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Lower production costs and a well-developed technical skillset have made India a strong player in the global animation industry.

Deepshikha Punj        Last Updated: December 10, 2010  | 17:21 IST

The animation industry in India, though a late bloomer, is considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the field of multimedia. According to a recent study conducted by Assocham and Deloitte, it is expected to grow at 20 per cent to reach Rs 1,154 crore by 2013 from the current `556 crore, indicating a plethora of job prospects for aspiring animators.

"Indian animation has grown by leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. Currently, it is growing at the rate of 30 per cent per annum. Also, animation studios have been successful in doing service work for outsourced projects, in co-productions and in creating original content," says Rajiv Chilaka, founder and managing director, Green Gold Animation Pvt. Ltd.

Although an engineering graduate, Chilaka found his calling in animation and today is a successful animation director with films such as Chhota Bheem, Krishna and the very recent Vikram Betal in his kitty. He believes the Indian animation industry will follow in the path of the software industry. "A strong foundation has been laid and the future of Indian animation looks extremely bright," says Chilaka. At present, handling outsourcing for the US and UK markets is the local industry's primary source of revenue.

"The growth of animation is because of the combination that the talent in India offers a high quality of animation and technical work, a good understanding of English and a large degree of cost-effectiveness when compared to American and European profession-als. That has led to a significant amount of animation filmmaking work being done in India. The last five to eight years have witnessed some of the best Indian animation films," says Meghna Ghai-Puri, president, Whistling Woods International.

Although the major players are the US, Europe and Japan, India is proving its mettle slowly but surely. "India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is five per cent that of the world. Moreover, ours is a service-led economy and more than 2/3rds of our GDP comes from services. Add to this the fact that India has a young demographic profile, and you realise that India's current share of the world's animation and gaming industry may be under one per cent but there is large scope for growth," says Sandip Biswas, director, Deloitte, India.

The Indian animation industry has a better hold on the two vital areas; animation and special effects designing. "India has a relatively better skill level and experience (in terms of on-screen minutes) in the area of visual effects than in animation. In fact, almost every Indian film has some special effect shots in it. If one were to combine the two industries, then its scope in India is significantly higher than just animation," says Puri.

Another factor that works in favour of the flourishing Indian animation industry is the acceptance of animated movies by the Indian audience. Arun D'Souza, head, Monitoring and Evaluation, Autodesk India and SAARC, explains that the success in India of animation movies such as Avatar, Kung Fu Panda and Chhota Bheem have inspired confidence among Indian movie makers and the animation industry is clearly enthused by such developments.

"In India, we have a variety of great story lines, due to rich and diverse culture. Mythology presents a plethora of subjects that can be used for films. The booming gaming industry is also a positive sign for the animation software market in India," says D'Souza.

With formal education in two dimensional or three dimensional work skills, aspirants can easily become qualified animators. Professional diploma programmes in animation and multimedia can be taken up for higher study.

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