Example of “Why Career in Animation & VFX is good for the future?” When the official trailer for India’s most expensive movie ‘Baahubali’ was released on YouTube, it garnered more than 60 lakh views & 35,000 likes. Thanks to the two-minute-long clip featuring lush landscapes of mountains & waterfalls, temples, & palaces battlefields – all made possible by 17 VFX studios with 600 artists. Surprisingly, the VFX studios hired for this job were based in Hyderabad, home to Tollywood.
“India is currently well positioned in the global Animation & VFX industry”, says Danny Wilson, Creative Supervisor at Lighthouse Animation Studios. He continues, “This is due to the latest technology and equipment now easily accessible at affordable rates in the country”. Due to this and the amount of visual effects these projects call for, VFX studios are popping up everywhere.
Career in Animation & VFX?
The sheer number of studios in India now along with the increased collaborations among them. These has made this industry an undeniable breeding ground for aspiring VFX artists. Suresh Eriyat – Founder and Creative Director, Eeksaurus says, “VFX has the potential to create huge employment opportunities. If they stand alone and compete against each other, the industry’s growth will be stunted. In Bahubali 17 VFX companies worked together. Such collaboration is a welcome trend for the industry as a whole.”
TV networks, production houses, and ad makers are sitting up and taking notice of this development – both abroad as well as locally – and teaming up with special effects companies in India to reap the additional benefit of cost-cutting. Danny suggests that another advantage of this collaboration is that more people can get involved at the independent level as well to get more creative so it doesn’t get bogged down to the big studios only, in turn encouraging a bit more out-of-the-box thinking, making it an exciting time to be in the VFX industry.
- Adobe Photoshop Bojou / Syntheye
- Adobe After Effects The Foundry Nuke X
- Autodesk Maya Apple Final Cut Pro
- Ruine / X Frog Apple Soundtrack Pro
Industry-standard software is developing daily and different studios are working with different packages based on what the project in hand calls for. The skills you are learning in one package is transferrable to another. For example, you could learn and actually use 3D with Blender (for free) and then be able to pick up another package like Maya pretty quickly. Also, while there’s no standard set of apps used across studios, the workflows are very similar.
BRIGHT FUTURE, HERE I COME! OH WAIT…
“No VFX artists were harmed in the making of this film” should ideally appear at the end of film or television credits. We don’t mean to scare you, but some challenges are working in VFX. This industry is only for the strong-willed hard workers who persevere under tough conditions such as long hours and lack of projects. E. Suresh of Eeksaurus advises you to expect a 10-hour day during the normal in-flow of work and around 15 hours a day during the peak work season. “Work, when it comes, would seem like a never-ending story. This coupled with multiple changes from clients keeps every professional on their toes.” If you love what you do, however, time flies.
Another necessity for a successful career in Animation & VFX is the right kind of employee. If a company hasn’t done its due diligence, it may suffer or end up shutting down and you’ll be left with nowhere to go. Look at Rhythm and Hues that was forced to shut down after its thumping success at the Oscars for Life of Pi. Danny states, “You don’t want to work with a company that gets too big too fast. There are VFX studios that have a strong start but they don’t have the longevity to continue, to be able to foresee the next thing that happens (‘Now this is happening, so the next thing has to be this’ kind of thought process). So if a studio is letting go of employees or not paying their employees, it’s because the work isn’t there. The work is out there. You have to get your people to get the work into your studio. The key to a successful VFX studio is to have a strong clientele, a strong marketing backbone. The more VFX studios bring in international clientele, the better the exposure for these artists to grow and flourish and become something more.” Suresh Eriyat advocates working with studios that collaborate (like the studios involved in the post-production of Baahubali did), rather than ones that try to outdo each other and try to create their VFX empire.
However, if you want to make a Career in Animation & VFX, you should know the difference and difference between the roles existed in the VFX profession. Because it does not make sense of the number of steps you take but the destination does.
So, here we go:
Layout Artist: Layout artist is someone who is a part of the pre-production and previsualization process. A typical layout artist is responsible for interpreting the storyboard and transform it into a visual medium. Their prime duty is to ensure that all elements are readable and comprehensible. They deal with the font style, size, and spacing to provide a piece of understandable information to the users. Layout artists usually work in the advertising and marketing fields.
Composition Artist: The flawless VFX shots are something that blends seamlessly with the background and no viewer likes to watch an inelegant picture. So this squad of artists is responsible for making sure that the product is free of disturbances.
Take up any VFX course and understand how to maintain all the minuscules during the creation because a single glitch can ruin the whole experience. Composition artist is someone who makes certain that the VFX shots & live-action are going hand-in-hand for the best user experience.
Lighting Artist: Lighting is one of the factors that contribute to the perfect storytelling method. A lighting artist is someone who understands the functioning of lights and its communication with the real world. The illustration has to be picture-perfect for the picture to be perfect. There is a wide range of opportunities in this segment of VFX. Go and try if you believe that you can pay keen attention to every scene and make the scene pop.
Roto Artist: A roto artist has to be in sync with both computer graphics and real-life. Roto Artist traces all the frames where graphic meets real life. Composition artists commence their work with the details these dudes provided.
Matchmove Artist: You gotta be professional in both 2D and 3D to become a match mover. The primary responsibility is to check whether the computer-generated graphics are properly integrated with the live-action footage.
Matte Painter: A matte painter is responsible for transforming the photographs or sketches to VFX shots. He/she must have art in their hands because they have to create realistic VFX objects without any exaggeration & clear view.