A good animator needs to have inherent creativity and drawing skills, but becoming a professional animator may involve the right kind of training from the right place. The Indian animation and visual effects industry has been making a mark globally and the demand for local talent has led to the mushrooming of several animation institutes across the country.
Students aspiring to enter the animation industry may get lost in the maze of these numerous animation colleges and training institutes. It is important to make sure that the institute you choose offers quality education and high standards. Learning the craft of animation is much more than landing a good job after graduation. You should consider the following factors when choosing an animation institute.
1. Animation course content – Students looking for a quick route to the animation industry are often lured by the “short-term” courses that claim to teach the nuances of animation over a short span of a few weeks. You should make sure that the college you choose offers quality content that teaches all aspects of animation. An education in animation is quite different from simply learning about animation software. However, you should also confirm if the institute teaches the basic tools and software required by animators.
According to Kireet Khurana, filmmaker and animator who directed India’s first live action and 3-D animation combined film “Toonpur Ka Superhero,” quality animation institutes should teach classical animation principles like storytelling, life drawing, storyboarding and character design on paper, apart from just teaching different software. You should therefore opt for a full-fledged animation degree instead of crash courses that last just a few weeks and promise you good jobs. You should also enquire about the teaching methods and assessment methodology.
2. Quality of faculty – Take your time deciding if your teachers are qualified and experienced enough to mentor and train you for the next few years. In medical education, the best surgeons train the medical students in surgery techniques. The field of animation is no different. You should learn from the best and preferably with people who have had industry experience doing the real thing.
Kireet warns against animation institutes run by faculty who are either unsuccessful animators who couldn’t get a job elsewhere or who are, more alarmingly, students who themselves have just “graduated” from these institutes after a short four to six month course! So make sure that you check the credentials and background of the college faculty before you finalise any institute. A survey of 72,000 respondents conducted by AnimationMentor.com, an online animation school, revealed that 33 percent rated “professional animators as mentors and faculty” as the primary criterion for selecting an animation programme.
3. Placement facilities – The job placement facilities of a college can directly reflect on the quality of the education it imparts. Having professional animators as faculty may also play an important role in the institute’s track record for placing students.
You can talk to former students or final year students and understand the college’s reputation in the animation industry. Find out if the college alumni are well-placed in the industry. A good alumni network and industry connections may prove invaluable once you graduate with a degree in animation.
4. College infrastructure – You should visit your shortlisted animation institutes and take a tour of their campuses to get an idea about the quality of their infrastructure – computer labs, library, classrooms. Find out if the institute provides internship opportunities or workshops with animation studios or film production houses.
“Animation Education,” Kireet Khurana, http://kireetkhurana.com/?p=53#comments
“Industry Report – What Future Animators are Looking for in an Animation School,” Animationmentor, http://content.animationmentor.com/pdfs/AnimationMentor_IndustryReport.pdf