Autodesk Software Breathes Life into Little Krishna
June 24, 2009

Autodesk Software Breathes Life into Little Krishna

San Rafael, Calif. - Autodesk Inc. announced that one of India's leading animation studios -- BIG Animation, a Reliance ADAG Company -- used Autodesk Maya software to animate the magical worlds of the new "Little Krishna" animated series.  The company relied on the Autodesk Smoke and Autodesk Flame systems for finishing and final output of the 13-episode program. "Little Krishna" is a joint production between The India Heritage Foundation and BIG Animation, and marks the first time that Nick International (Nickelodeon) has acquired a series produced in India.

"The best animation talent in India has grown up using Autodesk Maya," explains Ashish SK, CEO of BIG Animation. "Since Maya is our 3D platform we're able to recruit the industry's top artists. Maya is our lifeline for production. As well, product interoperability and the excellent support we receive from Autodesk are some of the main reasons we continue to rely on Maya, Smoke, and Flame."

A family-friendly entertainment series, "Little Krishna" unfolds the chronicles of a beloved prankster and his metamorphosis into India's legendary heritage character.  More than 300 characters are featured in the series. BIG Animation relied on its Maya-centric pipeline to build, animate, and manage the signature characters and detailed scenery that make this program unique.

"Maya software's flexible architecture enabled us to overcome the challenges posed by large amounts of facial animation, secondary cloth and jewelry animation, and complex particle and environmental simulations such as water, fire and tornadoes," continues Ashish SK. "We used Maya nCloth for clothing and the new Maya Muscle system for character rigging. The Geometry Point Cache system also helped reduce time and errors, and allowed lighting artists to work with files that already had surface data incorporated into animations. Python scripting opened up a new level of interactivity, letting us script and develop our own crowd simulation tools."

For "Little Krishna," the design team at BIG Animation thoroughly researched stylistic aspects of the land of Vraj in Northern India, where these stories were situated 5000 years ago. The team researched backgrounds, art direction, color keys, and all other elements, in order to have countless references from which to determine contemporary styling. It was essential to convey not only the endearing nature of Krishna in the physical embodiment of the animated character, but also the authentic colors, flora, and fauna of the Vraj region. Every time Krishna plays his flute, his surroundings react and move to the music.

"Smoke and Flame were key finishing tools that allowed us to recreate the vegetation and color palette unique to Vraj," Ashish SK says. "As well, the seamless metadata exchange between Smoke and Final Cut Pro served us well in post-production."

BIG Animation completed the series - from ideation to script to screen - in three and a half years. In this time, the team grew from 45 to 280 people. The series debuted on the Nick Channel in May 2009 and is currently one of the two top-rated children's programs in India.