Careers in Animation

It was with Walt Disney's creation of first cartoon character that animation witnessed a modest beginning in 1928. But the subsequent years saw a deluge of cartoon characters becoming a part and parcel of daily life. Mickey Mouse, Tom & Jerry, Dennis the Menace are some of the notable characters.

Simply defined, animation is the manipulation of static images to give the illusion of moving pictures. This happens when a sequence of pictures are passed through the projector at a rapid speed of 24 frames a second.

One could flip, flop, stumble and tumble and yet spring out fresh as ever. And this is only possible in the world of animation, which can make your weindest dreams come true.A sense of colour, a sense of balance and proportion is a must in this profession. An eye for detail will take you places. The essence of the job is to know how exactly each character should move or react and create something extraordinary which seems full of life.

Animation can be of two types -2D (two dimensional) and 3D (three dimensional). While 2D animation can be cell, puppet or sand animation, clay modelling, cut - out animation or computer generated; it goes through the stages of story, boarding, character development on paper, background and layout, scanning, inking and painting, key frames and in betweens, sound - effects and editing. Therefore, a one hour film takes almost one year of hard work. As the name suggests, 2D animation generates characters like what we see in Cartoon Network.

The 3D animation also goes through the similar processes but uses more sophisticated gadgets and processes. Real and life like features of characters created through 3D animation can only be restricted by the creator's imagination.

There are computer animators who work on computers to make their characters come alive. But there are also cartoon animators who draw the pictures for the animated movies. Most computer animators draw their characters by hand and then plug them into the computer to make them act out their part in the movie or the commercial.

Since animators focus on characterisation, developing a sense of rhythm and expression is a must. This field demands a lot of creativity but this doesn't necessarily mean you need to be very artistic. There are special effect tecchnicians, who manipulate pictures to make normal images turn into weird and interesting images. There are other artists who focus on understanding and practice of line drawings and sequencing of frames while there are clean - up artists who focus on understanding and practice of detailing and different poses.

Some computer animators also design logos or graphics for the internet or television. If animation as a career fascinates you, but drawing is something you do not really enjoy, there are other exciting opportunities including writing, voice acting and directing, production co - ordination and post production. So, with all those incredible imagination and artistic opportunities, animation is surely a great career choice.

New developments are taking place in the software used for making animation films. Pentamedia, Discreet and Maya have done commendable research in this field. They also provide raining to prosoective candidates who want to join the field. The course fees varies from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 75,000 depending upon the proficiency levels.

In spite of all these, not much professional training in the field of animation is available in India. A degree or diploma in fine arts could prove beneficial, but course in animation is definitely preferred. However, in recent past a few business houses have shown interest. The Escorts Group started its very own training programme in animation. "Escotoonz training programme, which is the first education venture of Escorts Group, was started to ensure that the creative skills required for this industry are available in this country," says Manvendra Shukul, held of Interactive Software Escosoft Technologies Ltd. "It is our objective to property mould these skills towards this medium. As, it also helps us in ensuring a ready pool of talent with sharply honed skills, which is production ready," he added.

It is to be noted that Escotoonz is India's first serious entry into the world of 2D Animation, multi - media, simulation CBTs and 3D action and adventure games, through Ecosoft's interactive division. The cost of the programme is Rs.69,000 and duration of the same is seven months. Further to get some proficiency one can opt for part - time courses in mass communication. In addition, there are institutes like Arena Multimedia, Pentamedia, Chandigarh Arts College and Delhi College of Arts which offer papers on animation.

The animation industry has come a long way since the days of Walt Disney. The entertainment industry uses nearly 70 per cent of the total animation created in a year. Indian Animation Industry currently pegged at $550 million is slated to clock a growth rate of 30 per cent per year in the next three years and expected to reach approximately $ one billion by 2008. Projections show that India will receive $2 billion worth of animation business in the next three years.

The growth rates and opportunities in this sector are tremendous. With competition from countries like Korea, Taiwan and Philippines, India scores high in terms of costs. The other criteria for selection of the service provider is the quality provided in work and quantity provided in time. Indian animators have talent, not the experience. The dearth of professional institutions in India that provid technical training in quality animation has caused a severe shortage of animators with the requisite skills.

Animation has application in not only entertainment industry (movies and TV), but also in education (classroom - based and Web - based training), advertising (print and TV commercials), engineering and design and Defence simulations.

Visualisers, ink and paint artist, compositors, scan and render artists, in between artists, character animators and modelling artist are some of the professionals required. Animators work for motion pictures studios, television advertising and software development companies.

A good animator with minimum two years experience can draw a minimum salary of Rs.10,000. Internationally, animators may draw a whopping salary of anywhere between $40,000 to $200,000 depending, of course, on skills and experience.

Animation is definitely a lucrative profession in terms of money that it offers. A skilled and trained animator could easily earn anywhere between Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000 a month. Professional animators could even freelance or undertake projects under individual contracts for commercials or television.

According to a NASSCOM estimate India would require around 3,00,000 professionals in the fields of content development and animation by 2008. And, with giants like Warner Brothers, Fun Bag Animation, ILM and Disney planning to set up shop in India to produce animation films and movies, animation is set to become one of the fastest growing IT segments in the country.

Animation industry globally is becoming one of the faster growing industries within IT enabled services market. With development costs increasing in the US, Canada and Europe India is seen as a preferred destination for global animation requirements. In fact, India, among all Asian countries, is seen as the new hub of activities. According to a recent study, animation and computer graphics sector is billed to reach $50 billion by 2005.

Following the great success of the animation motion pictures like Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Aladdin, Winni and the Poob and the very recent Monsters Incorporated, animation industry is increasingly growing in popularity at a global scale. If you are interested in it and have inquisitive eye for myriad technological experiments going on in this field, it is sure to pay you rich dividends

Institutions offering courses in Animation and Cartoons in India

  • Anitoons Productions, New Delhi.
  • Arena Animation Academy.
  • C.DAC's National Multimedia Resources Centre, Pune.
  • IIT Guwahati.
  • Industrial Desigjn Centre, IIT, Mumbai.
  • Kerala Cartoon Academy, Chittor Road, Kochi 7.Toonz Animation India Private Limited, Nila Technopark Campus, Thiruvananthapuram-695 581. Ph:0471-2416928; E-mail : 8.Pentamedia Graphics Limited, Chennai.
  • The National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad,
  • ZICA Studios, Mumbai, Ph:022-8684485, 8693957,8696663

International Focus in Animation And Cartoons

  • Art and Design Admissions Registry, Penn House, 9, Broad Street, Herefore HR 4 9AP
  • Chartered Society of Designers, 29, Bedford Square, London WC1B 3EG
  • Design Council, 1,Oxenden Street, London SW1 4EE
  • National Art Education Association, 1916 Association Drive, Reston, VA 22091-1590
  • National Cartoonists Society, PO Box 20267, Columbus Circle Station, New York, NY 10023
  • National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), The Gatehouse, Corsham Court, Corsham, Wilts, SN 13 OES

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