Animation is the art of drawing or capturing a sequence of still images, which are then digitally or manually manipulated to generate the illusion of motion.
Animation is a stream of design and comprises two basic types- traditional and digital. Traditional animation uses hand-drawn image frames placed in a sequence manually whereas digital animation employs computer-generated images which are digitally sequenced to produce motion. Animation comprises a vast variety of specialisations employing various methods, some of which include stop motion animation, motion graphics, 2-dimensional animation, and 3-dimensional animation.
Undergraduate degrees offered in Animation include the following-
Bachelor of Science (BSc)- 3 years
Bachelor of Arts (BA)- 3 years
Bachelor of Design (B Des.)- 3-4 years
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)- 3-4 years
Bachelor of Visual Arts (BVA)- 4 years
Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA)- 3 years
The undergraduate eligibility criteria for aspiring animation artists are as follows-
The Undergraduate Common Entrance Examination for Design (UCEED)
UCEED is the common entrance test for students wishing to pursue a degree in design. The entrance is conducted once a year on a national level across 24 Indian cities. UCEED is conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay with 16 participating colleges.
UCEED is a three-hour entrance exam with 300 questions and consists of two parts:
Part A questions test the candidates’ theoretical knowledge of design, visualisation and spatial ability, logical and analytical reasoning, problem-solving and observational skills, environmental and social awareness, language, and creativity.
The part B question tests the candidates’ creative ability along with their practical understanding of perspective, shading, and composition.
NID Design Aptitude Test (DAT)
NID DAT is the national-level entrance conducted for admission into B.Des. and M.Des. programmes in the National Institutes of Design (NIDs) across the country. NID DAT conducts the Prelims test first, qualifying which candidates can appear for the NID DAT Mains test.
NID DAT Prelims is a three-hour exam comprising 26 questions worth 100 marks. It comprises two sections:
NID DAT Mains consists of a Studio Test; candidates who qualify for NID DAT Mains also must upload their Statement of Purpose (SoP) along with their portfolio.
NID DAT Prelims and Mains scores constitute 40% and 60% weightage respectively in the final tabulation of results.
NIFT Entrance Examination
The NIFT Entrance Exam is the national-level entrance conducted for admission into B.Des., BF.Tech., M.Des., MFM, and MFTech programmes in the National Institutes of Fashion Technology (NIFTs) across the country.
Every programme has its specific entrance modelled towards the content of the course. Candidates have to clear the GAT (General Ability Test) and CAT (Creative Ability Test) to qualify for the NIFT courses.
Candidates’ CAT and GAT scores are considered to shortlist candidates for the next round, which comprises a situation test and/or a GDPI (Group Discussion and Private Interview).
All India Entrance Examination for Design (AIEED)
AIEED is the nationwide entrance exam for design programmes conducted by The ARCH College of Design & Business.
The AIEED comprises a series of tasks candidates must complete for being shortlisted:
Other popular entrances include Symbiosis Entrance Exam for Design (SEED), Chandigarh University Entrance Exam, WLCI Aptitude Test, and Manipal Entrance Test (MET).
Some of the best animation colleges in India are-
Creatively inclined students with technological prowess may find animation a suitable career. Students may gauge their aptitude for animation with the following criteria:
The most popular and lucrative specialisations in Animation include the following-
Undergraduate design programmes in India span between three to four years and six to eight semesters. Students are assessed on a grade-point average (GPA)/percentage basis through internal assessments and end-semester written exams.
Design courses cover both theoretical and practical subjects, some of which include visualisation and sketching techniques, graphic design, story-telling for visual media, animation techniques, design management, and digital design tools.
Besides written tests to examine the theoretical bases of students, assessments also include practical tests, animation film projects (four projects in a four-year degree), internship credits, and a final degree project.
The total fee structure for design colleges in India ranges between 20,000 to 10 lakhs per annum for a 3-4 year animation course. The fee structure may vary depending on the college, duration, course, and specialization of choice.
There are also several part-time/correspondence/distance/online courses for animation whose fees are lesser, ranging between 10,000 to 50,000 Rupees per annum.
Several organisations and institutions offer scholarships, fellowships, and grants to students wishing to pursue a degree in animation; some of them include-
Gaining industry experience through internships is a vital and often mandatory requirement for design students. Most colleges have Training and Placement (T&P) cells to help students gain industry experience through professional training sessions and internships.
The University Grants Commission’s (UGC) 2022 guidelines state that all undergraduate students studying in recognised Indian universities must compulsorily do an internship for eight to ten weeks.
Moreover, most animation courses have mandatory internships as animation is an applied field and it is necessary for candidates to apply their theoretical learning in the professional world to develop their style, build a brand, and gain practical working skills and creative industry experience during their formative years.
After completing undergraduate animation courses like B Des/BSc/BFA/BVA/BA/BCA, students may opt for higher education with Masters's/PhD degrees. Here are a few postgraduate study and research opportunities in India:
Candidates can secure admission into postgraduate animation courses by clearing the Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED). Some institutions and colleges have their respective screening procedure and entrance exams.
Several universities and colleges abroad offer excellent animation programmes and courses. Here are some of the best global institutions for students wishing to pursue an animation degree abroad:
After obtaining a design degree/certification, students can offer their skills as animators in the public and private sectors as well as on a freelance basis. Several colleges and institutions offer placement opportunities to their students through their training and placement (T&P) cell in the penultimate/final year of the animation degree.
Some of the top animation studios recruiting in India include:
Some of the leading firms in the world recruiting animators include-
After completing their animation degrees, students may choose from various career prospects depending on their specialisations. Some of the popular and lucrative career prospects in animation include:
The average starting salaries for animation graduates range between 1.5 to 3 lakhs per annum and can go as high as 12 LPA for senior animators.
Creative direction, medical/forensic animation, software animation engineering, game design, visual effects animation, and 3D modelling are some of the highest-paying specialisations in animation.
Candidates interested in pursuing a career in animation may also consider the following streams and subjects-
Which is the most lucrative specialisation in Animation?
Mathematic modelling, medical animation, forensic animation, 3D modelling, and art direction are some of the highest-paying specialisations in animation.
Which is the best animation studio in India?
Digitoonz, Maya Entertainment Ltd, Reliance Animation, and Nipuna Services are some of the top animation studios in India.
How much does a freelance animator earn?
Freelance work depends largely on the client roster- both, the frequency, size, and paying potential of clients. A freelance animator’s salary can range anywhere between 1-5 LPA.
Are online animation courses any good?
While receiving in-person learning from experienced industry professionals is always more beneficial for strengthening foundations, online animation courses from reputed institutions and organizations can be helpful as long as the learner is equipped with the required software and technical requirements.
What is the difference between 2D animation and 3D animation?
2D animation, as its name suggests, deals with a two-dimensional world and characters. Animation in two-dimension comprises flat features and features only height and with- no depth perception or realism. An example of 2D animation would be cartoons and animated films like Lion King, Tom and Jerry, and the Looney Tunes Show.
3D animation refers to three-dimensional animation. 3D animation features depth and realism in addition to height and width in its world and characters. An example of 3D animation would be animated films such as Toy Story, Shrek, and the Adventures of Tintin, as well as animated special effects/CGI in movies like Jurassic Park and The Avengers.