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.

“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.

Maattrran – few reviews about Vfx work

Thanks U all for recognizing Vfx involvement  and encouraging us. Thanks to entire  Maattrraan team for great support.


@ Times of India – sat oct 13

Surya2  is how credits roll for ‘Maattrraan’ (‘Brothers’ in Telugu), the fifth double role by actor after ‘Perazhagan’, ‘Vel’, ‘Vaaranam Aayiram’ and ‘7 Aum Arivu’. And thanks to him, it is double the performance and double the fun, though it would have meant enormous effort on his part to portray both the characters in a very convincing manner.

It would also have been double the work for cinematographer S Soundar Rajan and VFX supervisor V Srinivas Mohan, whose world class work is one of the highlights of the film. The live action and the graphics blend seamlessly on screen in all the scenes involving the conjoined twins. The biggest challenge for a VFX supervisor is that the special effects should not stick out like a sore thumb, and Srinivas Mohan passes the test with distinction. The fight sequence in an amusement part is one of the highlights of the film, and stunt supervisor Peter Hein and Soundar Rajan come up with some imaginative and eye-catching visuals to captive the audience.


@ Behindwoods

One of the major highlights of the film is its VFX. Helmed by Srinivas Mohan of Endhiran fame, the VFX team has worked hard and it is evident in all the frames that feature the conjoined twins. The action sequence at the roller coaster ride is the best example where all the departments like the camera, stunt, VFX and Suriya have worked in epic tandem and the result is brilliant. Editing plays a crucial role in such visual effects intensive movies and editor Antony has done complete justice to his craft.


@ Moviecrow

The real success of visual effects in Maattrraan is when you no longer realize the complexities involved in making Suriya act as conjoined twins. The Motion Capture technology, earlier used in the Adventure of Tin Tin, is for the first time used to portray the conjoined twins. Visual Effects Supervisor Srinivasa Mohan’s (Enthiran fame) work is truly world class that not even in one scene will you be able to spot any flaw. The VFX for showing overlapping body parts, face and expressions are so minutely handled. Visual Effects is so perfectly done to the point that the critics and award committees may end up overlooking the role of visual effects department as both Suriyas look so real to life.


@ indiaglitz

Maatraan gets a lot of help from the Srinivasa Murthy’s VFX department and the way everything looks natural in the first half, even when two Suriyas are standing next to each other throughout is a tribute to their work. Soundar Rajan’s cinematography works in tandem with the effects and impresses. Meanwhile, editor Anthony gets the toughest job of editing the film that is filled with added effects and touches and despite everything, he joins bits and pieces pretty well.


@ Sify

The VFX done by Srinivas Mohan of Enthiran fame is as good as any foreign film. The action scenes of the conjoined twins in the amusement park, and the way they dance together look so real on screen. KV Anand is a director with a vision and he knows how to bring in the right mix of entertainment elements.


@ accesskollywood

Suriya packs double punch with roles – the studious Vimalan and the cheerful Akhilan. Needless to mention, Suriya is the star of the movie and he brings out the character dissimilarities as is needed to show differences in the roles. While any double role demands much from the actor, the role of a pair of conjoined twins is not only demanding but also technically challenging. Anand’s samurai in VFX Srinivas Mohan ensured that there are no slip ups in the VFX part of the movie and ensured that the visual effects remain on par with international movies.


@ indiavision

Technically, the film was way ahead of the league, especially in the visual effects department headed by Srinivas Mohan, who made the conjoined twins look as real as possible. Editing by Anthony is satisfying, while music by Harris with visuals sounds better.


Maattrraan – 2 years experience

Had great time working with Maattrraan team. Thanks to K.V Anand, Surya, Soundhar, Antony, Banu, Rageevan and producers of AGS for great support. Experimented with new technics to achieve believable conjoint twins and make our work invisible in the flow of the film.  Special thanks to my entire vfx team for making this possible.


Article :

Interview @

Srinivas Mohan

Three times National Award Winner in Special Effects, Srinivas Mohan talks about his experience while working on Robot and what the future holds for the VFX industry in India.
What makes a great VFX artist?

