All about studying Animation

Degrees, Specialisations, Eligibility, Entrance Tests, Top Colleges, Fees, Scholarships, Career Prospects

All about the stream: What is Animation?

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 specializations employing various methods, some of which include stop motion animation, motion graphics, 2-dimensional animation, and 3-dimensional animation.


Undergraduate Animation Degrees offered

Undergraduate degrees offered in Animation include the following- 

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Specialisations in Animation 

  • 2D Animation (Vector Art)- refers to the creation of image frames and sequencing them to produce the illusion of motion in a two-dimensional space.
  • 3D Animation- implies the manipulation of static frames to mimic motion in a three-dimensional space.
    Virtual Reality Animation | Augmented Reality Animation 
  • Animation and Film Making- refers to the implementation of animation techniques in a film to convey a story or a tale through animated characters and objects.
  • Animation Film Design
  • Animation and Multimedia- Multimedia refers to various forms of digital media ranging from images, videos, audio files, drawings, and texts. Animation in multimedia implies the implementation of animation across a variety of media to convey a message or story. Multimedia | Multimedia Science, Augmented and Virtual Reality | Multimedia, Animation and Graphic Design | Multimedia, Animation and Graphics | Computer Animation | Multimedia, Animation, VFX & Graphics | Visual Arts (Animation Filmmaking)
  • Gaming Animation- refers to the implementation of animation techniques to build an interactive world where users can control the movement of the graphics and engage in gameplay.
    Gaming and Mobile Application Development | Graphics and Gaming
  • Medical Animation and Audio-Visual Creation- employs animation to educate about the anatomy and physiology of living things and describe medical concepts visually.
    Forensic Animation | Scientific Modelling
  • VFX & Graphics- “VFX” or visual effects animation refers to the manipulation of images and videos and the integration of manipulated imagery and scenes into the shot/picture.
    Animation and Graphics | Animation and VFX | VFX | VFX Film Making | Animation, VFX and Gaming | Digital Filmmaking and VFX | Graphic Art Hons | Graphic Design | Graphics and Digital Media 


Eligibility and Requirements for Animation 

The undergraduate eligibility criteria for aspiring animation artists are as follows-

  • Candidates enrolling in animation courses must have passed their 10+2 (or equivalent) examinations from a recognized Indian board with a minimum aggregate of 50% marks. 

  • Candidates can opt for animation courses from any stream (Science/Commerce/Humanities).

  • Candidates opting for BCA (Multimedia and Animation) must have Mathematics and Computer Science as compulsory subjects in class 12. 


Admission Procedure for Animation Courses

  • Admission to animation courses is conducted through merit or entrance exams. 

  • In the case of merit-based admissions, candidates must meet the eligibility criteria and obtain the cut-off marks to secure a seat in the college and course of their choice. 

  • In the case of admission through entrance exams, candidates must qualify for the minimum eligibility for the animation and design entrance exams. Interested candidates can apply for UCEED and other animation entrances by registering in the online portal and submitting the required documents. Candidates will then be shortlisted based on their entrance scores and rank in the counseling session of the college/entrance.

  • Shortlisted candidates may then finalize their admission at the concerned college by paying the fees and submitting the required documents for verification.


Animation Entrance Tests

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), Mumbai with 16 participating colleges.

UCEED is a three-hour entrance exam with 300 questions and consists of two parts:

  • Part A (240 marks) is a computer-based test (CBT) comprising 68 questions. Candidates are allotted 150 minutes to complete Part A. It is divided into three sections: 

    • Section 1 (72 marks) contains 18 numerical-type questions. Every correct answer is awarded 4 marks, and there is no negative marking for incorrect answers. 

    • Section 2 (72 marks) contains 18 multiple-select questions (MSQs). Candidates will be awarded 4 marks for selecting all correct answers, 3 marks for selecting three out of four correct answers, 2 marks for selecting two out of 4 correct answers, and 1 mark for choosing only one out of four correct answers. There is a negative marking of one mark for each incorrect answer chosen.

    • Section 3 (96 marks) contains 32 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). 3 marks are awarded to candidates for each correct answer. There is a negative marking of 0.71  mark for every incorrect answer. 

