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Picture a paper drawing. Can you breathe life into it? Imagine it take wing and fly to various escapades! Well, maybe you do have what it takes to be an animation artist or a visual effects specialist, says Our Career Counselor
 
2D to 3D…
One of the most important emerging industries within the film industry is the animation and visual effects business. More specifically, by and large, animation and effects fit into the post-production slot of many movies. Unless, of course, the entire film revolves around animated characters in which case it is a different ball-game altogether.
With the growing popularity of visual effects in almost every movie, television programme, ad film, computer game and Internet site, the demand for high quality digital content from skilled artists and technicians in the entertainment community seems insatiable.

Just to give an idea, within the next four years, the estimated market for 3D animation is expected to grow to US $230 billion!

According to Atul Vohra, Country Head, Arena Multimedia, “The animation industry saw a significant growth last year and has rapidly gained a leading position. Today, animation is the buzzword and is also being considered as one of the most lucrative career options by students. It is imperative for students to focus strongly on skills and make themselves more animation industry specific to meet the increasing demand of the domestic and international market.”

Job options
There are numerous career options for a prospective animation or 3D artist to choose from. Some of them are: 

  • 3D modelling
  • 3D animation
  • Live action integration
  • Texture or background artistry
  • Digital animation
  • Art direction
  • Games designing
  • Special effects designing
  • Visual effects specialist
  • Compositing specialist
  • Editing specialist
  • Character animation
  • Motion capture specialist
  • Rendering specialist
  • Technical direction

Production
With the special effects industry going global there are numerous career opportunities in a range of activities, right from technology-based jobs like scanning, compositing, digital ink and paint and game designing, to creative-based work like visual effects supervising, 3D modelling and character animation.
 
Getting involved
Animation uses the latest and most cutting-edge technologies from the computing and creative worlds to put together life-like visuals. One can undergo training with a multimedia training institute, even though some people learn on the job and go on to start their own outfits. Getting into an institute is relatively simple since you only need to have completed class 12. However, increasingly, one sees a number of graduates considering animation as a serious career option too.

More essential than academic qualifications, however, are superior imaginative and visualisation skills, clubbed with great patience, technical wizardry as well as a decidedly artistic bent of mind.

And yes, the ‘patience’ bit becomes clear when you understand that a novice animator could take ten hours to create a single second of animation while an experienced one can do it in four. Also, a typical Hollywood animation movie needs the services of 700 to 800 animators!
 
Big budgets
Apart from all this, costing is a very important consideration too. A full-fledged 3D animation movie is far more expensive to produce than live action flicks. In fact, it costs a mammoth US $400,000 to $500,000 to produce one hour of animation footage, which is one of the key reasons why large studios are willing to outsource animation work to India, since skilled manpower is relatively cheaper.
 
Pay packet
Animated versions of stories based on Indian mythology (recent examples being Hanuman and Krishna) are already being screened in Indian cinemas. Though it may be some time before animated movies compete with ‘regular’ mainstream blockbusters, average monthly salaries in the sector have already crossed the Rs. 30,000 mark, which makes it a rather lucrative career option for anyone with the requisite skill sets. 


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