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education Updated: Mar 12, 2013 17:53 IST


The lowdown

An animator is an artist who creates characters and makes them interact in an ever-changing, exciting backdrop. From entertainment, education to simulators for military flight or combat training, animators work in a variety of fields including film, television, video games and the internet. 3D animators give flat narrative storylines a realistic or fantastic turn by using specific software. They can join a company, freelance and become entrepreneurs. According to a 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers report, the animation, gaming and visual effects industry (VFX) will continue to maintain its growth pace and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 21.4% to Rs. 82.6 billion in 2015 from its current size of Rs. 31.3 billion. Many entertainment giants such as Walt Disney, Sony Pictures and Turner Entertainment, which make television commercials and computer games, are offshoring animation content to India.

Animators work in shifts. The first shift is from 6am to 2pm, the second from 2pm to 10pm, and the third from 10pm to 6am. A typical morning shift goes like this:
4.30am: Wake up
6am: Reach office and get started
10am: Show first draft of the project, which can range from a sketch to a character animation, to the supervisor
11.30am: Take a snack break
1pm: Make changes to the project and hand it over to the supervisor
2pm: Wrap up, leave for the day

The payoff
While starting out, an animator can earn Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 10,000 a month. After two to three years, this usually goes up to Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 30,000 a month or more. You can earn good money if you open your own firm

* Loads of imagination coupled with a love of cartoons
* Ability to think and create new characters
* A good sense of colour, proportion and size

Getting there
No specific academic qualifications are needed to be an animator. If you are good at sketching and have a passion for animation, you can enter the field after taking a degree or diploma in animation. The minimum qualification required for these courses is Class 12 or equivalent. It helps if you have an arts background. However, at the Industrial Design Centre (IDC), Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, only graduates of architecture, technology and engineering, and fine arts can apply for the postgraduate course

Institutes and URLs
* Birla Institute of Technology, Noida
* IDC, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai
* Arena Animation, multiple cities
* Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics, multiple cities
* Toonz Academy, Thiruvananthapuram

Pros and cons
* Highly creative work
* The characters you create can leave an indelible mark on the audience
* Work on projects with tight deadlines
* Long working hours can take a toll on your health, if you don’t take enough rest
* The studying never stops, as you have to keep yourself abreast of the latest software hitting the market

The industry has grown in prominence by creating a new-economy vocation for the country’s young population -- Ram Warrier, business head, Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics