BizAsia talks to Red Chillies’ VFX team on SRK’s 3D printout

Raj Baddhan

Senior Editor


Last week, Shah Rukh Khan took to Twitter to show off the work of Red Chillies Entertainment, his production company, in creating a life-size 3D printout of him – in his very well-known signature pose – which he was gifted by them for his birthday. The team behind the phenomenon – the first of its kind in the world – include��Harry Hingorani (Chief Creative Officer/ VFX��Supervisor,��redchillies.vfx) and��Keitan Yadav (Chief Operating Officer/ VFX Producer, redchillies.vfx) as well as the team of Autodesk India.

BizAsia had the unique opportunity to speak to both Hingorani and Yadav of Red Chillies about the extremely innovative creation.

From left to right: Alok Sharma, Head of Media and Entertainment, Autodesk India, Prasad Phadke, Marketing Head, Autodesk India, Shah Rukh Khan, Harry Hingorani (Chief Creative Officer/ VFX Supervisor, redchillies.vfx) and Keitan Yadav (Chief Operating Officer/ VFX Producer, redchillies.vfx)

Congrats on the world’s first 3D printout model. When and how was it first conceptualised?

Thank you so much and we are glad our attempts are being appreciated globally. Initially, we were playing with the idea of making such a model as we wished to give SRK a unique gift that money can�۪t buy. When we visited the Autodesk University Program as speakers, we got introduced to the 3D technology when they printed iPhone cover in front of the audience. This initiated the germ of the idea in our heads that if we can do this for a small statue and eventually we thought if we can print a small statue then perhaps we can even print a large life size model too. To give a direction to the plan, Keitan soon decided to approach a dear friend Prasad Phadke at Autodesk India. The Autodesk team guided us about the basic imperatives and scans required to build the model.

We initiated the attempts to make this model almost 6 months back with smaller statues of 3 inches and after necessary corrections; we implemented the changes only to print a bigger 1 feet model. So that after studying the bigger version again changes would be made. We followed this process to achieve absolutely perfection, as we were aware that the model would be an actual life size version, it was imperative to capture every minute detail.

What was the process in thought after you had decided it was something you wanted to do?

To get Shah Rukh Khan�۪s exact measurements we had to cyber scan his body followed by addition of some body bones to give it the signature pose. The Cyber scan is a process where the laser light is reflected on your body to attain the contour of your body and gather the point cloud data that we used to make a model. However, this model had to be rebuilt for making a lighter portable version, which was achieved by using Autodesk�۪s Maya software to rebuild the model from point cloud data and redesign the figure all over again. The body scans were taken in bind pose, rigged and then modified to the build the signature pose. The 3D printing comes into play to give a real solid form to the virtual model. As we began to research about printing, we realized the 3D printers to build such a large models were not available in India yet. Infact, even in US it took us a while to figure out the right sources for the same. We again approached Autodesk, a world leader in creation of 3D design, engineering and entertainment software. The printing process is controlled by the computer to print layer-by-layer model instead of merely printing the image on the paper. It builds the statue from the bottom to top with complete precision. It is made from ABS���M30 material, which is a production grade plastic that is engineered for 3D technology. The Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) methodology was utilized to process this material in order to build the life size model. The material solidifies eventually to give the 3D model a seamless look.

Were there any debates about the pose or was SRK’s signature a definite winner from the start?

SRK’s signature posture was a definite winner from very beginning. When we commenced working on the statue, we were aware that there are myriad other statues of SRK but nothing that portrayed his hallmark pose. Thereby, without any debates, we unanimously agreed to be the first ones to immortalize his signature pose.

Do you feel it has turned out exactly as you had hoped it would?

We are delighted with the final model and deeply exhilarated with all the attention it has garnered. Honestly, it has turned out to be far better than what we had expected. We were only attempting to give Shah Rukh a unique gift and we were completely unaware that we would end up making such big news for developing world�۪s first life size model.

When did you first tell SRK and what was his reaction?

When SRK came to office he was unaware about the gift as we made the meeting very casual and maintained that we just called him to catch up generally. When we unveiled the model behind the curtain, he was genuinely shocked. He looked at the model for almost five long minutes to grasp in all the details and figure out how this was done. Usually, such models tend to look like clay figures on a closer look but a close look at the detailed perfection and you can tell such smoothness can be achieved only through 3D printing. He was mesmerised by the perfection and deeply intrigued by the technological advancement. Being his usual inquisitive self, SRK asked a series of questions regarding how it was made, the process, the technique and much more.

His response to the end product was something he tweeted about with great pride – was it always meant to be a gift from the team for his birthday? (And how much did he know about the process as the creation happened?)

SRK had absolutely no clue that the model was even being made. It came to him as a complete surprise because even when we were taking his scans during the shooting of ‘Happy New Year’ he just assumed that it was for the usual VFX R&D purpose.

Yes, it was supposed to be a surprise birthday gift for SRK and infact the model was ready by end of September itself. However, we were caught up with the release of HNY following which SRK was shooting for his next film ‘Fan’ on his birthday and multiple other instances caused the delay.

In recent times, Red Chillies VFX team have won a number of awards – after this great 3D achievement, what is next for the team?

Currently, we are thrilled to be working on our next film project called as ‘Fan’ starring SRK. It is a one of its kind project that is very unique and complex in many ways. We are extremely excited to be associated with it.

BizAsia congratulates, once again, the Red Chillies VFX team on the first 3D printout in the world and wish them well for forthcoming projects.