Senseai calendar: Pragati’s kudos project - The Noel DCunha Sunday Column

Stunning. Stylish. Subtle. The masks are back. We loved the first mask-series calendar. At PrintWeek, we were thrilled to see this new collection. In this Sunday Column, Narendra Paruchuri, chairman of Pragati Group, shares the concept and the making of the distinctively produced newest edition of the Pragati calendar

25 Nov 2023 | By Noel D'Cunha

The new Pragati calendar titled, Senseai is an unmistakable display of the awe-inspiring potential of generative artificial intelligence tools. Every image and text in the calendar has been masterfully crafted using state-of-the-art technology, showcasing the remarkable progress in the field of AI. “This is a resounding testament to the power of these tools, which continues to revolutionise our world,” says Narendra Paruchuri, chairman of Pragati Group.

Series II is distinguished by its unique creative process, exquisite design, and tasteful aesthetics. “Looking back, we vividly recall the immense efforts put into a previous calendar, Masked Faces, where many weeks were dedicated to obtaining the masks and photographing them. For this year’s theme, we once again delved into the captivating world of masks to portray human emotions, but thanks to the marvels of AI, the process required only a fraction of the time to generate these expressive images,” explains Paruchuri.

While the Pragati team does know a thing or two about artificial intelligence tools, Paruchuri says, Rajeev Gupta, the designer (Adaan Digital Solution) mastered it to produce stunning, high-quality images. "This revolutionary technology has limitless potential, offering unprecedented opportunities to reshape and transform human existence. However, it also poses unknown risks and potential dangers, which we must be mindful of, cautions Paruchuri. “Thus, we must summon our collective wisdom to safeguard humanity from any misuse or abuse of this superpower,” he says.

The creative concept behind the product was initially generated by an AI system. However, Pragati’s exceptional print power brought the idea to life. Through its meticulous selection of premium-quality paper grades and strategic use of techniques like embossing, foiling effects, MetPet printing, printing on plastic sheets, and spot UV on velvet lamination, Pragati was able to produce a truly impeccable end product. The level of attention to detail and precision in their work is truly admirable and sets them apart from others in the industry.

Even within such a super-specialised calendar there is a diversity of styles and techniques, and it isn't easy to choose a winner. So I ask Ramu Ramanathan, editor of PrintWeek/WhatPackaging?, which of the effects he liked the most. “The 3D effects,” he says, “Normally, I don't like the 3D effects on print, but I loved the effect on the facial expression. As they say in nritya, it brings out the mudra. The design is exemplified, and the results are yum.”

As we gloss over the Pragati calendar, we are sure the anticipation and anxiety must have been palpable for the Pragati team as it eagerly awaited the sight of their creation coming to life on paper.

As we discuss the making of the new Pragati calendar with Paruchuri, he says, “This calendar is both a testament to the wonders of technological advancement and a heartfelt call to humanity to unite in wisdom and let our spirit guide us towards a brighter future.”

  • Designer: Rajeev Gupta. Adaan Digital Solutions. New Delhi.
  • The R&D: While AI can do many things fast, we have to learn what to ask it to get the right output. Rajeev spent a lot of time learning this science, and he could get what he wanted. 
  • Time duration from design to completion: Four months, including the learning of technology. 
  • Pre-press USP: Used extended gamut six/seven colours as needed.
  • Challenge in the plate: None
  • Type of screening: 250 LPI used. Regular screening. 
  • Press: Six sheets on Komori 740, and two on KBA 76.
  • Finishing: Wire-O binding
  • What, according to you, was the most interesting aspect of the job: It is a yagna.  We have to go through each sheet and each process. A learning experience. The excitement starts at the beginning and culminates when the final calendar reaches my table.
  • Any rejections: None, thankfully. As we were proofing the job, necessary corrections were made. 
  • One technical highlight:  Using AI and blending it with print technology. 
  • Feedback about the calendar: We are very happy with the positive accolades got from many from all over the world. Many asked for additional copies. We ran out of stock. 

Clear PET Film
Printing: Three spots - Black, Red, White

250 gsm BILT Gloss Card with silver metal transfer (no plastic)
Printing: CMYK, two whites
Effects: Gloss UV, duct matt

300 gsm BILT art card
Printing: Silver gravure, CMYK, gold
Effects: Raised cold gold foil

ITC SBS Board 250 gsm
Printing: CMYK, gold
Effects: Texture and gloss UV, duct matt, embossing

ITC SBS Board 250 gsm
Printing: CMYK, gold
Effects: Gravure soft-touch varnish, micro-embossing, raised UV

Montblanc 270 gsm
Printing: CMYK, gold
Effects: Micro-embossing, regular embossing

Montblanc 270 gsm
Printing: CMYK, orange, green, gold 
Effects: Spot UV, embossing

ITC SBS Board 250 gsm
Printing: CMYK, gold
Effects: Gloss UV, duct matt, micro-embossing, regular embossing