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Career in Animation

Introduction

Who can forget the cute and martial arts obsessed Panda who taught us that self-belief can help us scale great heights or for that matter the ever charming and fascinating world of Narnia! Blockbuster movies such as Kung Fu Panda, The Chronicles of Narnia, Wall-E, Coraline, Up, Bolt, Ice Age and Monsters vs. Aliens are striking examples of the miracle that is animation. Animation industry has boundless scope for those who love to create magic.

In spite of the recent global economic crises, animation industry across the world has continued to grow at a rapid pace. In India too, despite its late entry, the animation industry is on the path of expansion and ready to experience a prolonged period of boom. What is more exciting is the fact that this industry would give employment to thousands of prospective 2-D and 3-D animators every year. This boom is further going to be fuelled by the outsourcing of animation project work by Disney and other animation giants to India.

The field of animation is sometimes misunderstood with cartooning. Cartooning is simply drawing caricatures of characters with some distinct subtleties to make the character evoke a sense of comedy. On the other hand, animation is the art of breathing life into these characters. Animation is the art with which inanimate objects are brought to life with the help of various modern computer based sequencing techniques.

Step-by-Step

The best way to pursue a career in animation is by getting a graduate degree or diploma in animation. But a graduate degree in animation is not very prevalent in India yet and only very few institutes offer this course at present. On the other hand, a host of institutes are offering diploma courses in animation. A Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA) is also a very important course to step in the animation arena. A bachelor’s degree in animation and the BFA are three-year courses whereas the diploma course in animation varies in the range of six-months to one- and-a-half-years.

For doing a diploma or degree in animation, the eligibility criteria includes a 10+2 from a recognised board with at least 45% marks.

Start Early

There are no special subjects that are needed to be studied at this level. But aptitude in sketching, drawing and deep interest in computers is always considered essential to gain entry into the animation industry.

It would be very appropriate to study fine arts at the college level and Bachelor in Fine Arts is an ideal way to give career in animation a big push. If, however, you are not pursuing fine arts but are instead pursuing some other stream, there are still chances to chalk out a career in animation. In such a situation, you must have an attitude and passion to excel in animation.

Is it the Right Career for Me?

If you have oodles of creativity, then yes, this is the right career option for you. For being a good animator you need to possess a great deal of zeal and imagination. You must be good at drawing and sketching. An understanding of human, bird and animal expressions and movement is very important part of animation as it will help you express the characters you create in the most appropriate way.

Furthermore, you should have good visualisation skills and flair for using colours. Patience, hard work and dedication towards your work are also a must for this job profile. Animation is a multitasking job so for that you need to work as a team, therefore, you need to have good communication skills. So if you have the above skills and a keen interest to explore this creative art, this is the career for you.

What would it Cost Me?

Depending upon the institution and the course you select the fee can cost you anything between Rs.50,000 to Rs.2,00,000.

Funding/Scholarship

A boom in the animation industry in India has boosted the career prospects and has encouraged many institutions to offer scholarships to talented individuals. Aptech Arena extends the Kala Srishti Scholarship programme to its meritorious students. The UD School of Animation, Hyderabad, offers the DiiA (Diversity in India Animation) Scholarship programme, which supports and promotes women to take up a career in animation.

Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC) provides scholarships to meritorious students annually on the basis of a creativity test that is followed by an interview.

Job Prospects

Job prospects for animators are rising at a very fast pace thanks to the boom in the entertainment and gaming industry. Animation with time has got a good hold over movies, television and advertising industries due to the excessive use of special effects. Full length animation movies are in great demand. A single animation film requires as many as 500 animators, which means huge employment opportunities. Animation is one of the concrete, lucrative and demanding career options which serves both entertainment and education (e-learning) industries alike.

Pay Packet

Animation is a satisfying and lucrative profession and is attracting youngsters in droves towards it. Professionals new to this industry generally work in the capacity of junior animators in animation studios and production houses. The starting pay package of these animators can be in a range or Rs.10,000 to Rs.15,000 per month.

Within a span of three to five years you can become a senior animator and command a monthly salary as much as Rs.30,000 to Rs.40,000. If you are really creative and have been a part of some innovative projects you can bag a pay cheque in excess of Rs.55,000.

