In Focus: Animation as a Career Option

Posted on June 17, 2010 in Alternative Careers

Shweta Bhalla:

We all, at least once in our lives, have been completely taken by the cartoon world. That was the time when Mickey Mouse was our best friend, we loved to see Tom & Jerry chase each other; the new Stuart Little movie made us drag our parents to get us to watch it. Even as grown-ups, we still enjoy an occasional cartoon or two. They actually take us back to our childhood. And credit for all this goes to the people who did the animation. Welcome to the world of film animation- a world where reality meets imagination, and sometimes even goes beyond it, where dinosaurs walk across the silver screens. This is the world of special effects, unbelievable graphics and exotic technologies that mesh and converge to create unbelievable experiences. It’s a world that beckons mind to unleash its true power!

The word animation is derived from a Latin word ‘anima’ which means ‘soul’ i.e. when life breathes into the characters. Animation is the art of conceiving an action by drawing inanimate objects or characters, which are made suitable for filming. The art of animation started with the cavemen who used to draw pictures on the rocks surfaces. Then we have Walt Disney for the creation of his cartoon, especially Mickey Mouse. Presently, we associate animation with the process of linking a series of drawings and simulating their movements together. The concept of ‘persistence of vision’ is used to create animations. According to this optical phenomenon, the human eye retains an image for a split second after the source of the image disappears. So when 24 frames per second of an animated film zip through a projector, the flow of motion on the screen looks seamless.


Animation is slowly growing into a multi-billion dollar industry generating a great scope of employment for those interested. One can work as a:

  1. Modeler
  2. Layout artist
  3. Clean up artist
  4. Scanner Operator
  5. Digital ink and paint artist
  6. Compositor
  7. Key frame animator
  8. Background artist

Each of these is extremely crucial in the creation of any animation.

Indian animation market, fairly static until a few years ago, is suddenly waking up to a host of global opportunities that promise a lot of action for the country’s leading design specialists. Recognizing the increasing potential a number of Indian software players have turned their attention to animation. Animation studios now dot the country and the industry is also witnessing the arrival of training houses that are dedicated to building manpower for this market. Indian cities such as Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Thiruvanantpuram house some of the country’s leading animation houses. Companies such as Crest Communications, films Division, Maya entertainment, UTV Toons, Prasad Studios, color chips etc are just a few ventures that have dedicated themselves to the world of animation and special effects.

Animation is a completely creative field, so one needs to have creativity while handling it. It is not a mechanical subject so one needs a lot of passion and imagination skills along with a flair for sketching /drawing. It needs long hours of continuous work with a whole lot of dedication; hence patience is a definite requirement too. One needs to be good at visualizations and choice of colors. This is one of the most exciting professions and requires complete dedication on the part of animator.


There are a number of courses, both degree and diploma courses, available in animation and multimedia. These focus on teaching a person various styles and techniques of animation, which may include the following:

  1. Traditional animation
  2. Stop-motion animation
  3. Rotoscoping
  4. Computer generated 2D and 3D animation
  5. Clay motion
  6. Photoshop
  7. Human anatomy
  8. Drawing

Following are the courses that can equip one for a career in animation industry:

  1. The Foundation Courses – They offer an introduction to the world of multimedia, covering concepts, tools and techniques
  2. Digital Printing and Publishing – A module focused on designing products for the publishing segment
  3. Digital Web Authoring – A complete course on website creation
  4. Digital Film Animation – A program for creating professional animators
  5. Digital Interactive Multimedia – A course to acquaint students with the new media
  6. Diploma in Digital Visual Communication – Exposes to platforms such as print, the Web and interactive multimedia
  7. Advanced Diploma in Digital Visual Communication and Animation – Prepares for careers in animation, multimedia, special effects, games, CBT (computer-based tutorials) and WBT (Web-based tutorials)


  1. National Institute of Design (NID (
  2. J.J School of Arts.
  3. Zee Institute of Creative Arts (ZICA) (
  4. Industrial Design Center (IDC), IIT Mumbai and Guwahati
  5. Arena Multimedia (
  6. Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (
  7. TOONZ Animation India Pvt. Ltd. (
  8. Academy of Digital Arts and Communication (
  9. RAI University (


Animation applications include avenues in the following areas:

  1. Entertainment (movies and TV)
  2. Business (product promotions and marketing demos)
  3. Sales (presentations)
  4. Education (computer based tutorials/ Web based tutorials)
  5. Publishing (graphics and printing)
  6. Virtual Reality (in Defense)
  7. Web Designing
  8. Engineering
  9. Advertising (commercials and print ads)
  10. Fashion designing and interior designing
  11. Development of computer/mobile games
  12. Leading studios and training institutes.

The various roads to an animation career all demand hard work, discipline and patience. Experts’ advice for those vying to make it big in this field is to ‘keep trying, not get too frustrated, to realise the potential, be honest with oneself and apply oneself to whatever particular goal one wants to reach. Then will come the taste of success’ !