Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Animation Biz on the Sub-Continent

One more cheerful report on how animation progresses in India:

... According to a Nasscom survey, gaming and animation are no longer “sunrise” industries. Instead, they have started taking wing in different directions. It says, “While the Indian animation and gaming industry is still in the nascent stage, the sector is expected to show significant growth in the near future as global outsourcing within the market takes off.”

The country could emerge as a significant destination for such outsourced work in the years to come. Animation has found use in segments such as entertainment (including TV broadcast, fully animated movies, direct-to-DVD and VFX), e-Education and web designing, it says.

Note the words "could emerge," "is expected to show growth," and "still in the nascent stage." Which of course means: "Hey! It hasn't happened yet, but any day now!"

If you believe the mainstream media of Mumbai, the Indian animation business has been expected to rocket skyward for some time. Depending on which newspaper story you read, it's either on the cusp of going like gangbusters, or for some inexplicable reason remains a chronic under-achiever, but only for the time being.

But truth to tell, it's always on the verge of becoming The Next Big Thing, yet never quite getting there. As VFX noted last month:

... Dreamworks and Technicolor have a partnership where some work is being done at Technicolor India. In fact 2 sequences for Puss N Boots were supposed to be done in India. Well it turns out that much of that work had to come back to Glendale because they were unable to finish it. ...

This is nothing new. Several years back, Disney Toons set up a satellite studio in Burbank to repair work being produced in Mumbai that wasn't quite as polished and magical as the Mouse wanted it to be. I've talked to enough people familiar with Indian production to know that it's better now than previously, but the problems have been remarkably constant over stretches of time, as an animation vet earlier explained to me:

"The good animators don't stick around down there. If they're talented and ambitious, they hit the glass ceiling and get out. They move to Weta, or the States, or Europe ..."

Indian studios, you see, are geared to doing it fast and cheap, quality taking a back seat to quantity. (It kind of has to, given the typical business model of sub-contractors. You don't stay in business by lingering over the shot and making it better. You thrive by turning it around quickly.)

But the article from the Hindu Times up on top pretty much admits to that dynamic, if you read carefully. Indian animation is going to bust out of it doldrums next month ... or next year ... and become the billion-dollar industry it was always meant to be.

Just not today.


Anonymous said...

The same old it's been since animation work has been farmed out overseas almost to anywhere. Rush to package up stuff to send overseas, expect miracles, and then spend more money fixing the work that comes back. More often than not because the work wasn't properly prepared for the reality/limitations of sending work to another country.

It's like motion capture. Spend LOTS of money on actors and equipment, then crunch the animators with lack of time and money to fix it all. With little to no credit.

Dave Rand said...

Water seeks it's own level

Anonymous said...

They'll get better, it's inevitable, the same factors that brought us out of the primordial sludge will bring their quality of work up as well. It's what we as humans do, we just need to make sure we're also progressing over here.

Alex Dudley said...

They've been saying the Indian animation industry would boom since I was coming out of high schol. Four and half years later I graduated from art college and they're still saying it!

Site Meter