It's boom time for the Rs.13 billion ($approx $306 million) Indian animation industry with the likes of Hanuman, the monkey god, and Bal Ganesha, the elephant god, transforming the economics of the animation film industry.
Animation - An UpComing Career Option
Just in case you haven’t noticed the film world is being overrun by cartoon characters-from Toy story to a bug’s life to shark tales. Not content with children’s films. Animation has firmly established itself in mainstream cinema advertising, television and the gaming industry.
On one end of the spectrum are the fully animated features such as the recent blockbuster The Incredible or shark (1&2) lion king, and finding Nemo while even regular Titanic, The Matrix, lord of the rings and Harry Potter series extensively rely on digital photography and animation to bring alive breath-taking environment, monsters and fight sequences. And the is final fantasy whose entire cast is computer generated giving birth to a new term-“Synthespians” or digital actors!
The Indian animation industry is fast catching up –Pandavas – The Five Warriors, Ramayana the legend of prince Ram, Sindabad, Hum-tum Bhagmati and Hanuman have captured the fancy of US studios and won prestigious awards, a part from raking in several millions.
In fact the lead animators for the Hollywood blockbusters ANTZ, Batman forever, Titanic and Broken Arrow are Indian.
Although the animation industry in India still in its infancy (compared to other countries in the Asia pacific region such as Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea). It is fast emerging as a mega base for outsourcing animation and digital special effects production for Hollywood blockbusters and global studios such as Disney pictures, cartoon network, nickelodeon. John Carey, U.K; Rainbow, Italy and Neptuno, Spain besides catering to the local market.
The cost for making a full length animated film in America is $100 -$175 million while it costs not more than $15-$25 million in India which is leveraging this costs advantage to divert business from Canada and SE Asian countries
Internationally the animation industry can be categorised into two: outsourcing and original content .a majority of Indian companies are servicing contracts for the west and earn their bread and butter from low-end jobs like ‘in-betweening’ and ‘key farming’. The Magic words for opening the doors to success are ownership of the intellectual Property Rights of the animated feature. All outsourcing companies in India will eventually need to consider a paradigm shift and move over to creating original content.
To move up the value chain India animators must emulate the successful American formula of building their own IP to commercially exploit the licensing, video game and merchandising opportunities. Tenali Rama, adventures of chota Birbal, Panchatantra, are some examples.
While there are 10,000 –odd animators in the country presently, there is a demand for at least 50,000. About 1000-1,500animnators are churned out every year but animation studios feel that they need additional training to match international quality benchmarks.
Besides film and television the potential of this medium extends to diverse fields ranging from education to orthopedics, aeronautics, robotics, reverse engineering, digitizing, fashion and research. While high–end gaming technology is emerging as a hot field globally, animation is touted to be the next big thing on the internet as soon as the bandwidth constraints are resolved.
Some of our skilled English-speaking animators and graphic designers are also heading westward lured by attractive dollar salaries.
The work animation process begins with the preparation of a storyboard, which provides a visual script for the animation sequence. Then modelling is used to convert real objects to animated ones by optically scanning them and converting them to digital form. The next step is scripting/movement control, which involves manipulating static images to give the illusion of moving pictures. Finally, rendering is used to make and objector characters appear lifelike by manipulating light, colour, texture, shadow and transparency.
2-D animation is so manpower-intensive that it takes a team of 50-60 people working full-time for 2weeks to make a simple 5-minute animation film! At an average of 24 frames per second, a film could end up using over 50,000 separate drawings (over 1.14 lakh frames were rendered for Toy story, using 8 lakh computer hours).
The hierarchy is as follows; every project has the main/lead animator who draws the main character its movements and expression. The in-between or clean-up Artist ‘rinders’ or fills the intermediate gaps in the key drawings left by the lead animator. Then there are Junior Artist, layout Artist background Artist and character designers. Typically the complete Pre-Production package, including the blueprint or storyboard, recorded dialogues and exposure sheets come from the client. Indian artists then work online drawing, colour filling, motion and detailing and send them to the client via satellite.
What it Takes
Animators must have excellent creative and artistic abilities-a flair for drawing, sketching or caricaturing(preferably a degree in graphic/applied/ fine art ) plus a good sense of humour and an observant eye to spot the incongrous. You need through knowledge of classical 2-d animation follwed by profiency in handling current animation and multimedia software i.e. ANIMO,MAYA, 3D STUDIO Max adobe after Effects ,tictactoon, flash Gift Animator, ULead and a good compositing software like Adobe Photo Shop, Illustrate or Corel Draw. While 2-D animation has almost reached a plateau globally, Flash and 3-D animation, being much more realistic are now the rage.
The skill-set required for 3D animation is far more intricate than for 2D and animation houses in the US, UK and Canada are on the lookout for alternate low cost production centers for 3D animation.
For the Indian animation industry this is an excellent opportunity just waiting to be exploited provided we have competent manpower.
While an animator can do an entire 2Dframe on his own, an entire team of artists have to work in tandem to get the lighting, composition, modelling and rigging right to compose a frame in 3D
A good portfolio is the primary means by which employers evaluate animators. The portfolio is a collection of handmade computer generated, or printed examples of the artist’s work. Internship also provides excellent opportunities to gain hands-on experience.
What you’ll make
Starting off with approx. Rs.7, 000 -Rs10, 000p.m as a trainee, and between Rs.12, 000-Rs 40,000 p.m., within a few years.
Where to Train
Numerous institutes have sprung up to turn into a multimedia pro. But a word of advice; Don’t just settle for any of the two –bit courses offered at every nukkad these days. They won’t get you anywhere most of these teaching shops focus on the software instead of honing your animation skills.
Animation is also taught as paper in many BFA courses like those offered at the college of Art, Delhi and Chandigarh for instance as there are few formal courses in this subject some companies recruit fresh BFA graduates and put them through rigorous in-house training.
o Aptech university (at arena multimedia centers)www.arena –multimedia.com /www.aptechuniversity.ac.in
o Birla institute of Technology, MESHRA (Extn centers: Jaipur &A-7, sector-1, Noida-2010301)www.bitnoida.net)
o C-DAC (www.cdac.in) multi-location, A-34 Indl Area, phase-viii, SAS Nagar,Mohali 160071 www.cedtimohali.org
o C-DAC,National Multimedia Resource Center , Agriculture college,near District Industries Center, Shivajinagar, Pune 411005(Mah)
o Centre for Development of Imaging Technology , chitranjali studio omplex Thirunvallom PO, Thiruvananthapuram 695027 (C-DIT ) & intergrated information Technology centre Thiruvananthapuram (ker)www.c-dit.org
o Film & Television institute of India , law college road Pune 411004(mah) www.ftindia.com
o Heat Animatoin Academy , 7a road #12, Banjara Hills hyderabad –500034 (Ap)&Mumbai
o IIT-Guwahati , North Guwahati ,Guwahati 781039 (Ass) www.iitb.ernetin
o IIT Mumbai, Industrial Design Centre ,powai Mumbai 400076 (MAH) www.iitb.ac.in
o National institute of Design (NID), paldi ,Ahmedabad 380007(guj)www.nid.edu