 The main aim of VFX is to make things believable. As 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 VFX shot and not just how to operate the tools. A great VFX artist should have knowledge pertaining to the overall techniques required for making a film. It is essential that the artist is creative rather than merely a person who has been trained to use the tools.

These days, most, if not all films have a VFX shot. People think of VFX as the force responsible for aliens, robots, or high-end action sequences etc. Can you give us an example of something at the other end of the spectrum, something simple, which would also constitute as a VFX shot?

 In the movie Robot, we have one person who played the role of a scientist as well as the robot. Almost every shot requires both the characters in the same frame. It is a simple shot but a lot of work goes behind creating such shots. Also, in Shivaji a technique referred to as skin crafting has been used. Although there is no action sequence, VFX is required for such techniques.
There seems to be a lot of international criticism of Indian VFX, that the artists are trained technically but lack the artistic component? Do you agree? 
 We do lack artistic talent. In the movie Robot, I worked in local as well as companies that were based outside India. If you compare, people abroad have a better understanding of the work that is given to them. For instance, if there is a shot that requires something to fall on the ground, the dust is generated automatically. People out there are aware about these simple things but that is not the case here. Every minor detail has to be mentioned here because people are accustomed to take orders and follow the instructions. They lack the creative talent that can be found outside. We need more schools from the government like the one in Ahemdabad that are dedicated to VFX. Although we do have private institutions, VFX as a whole is not taught. The students are being trained in only those aspects of VFX which are presently required here. There is a lot of work being outsourced to India and there are specific tasks which pertain to the work that flows inside our country. These institutes teach only the specific tasks and less or no priority is given to the overall aspect of VFX.
What are some ways that this perception and/or reality can be changed?
 Presently, the industry is growing in different directions. A lot of work is outsourced to India. The growth may be somewhere around 20 to 30 per cent. But that is not what we should aim at. We don’t concentrate on creating content like what was done in the case of Hanuman. It is important that we grow in every aspect. We require good institutes which can boost local talent. India could have something like Pixar. Although everyone claims that the industry is growing fast, I beg to differ. We are growing but slowly.
How do you think the VFX industry in India will look after 10 years?
 If the development continues at the same pace, we might not do well in the future. If however, with the support of government we could enhance the talent in our country, there will be tremendous progress. India has creative people and we are culturally very rich. In addition, we showcase hard working skills. So if we csontinue at the same rate, the future looks bleak. But if something is done to improve the conditions, we will definitely head for a brighter tomorrow.
Robot was a milestone for the Indian VFX industry. You must be very proud of this accomplishment. Will India see more films like this in the coming years? Do you think the public demand for domestic VFX intense films is increasing?
 Yes definitely. After the success of Robot, almost 60 films in South India required high end VFX. This also indicates that our audience craves for such content. The Indian audience enjoys watching Hollywood movies which proves that the demand for high quality work has been increasing. I believe that even if the movie has one VFX shot, it should be done right.
There is a lot of gossip about RA ONE having ripped off a VFX shot / scene from Robot…specifically, the train sequence. Any comments?
 Many movies require train shots and so I don’t think it is a rip off. I am not aware of any such rumour but even so, using a train sequence cannot be termed as any kind of rip off.
Which was the most difficult shot for you to create in the film Robot?
  The toughest part of the movie was the climax scene where all the robots form different shapes. The entire process was quite taxing.
Were there any VFX shots that got cut from the final film?
 In such movies there are no shots that get edited or don’t make it to the final cut because there is a lot of pre production work. At least this was the case with Robot. A major part of the movie was done in pre visualization. Some forty out of sixty scenes were animated, which means they were completed before we started actually shooting the movie. Each shot is very expensive and so you can’t really afford to shoot and reshoot. Everything in this movie was done in pre visualization which took about 6 months.
How much liberty/control did you have during the pre production of the film?
 We did extensive pre production in this film and I had full freedom. The good thing about the director is that he has abundant knowledge related to visual effects. I can say that he is the guru of visual effects in India. From the nine movies that he has made till date, all of which required extensive visual effects, five films have won national awards. In movies with VFX, the script is locked and there are no changes. However, we were given freedom to make minor changes. For instance the character of Robot wears sunglasses throughout the film. We suggested this because while you are dealing with computer generated (CG) characters, getting the eyes right every time is a tough nut to crack and also very expensive. Therefore sunglasses were used. Also, if you look at the hair, which is again a little tricky to create, we suggested the use of short rigid hair. So as far as the character design was concerned, we had a lot of liberty.
How much can we learn from all the international studios that have recently opened branches in India?
 We need to get the planning aspect right because that is one of the things that India lacks. Also we need good technology.
Someone once told me that VFX could be so realistic these days that companies have to actually dial the ‘realism’ down. Is that true? For example…in the recent Hollywood summer blockbuster, The Rise of the Planet of the Apes, not a single real chimpanzee was used. Yet the facial expressions, gestures, etc are breathtaking. What if a human live action actor could be replaced by a CG one? Would people embrace it? 
 Planet of the apes was an excellent movie. Many CG characters were created. It is a beautiful motion picture. If you look at the movie, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the makers have replaced the head of the protagonist but you can hardly point that out. So yes, VFX can make things very realistic but at the same time it is a costly affair. Even in Robot, there are a few completely CG shots but it wasn’t expensive as a robot has no expressions. But the future holds promise.
For our industry, RA. One has been an epic and has acted as a stepping stone for others.

