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    Career Option - Animation
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    Introduction

     

    Every one knows Mickey mouse, Donald Duck, Tom and Jerry and Stuart little - some animated characters that always delight and entertain us. Do you know how these characters were born and how it is possible to create wonders with the art of drawing. And the answer is 'animation'- one of the fastest growing and most in-demand industries in the world. Multi media and Animation are among the major hunted jobs of the 21st century. Multimedia alias multiple media as the name suggests is an enormous field that uses more than one medium of communication. It is an art that merges text, images, graphics, animation, audio and video to create virtual magic. Animation is only a component of multimedia.

    The art of animation started with the cavemen who used to draw pictures on the rock surfaces. Though animation was formally demonstrated in 1828 by a Frenchman, Paul Roget, the first animated film 'Humorous phases of funny faces' by J. Stuart Blackton was made in 1906 by drawing comical faces on a blackboard, photographing them, and then erasing it to draw another stage of the facial expression. It was in 1914, that the first cartoon named 'Gertie, the Dinosaur' by Winsor McCay, consisting of 10,000 drawings, was shown as a film in the theaters. In the early twenties, traditional animation techniques were developed and more sophisticated cartoons were produced. It was during this time that Warner Bros and Walt Disney studios came to exist. Computer animation, started during seventies and eighties, had a greater impact and with the passage of time, more and more advanced techniques were developed.

    Animation which derived its name from the Latin word 'anima' meaning soul, can be defined as the art of breathing life to a character. A blend of entertainment industry and technology, it is concerned with design, drawing, layout and production of graphically rich and attractive multimedia clips. In other words animation is making of movies, games or cartoons by moving the drawings or models of animals or people with the help of computers or other electronic means. Time and space play a critical role in animation.

    Animation is a field that could be pursued by those who posses excellent creativity and drawing skills. Animators are the talented artists who create characters for a variety of projects like movies, television, advertisements and so on. An animators task is to read the script carefully, study the storyboard and try to get into the character. In other words he needs to know and understand the character. Job opportunities are on the rise for an animator and they are in great demand, as it a growing industry and has become a popular feature in movies and advertising.

    Creating an idea, developing it into a story script and giving technical assistance to it, are the procedures in making an animation. Besides the most commonly used animations , i.e two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D), there is also puppet animation, clay animation, sand animation, vegetable animation etc. Both 2D and 3D animation can be created digitally. Two-dimensional images are shallow in appearance, while three-dimensional images have a feel of depth to them, thus making them look more real.

    Cel or 2D Animation: Also known as classical animation, 2 dimensional animation deals more with drawing and framing and is the base of 3D animation. 2D animators work mostly on paper, creating frames to define a sequence that are then moved at varying speeds to create the illusion of motion. The process involves creating large number of drawings, and scanning them into the computer and importing them into the software that helps in setting the timing and layers for the scanned sequence of images. Toonz Harlequin, Adobe Flash, CelAction, Anime Studio, Toon Boom Animation, Animaker are some of the software's used for creating 2D animation characters.

    Computer generated Imagery or 3D animation: 3D or three-dimensional animation, which has more depth and is more realistic, are a series of images/ objects created using computers or any other digital media. In addition to the skills in drawing, composition and character design, 3D animators deal with modeling, rendering, texturing and lighting. The texture, lighting and colour of the 3D objects are modified using software programmes and virtual cameras are used to focus, resize, zoom and illuminate the figures. This digital animation has the power to create effects not possible with Classical animation. Film, advertising, video and gaming are the fast growing fields for 3D animation. This technique makes extensive use of animation software programmes like 3ds Max (Autodesk), Softimage|XSI (Avid), MAYA (Autodesk) etc.

    It could also find in the other areas like advertising, web graphics to create websites and all.

    Eligibility : Training is the most essential and important aspect for the creation of a skilled professional in the field of animation. To become an animator, one doesn't require any specific academic qualification. Those with a basic sketching skill and a passion for animation can enter this field. For getting a better job prospect, one should have a degree or diploma in animation.

    Degree and Diploma courses in animation are abundance nowadays apart from online services. Minimum education qualification for a degree and diploma course in animation is plus two or equivalent.

    Any graduate preferably arts graduate could apply for Post Graduation in animation. But some institutions such as Industrial Design Center (IDC), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Design (NID) follows eligibility criterion that only graduate of architecture, technology and engineering, fine arts can apply for the PG course in these institutes.

    Besides these graduate and post graduate courses, there are several professional courses that focus on various styles and techniques. These courses, i.e Courses in Traditional animation , Stop-motion animation , Rotoscoping , Computer generated 3D and 2D animation , Clay-mation , Photoshop , Human anatomy , Drawing etc helps one to specialise in a particular area. One should also have a basic knowledge in computer handling.

    Apart from professional training, there are several personal skills also that one must possess to be a good animator. What makes to go a long way in making a good animation is a good sense of colour, proportion, size , design etc.

    Personal skill:

    An animator should have an artistic bent of mind with a lot of passion and imaginative skills. Creativity is the most wanted quality for this career as animation starts with developing an idea to a story. The art of sketching or drawing is another basic skill one should possess. Patience, discipline and dedication to work is a vital ability as this field involves lot of hard work and long hours of thorough planning. He/ She should have a sound understanding of anatomy of humans, animals or birds and body movements and lighting effects. Good communication skill is also needed as most of the time it will be teamwork. One good animator should be one good actor also. So that only he could express the character well through his animation.

