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Animation: A peek into a training institute

Those who get into animation purely for the money, and not out of a passion for it, do not usually end up doing well, say trainers. Naomi Canton tells more...
Hindustan Times | By Naomi Canton, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 09, 2008 12:46 AM IST

Those who get into animation purely for the money, and not out of a passion for it, do not usually end up doing well, say trainers.

Students sit quietly in a classroom in Andheri staring at computer screens, learning to master 3D animation software as the teacher goes through the principles on a large screen at the front. Next door, some are sketching characters in an informal setting and cute unusual cartoon characters are stuck all over the walls.

There are 1,200 people enrolled at the modern Andheri branch of the Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC). Most are in their late teens or 20s, and have day-jobs to fund the part-time course. Some are older career changers from engineering or accountancy. Three-fourths are men.

Animation training institutes are mushrooming across Mumbai, but not at a rate fast enough to meet demand. There are 10,000 enrolled nationwide at MAAC, with 2,500 at the six institutes in Mumbai. Two years ago there were just 2,500 enrolled across the country. MAAC is still inundated with applicants.

"This is a very good career option for the not-academically inclined and the pay is good," explained Shravni Chopra, chief operating officer of MAAC. "But we don't want time passers as our job is to create manpower for the industry. We look closely at their reason for wanting to do the course. It's not about fun and glamour. You have to work hard and attend all the course."

Those who did it only for money did not do well, but those that do it out of passion did, she said.

"Ninety per cent of our students get placements at the end," she said. "Those who don't perhaps include girls getting married or those who discovered it was not for them."

The students tend to be college dropouts, school leavers, commerce graduates and some professionals in the industry upgrading their skills. A few are from fine arts backgrounds.

"We have a lot of students from Bihar and Kolkata," said Jasmeet Bhasin, director academics of MAAC. "We have classes from 7am to 10pm and students can choose when they come. Most are in awe of animation or moviegoers or love visual effects. All they need is to be computer literate, we teach them the rest and convert them into animators. But they must be committed to animation."

Student Rameshwar Preja Pati, 24, from Dahisar, a commerce graduate on the 18-month professional diploma course, said: "I used to play on a PC console, and watch things like Ice Age so I decided to wanted to make characters like that."

Rituja Pali, 23, a commerce graduate from Borivali, on the same course, added: "I have always liked sketching and when I watched movies like Hanuman I used to start imagining how they were made and I just wanted to do it myself."

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