The gaming and animation industry, where the creative arts and technology merge, requires a very special mix of talent and training.

Art has always been an integral part of our lives. Over the years and more so in the recent past, several art and design industries have transitioned into a digital platform.

Stop for a moment and look at things around you — the design on your t-shirt, mug on the shelf with a picture of your loved ones, your designer jewellery, magazines and comic books, smart phone app, visual effects in movies, video games or animation — all use digital art as a part of their design process.

Here we focus on digital art and design as part of the animation and video games industry, and the opportunities that it offers for those who wish to build a career in this sector.

The NASSCOM report on Indian Entertainment and Media 2010 by Price Waterhouse Coopers, states that the projected market size for 2014 is Rs. 54 billion. The Indian Video Game Industry market size for 2014 is projected at Rs. 19.4 billion. While these figures might seem large, they account for only a tiny fraction of the international market.

These sectors are steadily growing in terms of demand and consumption by the local market. Be it the increase in the number of cartoon series or the increase in smart-phone usage, they all indicate the growth potential of these creative sectors.

Some of the early entrants to animation and video games in India, started operations in the mid 1990’s. Today, the industry exhibits a healthy mix of small and large studios, comprising both Indian and international players.

While some studios focus on cutting-edge work for International movies and games, some focus on development of original IP and local content.

In fact, many of the Hollywood movies and video games released recently, have significant contributions from Indian studios and professionals.

Large international studios such as DreamWorks, Electronic Arts, Technicolor, Knowledge Adventure, Rhythm and Hues, Gameloft, MPC, Zynga and Ubisoft have set up studios in India. It is evident that the the availability of professionally trained human resource in the country makes international players set up shop here. Though the industry is technology-driven, its growth and success relies much on the quality of people in the studio.

Who is best suited?

Let’s now look at who would be suited for this industry. Those who are artistically and aesthetically inclined are more likely to make it big in this industry. Excellent creativity, openness to learn and adapt to new technology, passion for animation, willingness to put in huge effort are some of the prerequisites. Individuals, who fit the above criteria, need to be suitably trained to work successfully in the industry.

Very few institutes train aspirants to match the skillsets and quality expectations of the industry. It is best to first research and understand the nature and quality of work done in the industry, both in India and abroad, and also the various roles and areas of specialisation that exist. Such research improves one’s understanding of the sector, as well as guides one on roles and specialisations one could pursue. Choosing the correct training institute could make a world of difference to one's career.

It is a good practice to first talk to a few professionals from the industry. Alternatively, one could search and find out what the industry has to say about an institute.

When it comes to choosing a training institute, ensure that the faculty are experienced and connected with the industry. This plays a crucial part in defining the nature of content being taught, the quality of delivery and relevance to the industry. Secondly, one needs to look at the placement record of the institute.

While it may be difficult to get authentic data on placements, a work-around is to try and connect with alumni from the institute or with professionals from the industry.

Finally, check the quality of the infrastructure. Remember, studios are more interested in the quality of work that one is able to create and not so much in the list of software one is exposed to.

Therefore, aspirants who want to make a career in this sector, must do a thorough research and understand the nature and quality of work. With an open mind, look at one’s own skill and interest areas to ascertain if there is a match with the Industry. Then carefully select the institute and programme that best fits one’s interest area. Last, not the least, be prepared to work hard. This is the industry,

where creative arts and technology fuse together. With its share of excitement and challenges, work in this sector can be fun, exciting and gratifying.

The author is Technical Director, Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation.