All the world's a sketch

CAREER

WIDESPREAD Animation has become an important art tool in the advertising sector these days.As you settle into a reclining seat at the movies, munching on some yummy popcorn, you are increasingly amazed by film imagery, mixing the real and the virtual seamlessly. Welcome to the world of animation — a world where reality meets imagination, where machines talk, and dinosaurs walk. Where dreams are forever and imagination has no end.

Animation involves combining images derived from live film, and everyone, from the entertainment industry to education, utilises animation, visual effects, interactive designs and graphics.

Animation has a crucial role in playing on our emotions. The latest technology in animation can transform one’s movie-watching environment and the characters on screen into photorealistic 3D imagery. This can transport you into an alien, imaginative world, with fantastic creatures and characters. Remember how Avatar sent you on a journey to an entirely new world and how milestone animation movies like Shrek, Finding Nemo, Ice Age and Kung Fu Panda made you fall for their characters? Apart from this, there are interactive websites like Facebook, Orkut, etc. and advertising campaigns like the Vodafone Zoozoos that have created waves.

Qualities an animator must possess

A broad array of skills — from drawing to acting, to successfully bringing together a finished piece — are required for animation. The payoff is that animation is perhaps the most sought-after creative job. And it pays well.  

Think you have it in you to make the next Avatar or Shrek? Do you have an irresistible itch to draw? Think you can see what others can’t? Or have an eye for art? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then animation is the career for you.

Course material

When pursuing a course in animation, a student will master skills such as web authoring, digital illustrations, image editing, page-layout creation, multimedia authoring, web publishing, conventional animation, contemporary animation, animation for web, video editing and composing. Other courses which are helpful include:

- Foundation courses — These offer an introduction to the world of multimedia, covering concepts, tools and techniques

- Digital Printing and Publishing — A module focused on designing products for the publishing segment

- Digital Web Authoring — A complete course on website creation

- Digital Film Animation — A programme to create professional animators

- Digital Interactive Multimedia — A course to acquaint students with New Media

- Diploma in Digital Visual Communication — Exposes one to platforms such as print, web and interactive multimedia

- Advanced Diploma in Digital Visual Communication and Animation — Prepares one for careers in animation, multimedia, special effects, games, CBT (computer-based tutorials) and WBT (web-based tutorials)

Career opportunities

Today, animation is used in everything from print ads, to websites, television, movies, video games, and beyond. It’s one of the youngest and most rewarding industries and has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry, generating a slew of lucrative careers for those who are ready to put their skills to good use.

Animation is being excessively used in the advertising sector these days. Multimedia can also be used to entertain, educate, engage and market to customers. The starting salary which a student can expect ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.

Computer animation has become a regular fixture in special-effects movies too. Movies such as Jurassic Park, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Abyss and Avatar, have brought computer animation to a new advanced level. The technology of digital composition and manipulation has revolutionised the art of filmmaking. Even sound mixing and editing are now done with the help of multimedia tools. Scale models are a cost-effective method of creating large alien scenes. Professionals can earn a starting salary of Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 in this profession.

Every company needs to have its own website for a global presence and to create, maintain and upgrade such sites, there is a need for web designers and programmers. While there are a number of website design technologies available to provide a variety of different applications, the most commonly used are Flash, Shockwave, Real Media and Java. The average starting figure earned stands at Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 a month.

Companies require their logos or icons to be designed. This is where multimedia comes in. Multimedia has become the heart and soul of the newspaper and publication industry. Even small publications use DTP (Desk Top Publishing) tools like Adobe PageMaker, Photoshop, Coral Draw and other packages to design their pages and products.

In the education sector, multimedia is used to produce computer-based training courses (popularly called CBTs) and reference books like encyclopedia and almanacs. A CBT lets the user go through a series of presentations about a particular topic, and associated illustrations in various information formats. Edutainment is an informal term used to describe combining education with entertainment, especially multimedia entertainment.

Multimedia games/software programmes, available either as CD-ROMs or online, are a popular pastime. Some video games use multimedia features. 3D games are the latest craze.

Besides these creative opportunities, one can also get into fields like Archaeology, Architecture, Art, Chemistry, Engineering, Medicine, Military, Scientific Visualisation, Simulations, Mathematical and Scientific Research, Space Exploration.

So if you are imaginative, the animation industry can offer a promising career as well as a lucrative paycheck.

(The write is Vice President - New Media with Frameboxx Animation & Visual Effects)

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