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InDepth Insight: Ashish SK CEO Reliance Animation on Career in Animation and VFX Filmmaking

Published On: 09 May 2012 | Last Updated On: 09 Jul 2012

Deciding on a Career in Animation and VFX Filmmaking?

Mr. Ashish S.K. – CEO, Reliance Animation answers questions that will help young aspirants.

Ashish S.K. is the CEO of Reliance Animation and also the founder of BIG AIMS (Animation Infotainment and Media School) the education arm of Reliance Animation. He is the producer of world acclaimed tele -serial Little Krishna and ‘Shaktimaan – The Cyberyogic Hero’ the animated 2D tele-serial now being telecast on Nickelodeon.

Why should one opt for a career in animation or VFX? All the young aspirants cannot make their career only in engineering, medical, chartered accountancy and law. One has to do a self analysis of areas of strengths and weaknesses. Most of the teenagers today find themselves more suitable for creative career. In the past we did not have much option for making a creative career; artists had to look only for commercial art in advertising. There were only a handful of students who went into building a career in creative arts when compared to commerce and science.

Can you elaborate on the industries that recruit students who have mastered the art of animation and VFX? Animation and VFX is among the top career choices today. The Entertainment Industry, Film Industry, Games Development, Broadcasting, Web & Internet applications, Architectural Projects, Space Research, Medical Research including fields like Marketing, Public Relations, Personnel Training and Publicity find the use of Animation and VFX.

Over all its the television and print that continues to dominate the Indian M&E industry, sectors such as gaming, digital advertising, and animation VFX have grown at a faster rate and show tremendous potential in the coming years.

In a nut-shell one can say, any field that requires enhanced communication to engage audiences will find the need to use VFX and Animation. You will realize that this gives rise to opportunities in direct employment as in with film making studios, Game Development etc and also opportunities for free-lancing.

How is VFX and animation being used for education? Today in an era of short attention span the use of animation and VFX film-making has made it mark as an effective learning aid.  Take a simple example of  say a geography lesson where the students needs to understand the concept of eclipse or a medical students needs to understand the circulatory or nervous system of any living being, an animated film not just engages the students but the same can also be viewed a hundred times.

It has an added advantage of transcending across boundaries, language, cultures, religion etc. The same content built for education can be used by dubbing in whatever language across the globe.

What can a fresher in the industry can expect the remuneration to be like? The starting salary is Rs.8000/- to 12,000/- p.m. for interns and as one gains experience and mature into handling critical challenges in the production environment would definitely start earning between rs.25,000/- to 35,000/- within the first three to four years of their career.

What's the career graph like for those opting for this career? Initially one has to understand the complete process of powerful Storytelling and Film-Making process. Over the period of getting educated the students with help of faculty member and mentors find their areas of specialization. Right from Script Writing, Pre-Visualization, Character Development & Design, Environment Development & Design, Prop Design & Color, Acting & Animation, Facials, Lip Sync, Effects, Lighting, Compositing, Rendering and Editing, Sound Effects and Background Score…all these areas of specialization are open for the student once they start understanding the grammar of Storytelling and Film-Making.

Once the student pays attention on building a strong foundation of Storytelling and Film Making one could very easily decide and map their likings and skills and areas of strength to make proper specialization choice.

Nevertheless, it is pertinent to note that every single specialization will always start with being a trainee, gaining experience and continue to keep learning, experimenting and grow from being a trainee artist to Senior Artist, Supervisor, Assistant Director and Director or Technical Director over the period of time.

What are the pitfalls of this industry? Until some years back most institutes followed the practice of wrongly promoting that Animation and VFX is all about learning software rather than as a creative process. One has to understand that the foundation of artistic and creative story telling is the base of success.  Technology is just an enabler and its keeps changing. A person with good foundation can always adapt to new technology and one must be careful to see that they are not building a foundation on technology, but on the grammar of Storytelling and Film Making.

What's the future like for this industry? In a country which loves to be entertained all the time and the act of storytelling goes back to 5000 years into its heritage and the power of Film-Making that exists for over 100 years there is no stopping for the young creative mind to reach out to make career in Animation, Graphic Design, VFX or Comic Industry.

It is critical to understand that today’s lifestyle and its dependency on digital tools like cell phones, IPods, Ipads, Computers, Television, Theatre and Theme parks the form of digital and experiential entertainment has been innovating itself every single day and setting a new benchmark.

The option in the new futuristic and ever evolving digital content creation era that we have started living in the future of this industry is extremely bright for those who dream about creating and not about following.

Who all should opt for animation and VFX? I would like to say that anyone in the country, who finds even the slightest hint of any form of creative skill, must explore individual the field.  Having identified at an early age ones inclination towards creativity, he or she can then decide on pursuing the option of either one of the many  short-term and specialization courses or  choose a comprehensive Degree in Animation & Visual Effects Film making for which the basic qualification of 10+2 is required.

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