match perspective later during in post production. For that we used 3 main cameras and 2 supporting cameras. We shot the Main Artist as 1st twin while a Body Double played the 2nd twin. Later, the Main Artist acted as the 2nd twin in a green screen floor using the 5 camera setup. We used 3D mesh of the Main Artist head, tracked and animated it to match his green screen live head, then projected all 5 camera textures onto that 3d head. The aim was to get the Main Artist’s head (shot in green screen as 2nd Twin) into a 3D environment with live textures, so we can match the Body double’s perspective. This 5 camera projection method is also used for correcting main artist look problems.  This method looks simple but it took lot of our R&D time. One of our main task in 5 camera setup was to exactly match 5 cameras position in the 3D environment with the live cameras position. If these cameras are not matched properly, the projection method won’t work at all. To achieve this we used X-box Kinect sensor (like a 3D scanner) to capture camera placements on location. It worked well for indoor shooting, but failed in the bright light outdoor green screen setup. The other important task was to track and match the 3D head with Main Artist’s live head. We visited L.A to scan the lead actor’s expressions using Lightstage. While we were there, Paul Debevec and his team at ICT lab saw our test work and gave us tools to simplify this entire process. It was like image based modeling that creates mesh and cameras based on 5 cameras image data, It helped us tremendously. Thanks to Paul and his team for their help. We have used Nuke to do 3D projection and final comp.

Scene 16 Input 

5 Cameras Input 

5 Cameras Projection 

Scene 16 Output 

Kinect data 

One more important task was the Main Artist has to match his Body Double’s head and body movements with proper timing. For that we recorded body double’s video while saying 1,2,3,4…. as audio bg track, so Main Artist could observe and remember his Body Double’s head and body movements by using numbers as reference. Because of Surya’s (Main Artist) excellent performing talent, we were able to pull this off without looking for another option. In some situations he has to remembered more that 40 tasks! And lighting wise Dop Soundar has done excellent job in matching both lighting conditions manually, in some situations we have moved lights instead of artist waking. Interestingly in this project we have used almost all type of cameras like Film Arri 435, Arri 3, Digital Cannon 5D, 7D, iphone, Kinect sensor and small CCD camera.

5 Camera studio setup 

Apart from these methods, we have used simple head replacement and sometimes full body replacement methods in regular 2D comp too. Overall for 2000 vfx shots we used 8 Indian companies with 400 artists in a period of 2 years time. Below are the links of few final output sequences. 

Twins Dance music number Ouput  

Twins Montage


Srinivas Mohan
Vfx Supervisor

Maattrraan Vfx Making presentation @ succes press meet

It was excellent team work and thanks to entire Maattrraan team for great support.


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