The scope of animation art is limitless
Can you imagine yourself in that enviable Gucci dress or the chic Calvin Klein denims that your favourite actor donned recently? Isn’t it a little difficult to visualise? Well, fret no more and picture this: you are seated in the privacy of your home, in front of the television set and you plan to throw a party, however, have no idea of what to wear. Instead of fussing, you switch on the TV and take a virtual tour to the local shopping mall, pick a dress, and try it on using your body profile programmed into the online shopping portal. In a few moments, the store delivers that dress at your doorstep and you are ready for the bash! With motion-capture software, as the next big thing to hit the animation world, animation is no longer just a child’s play.
The more the merrier
Case in point: Project Natal from Microsoft, which is the controller-free gaming concept that uses human body movements to play on the XBOX 360 gaming console. Likewise, animation has grown beyond cartoon films and reached the internet, mobile phones, video games and television channels. This way it is reaching the older generation. It has made the concept of virtual dressing rooms and make-up rooms possible along with online gaming. Supreet Bhamrah, Centre Head and Managing Director, Frameboxx, feels that today hi-speed net is the in thing, which has doubled the scope of animated content and data on mobile sets in the form of 2D flash animation. “Intelligent games such as Sudoku, cricket and picture puzzles are capturing the interests of the corporate world too,” Bhamrah informs. Along with web games, Indian animation is making a mark in the video-gaming world rapidly. Recently, Gameshastra, India’s largest game services company developed the fully indigenous ‘Desi Adda- Games of India’ for Sony Playstation.
Thus the scope of animation art is limitless. Upholding this fact, Bhamrah, gives another relevant example. If you think a handful of sand, a glass of water and a few matchsticks are things too trivial. Think again. These three with a pinch of animation can blow your wits out of proportion. For instance, veteran director Dadasaheb Phalke was among the first few in Indian cinema to create animation using simple objects like coins and matchsticks and photographing them frame by frame. He also used special effects in ‘Harishchandra’, the first silent movie of India!
Designed to thrill
“Indian animation industry is en route to experimental animation that can create animation out of anything under the sun,” adds Bhamrah. The list includes sand, water, light and smoke animation, besides stop motion, chuckimation, puppetry, cut-out and flip-page animation, clay animation and animatronics (use of robotics in mechanized puppets to simulate life). Animation has broadened in scope to include ‘acting for animation’, which, according to Farooq Ahmed Mir, General Manager, Technical Operations, Frameboxx, is a way to teach students to be good actors to be able to breathe life into the characters they create. Through this technique the actor’s emotions, body movements and facial expressions are captured and passed onto that of the animated character.
Animation also covers visual and special effects – VFX and SFX that make surreal look real in movies. The Indian film industry is all set to release its first expensive animated movie featuring Rajnikanth called Sultan the Warrior, which uses 3D, giving it an edge over other Indian movies made so far. Besides outsourcing animated content, Indian animation industry is poised to grow within the homeland due to extensive use of animation across all media.
The Animation Society of India (TASI) believes, “Animation is not just ‘kids stuff’. Today, it is a major industry and a serious career choice for thousands of artists. The global animation industry, which covers TV, games, mobile, films is worth billions in dollars. This industry is making rapid strides in India with the ever increasing availability of creatively satisfying and lucrative career options.”
Learning the art
Animation, literally, means to breathe life into something. “To make a successful animated film, whether 2D or 3D, it is essential for the animator to convey the story well,” opines Bhamrah. Even today there is no other animated film that can beat the popularity record of the simple 2D ‘Ek Chidiya…anek chidiya’ film. For this, he says, it is necessary for students to opt for institutes that give them leeway to build expertise in their favourite field. The course should not be generic; it should offer specialised training in different fields such as modeling, texturing, lighting, storyboarding, scripting, compositing, editing and sound designing among others, depending on the creative abilities of the student. “Before joining a course, one should be able to enjoy the process of making movies besides a basic knowledge of animation,” he adds. With the huge platform available to promote animated content, an animation enthusiast can earn highly both as a full-time and freelance professional. Thus, with the lure to make good money combined with creative instincts, an animation artist can make a virtual trip to Mars a possibility!