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Halls of Desire

Created by

Sailesh Gopalan

Assisted by

Vibhav Singh

“Beneath the halls of desire and heat,

Decrees the queen blood red:

She who sits the golden seat,

Decides who warms her bed.”

Halls of Desire

Creator's Note:

In this round of rejecting the stigma of what constitutes ‘Indian animation’, I explore sexual themes and suggestive imagery.

Mature stories and themes have globally become a staple in animated media, and having explored violence/gore in my previous experiment, I wanted to tackle a different facet of animation that’s targeted towards a slightly more adult audience. It doesn’t elude me that explicit nudity could’ve made a more impactful point, but the idea in my head for this animation worked better in inexplicit depictions with high sexual energy. 

The main inspiration for this style and concept was The Apothecary Diaries, a recent anime adaptation that I can’t seem to get over. The cinematic camera angles were inspired by Mai Yoneyama's gorgeous MV for ‘YOKU’ by Eve.

The final inspiration for the art style was the fact that I got to work with Vibhav on this animation, letting him go wild and perform his signature magic on these backgrounds.

I would say the process was pretty straightforward. We did what we’re comfortable with, except that we turned the dial to maximum in every aspect.

I had figured out my intention and the mood of these shots right at the beginning, and that was all Vibhav needed to take my barebones sketches to these absolutely beautiful, finessed paintings. Compositing was key here; I studied several anime scenes and tried to replicate certain effects and adjustments with the tools I was familiar with on After Effects.

Despite Vibhav’s familiarity with the style, he knew painting these backgrounds was going to be a challenge simply because of the ostentatious setting, with all its motifs, patterns and architectural intricacies, not to mention a combination of different surfaces and materials.

These layouts that I provided were perfect for him because they gave him a solid foundation to work on while still allowing him to riff on top by adding in more architectural and design elements.

The painting techniques used here are extremely straightforward and simple. He kept the colour choices quite limited, resulting in quick decisions, and helping him focus most of his time on clarity and finesse.

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