A for Animation!
Animation is a buzz word that has captivated the young and the old alike. In simple terms, it can be referred to as using a series of drawings that are different from each other to create an appearance of a movement. In the initial days, animation used handmade drawings extensively. However nowadays, computer graphics and photographs of models are also being used.
Though the 20th century saw to rapid advancements in animation, the origin can be traced to the 19th century. Several individuals contributed to what we know today as a body of study as ANIMATION. However, the credit of making it universally popular goes to Walt Disney who had famously remarked that Animation can explain what the mind can conceive.
Since animation is known to magnify a situation or idea through the processes of simplification and abstraction, all that an animator has to do is to breathe life into the characters. However, it is not that easy as it seems. In the days of traditional animation, one had to ensure time based imagery for which the knowledge of the human anatomy was crucial. The characters had to be synthesized using the end of a pencil. At the same time, the emotion, movement, gestures etc. had to be taken into consideration.
For animation to be mare are several techniques that need to be used. Few of them include:
- Traditional animation which includes Live action animation and rotoscoping.
- Stop-motion animation that includes Puppet animation, Plasticine animation, Model animation, Graphic animation etc.
As we read before, animation of late has been done using computers. Computers help the animation to be done in a digital manner and they prominently include:
- 2D (Two/2 Dimensional animation)
- 3D (Three/ 3 Dimensional animation)
Another form of animation that has been gaining popularity is Mechanical animation. This utilizes techniques like Animatronics, Chuckimation, Puppetry, Zoetrope to cite a few.
An offshoot of animation is the field of GAMING
It is often misunderstood that the animation one does for movies can be applied to the games we play on our desktops or laptops. However, that is wrong. In movies, the animation done would concentrate only one camera angle. Since the animator knows what the viewer sees is in only one angle, his job is relatively easier. On the other hand, not only should the quality of animation done be good, but also the characters have to be moved in every possible angle. Furthermore, a game animator will have to ensure that the characters are created in all of the possible cycles and not just limit it to either walk or run cycles. As a result, a thorough understanding of body mechanics is crucial.
The animation industry in our country looks promising. Infact, it was predicted in 2012 itself that by the end of 2015, the industry would have grown close to US$3 billion! The Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) was predicted at 25%. Another notable feature was the recognition of the VFX (Visual Effects) industry which alongside Animation and Gaming is expected to have a CAGR of around 22%. In fact when the central budge was passed earlier this year, the animation sector as a whole received a fillip for its development. The Finance ministry under the government of India has realized the importance of this sector and that it needs ‘talent, technology and infrastructure’ for its continued development.
Though it may appear that that the animation sector in our country is yet to reach its growth phase, it is predicted that we will very soon be the gold standard for the international animation industry. This has been largely due to the efforts of pioneering members whose have contributed to the emergence of this field in the country. One such person who deserves mention is Mr. Ram Mohan who has been regarded as the father of Indian animation. The very first animated movie was released close to five decades ago in1957 and was entitled The Banyan Tree. Till date, there are has been over 120 animated movies that have been produced. Apart from those done within the country, our country is emerging as a hub for outsourcing of animation. International studios like Walt Disney and IMAX are outsourcing works pertaining to computer games and commercials. This is because of presence of a large number of English speaking populace as well as the relatively less cost that Indian animators charge.
Having understood the importance of the Indian animation industry, it is equally to know the names of such movies that have earned the reputation of being the best in the Bollywood industry. These include:
- Bal Ganesh
- Cheenti Cheenti Bang Bang
- Mahabharat 3D
- Roadside Romeo
Coming to the animation industry in totality, a lot of job opportunities have emerged apart from the traditional 2D and 3D animator.
Few of them are listed below along with a brief about what their job entails:
- In-between animator– This is a beginner’s position in the animation industry where one learns almost all the basics of animation.
- Modeler– This refers to a person having strong knowledge of form, volume and anatomy. They make models that would be required for animation.
- Background artist– Their job is to paint the background of the characters in the project.
- Layout artist– They are people who decide the lighting and camera angles as well as the sketches and the background design needed for the animation.
- Story Board Artist– People with strong drawing skills are hired as storyboard artists. Their job would be to visualize a series of events from one frame to another.
- Clean- up Artist– These artists usually work as assistant to animators. Their work would be to trace the animator’s rough drawing and to check the accuracy and consistency of a design.
- Scanner operator– They would be needed to scan the cleaned up artist’s drawings.
- Compositor– A compositor’s job is challenging as their main job would be to bring all the different characters and backgrounds onto a single animation frame.
- Special effect artist– They combine live-action footage with computer generated imagery.
- Key frame animator– There main work would involve drawing the pictures of a movement’s beginning to end.
- Digital ink and paint artist– Their work would be to add colours to each frame.
- Lighting artist– They create variations of shade, colour intensity and shadows.
- Image Editor– These editors bring together the various audio-visual components that would be there in an animation film.
