Animation schools waiting for talent

Last Updated: Sun, Oct 03, 2010 22:30 hrs

If imagination is the key, the animation industry is set to be the next big thing in terms of prospects, growth and employment.

The sector is expected to generate 200,000 jobs by the year-end and according to one study, the size of the sector in India is expected to reach $1 billion by the same time. But since it is an emerging sector, the industry is not getting the right kind of professionals to realise its full potential.

Industry veterans maintain that Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad are the hubs for the animation sector, whereas Kolkata has still some way to go there.

"There is shortage of people in this sector in Mumbai. There are not many teaching institutes who offer courses on animation and whatever number of universities offer this course, their syllabus is not exactly what the industry asks for. Also, there is nobody to certify the faculty," said Devbrata Moulick, managing director of NIDT, a Mumbai-based professional education and outsourcing firm on animation. NIDT has 10 centres in India, including one in Kolkata.

The Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati offers a course in design of which animation is only a part. Recently, it has also started masters and doctoral study programmes on the subject.

"Animation is picking up and students are showing interests because of the opportunity to earn a fast buck. Outside India, it is a big industry. But India has some catching up to do as animation and gaming arrived rather late in the country. The progress here is slower than expected," said Manoj Majhi, assistant professor of desighn department at IIT Guwahati.

But there remains some apprehensions about this emerging sector which insiders call "misplaced". "Parents are not willing to allow their wards to make a career choice in animation and gaming. But it has excellent prospects and we hold regular workshops to highlight its potential," said Arijit Bhattacharya, founding CEO of Virtual Infocom, a Kolkata-based animation firm that is also into education and outsourcing.

"Everyday, 48 Zinga games are downloaded from Facebook in India. About 65,000 games are downloaded through iPhone in India everyday and iPhone charges $2.66 per download. These facts can partly explain the huge possibilities that this sector can offer. Right now, there are 1.5 lakh vacancies for game development professionals," he added.

The excitement of industry insiders is matched by certain facts: Global consultancy AT Kearney has rated India as the most attractive destination for offshore business processing. Foreign animation studios are setting up shops in the country, whereas the Indian companies are getting international assignments. Indian epics have colourful characters and offer a mix of rich mythology, dramas and fantasies that are considered the right content for animated cartoons, said experts.

The Nasscom report on animation and gaming for 2009 estimated the industry size to be $460 million in 2008-2009. It expects it to grow at 27 per cent to reach $1,163 million by 2012. Nasscom provided a breakup of the various segments: animation entertainment at $120 million, animation education at $53 million, custom content development at $187 million and multimedia/web design at $100 million. The report said the education segment is projected to have the maximum growth rate at about 40 per cent per annum.