Arka Mediaworks

Baahubali 2 Film Production Company

Hyderabad, India

Uncompromised Vision

Baahubali is an epic historical fiction film set in medieval India, which takes its cues from mythology, history and folklore. It’s a bold project and the director’s vision of the picture’s scope and larger-than-life setting has meant the film commands previously unheard of VFX integration in Indian filmmaking.

This scale has given Baahubali a unique status: in India, most states produce their own films, and fans are fiercely passionate about their region’s titles.

Baahubali is rare because it transcends these regional boundaries. Baahubali 1: The Beginning is India’s highest ever grossing film, and the 3rd highest grossing Indian film worldwide. Expectations for the sequel are running high, with many hoping the film’s success will pave the way for more Indian films on this scale.

Uncharted Territory

The spectacular palaces where much of Baahubali’s action takes place don’t exist in the real world, especially on the scale that director S.S. Ramajouli needed to tell his story. It meant using a huge amount of CGI to transform the live sets into something much grander.

There are around 2,500 shots in Baahubali 2 which use computer graphics to enhance the picture. This included adding vast crowds of people, creating impossible machines and modelling particle effects. An extremely powerful graphics card like the Radeon™ Pro WX is vital to make sure the digital art is indistinguishable from the physical actors and sets they shared the screen with or the effect would be worthless.

As well as the computational demands of the CG shots, Baahubali 2 is also the first movie in India to be filmed in ultra high-definition 4K. This added another layer of pressure on the artists and graphics cards they were using. It meant an incredible amount of coordination, communication and computing power was needed.

ARTISTIC EVOLUTION

People tend to think of VFX as a character in the film. It’s not. You need to look at VFX the way you look at your camera: it’s a component that helps you get your vision on to the screen.

S.S. Ramajouli. Director, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion

Artistic Evolution

The amount of CG work a blockbuster like Baahubali 2 commands means even the biggest art studios in the world would struggle with the output. In order to work efficiently, work is split across several teams. In Baahubali’s case, 35 art companies across the world work on CG for the film.

The way CG work is split between studios is task-based, rather than scene based. For example, one studio might be handling water animation, while another handles the modelling. It means studios need to be linked to one another, with any delays dragging the whole production schedule off track.

Although Baahubali 2 is a carefully coordinated project with thousands of people working on it, it is still a piece of art. And it can change and evolve during production. The pipeline has to be flexible and responsive enough to handle changes quickly. Without a graphics card like one in the  Radeon Pro WX family, digital artists wouldn’t be able to quickly preview and output tweaks and additions without holding up work for others.

CREATING THE ART OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

Creating the Impossible

As CG is generally used for scenes that are dangerous or impractical to shoot, the work typically focuses on complex and highly detailed scenes. A powerful graphics card like one in the Radeon Pro WX family is needed to handle the fidelity of these projects, while staying responsive and smooth for the artist working.

Makuta is the principal VFX Studio working on Baahubali 2, and was involved early in the project. The studio actually starts with a physical set its artists can interact with. The team then laser scans the entire space and creates a digital version of it to work on, recreating the real world digitally. That includes the set, crowds, foliage, lighting, textures and much more.

 

Creating a stationary image was one thing, but this is film. As the virtual camera moves, every frame has to be recalculated to account for the shifting perspective and change in lighting. It’s hard to overstate how much computing power this requires and using anything other than the hugely powerful Radeon Pro WX would make the project all but impossible.

And the detail is increasing. A few years ago, scenes with more than a million polygons would slow systems to a crawl. With the Radeon Pro WX we can still interact smoothly, helping to bring incredible projects like Baahubali 2: The Conclusion to life.

3D modellers need very fast updates when they’re creating something.  With Radeon Pro WX, we get a very fast real time update so we can spin models around smoothly.

Pete Draper. CEO and co-founder of Makuta VFX