    An animator should have a good sense of colour, proportion, size, design, visualizations, knowledge of background art and layout. They must have expertise in computer design software. Knowledge of programming languagues (C++, Java) will be an added benefit. It is advantageous to understand photography, lighting and movement for those planning to work in computer animation. They must be able to visualise how an object will look in three dimensions and have the know-how to make an animated object look real.

    Jobes="_x0000_i1026"> Prospects & Career Options : A strong portfolio of work is an essential part of landing a job in computer animation and becoming an animator. Numerous job opportunities are available in India as well as abroad in the exciting field of animation. It opens the door to film industries such as Hollywood, which is the world of special effects and imagery for films. Specialized computer knowledge and skills are essential for various jobs in the field of animation.

    It is a booming industry with wide job openings and one can work on full length animation movies or any other related fields like television, advertising industry etc. An Animated feature film, which offers considerable employment prospects, is a combined talented effort of a wide variety of artists. A typical animation film requires around 500 animators. Some of the jobs offered in the industry are :

    1. Content developer
    2. Modeler - Modeler is the one who makes the models for animation. They should have a solid understanding of anatomy, form and volume.
    3. Story Broad Artist - Those with strong drawing skills could be hired as storyboard artists who can visualize a sequence of events from frame to frame.
    4. Character animator- They brings characters to life and generally has knowledge of traditional animation, stop-motion animation as well as claymation
    5. Background artist- The background artist is the person who specialises to paint the background of the characters and sets the background for the project.
    6. Layout artist- layout artist is just like a cinematographer of that animation project as they are decides the lighting and camera angles and he is sketching the background design for the animation.
    7. 2D animator - They involves the creation of a high volume of separate drawings that define a sequence.
    8. In-between animator- In between animator one can learn all the basics of animation and it is the beginning position of an animator.
    9. Scanner operator-The scanner operator does the scanning of the clean up artist’s drawings.
    10. Compositing artist - Compositing consists of layering individual frames of animation on top of one another to create final images. These images are then strung together to create complete shots or mini animated movies.
    11. Special effects artist - They integrate live-action footage with Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) or other elements (such as model work)
    12. Audio & video specialist
    13. Visualiser
    14. Texture artist - They applies a surface to the 3D modeled character, object or environment.
    15. Rigging artist - A rigging artist takes the modeled, textured 3D character or object and sets it up with a skeletal system or joints (if required). Without this step, the 3D model would not be able to animate, talk or move fluidly and correctly.
    16. Clean-up artist- The clean up artist checks the accuracy and consistency of the designs and drawings. To be a good clean up artist, he should have good draft-man skill with the knowledge of density, width, volume and mass.
    17. Lighting artist - They create variations of shade, colour intensity and shadows
      Digital ink and paint artist- It is the duty of a digital ink and paint artist to give colours to each frame.
      Compositor- It is the compositor brings together all the different characters and backgrounds in to single frame.
    18. Editor
    19. Key frame animator- Key frame animator draws the pictures of a movement’s beginning and end.
    20. Rendering artist - They take all the data in a scene such as models, textures, animation, lighting, etc and output the correct combination in the form of individual frames of animation.
    21. 3D animator - They takes the sculpted, textured and rigged 3D model and breathes life into it. This is done by putting in order the key frames such that they appear to be in motion.
    22. Image Editor - They assembles various visual and audio components of the film into a coherent and effective whole

    Website designing, CD-Rom production, graphics designing and three-dimensional product modeling are some other fields where animators can gain employment. Though entertainment through film and television is the main area of application in this profession, animation is also needed in other areas like business, sales, engineering, education and advertising. It has chances in fashion designing and interior designing and even in medical, legal and insurance companies for their presentations and models. The gaming industry that includes video and mobile games are looking forward for good animators. Some animation institutions appoint students for teaching assistance, so they can take ir career in to teaching profession also. Animators could even find jobs at print media and publishing firms. Free lance work is another option for animators, particularly those specializing in web animation.

    India has over 300 animation studios employing over 12,000 animation professionals. Besides this, Indian companies are creating a number of animated films and cartoons for US and European studios. There fore the chances for good creative animators never ends.

    Nature of Work :

    Creating an animation consists of idea development, pre-production, production and post-production. The characters are created in idea development. In pre-production, the ideas are converted into layouts. Scriptwriting, storyboarding, character development, backgrounds, layout designing, animatics and voice comes under per-production. The actual result of the story can be visualised in the production stage which is a blend of animation, in-betweening or tweening (i.e the creation of intermediate frames between two main images to give the appearance that the first image flows smoothly into the second one), scanning, compositing (i.e combining images from different sources to create a finished frame of animation), background preparation and colouring. Final sound recordings, colour editing, testing and special sound effects are all added at the post-production stage. Post production stage activities includes editing, special effects (SFX), colour correction, compositing, voice and music editing and rendering. Rendering is the final touches to an animation scene, in which the data is converted to the raster image or animation.

    Remuneration : The good salary is the most attractive part of this profession. With in years these professionals can earn six-digit salary. As a junior animator or trainee one could get between Rs.10000- 15000 per month. A three to five year experienced animator will get 25000 to 40000. And a well-experienced animator who has a good portfolio of excellent animation work could easily get 50000- 60000 per month.

     


      
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