Virtual Dream: 1 Artist, 3 Dimensions

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Born and raised in India, Shyam Kannapurakkaran decided to follow his passion for art, and went from being an architect in India, to filming school projects at Texas A&M University, to working on animated films with Disney.

Born and raised in India, Shyam Kannapurakkaran decided to follow his passion for art, and went from being an architect in India, to filming school projects at Texas A&M University, to working on animated films with Disney. “You meet people that you never even dreamt of. Even if you dreamt it, it was the wildest dream ever,” says Kannapurakkaran.

“Somehow I ended up choosing architecture…it was the best decision of my life,” says Kannapurakkaran of his choice to pursue architecture over computer science. With this degree in India, it offered an internship opportunity where Kannapurakkaran says he learned attention to detail.  “When you are working with a tool that can draw a molecule, you have to be very careful about what you draw and what you do not draw,” says Kannapurakkaran.

“We wanted to explore the medium and use it in a way nobody has used it before,” says Kannapurakkaran of one of his most prized projects “Tarang.” Kannapurakkaran worked with fellow students Jonny Greenwald and Ganesh Rao under the guidance of Professor Karen Hillier on a stereoscopic representation of dancer. “Somehow she kept dancing all night for us,” says Kannapurakkaran of the dancer, Aparupa Chatterjee, who is a renowned dancer in India.  The first of its kind, the stereoscopic video collage won first prize at Nvidia Immersive Visualization Challenege and Best Experimental 3D short at Hollywood Film Festival in 2011, as well as being screened at several film festivals including Big Bear Film Festival. The extended “Tarang” won Roman Bronze Award at the LA 3D Movie Festival in 2012.

“After that I got my first big break, I got a job at Disney,” says Kannapurakkaran, who worked as a stereoscopic artist on “Wreck It Ralph” which came out in 2012.  A stereoscopic artist is the person working the 3D-camera on a movie and makes sure that it “reads as a continuous 3D space and everything looks comfortable for the viewing,” says Kannapurakkaran. “I like to use light as a medium to create shapes, and that is one of the reasons why I feel I got into stereo because essentially you are making sculptures of light.”

“I really want to do installations and art projects using stereoscopy and projection mapping,” says Kannapurakkaran, who has since moved on from Disney. Kannapurakkaran now does freelance work and works with a photographer, working on ads and ad campaigns in Hollywood with A-List celebrities.

“I think the best part is to get a reaction out of people…whenever you show them something it’s a really honest reaction…in some way you can make somebody really emotionally moved,” says Kannapurakkaran of his favorite part about being an artist. “As much fun as it is to take an instant picture, it’s a lot of fun just to sit down and let your camera capture the light for several minutes…when you’re pulling light out of the dark, you never know what you’re going to get,” says Kannapurakkaran.

To learn more about Kannapurakkaran and to see more of his work, visit www.shyamk.com.