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Career focus: Animation

A career in animation is full of bright options but it demands hard work and time.

education Updated: Jul 05, 2006 13:55 IST

Animation has a very long history that can be traced back to 18th century with the release of the first animated cartoon with sound synchronisation Mickey Mouse in Steam Boat Willie on November 18, 1928 by Disney.

After computers and 3D driven software came along, full length virtually created films were made. Toy Story, released in November, 1995 is considered to be the first 3D animated feature.


Adding the zing

The following institutes offer courses in Animation:

• Maya Academy of advanced Cinematics, New Delhi

• Marwah Studios, New Delhi

• Anitoons Productions, New Delhi

• Arena Animation Academy, New Delhi

• Industrial Design Centre, IIT, Mumbai

It was a joint venture by Disney and Pixar. 3D films like Ice Age, Shrek, Finding Nemo, have already made their presence felt in Hollywood while in India, animation has a long way to go.

A career in animation is full of opportunities but one should be ardent enough for this field as it demands hard work and time. 3DSMax.and Maya are the main software used in 3D animation and other image editing software like Photoshop and Illustrator are added advantages.

The aspirants for 3D animation must have a clear mind. It starts from pre-production and moves on to modelling, texturing, character setup, animation, special effects, lighting, compositing and rendering.

Pre-production: It involves story telling and character building. Those who are good at visualisation and narrating concepts with good story telling skills are well suited for this department.

In addition, they are responsible for making the storyboard which is used at various levels of production. After pre-production, the production process begins where major part of the movie is made and than it undergoes post-production where assembling is done and final output comes through.

Modelling: It is mainly done in two stages, character modelling and set modelling. It is basically a building process where virtual objects are created in 3D environment. Set modellers deal with things like a house, furniture, landscapes and other props.

Character modelling is about making virtual characters and can be seen at its best in the movie, Shrek. Texturing: It involves giving texture to various objects in order to make them look realistic. Texture artists possess a good knowledge of various textures and colours.

Character Set up (Rigging): It is similar to puppetry. Like a puppeteer controls the puppet, in a same way a rigger put controls to its characters. It requires a lot of technical know-how, capable of anticipating the movements of the characters.

Animation: Once the rigger has given control to the character, it is passed on to animator for the next procedure. All the principals of 3D animation are applied on this stage to make the character move and act in a way that it looks real.

Special Effects: VFX team creates water, dust storm and explosions while the SFX team deals with extra features to bring work closer to reality. They work on the movements of fur, hair and cloth among other details. The fur movement of the mammoth in Ice Age is a fine example of SFX.

Lighting: It requires good understanding, aesthetics and observation of lighting in real world. It is very important factor as it brings changes of moods in scenes. Underwater lighting in Finding Nemo is a fine example of lighting. Compositing and
Rendering: Compositing is a process where everything is put into layers including all the special effects. After this come rendering where everything is assembled and made into one frame to bring out the final production.

As a fresher you can earn anything between Rs 10,000-Rs 15,000 a month. The same can increase to around Rs 25,000 in a year. As you gain confidence and expertise in your work, you can earn in lakhs. So take your time and decide where you fit in the best in this booming industry.