A short film to promote the use of public transportation.
Client | Institute of Transportation and Development Policy
Skills | Script Writing, Storyboarding, Animation, Illustration, Character Design, Sound design
Tools used | Adobe Flash, Adobe After effect, Adobe Premier Pro, Adobe Photoshop
Duration | 6 months
Capacity | Individual project ( outsourcing sound design only)
When I returned to India from Muscat at the age of 16, I couldn’t muster the courage to navigate a scooter through the uncontrollable traffic jams of Pune like the rest of my college friends. This made me turn towards the city's bus service for help and to my surprise, I loved the experience! But very few people agreed to give it a try it due to the stigma of unreliability that revolves around public transportation in India.
This prompted me to make a short animation film (that was pitched to my sponsor ITDP), as part of my graduation project, that not only throws light upon the real problem but also promotes an impactful solution.
The solution that we arrived on was to promote the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which was first employed in the city of Ahmedabad in India in the year 2009. Since its introduction, Ahmedabad saw an exponential rise in the number of public transport users and significant improvements in the levels of pollution and traffic. The system was so successful that it was even awarded the Sustainable Urban Transport Award (2010) in Washington. We decided that the film’s primary audience should be the government so that they help spread better transport systems throughout the country. The film would even otherwise serve as a PSA for the common audience.
While sending out messages such as this, films run the risk of sounding preachy or boring. Animation as a medium allows us to portray the problems in a light hearted yet impactful manner, it allows you to easily steer into imaginary situations and transitions which would otherwise be difficult to explain.
Stylized graphics, color palettes and quirky characters can make the film stand out and easy to remember thus magnifying the impact of the message.
SCRIPT AND STORYBOARD
Character and Element Design
All spaces, modes of transport, costumes etc. were designed after studying the Ahmedabad BRT system to keep it genuinely true to the system.
The characters in the film were inspired and drawn from the daily commuters you will see in India. The gestures, behaviors and the characteristics of the 3 main characters ( the old man, the office guy and the environmentalist) were designed keeping the following points in mind:
Represents the elderly commuters who want to be independent but are too old to operate a private vehicle on their own.
Represents the largest population of public transport users in India, the working middle class.
- He is always angry because the buses are always late and he has a tough time at work because of that.
- He has no option but to continue using the buses because of the rising fuel prices
A different vehicle was designed for each character of the film. Keeping in mind their personality and style, each vehicle was designed to suit them perfectly.
The working woman got a petit car, the hippie man got a 60's inspired scooter, the Sadhu got a Royal Enfield and the college girl got a pink scooter.
All the shots were designed from a field study of Ahmedabad BRTS. Every place where the system is mentioned in the film, the elements have been designed to be true to it.
Uniform photograph courtesy: Janmarg uniform presentation, BRTS photograph courtesy: ITDP India.
The spiral shot with about 500 vehicles and a constant moving camera was a shot that needed to be worked out meticulously with immense amounts of planning. This shot was animated using CGI technique in Maya.
Five models (car, rickshaw, scooter, moped and a bus) were modeled in maya with big help from Dinesh Ram. The models were then textured on photoshop with a thick hand drawn border exactly like the vehicles in the film top left row shows the vehicle models bottom right row shows textured version of the car and the rick.