- Rendering artist– Rendering artists combine models, textures, animation, lighting and to produce the correct blend in the form of individual frames of animation.
- Texture Artist– They create a surface to the 3D modeled character, object or environment.
- Rigging artist– A rigging artist would take the modeled, textured 3D character or object and set it up with a skeletal system or joints. By this, the 3D character would be able to talk or move correctly.
For any animation student, be it 2D/3D, Gaming, Graphic and Web, it is necessary for them to be competitive so that they can get the job of their choice upon completion of their respective course.
The following are the key rules one will have to follow in order to get the necessary success:
- Get really good at what one does
- Build a great demo reel/portfolio
- Make your work easy to find and accessible
- Keep one’s CV handy that is short and readable
- Research about companies and studios that are hiring
- Sign up for job alerts
- Begin applying for as many jobs as possible
- See if you can start working as an intern
- Get ready to face the interview
- Network and build as many connections as possible
- Keep eyes and ears open to hiring activities
- Never give up!
Just like animation industry is making rapid progress, courses imparting them are also in demand these days. Though there are many academies of excellence, the online medium is also catching up of late. This is mainly due to the emergence of online education that is slowly supplanting traditional chalk and talk education. Let us understand this mode of pedagogy before seeing how it has influenced animation industry.
Online education or learning has its origin in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when it was mostly due to the traditional post system. At that point in time, it was referred to as DISTANCE LEARNING. Later, this took the form of cable and satellite TV. However, it was only in the mid 1990’s and that too due to the advent of internet that a lot of ‘virtual schools’ emerged. This was mostly in the US which later spread to other countries. Now this medium of instruction has spread to many countries and is seen to catch up in a big way.
Online learning is referred to as ‘synchronous’ as the instructor and students may have some direct contact. This takes either of the two forms- the instructor meeting the students in a web chat forum and discussing the concepts or the students watching the lecture at a pre-defined time via a web cam. At the same time, there could be ‘asynchronous’ learning that can take place. Here, the instructor and learners don’t meet at all. The learners check the content on a website and use their e-mail to submit their assignments as well as get their doubts resolved.
Since online learning has become ubiquitous, India is not too far behind. In fact, the market for this industry stands at US$ 3 billion and is steadily growing. This has been largely due to the government’s initiative to see that this mode reaches every nook and corner of the country as well as the smartphone penetration. There are also companies that focus on both school and college based courses along with professional ones. All these have been targeted to both tier 1 and tier 2 cities so that professionals can update themselves on subjects that would be required for their respective jobs.
If any online learning or module has to be successful as well as make the learners happy, it is said that it has to follow what is referred to as the five stage model.
Given by Ms. Gilly Salmon, the Pro Vice-Chancellor as well as Professor at University of Western Australia, the steps are as follows:
- Access and motivation: Since for most of the learners the online medium would be new, this step aims to make the individual learner feel comfortable and make sure that technical help of all sorts is made available
- Online socialization: A moderator ensures that the ‘anxieties’ that the learner would have are dispelled. This ‘e-moderator’ plans a lot of ‘e-tivities’. These are necessary to facilitate active learning in the online environment. Furthermore, each ‘e-tivity’ aims to make learners interact with one another and their instructor
- Information Exchange: Here, each of the learners begin to exchange information as well as achieve tasks in a group. Self-confidence is gained along with the importance of time management
- Knowledge construction: At this stage, learners would be able to take control on what they have been learning. Also, one may get recognized for the role played while in the group. The e-moderator ensures that projects are completed
- Development: This is the final stage of the e-learning process. Through several e-tivities, the learner would have learnt how to integrate them to the work scenario so that can get achievements there as well
Having understood the nature of online learning, let us see some of the advantages that it has from the traditional form. When it comes to obtaining a certificate or diploma or degree, it is as valuable as one granted by a regular college or institute. Some of the advantages are:
- Lower costs
- Less stress and pressure
- Flexible options
- Increased skill development
- Individual instruction
- Networking opportunities
- Choice of location
- Specialized programmes
- Comfort in learning
- Being able to transfer credits when one joins a regular course
Animaster Academy has been a leading name in imparting university degree educational and professional courses pertaining to 2D, 3D animation, Game Design and Graphic-Web Design. This has been the emphasis ever since inception over a decade and a half back, to ensure that trained manpower is being made ready for the requirements of the Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics (AVGC) creative sector. This has been largely possible due to the fact that they are the pioneers in imparting animation education in India.
Present, the below mentioned courses of Animaster are also available online.
- Graphics and Web Design
- Design softwares like Photoshop, Illustrator and CorelDraw
- Fundamentals of 2D & 3D animation
- Interactive design
- Digital image editing
- Fundamental visual effects (VFx)
If you like this article, have a look through our article on 2D animation. This will clear and enhance your idea on 2D animation and give you a view on the prospects of this booming sector.