Demand and Supply

Animation is one of the fastest growing career options in our country these days. The want for more and more skilled animators has brought about a rise in job opportunities and ascended the demand for animation as a lucrative career option. The demand has exceeded the supply as the animation industry requires more than 30,000 professionals every year.

Market Watch

The animation industry, which was once dominated by the West, has found a new hub in India. Among all the Asian countries, India has got the potential and the creative juices to produce world class animations. Although, the animation industry is a relatively new comer to India, this industry is all set to experience a period of unprecedented boom.

Television, film and advertising industry all have an insatiable demand for animations and special effects. Further, India, steeped in rich cultural heritage and mythology coupled with the technology know-how, is ready to produce full-length animation movies and short animation features. 

However, this boom would not only be confined to the animation industry but also spill over to the mobile and computer gaming industries. All this means more and more jobs for 2-D and 3-D animators and an increasing international recognition of Indian animators.

International Focus

The Indian animation industry is on the move. Western animation companies support India for outsourcing animation because of India’s good foundation of communicating in the English language, cost benefits and great infrastructure of state-of-the-art studios.

Big names in animation like Fun Bag Animation, Warner Brothers, Industrial Light and Magic and Disney are now exploring India to produce their animation movies on a co-production basis.

Positives/Negatives

+ives

•    The global animation industry is huge and as an animation artist, you have great
scope both in India and abroad.

•    Animation as a profession is very lucrative.


-ives

•    Working for long hours is one of the stressful situations an animator has to face most of the time during their career.

Different Roles, Different Names

  • Given below are the different roles of professionals in the animation industry:
  • In-between animator – This is a beginner’s position in the animation industry where you can learn almost all the basics of animation.
  • Modeller – A person having strong knowledge of form, volume and anatomy. They make models for animation.
  • Background artist – The job is to paint the background of the characters in the project.
  • Layout artist – Person who decides the lighting and camera angles and sketches the background design for the animation.
  • Story Broad Artist – People with strong drawing skills are hired as storyboard artists and their job is to visualise a series of events from one animation frame to another.
  • Clean- up Artist – Assistant to the animator, whose work is to trace the animator’s rough drawing and to check the accuracy and consistency of a design.
  • Scanner operator – Job is to scan the clean up artist’s drawings.
  • Compositor – Job is to bring all the different characters and backgrounds in to a single animation frame.
  • Character animator – They bring characters to life and generally have knowledge of traditional animation and stop-motion animation.
  • Special effect artist – Combine live-action footage with computer generated imagery.
  • Digital ink and paint artist – Their duty is to add colours to each frame.
  • Key frame animator – Primary job is to draws the pictures of a movement’s beginning and end.
  • Lighting artist – Create variations of shade, colour intensity and shadows.
  • Image Editor – Bring together the various audio-visual components of an animation film.
  • Rendering artist – Combine models, textures, animation, lighting and to produce the correct blend in the form of individual frames of animation.
  • 2-D Animator – They create a very high volume of separate drawings that define an animated sequence.
  • Texture Artist – They create a surface to the 3-D modelled character, object or environment.
  • Rigging artist – Take the modelled, textured 3-D character or object and set it up with a skeletal system or joints, this helps the 3-D character to talk or move fluidly and correctly.
  • 3-D animator –  Take the sculpted, textured and rigged 3-D model and put life into it. This is done by putting in order the key frames in such a way that they appear to be lifelike and in motion.

 

Top Companies

Given below is the list of top companies in the field of Animation:

1.    Toonz Animation India
2.    Pentamedia Graphics
3.    Maya Entertainment
4.    UTV Toonz
5.    Heart Entertainment
6.    Padmalaya Telefilms
7.    Nipuna Services Ltd
8.    Jadoo Works
9.    Crest Communications
10.    Silvertoon Studio, Mumbai

Tips for Getting Hired

1.    A professional course in the field is a must.
2.    Get a high-end computer with an advanced graphic card and some development tools; make a demo presenting all the practical skills that the employers seek.
3.    Preparing a strong portfolio of work is very essential to get a job in Animation.
4.    Apply to as many companies as possible.

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