Digikore Studios is part of the Rs 200
crore Growel Group of Companies. The group's
flagship company, Grauer & Weil is into chemicals
and engineering while another company, Bombay
Paints, is into marine and industrial paints.
The company has made forays into the IT sector
with Growel Softech and Digikore Design. Digikore
focuses on multimedia and CD-ROM development.
According to Mr Abhishek More, Director, Digikore
Studios, "We were looking to get into
the field of Software Development, Design and
Animation. For a period of one year we were studying
the market and meeting people connected with the
Objectives clearly defined, the company acquired
Unifor Software, an existing software house
in July 2000, later they acquired Ergotech
Design, an existing design house. The studio
was set up from scratch.
Aware that they had to undertake tests before
they could take on International projects, Digikore
started with ink and paint jobs, with trial testing
for a few South Korean and Philippine studios.
The idea behind taking up ink and paint jobs says,
Mr More, was to get a foothold in the industry
and get a hands-on experience of the nitty-grittys
involved in the field besides getting the much
needed revenue flowing.
Digikore has also undertaken distribution of
broadcast series on behalf of three of the largest
South Korean animation studios - Animagic Studio
Inc., Akom Production Co., and Hanho Heung Up
Co. Ltd. These studios have appointed Digikore
to market their animated series in India and across
Asia. The Asian market will be catered to by the
Growel Group's office in Singapore. The first
batch of cartoon series includes Flying Superboard,
Toad Patrol, Maroons, Alex and Alexis, and Marsupilami.
These Korean studios, besides producing their
own series, also undertake production work for
major American and European studios, including
Warner Bros., Disney, Universal Studios, DreamWorks,
Fox, etc. All the popular series such as Casper,
Dilbert, Flash Gordon, Batman, GI Joe, Ghost Busters,
Winnie the Pooh, Tintin, etc., have been part-produced
in these Korean studios
Digikore is geared towards building up capacities
to carry out any of the 'episodic' tasks from
animation to compositing, including drawing, clean
up, in-betweening, layout and background, scanning,
ink and paint and compositing for overseas studios.
It will then be up to the overseas studios to
decide what jobs they want to download. Significantly,
to carry out one full episodic animation work
per month would require a manpower of 200 people,
ranging from conceptualisers, visualisers, storyboard
artists, layout artists, animators, background
artists, clean up artists, in-between sketch artists,
digital ink and paint artists and compositors.
The company is furiously working towards building
a digital animation production centre to produce
animated cartoons. "Animated cartoons,
even in this day of digital advancement, need
to be painstakingly drawn, picture by picture,
frame by frame," explains, Mr More.
"This makes it a very people-intensive
and talent-intensive industry. Hence, India, with
its abundance of low-cost talent, is most suited
to house a production studio of this type."
With production costs being a quarter of that
in the US, this is the field where India can play
a major role, says Mr More. In his opinion, a
one-episode production, which would cost $ 300,000
in the US, would cost $ 80,000 to $ 100,000 (Rs
40 lakh) in India. Further, with production costs
steadily firming up in Korea and nearing US levels,
a country like India would stand to gain.
However, the Studio is not being unutilised until
the existing capacities are being ramped up to
bag international assignments. Digikore has turned
its attention to the domestic market with the
creative team working on developing content for
the domestic market.
Mr More felt that looking at the domestic market
made a lot of business sense, as there are 110
channels, local and national.
As most channels find filling slots with quality
content increasingly difficult, he is confident
that even non-cartoon entertainment channels would
like to include cartoon series in their 'family'
First off the block in this ambitious project
will be a 26-episode cartoon serial based on India-specific
content, Folklore, History, and Mythology. 'Akbar-Birbal',
'Vikram-Betal', to name a few.
The company has already made a beginning by creating
small-animated shots for TV channels and cable
networks. Drawing on their creative resources
to undertake multifarious jobs such as ink and
paint, animation, compositing, etc., Digikore
is steadily on its way to set up a full-fledged
animation production house that would produce
international quality animated serials.
To accelerate this process and simultaneously
transform itself into a major production hub with
an impressive pool of talent, the company proposes
to have its own training school in an effort to
professionalise the talent pool it already has.
India is thirty years behind the others in the
field of animation and Mr. More is convinced that
one needed to move fast as there was a lot of
catching up to do.
Address: Bungalow # 2, Nehru Marg, Pune
Phone: 636 1423 / 636 2309
Text: Rahul Surkund
Photographs by: Hari Krishna