Careers in Animation, Multimedia and Gaming – I

By : |October 17, 2008 0

NEW DELHI – INDIA : Be it Godzilla rampaging through the streets of New York, or aliens invading our planet, Spiderman swinging from one skyscraper to another, or a kid Hanuman fighting demons; we have all watched these scenes from movies and experienced the excitement that they are able to create. It just shows how human imagination spiced with technology can result in such fantastic and exhilarating experiences to a viewer. Such is the endearing world of animation and computer graphics that brings lifeless images to life through different tools and technologies. In this animated world the creativity makes the impossible become possible. It’s not only special effects or animated movies, animation and computer graphics (CG) have found their place in the field of advertising, television, media, and other industry verticals such as medicine, education etc. In the global entertainment industry, animation and CG is gaining unprecedented attention.

India’s media and entertainment market is one of the world’s largest in terms of the total number of films produced in a year. And the industry is growing 20% annually and generating USD 10 billion of revenue. The movies are becoming more technology-centric and production houses are allocating separate budgets for animation and visual effects (VFX) in movies. This year’s epic movie, Jodha-Akbar, had a lot of VFX and even Love Story 2050 had more than 1200 scenes with special effects. Mainstream animation movies too have never been made in such numbers before as is the case now. Animation has made inroads into new bastions, the biggest of them being, Gaming. The upcoming gaming industry and the pace at which the Indian entertainment industry is moving forward, has opened new opportunities for creative people to choose from. One of them is Multimedia, which is a way of conveying a message by combining text, animation, graphics, sound, video and interactivity. The domains of animation, multimedia and gaming, not just require creativity in an individual, but also technical skills. So, apart from good story-telling or sketching skills, having the fundamental knowledge of science, mainly geometry and physics only helps an individual to become an expert. Thus, if you add the latest animation or gaming knowledge to your creativity and imagination prowess, there is no dearth of job opportunities for you.

Opportunities to explore
Like any other upcoming technology, Animation and Visual Effects are growing from infancy to a new level of maturity in India. With work from various industries being outsourced to India, Entertainment related jobs have also started to be outsourced to India. Indian cinema houses have also started to incorporate animation and special effects more in movies. This trend has not only created new job opportunities for fresh graduates in Computer Graphics, but also created a sense of healthy competition amongst various production houses to deliver better quality of images.

Indian animation industry is suffering from challenges like shortage of well-trained professionals, high-cost technology as animation as a career is not as ‘lucrative’ as it seems. It

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Ram Mohan,
Chairman, Graphiti Multimedia

demands artistic people with creative backgrounds; however, it takes two to three years to make an impact. Moreover, Indian animation industry is a service industry and not a content creation industry. We have to outsource the original content. So, we look for highly-experienced writers, visualizers and designers, and nurture them

Entertainment Industry: The aptitude and skill sets required for various profiles in the Entertainment industry vary with the specific tasks. There are creative jobs in the Pre-Production phase suitable for professionals with mastery in sketching and conceptualization. Then there are specialist profiles in CG Animation & Visual Effects production like Modelers, Animators, Texturing Artists, Lighting Artists, each demanding their own level of expertise. Then there are Post-Production Artists, Editors, and Sound Engineers, etc. who work to give final touches to make visuals more stunning. With suitable experience one can then move into Pipeline Management and Rendering areas for a production studio. The skill set required in the animation and VFX studio would be the knowledge of software like Maya and 3D-Max. Most of the animation work is done on Maya. So, having a good experience on this platform helps to bag opportunities quickly. And although creative prowess is always preferred, the knowledge of software to render the imagination is always a plus. And even though Indian entertainment industry has many opportunities with attractive packages, the lure of working for Hollywood studios is always there. For Hollywood studios like Pixar, Dreamworks and the like, it’s the creativity that is evaluated in an individual before they are trained on individual software.

Professionals in this industry can start with Ad industry, moving up to Bollywood films and eventually on international platforms

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Rajendra Bhatt, GM Marketing, Academy of Animation and Gaming

What kind of job roles are available for animation and multimedia professionals?
Animation and multimedia professionals have a variety of lucrative career paths to choose from. Individual career paths depend on their own abilities and aptitudes. They can be texture artists, 3d modellers, riggers or animators. At the top of the hill are jobs such as, Creative Director, Animation Director, VFX Director, Lighting, Modeling and Rigging artists, Production Head, etc. It’s hard to predict in the beginning what the eventual career path will be. This industry is highly technical, and the scope for specialization is huge. On the whole, a degree certificate carries a lot more weight and seriousness in the job market.

Gaming has gained a lot of popularity in India, and India of late has become a hub for game development. Where is this trend headed for in future? What opportunities are there for developers in this arena?
Games are immersive realities. You can escape your worldly worries in the bytes of a computer game. Gaming jobs are just beginning to appear in India and developers, designers and testers are very highly paid positions. It’s a very cool career compared to others.

What areas of Multimedia and Gaming will see more demand for professionals in the next few years?
The entertainment industry is booming in terms of visual effects and medical animation is a hot area of development. Intellectual Property Rights, digital content distribution, product design, and even architectural simulation are all new areas of development. Creative professionals in this industry can start with the Ad industry, moving up to Bollywood films and eventually on international platforms such as Hollywood films. For example, did you know that a lot of animation in some of the biggest Hollywood movies was done in India? These include names such as The Lord of the Rings, Narnia and The Lion King.

Gaming Industry: As per a research done by Zinnov Management Consulting, Bangalore, the online gaming market in India is slated to reach USD 9 million and is expected to grow at about 90% to reach USD 809 million by 2015. This also includes mobile gaming. This has opened opportunities for Flash and Java developers to build games for online and mobile platforms. The gaming industry too has requirement for animators who design graphics and then there are jobs available for those who are into game design. Game design, contrary to the name, isn’t about graphics design. Game designers are professionals who create a game’s concept and its game play to make it more interesting and intriguing. The game design team would incorporate developers who would totally work on the game play using gaming engines like Quake or Unreal to program the games.

Other than the Entertainment and Gaming industry, Animation and Visual Effects have found their way into technical areas like automobile and aerospace engineering, civil, pharmaceutical, medicine and architecture. For instance, in the Medical & Engineering fields, the need of the hour is to create ultra-realistic pre-visualizations, which are not only dimensionally correct, but also give a clear indication of how the final product shall look upon completion. Here computer graphics experts and animators can help in by modeling the concept.

In the next part we will be talking about Technical skills required and what certifications are available.


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