feature & interview by Ajit Rajkumar
Well, to a first-timer the name sure sounded pretty offbeat. But on the whole its a really perky name that very aptly portrays the psyche of a dedicated and enthusiastic band of individuals involved in producing high quality work in the media industry of Mumba-Devi's backyard.
The "baby" was born of Abraham Samuel (Creative Director) and Salim Kapasi (Technical Director) who got together six years back in a venture they named Purple Pixel, but within a year of establishment in June 1994 at Worli, the company took on a tie-up proposal that had it shift premises to where it's new associate "Video Magic" had already established a recording studio and editing facility in Mahim. Not surprisingly, the symbioses of operations between the two companies was an immediate bestseller with clients looking for total post-production solutions under one roof,.. and there's been no looking back ever since.
The company prides itself in providing a high quality of service in these three fields:
~ Animation (catering to clients from the advertising & television & the Internet industry.)
~ Multimedia Authoring (catering to corporate and multinational clients. )
~ Design Consultancy for the web (catering to organisations offering Internet Services.)
Centrally located in Mumbai, the company backbone operates around six NT workstations including the latest Intergraph Graphics Workstations running a host of image creation software.
Purple Pixel is among the leading players in the field of animation and multimedia, with trade magazines often featuring the company and it's work. The company is presently entering into Web publishing and other Multi-media realted services, as an extension of client services. Their experience in animation, design and programming mark them apart as a company producing work to watch out for in the coming years.
Clients include: Citibank (India), Godrej, Hindustan Lever, Hindustan Thompson Associates, Proctor & Gamble, Cadbury India Ltd., Reliance Industries Ltd., Sony Entertainment Television, Zenith Computer Ltd.
Future plans include: expansion into CD Authoring with an animation base; forays into corporate presentations; developing software solutions addressing user-friendly interfaces, intutiveness and the asthetics of presentations; providing high-end animation consultancy on a turn-key basis.
The company has over time also recieved commendations from the various companies for which it has done work ~for speedy and efficient execution of given projects. They have also been featured in a few magazine reviews for the quality of work they have been able to produce.
Meeting Abraham Samuel
(Creative Director & Co-founder)
He really took me by surprise. Where one expected to find an intimidating "high profile" person, I was pleasantly surprised to find a really down-to-earth, pleasant and plain friendly person. Our informal chat covered humble beginnings from which he followed his dream of being in showbiz by taking up a job in the client-servicing department of an ad agency on a monthly salary of (INR) Rs. 400. Eight months from that found himself at Keith Stevenson's Electra Productions learning the in's and out's of audio-visuals and slides.
In his own words then: "From A/V, I graduated to ad films and then on to the thrill of the 35 mm film." Five years later, he decided to start out on his own with Stratcomm Effects, but financial constraints unfortunately soon knocked him back again to a full time job where "I had to spend 16-18 hours a day working on 3D animation. In those days the creation of simple 3D objects with complete texturing and shading on a 386 computer was considered a great achievement."
Ajit: What do you feel about Indian animators?
Sam: There is good talent in the industry. With the increase in exposure of the animators to projects that are strong, both in terms of visualisation and storyboard, there are many animators who --given the chance-- are able to come up with really good work.
Ajit: So how d'you feel about the type of clients coming in?
Sam: There are quite a few clients who really know what they are doing, in terms of presentation. And these clients are able to understand quality work when they see it. This proves to be a motivational factor for the animator/s involved on projects.
Ajit: And what of budgets?
Sam: Well, speaking from experience, I would say that when clients come to us with really tight budgets, it does get a bit difficult. Though quality of animation is not compromised, it does prove a bit of a dampener. I mean, since salaries for good animators are quite high and factors like legalised software come into play, not to overlook the factor of good equipment which does not come cheap,.. so the operating costs are high.
Ajit: What of the concept of hiring animators on a "project-wise" basis as followed in the overseas market?
Sam: I really would like to work on the same lines, but we again come to the subject of better budgets. This would facilitate hiring animators on a project-wise basis at higher emoulments, so that at the end of the project there are no hard feelings on either side and everyone has made his packet.
Ajit: Why has Purple Pixel mainly been using 3DS MAX for it's 3d animation?
Sam: At one stage a few years back, we did think of "upgrading" to Silicon Graphics workstations, but somewhere along the way we realised that what we went in for might become obsolete. A few months after we changed our minds, we were proven right when newer workstations were introduced at lesser prices than the versions we had been looking to go in for.
Ajit: What are your views on the so called 'bania mentality' that is said to plague the industry?
Sam: This used to be a major demerit in the Indian animation industry, but has slowly been undergoing a change. People are more willing to invest on new technology and softwares. The emphasis is shifting to quality work.
Ajit: What softwares do you use at Purple Pixel?
Sam: We use a combination of softwares like 3DS Max, After Effects, Elastic Reality and Photoshop to get the best possible effects.
Ajit: And finally, what in your opinion should be the basis when animating for a client?
Sam: I'd say suit and supplement the client's idea,.. and don't overshadow it.