1st Xbox Kinect 3D Scanning Test

Kinect 3D Scanning Test from Srinivas Mohan on Vimeo.


Animation – Career Guidance @ TASI

Q 1: What is Animation?

Animation is the art of movement. Animation is a combination of art, aesthetics and skills. The dictionary describes the word Animation as ‘to give life to’.

Q 2: I do not have any creative streak/genes in me. Is animation suitable for me?

Everybody has creative instincts; they just need to be encouraged, nurtured and taught. Agreed that ‘creativity’ is nature’s gift, some are more gifted others, but it is hard to believe that an average individual does not have any creative streak whatsoever. It is more likely that it may not have yet been realized and/or recognized.

Animation is a craft practiced by skilled people, and skills as we know can be acquired.

Q 3: Do I require drawing skills?

It is not compulsory. Animation is not an art of drawing, but an art of movement that has to be drawn. Having drawing skills or an artistic background is extremely helpful but not absolutely required. There is however another school of thought that believes that only those that can express their thought via drawings can become good animators. This thinking stems from the undisputable fact that it’s easier sometimes to draw and show rather than talk and explain!

Q 4: Isn’t animation just for kids?

more Q&A chk  at TASI website :

Arena Multimedia Dilsukhnagar 13th Anniversary

CGTantra  :

AnimationXpress :

Gallery  :

TV9 Telugu Interview – Visual Wizard

The Core Skills of VFX –

The handbook is relevant to both students and tutors; it is designed to assist universities and colleges to raise the standard of VFX courses available and therefore the new talent available in the UK.

Handbook PDF:  asset_16673

“How to Excel in India” my TEDx talk at IIT Kharagpur – TEDxIITkgp

How to EXCEL in India

Another feather in Endhiran’s Cap – Ficci Frames Vfx Award

“Endhiran The Robot” Vfx Awards count 2 ..

  1. Star Screen Award
  2. Global Indian Film & TV Honor
  3. William & Mary Global Film Award for Special Achievement in Global Production    (To night going to USA to receive this)
  4. ……

Endhiran The Robot Visual effects Articles

Checkout: Rajinikanth’s metamorphosis into ‘Robot’

Part 1

Part 2

Director Shankar talking about VFX Supervisor Srinivasan Mohan – Endhiran Audio Launch


Director Shankar talking about VFX Supervisor Srinivasan Mohan - Endhiran Audio Launch


Interview in Vartha Telugu newspaper