Make lines talk, make money

PATHFINDER

Make lines talk, make money

Be it Godzilla rampaging through the streets of New York, or aliens invading our planet, Spiderman swinging from one skyscraper to another;  we have all watched these scenes from movies and experienced the excitement that they are able to create.

Such is the endearing world of animation and computer graphics that brings images to life through different tools and technologies.  Animation has emerged as a special form of media and has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, generating great employment potential.

Animation means linking a series of drawings and simulating their movements together. It is a rapid display of 2D or 3D images to create an illusion of motion. It is an art form in which inanimate objects are brought into life by sequencing images. In other words, it is the making of movies, games or cartoons by moving the drawings or models of animals or people with the help of computers or other electronic devices.

A career in animation requires strong artistic skills and a solid familiarity with the latest in computer animation technologies. It also requires the ability to turn creative thoughts into compelling images, using them to communicate an idea effectively.

For a successful career in the field, one needs to be familiar with web-authoring, digital illustrations, image-editing, page-layout creation, multimedia-authoring, web- publishing, conventional animation, contemporary animation, video editing and composing.

Most animation institutes seek to impart the basic skills required to get a job in the animation industry. There are a number of institutes that offer course work specifically in computer animation and associated technologies.

Career prospects

There are a number of different career paths for animators. An animator’s job typically involves creating animated graphics for a variety of projects. Along with the animation industry, the gaming industry is also expected to witness major growth. The demand for animation artists comes, at present, largely from the entertainment sector — film and television channels. However, there seems to be demand from the e-learning sector .

Job prospects

Animation jobs in India are mainly in production. With the growth of the industry, work in post-production is expected to be opening up in a big way. As the size of the global animation industry is quite huge, artists can also look for jobs abroad.

Animators can find full-time employment with movie or television production companies, advertising firms, web design firms, video game companies or with animation firms. Freelance work is another option for animators, particularly those specialising in web animation.

The main areas of animation include:

Video Game animation: The video game industry is exploding right now, with no slowdown in sight. Nearly all games will need a team of animators to bring games to life.

Movie & Television Production: The full spectrum of work in these areas is quite large. Jobs include character animation in the form of a cartoon, logo, special effects and more.

The Internet:  Much like other media industries, the internet is expanding at a mind-boggling rate. And with it comes new websites and advertisements that need to stand out. Static images don’t always cut it, so attention is paid on animated characters or text these days.

There are different stages in the production of animation where the work and required skill sets are distinct. The stages include idea development, pre-production, production and post-production and the technical skills required are different in each stage.

In the idea development stage, characters are created along with decisions like which real-life person to model the character on (in case of 3D).  The ideas are then converted into layouts in the pre-production stage. Important activities in this stage include scriptwriting, storyboarding, character-development, backgrounds, layout-designing, animatics and voice, etc.

In the next stage, the actual result of the story is visualised with the help of animation tools like ‘in-betweening’ or ‘tweening’ (the term used to describe the creation of intermediate frames between two main images to ensure that the first image flows smoothly into the second one), scanning, compositing (combining images from different sources to create a finished frame of animation), background preparation and colouring.

Voice recordings, colour-editing, testing and special sound-effects are added at the post-production stage. Other activities in the post-production stage include editing, special effects (SFX), colour correction, compositing, voice and music editing and rendering. After completinga degree in Animation, studenst can become
*Animators
*Modeller
*Riggers
*Lighting artists

Eligibility

For a BSc in Animation and VFX, students need to have passed Class 12 from a recognised board with a minimum of 45 per cent marks. A 10+2 or equivalent (any stream) with excellent communication skills and a creative bent of mind are a must.

Admission is based on performance in the creative aptitude test and personal interview. For a Master’s in Multimedia, a Bachelor’s degree in Animation or Fine Arts would be ideal.

There areseveral short-term courses in Animation. Pexpert Max (7 months), P-alpha VFX (8 months), Pre-Production (4 months) , Web Graphics (7 months) and P-gamma Game Art (12 months) are some of the specialisations that students can choose.

Specialisation in filmmaking (10 months) and Honours in Animation Filmmaking are also offered by the institutes.

Remuneration

A junior animator can start earning anywhere between Rs 12,000 and Rs 14,000. A senior animator with 3 to 5 years’ experience can take home a paycheck that ranges between Rs 25, 000 and Rs 35,000. But if one has a portfolio of outstanding animation work, the higher the salary.

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