Behind the Scenes of Manick Sorcar's Animation - A Brief History
The Beginning

Sorcar started teaching himself the techniques of animation in 1983, just before the revolution in computer graphics, when he painted every animation by hand, frame-by-frame - a method he still uses today for selected action. He developed new techniques by experimenting with several media to produce quality pictures in less time, such as using newsprints with oil-based markers as opposed to traditional art paper with watercolor. When one watches Sorcar's animations, one realizes that this particular art form requires an artist to master a vast range of techniques. Each animation sequence is plotted out in detailed storyboards for which one must have a refined sense of theatrical space and an imaginative mind combined with an intimate knowledge of lighting engineer and the artist become one. And in a singular departure from other animators, Sorcar also composes the music for his animations.
The Challenge of Weaving Animation with Live Action
The Making of Deepa and Rupa: A Fairy Tale from India
As the computer was still at its infancy, in the beginning (early 80s) Sorcar had to hand-draw the movements of the animated animals frame by frame (up to 30 frames per second) in a traditional manner, then captured each by a camera. Towards the end of the 80s he used computers to help in generating the 'in betweens' between the 'extremes' of the movements which were still hand-drawn.

Sorcar then used the chroma-key technology (with blue room) at a local professional studio to shoot the live action with animation and mix the two.

Directing the live actor to act with an animated character was always a challenge as the entire acting needed to be done in front of an imaginary character in the room. Proper eye contact, body movement, flow of the conversational reaction, light shadow were the critical challenges to produce a convincing mixing.
A scene from Deepa & Rupa:
A Fairy Tale from India
"Your marvelous combination of animation and live action certainly matches the best quality production shown on either commercial or Public television in this country", wrote Ron Salak, the program Director of Rocky Mountain PBS KRMA-TV of Denver, Colorado, where "Deepa & Rupa" was premiered on September 13, 1990.

It took Sorcar almost three years to complete "Deepa & Rupa" but the labor of love paid off. It went on winning over half-a-dozen top awards at the international film festivals.

Fun and Educational

One of the greatest achievement in all of Sorcar's animation production is that they are filled with fun at the same time highly educational."It is extremely entertaining and presents a moral message without being preachy...I welcome Mr. Sorcar's work for its positive impact on our district-wide theme through all grade levels of cultural diversity", wrote Beverly Robin, Media Specialist of High Plains School of Cherry Creek School district on February 2, 1992.

The Next Step
"The Sage and the Mouse" and "Sniff"

Sorcar's next major productions were two animation shorts which told stories set in two different eras in India. The first, "The Sage and the Mouse" recreates a tale from "The Panchatantra", a classic book of moral fables. The second animation "Sniff" is based on a humorous nursery rhyme penned during the British Raj. A total of almost half hour, the twin were premiered on the Rocky Mountain PBS stations, KRMA-TV, Denver, CO, on July 1, 1993. The twin got rave reviews, great response from schools, and received a host of awards. Both were 100% animation (no live action) and were produced directly on a computer.

A scene from Sage and the Mouse
Does Computer Solve Animation Problem?

There is a general concept that a computer solves all the problems of manual labor associated with an animation and thus the animation can be finished in no time. This is far from the truth.

Computer or not, animation still involves a laborious process including story selection, screenplay developing, building a storyboard, sound track recording, animating and editing. While a computer helps substantially in editing, animation is still fundamentally dependent up on the skill of the animator. For a quality animation the animator draws the key action (extreme points) still by hand with his imagination, the "in betweens" are either generated by computer or by manual labor.

For both "The Sage & the Mouse" and "Sniff", Sorcar experimented and used the computer to 'paint' almost all the background scenes. For animating movements of the characters he drew them by hand following the scenes of the storyboard. These actions were then used as a guide to be developed by the computer, and generate the "in betweens". For critical scenes where actions needed to be natural, he hand-sketched each and every frame manually and then captured them with a camera into the computer. This was in 1991-92, before the era of scanners. "The Sage & the Mouse" (10 minutes) and "Sniff" (15 minutes) both together took about two years to complete.
Animation of the Future

Sorcar has stepped ahead of time. He is experimenting with laser animation. His latest are animations created with cutting-edge laser technology, where he manipulates the strong, pencil-thin ray of light to race along a predetermined path to create a moving animated figure. The two pictures seen on this page are from "India Forever" which was screened in india (January, 2000), as well as USA, on June 18th 2000 as apart of "Celebrate India 2000", at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts This piece is an eight minute documentary on 4500 years old history of India. Sorcar's "A Touch of Water", a four minute laser animation was a highlight at the Annual Valentine's Gala benefiting Foothills Art Center on February 17, 2000. The party's theme was "River: The Song of Life".

Below is his latest laser animation "Dancing With My Soul", presented through Sorcarscope where his laser animation is combined with live acton on stage. This program was a part of "The World of Manick Sorcar", a two-hour Indian-American extravaganza held on September 9, 2000.
At present Sorcar is experimenting with laser to produce a full length animated movie - a daring step into the future. A new way to communicate with children of new age.


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