This may not be common knowledge, but the future of visual effects and animation is bright in India. In a country dominated by Bollywood and not a traditional hot spot for animation and VFX, the big studios of Hollywood were actually the first ones to recognize India’s potential in this arena. It is not just idle recognition either, because Hollywood has come calling to Indian shores in a bid to complement their own efforts in a score of big banner films.
Films such as Frozen, Life of Pi, Skyfall, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and even films greatly lauded for their VFX and animation such as Avatar and the latest ones like Doctor Strange and The
Jungle Book among many others have all been given VFX and animation treatment in India!
But what exactly is VFX and animation?
Many prospective students and parents of these students shy away from this career because they do not know what it involves. Well, here at Seamedu we offer the whole complement of VFX and animation studies through various programs. Before we get into that though, here is a little insight into what the visual effects and animation industry is all about.
Insights into the concept of visual effects and animation
Animation is the creation of visual data through the means of artistic or digital production. Simply put, any video made in the absence of real life, whether it is through traditional flipbooks or the more modern digital version, is referred to as animation (think Finding Nemo, Chhota Bheem, Frozen, King Fu Panda, Up, Cars, etc.). Animations are alternate visual universes created from scratch at the hands of animators and have no live-action components included at all.
VFX or visual effects combine live action video with animation to create visuals that are part-real, part-effects. The most popular method of doing this is through computer-generated imagery (CGI) coupled with green screens. Everything from the motion pictures in the background of a newscast or a superhero flying around are the results of VFX. VFX is used to depict scenarios and scenes that are either difficult to shoot in live action due to logistics or magnitude – for example showing millions of people in a crowd would be difficult to pull off as would showing a tsunami wave affecting a certain specific geography. VFX is also used to depict that which does not exist (like humanoids flying unsupported) or places and things that do not exist.
Now that we have a little bit of an idea regarding what VFX and animation is about, it is time to see what courses Seamedu offers in this department.
Visual Effects & Animation at Seamedu – Course Structure
We offer a Degree in Visual Effects & Animation for Film & TV at our Pune and Bangalore campuses. We also offer a Diploma in Animation for Visual Effects. Pune and Bangalore are both veritable hotbeds of India’s VFX and animation scene, and make for the perfect locations for a course geared towards this pursuit. The close proximity of Mumbai and Hyderabad to Pune and Bangalore respectively, two other leading lights in India’s animation and VFX movement, make for an added bonus.
The eligibility criterion for all three courses is someone with a 10+2 education, regardless of the stream. Since these courses begin at the very basics and build upward from there, having a specialized background in either field is not necessary.
The Diploma Course
Spanning one year and providing students with the foundation in VFX or animation, the first semester consists of:
- An introduction to 3D
- The fundamentals of design
- The core software required for animation (in the form of Maya)
- Interior 3D modelling
- 3D lighting and shading
- 2D animation
After this, students can choose between VFX and advanced 3D as their specialization.
The VFX Specialization
If they choose VFX, the course moves on to the history and development of visual effects, the basics of compositing, learning to roto, paint and retouch, using Match Mover, and the creation of their final project and demo reels.
The Advanced 3D Specialization
If students pick advanced 3D, the course covers character modelling, delves deeper into lighting and shading, covers character setup for production, the more advanced animation techniques of character animation, and the final project and demo reels.
The Degree Course
Digging deeper in terms of animation and VFX curricula with an eight semester, four-year course in Pune and a six-semester one in Bangalore, the degree courses touch upon the following facets of animation and VFX:
- Planning for a VFX shoot
- Live action shooting techniques for VFX
- Creating 3D sets, assets & characters for a VFX shot
- Painting realistic & semi-legalistic textures in Photoshop
- Animation (CG Camera and Character Animation)
- 3D Lighting
- 3D Rendering (rendering passes using mental ray)
- Compositing (2D & 3D)
- Matte painting
- Developing motion graphics for television & live action films
- Roto (Tips & Tricks)
- 2D & 3D Match Moving
- 3D-stereoscopic (Depth / 2D / 3D)
- Creating live action short film projects using visual effects (Digital/Special Effects) & animation techniques
What’s more, the course offered at the Pune campus also includes an intensive internship program.
Scope of VFX and Animation in India
Prospective students should know that the VFX and animation industry is growing in India by leaps and bounds. According to the KPMG-FICCI Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Report 2016, it grew almost double from an industry size of Rs. 23.7 billion to Rs. 51.1 billion in just five years!
And according to the same study, it is expected to grow to a mammoth Rs. 108 billion by 2020.
It is not just the numbers though, because industry experts also believe that India’s animation and VFX industry is still only beginning to flex its muscles.
- Avneet Kaur, simulation technical director, Walt Disney Animation Studios said the following in a recent interview with the Indian Express, “The animation industry is definitely evolving in India. It has witnessed unprecedented growth rates in recent times. Over the last decade, it has seen the entry of many global studios who have tapped into India’s talent pool. Additionally, leading Indian production houses like Tata and Reliance are now investing in the animation market and collaborating with Indian filmmakers to make animated features that have broad mass appeal and entertain their local audiences.”
- Says Jeremy Lee, senior lecturer and course leader in Animation and VFX, Sheffield Hallam University, “India is already showing that it can provide the talent and entrepreneurial drive in this industry with companies that played a major role in production of films like Avatar and Life of Pi. India also needs to look inwards at the immense potential there is to convert comic book cartoon characters like Chacha Choudhary. You have already seen success with animated versions of Ramayana, Chota Bheem and Bal Hanuman. Not to mention the possibilities with the expanding games and new media smart phone content.”
This industry’s massive growth and untapped potential hasn’t gone unnoticed by government bodies either. According to a report published by the Hindustan Times, the Telangana government has announced plans to set up an Animation and Gaming (IMAGE) City in Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad. This facility will cater to animation, effects, and gaming industries and will look to cash in on the foreign interest in these markets in India. Fiscal incentives, tax write-offs and a host of other financial subsidies have been planned to help promote the aforementioned industries in the Telangana region.
Clearly then, India is on the cusp of a major implosion in the animation and VFX industry, and young professionals with the right education and credentials can ride this wave of success to an interesting and rewarding career.