The calling for an animated career...

Career


“T

um sab kaam chodke cartoon banayega?” a worried Mr Cheriyan had asked his son Jijo. Recollecting the incident, Jijo still gasps for breath after two years of him joining an art school to pursue what he loved doing — animation.

In fact, he has never regretted that he quit his job at HP and went back to school. He is confident of both his abilities and the potential of the animation industry, taking away worries.

Recreating the world

All of us have gone gaga over the cat and mouse chases of Tom & Jerry or the slapstick comedy in Popey. But it’s not just that any more. Animation is no more limited to cartoons. Cartoons have come out of the comic books to occupy their place in the stock markets today. It has taken the form of an industry and is emerging as one of the biggest employers in the world.                                     

Even as animation as an industry has assumed the highflyer’s slot, taking in its stride both technological advancements and artistic abilities, the awareness about the potential of the industry remains wimpy.

Observing that many parents think like Jijo’s Dad, who do not consider animation as a ‘real’ career, Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC) Head (south) Aruna Kumar, says: “Animators are equivalent to say software engineers, it is just that no one looks at them in the same way. Parents still relate animation to cartoons and treat it like hobby classes, but this is bound to change.”

Being true to that and irrespective of such perceptions, animation is growing substantially and is now being used in television news content, education, medicine, automobile industry, architecture, defence and a host of other sectors apart from the more popular and most noticed fields of movies, advertising and gaming. Technological advancement has increased accessibility and utility of the animated content and it is reaching out to audiences beyond children.

The proof of the pudding...

According to a recent study by Nasscom the market size of the global animation industry — from the demand perspective — was estimated at US$55 billion in 2005. The industry is expected to witness a CAGR of eight per cent and is estimated to be US$75 billion by the end of 2009. Of the total animation market, approximately 40- 45 per cent goes towards the cost of development.

Based on this, the global animation market — from the developers’ perspective — was estimated at US$25 billion in 2005, and is expected to increase to US$35 billion by 2009.

The size of the Indian animation market — from the developers’ perspective — was estimated at US$285 million in 2005. It is expected to witness a CAGR of 35 per cent from 2005-2009 and increase to US$950 million by 2009. Currently, activities at the production stage form a major portion of outsourcing, with postproduction accounting for a small share. The share of post-production activities is expected to increase in future. The entertainment sector contributes as much as 68 per cent of the total Indian animation market (from the developers’ perspective). In entertainment, the share of fully animated movies is expected to increase significantly, from 15 per cent in 2005 to 28 per cent by 2009.

Even experts are of the same opinion that it has a great potential. Anuj Kacker, Global Head of Arena Animation, adds that the industry has seen tremendous growth and is now becoming mainstream in film entertainment and television broadcast. “India is increasingly presenting itself as a favourable destination for the animation industry particularly in post production and 3D content development activity. Many entertainment giants, such as Walt Disney, Sony Pictures and Turner Entertainment, which makes television commercials and computer games, are off-shoring animation content to India.

This is a huge job opportunity for the young and talented students in this booming industry,” he avers.

Kacker also points that the number of students and professionals joining the animation industry has been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2 percent and is expected to grow at the same rate.

...is in eating it!

Now, does that ring a bell as a student, or an artist of the new world? What all this means is that there are tremendous opportunities for a career in animation. But a few words of caution before one decides to take a plunge into the myriad world of animation.

Animation is inventive and requires creativity. Realising if it is one’s cup of tea also holds great importance, just like in any other career. Vigram, Regional Manager, Image Infotainment Limited, puts it thus. “Animation is a creative field and everyone cannot become an animator. Therefore, students, first and foremost, need to have a passion and interest in the field. When they are clear on this, the next step will be to identify what their skill sets are and choose a field based on that. Now, for starters, there are three basic career tracks in animation: Animator, Modellor, and Texture and Lightening artist. To become an animator, one will need to have keen observation skills, as creating a life-like characters through animation will require analysing and incorporating the flexibility of body movements. Similarly, a modellor will need to be proficient with drawing skills, and a texture and lightening artist should have an inherent sense of colour. So identifying these skills in students who aspire to make a career in animation is the other important step.”

So when one has thought through these two points and has decided on a career in animation,  there are various ways of realising the decision. There are institutes and design schools that offer not just short-term courses on specific tools of animation, but also diploma programmes and even full-fledged degrees in animation.

“There is this realisation that the animation industry is only bound to grow in the future, so students are no longer just considering short-term or diploma programmes in animation, they are enrolling for full-fledged, three-year degree programmes,” Aruna Kumar from MAAC says. She further adds that that even banks extend loans for degrees in animation and the repayment plan begins after the student graduates from the course.

So rest all your doubts about animation being a real career. If there is an animator in you, then jump right in, for those dreams that are lived are often those that are personal...

Why India is a preferred destination

* Presence of animation studios (There are atleast 12 animation studios in India that are global class)

* Low cost of animation services (Nasscom’s study shows that while the rates for production of half hour TV animation programme would be around US$ 250,000-400,000, in the US and Canada, it is US$ 60,000 in India

*Heritage of traditional literature (Indian content developers also have exposure and access to rich heritage of traditional literature.)

* India’s large entertainment sector

* A vast base of English speaking manpower

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