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Turn your artistic talent into a lucrative career

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A CREATIVE JOB: V. Natarajan, chief academic officer, Image College of Animation Technology, at the Education Plus Career Fair 2006. Photo: R. Ragu
A CREATIVE JOB: V. Natarajan, chief academic officer, Image College of Animation Technology, at the Education Plus Career Fair 2006. Photo: R. Ragu

CHITRA DEEPA A.

Combine your skills in art and computer use and you have a world of opportunities opening up.

International leaders in animation production: DreamWorks (Shrek) and Pixar (Finding Nemo), considered leaders in the field of animation. . Rhythm & Hues (Chronicles of Narnia), Blue Sky (Ice Age) In India: Visual Computing Lab (Tata's Animation unit) Prime focus (Reliance Industries) Nipuna Services (a division of Satyam Computers) Red Octane (office in Chennai) UTV Toons DQ Animation Crest Animation Studios

The Hindu Education Plus Career Fair 2006, organised recently, was an eye-opener for students and parents who turned out in large numbers, on various career options. Industry experts shared their expertise and spoke on the fundamentals involved in various fields through seminars and interactive sessions. One such seminar on June 4 laid bare the nitty-gritty of the rapidly growing animation industry. V. Natarajan, chief academic officer, Image College of Animation Technology, (www.icat.ac.in) Chennai, in his presentation provided a broad perspective of the animation industry, how it functions and various skills required to excel in the field. Animation is a process of creating graphics with motion for a variety of purposes. Animation professionals have a thorough knowledge of computer systems and possess artistic abilities. They work on a wide range of products in various industries. Designing, conception, rigging, special effects, editing and sound composing, are some of the processes involved in creation of an animation film. Rigging is an important aspect in animation. Riggers create a skeleton for the character and enhance its movements.The family members of the animation industry include: Author/story writer/screenplay writer Designers/ storyboard/character designers/set or environment designers Creators or animators Director who takes care of aesthetics, camera angles and duration Marketing/finance/distribution and merchandise of end product.The two key skills required in this field are art skill and digital skill. According to Mr. Natarajan, career development is faster in this field. Also, graphics for gaming and visual effects are slowly becoming part of this field, he says.

Valuable training

The demand for skilled animators is growing and, if you are seriously considering making it big in this business, a degree from a reputed animation school is the first step on the road to a fun-filled and rewarding career. Before joining a course, check out the people who run the institute, their experience, curriculum duration, faculty and facilities, quality systems, projects and placements. If students wish to do a part-time course while pursuing undergraduate studies, it is best to take up a two-year course. If they plan to do a course after graduation, a one-year full-time course is the best. To be successful in animation in industry, a six-month duration course is not sufficient, says Mr. Nagarajan.

Game for it?

Swami Venkat, vice-president, India operations, Red Octane Technologies, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Red Octane, who spoke on job openings in the animation industry, said the company plans to recruit about 100 animators by the year-end. Gaming is the niche area of Red Octane. He said the gaming market is growing, and it will grow at a higher rate if not for the piracy factor in our country. It is a career where one's talent and accomplishment will never go unnoticed. With the entertainment industry growing by leaps and bounds, there will be plenty of opportunities for animation graduates in future. It is good times ahead for animators. If you have the ability to work independently and enjoy bringing characters to life, animation is a career choice worth considering.


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