The Donkey King, the Highest-grossing Animated Feature Film in Pakistan Released in China
film of the year
Fox Renderfarm: What is the inspiration for The Donkey King?Aziz: I got this inspiration earlier, but I think I later on figured out that The Donkey King’s story and narrative are very similar to this allegorical story by the name of Animal Farm, which was written by George Orwell. So I think the narrative style is allegorical like what you're seeing and what you are meaning are two different things. So that's why we say The Donkey King is a film for the entire family from kids who are at 9 to people who are at 99, for people who are kids and kids at heart. And a lot of this inspiration came to me from the socio-political situation in Pakistan. We're having this dialog about the socio-political setup and a lot of inspiration is locally driven. And I think it resonates with everybody in the developing countries because we are all sharing that experience. So I think the surrounding is the inspiration, frankly.Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose donkey as the protagonist?Aziz: Well, why did we choose donkey is a very important question, a lot of people asked me. There are 2 things about a donkey. The term donkey is associated with hard work. They're probably the most hard-working creature. But at the same time, you can call someone a donkey metaphorically as an insult, but you can also say it lovingly. And in our local culture, in the Pakistani and Indian literature, I’m not talking recently, I’m talking about over the last 100 years, the donkey has been used as a metaphor to tell a lot of stories. There’s one film that’s been made on donkey years back in Pakistan. There are books written using the donkey as a metaphor in India-Pakistan literature. The donkey has been used as a metaphor. It is a symbol for close to 100 years. Because it's both endearing and hard-working, you can use it to abuse somebody or with your friends. It has multiple meanings. In the US, the Democratic Party has a donkey as their sign, too. The donkey has got global resonance. There's something intriguing about the donkey.Fox Renderfarm: How is the pipeline of The Donkey King?Aziz: We worked on a traditional pipeline. All character designing, all modeling, all environment design, entire animation and lighting, everything has been done locally in Pakistan. For the rendering services, because we had to render out more than 150,000 frames. And that is where we leveraged our association with Fox Renderfarm.To pull that out, without their support, we wouldn't have been able to do it.Fox Renderfarm: Did you search for any references when doing the character design?Aziz: For character designing, the number one choice that we made, ours is an allegorical and a symbolic story, so we go bi-part versus four-part, like a humanoid type of animal, so the donkey stands on two legs. It doesn’t do like the real donkey, It’s more human-like. That was the fundamental design choice we made. Because we are showing donkeys and other animals, to some extent, I think it would be unfair to say that, any animal-based film that you make and you're not inspired by Zootopia, I think that person is lying. We watched a lot of Zootopia. And we sought what inspiration that we could.Because of the fur on the animals, the rendering time per frame was much higher. We were doing it on 2K, and that is where there was a big challenge. Once again, as I said, we reached out to outsource rendering collaboration with Fox Renderfarm. Otherwise, we wouldn't have been able to put it out.Fox Renderfarm: How did you manage to release The Donkey King in China? Anything to share with Chinese audiences?Aziz: First of all, I am very excited that The Donkey King is getting premiered in China. And given the economic collaboration between Pakistan and China, I think this is another step forward. Even our films are getting exported, I believe, this is one of the first films that is getting released at that scale (in China). On November 19th, it's opening with about 5000 sessions. So I'm very excited about that and really looking forward to that. Across genres, whether animation or non-animation, It is the sixth highest-grossing film ever (in Pakistan). we are thankful for our audiences in Pakistan. I think I’m very pleased.My collaborators in China, we connected with them. They showed interest in the film. It was a long process. It took about two and a half to three years. There's a certain level of documentation that needs to be done for the film board who approved the film. We had to make sure that we're getting on the certificate of originals on the copyright and the entire chain of title. Because we were doing it for the first time, we were not very familiar with how to do it. Learning that has also been a great experience. That making sure we are getting all the documentation to the Administration of Foreign Affairs here at the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, It took a lot of doing and then came forward and everything got passed, I can’t tell you how happy I am. And finally, it has seen the light of the day in China. Probably, it is one of my biggest achievements I would say. And my message to the Chinese audience is, I have been to China a lot of times. I used to work for Procter &x26; Gamble. I used to work on this brand called Safeguard, the soap bar. I’ve been to China at least 50 times, and I only find love when I go to China. Between Pakistan and China, We just not only share a border, we are not just part of the Belt and Road Initiative, I think our hearts are connected. There's the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. With this collaboration and love that Pakistan and China share and respect, I think this is graduating to cultural exchange. So I would hope that the Chinese audiences are able to connect with the content and hopefully, it is the beginning of more content exchange both ways to advance our cultural ties between Pakistan and China.Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about the cloud rendering services of Fox Renderfarm?Aziz: Rendering this film with the scale, with the fur, and the rendering time that it was taking, it was unfeasible or unthinkable for us to be able to pull this out locally. And I think we were lucky to find Fox Renderfarm as a collaborator. We almost rendered 60 to 70% of our film there. And I think if it was not for that collaboration, we wouldn't have been able to pull this film in the time that we did. So big shout out to Fox Renderfarm for their contribution and making The Donkey King a reality.Fox Renderfarm: Anything you want to share with us?Aziz: Please make The Donkey King a success in China. And long live Pakistan-China friendship!
Interview with Shawn Wang: the Winner of Film of the Year - Animation in The Rookies 2017
3D Art Competitions
Fox Renderfarm is here inviting the winner of Film of the Year - Animation in The Rookies 2017 competition for a short interview about his work "Planet Unknown", please check the details as below.Fox Renderfarm: Hi Shawn, would you please give a short self-introduction?Shawn Wang: My name is Shawn Wang and I’m currently working as a CG generalist in advertising industry. I majored in Digital Media Arts back in universityand started with motion graphics when I first stepped into 3D, then slowly moved on to animation.Fox Renderfarm: OK, so why choose as an animation student?Shawn Wang: I was fascinated by story-telling in both live-action and animation. We did a lot of live-action training and student projects in school. But I personally loved the medium of CG and learned how animation was created. I was inspired by so many amazing animation by both individuals from online and studios like Pixar. I couldn't wait to create my own animation.Fox Renderfarm: You are really a good example for quick action! Then what's your favorite 3d software and renderer? Why?Shawn Wang: I started with Cinema 4D and then Octane became popular. Octane was also the renderer I used for Planet Unknown. Now I also use Maya and Redshift on a daily basis. It's hard to tell which one is better than the other. They are all amazing tools. It's better to choose tools based on tasks.Fox Renderfarm: Yeah, sounds reasonable : ) So how did you come out the idea of making "Planet Unknow" as your graduation thesis film?Shawn Wang: The idea started back in 2014 when Interstellar was released. I was deeply impressed by the movie and was inspired by the two robots TARS and CASE. So I came up with the idea of intellectual robots exploring space without human. It could be quite interesting to develop the friendship between them.Other inspirations include Pixar movies like WALL-E and Toy Story, as well as CHAPPiE, NASA documentaries about Mars Rover Curiosity, and short films by individuals like Alex Roman’s The Third and The Seventh, Richard Mans’ Abiogenesis, Erik Wernquist’s Wanderers, Alf Lovvold’s Dawn of the Stuff, Wes Ball’s Ruin and so many more.Fox Renderfarm: Wow, so many great works inspired you for your own great work, so impressive! But what challenges you encountered when making this film with your partners?Shawn Wang: The most difficult part was jumping out of my comfort zone. I had to do this all the time through the process because I constantly found new stuff I never knew before. I had to spend extra time learning the new techniques or knowledge while working on the project. That was tiring but definitely rewarding. Learning has become a part of this project since then.Fox Renderfarm: We could definitely imagine your hard times bace then, but finally you succeed. As for Planet Unknown, how many frames there and how long does this film takes to finish rendering?Shawn Wang: In total it was around 12000 frames. I used two GTX980 for all the rendering. The render time for each frame varied from 4 minutes to 20 minutes. I left the machine rendering while I was sleeping. So in total it was around 4 months of rendering.Fox Renderfarm: That's really huge time to finish rendering Planet Unknown, you should come to us at that time, we could help save you tons of time and electricity : ) Haha, would you please share your thoughts for winning so many prizes besides The Rookies competition?Shawn Wang: It was a great experience. But the most amazing part is go to those festivals and see the works from other people. It's way more valuable than winning anything. These were great opportunities for me to learn and get inspired. Awards become less important since I finished the project, the fun part is always sharing and learning.Fox Renderfarm: Yes, the most important thing is enjoying the process. Good for you. So is this your most satisfied film? If not, which one is?Shawn Wang: Absolutely not. Because this is only the first short film I've created. I don't think I'll be satisfied with my future films either. There is always room for change if I look back.Fox Renderfarm: Haha, that sounds awesome, we are quite expecting your future works. Since you said that you learnt and get inspried a lot from other work, so how do you think about the other entries in the animation category?Shawn Wang: They are all great and high quality. I'm a big fan of story-telling. I love these entries with a good story. It does't matter it's 3D or 2D.Fox Renderfarm: Emm, did you used our Fox Renderfarm service?Shawn Wang: Not yet. But I'm looking forward to it. I've noticed the GPU render power of Fox Renderfarm has increased so much. I can't wait to try it for my next project.Fox Renderfarm: Great, feel free to try our render farm service and share your experiences with others. Do you have any other ideas or thoughts to share with us?Shawn Wang: I learned quite a lot skills and techniques through the process. But the most important lesson learned was the Dunning-Kruger effect. It was funny that I even thought everything would be under control in the very beginning though I was an absolute beginner to the entire process. Even now I still can’t figure out solutions to some problems I had. So it was good to have this learning opportunity and know my limitations. It will push me to keep learning through any future projects. Finally, thanks to Simon and Fox Renderfarm for the interview.Fox Renderfarm: Thanks your precious time for sharing your ideas with us, and we hope you can have more awesome artwork come out. Congratulations to you again, and hope we can have some cooperations in the near future.Please enjoy the short animation film Planet Unknown here.
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