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HARD WORK If you thought animation films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit are easy to make, think again
HARD WORK If you thought animation films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit are easy to make, think again

The Association of Bangalore Animation Industry's fest on September 3 brings to the city the best people in the business

Roger Rabbit: "We toons may act idiotic, but we're not stupid." Never short of lucky mascots, the animation industry is far from being idiotic or stupid, considering it's a dead-serious, multi-billion dollar business. This industry has been growing faster than its mandatory 24-frames-per second photo speed.There are some popular misconceptions about the animation industry, though. Many can't believe that animation has been part of cinema history since the late 1800s when the first motion pictures were made. Another fallacy is that animated movies are made primarily to entertain children. True, the first animated feature-length film made in the U.S. was based on a traditional fairytale, but then Walt Disney produced his Snow White nearly seven decades ago.The animation industry has come a long way since then. With the application of computers for animation, the scene has changed even more dramatically in recent decades. Pioneered by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), a production company headed by American filmmaker George Lucas, the use of computer-animation special effects and techniques have proved to be the backbone of films like Star Wars, The Abyss, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, The Mask and many others. And if you thought animated movies are simpler to make than live-action films, it's time to bust that myth as well. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) had over 320 animators working on it, before it went on to win the Academy award in several categories including Best Visual Effects and Best Special Achievement for Richard Williams (Animation Direction).If Hollywood sizzles, can Bollywood be far away? More and more feature films in recent times have shown high animation content - like in Rakesh Roshan's Krrish. The biggest development in 2005 in the Indian animation film space, however, was the release of the 2-D animated feature film Hanuman, considered India's first completely indigenous animated feature. Another animated film, Krishna, is being worked out along with scores of other ventures.The current size of Indian animation industry is just Rs. 12 billion, accounting for no more than one percent of the global animation content market. But according to Nasscom, it has the potential to grow by a whopping 35 percent and reach the Rs. 42 billion mark by 2009, garnering three percent of the growing market. There are already encouraging signs with several Indian companies making it big in the international arena. Mumbai takes the lead in this growth. But other centres like Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad too are fast catching up. Many animation studios and training institutes are being set up in Bangalore, including Anirights, ANTS and Virgin Animation.The formation of the Association of Bangalore Animation Industry (ABAI) recently is expected to provide further boost to the fledgling industry. Formed by animation studios to promote and propagate a collective business vision, ABAI hopes to provide a common platform to all the techno-creative animation activities in Bangalore.The activities of ABAI would be set in motion with a mega-event, ABAI Fest 2006, on September 3 at J.N. Tata Auditorium. The day-long programme would feature some of the best names in Indian animation industry. They would present interesting case studies in animation, gaming, visual effects and other facets of the industry. The event is open to professionals, students, teachers and anyone interested in being a part of the expanding animation world. Participation fee is Rs. 250 for students and Rs. 500 for others. Registration forms can be downloaded from www.bangaloreanimation.org . For further details, contact C. Prakash, Treasurer, ABAI, on 9845036293.ATHREYA

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