Part A questions test the candidates’ theoretical knowledge of design, visualization, spatial ability, logical and analytical reasoning, problem-solving and observational skills, environmental and social awareness, language, and creativity. 

  • Part B is a pen-and-paper test and comprises only one drawing/sketching question carrying 60 marks. Candidates are allotted 30 minutes to complete section B. 

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. programs 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:

  • The Aptitude Section carries 30% weightage and tests candidates on their logical reasoning, quantitative aptitude, general knowledge and current affairs, and English proficiency.

  • The Design Section carries 70% weightage and tests candidates on their practical drawing, sketching, and modeling skills. 

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 programs in the National Institutes of Fashion Technology (NIFTs) across the country. 

Every program has its specific entrance modeled toward 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.

  • The GAT exams for all courses are conducted in 180 minutes and test the candidates’ theoretical knowledge of quantitative, logical, communicative, and analytical abilities, case studies, English proficiency, and general knowledge/of current affairs. 
  • The CAT exam is conducted in 180 minutes and evaluates the candidates’ practical creative and design ability through drawing/sketching/modeling questions. 

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 programs conducted by The ARCH College of Design & Business.

The AIEED comprises a series of tasks candidates must complete to be shortlisted:

  • Video screening process: Candidates must send a video to ARCH Academy based on the questionnaire sent to them for the screening procedure.

  • Portfolio round: Candidates must present their work in their portfolio to the admission panel. 

  • Interview round: This is the final screening process where candidates are required to present themselves before a panel of expert candidates.

Other popular entrances include the Symbiosis Entrance Exam for Design (SEED), the Chandigarh University Entrance Exam, the WLCI Aptitude Test, and the Manipal Entrance Test (MET).


Explore other Top Ranked Institutes: NIFTs


Top Colleges for Animation

Some of the best animation colleges in India are- 


Aptitude for Animation

Creatively inclined students with technological prowess may find animation a suitable career. Students may gauge their aptitude for animation with the following criteria:

  • Creative outlook

  • Visual imagination

  • Technical Acumen

  • Communication Skills

  • Visual effects

  • Knowledge of current trends and styles

  • Attention to detail

  • Computer literacy

  • Knowledge of animation software systems

  • Aesthetic visualization

  • Time management skills


Top Animation Specialisations for the Future

The most popular and lucrative specializations in Animation include the following -

  • 3D Modelling Animation

  • Interactive Animation

  • Medical Animation

  • Mathematical Modelling

  • Character Animation

  • Science Visualisation

  • UI/UX Motion Animation


Animation Assessment

Undergraduate design programs 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 visualization 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. 


Fees for Animation Courses

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. 


Scholarships in Animation

Several organizations and institutions offer scholarships, fellowships, and grants to students wishing to pursue a degree in animation; some of them include - 

  • Kala Srishti Scholarships Program, Arena Animations

  • UD School of Animation, Hyderabad’s Animation Scholarships for meritorious students

  • Diversity in Indian Animators (DiiA) Scholarships for Women 

  • Creative Reward Scholarship, Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC) 

  • The Indian Institute of Digital Art and Animation’s First Year/Annual/Research Project/Associated Institution Scholarships

  • Frameboxx Animation Scholarship for meritorious students

  • Teaching/Research Assistantships |  Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) scholarship, IIT Mumbai


Internships/Industry Experience in Animation 

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 recognized 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.  


Post-graduate Study/Research Opportunities in Animation

After completing undergraduate animation courses like B Des/BSc/BFA/BVA/BA/BCA, students may opt for higher education with master's/PhD degrees. Here are a few postgraduate study and research opportunities in India:

  • Master of Design (M Des) - 2 years

  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA) - 2 years

  • Master of Arts (MA) - 2 years

  • Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) - 1 to 2 years

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) - 3 to 6 years

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. 


Study Abroad Opportunities in Animation

Several universities and colleges abroad offer excellent animation programs and courses. Here are some of the best global institutions for students wishing to pursue an animation degree abroad:

  • Sheridan College, Canada

  • California Institute of the Arts, California

  • Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia

  • Gobelins, France

  • Bournemouth University, England

  • Royal College of Arts, London

  • Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) – Rhode Island

  • Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver

  • RMIT University, Australia

  • Beijing Film Academy, China


Career Prospects/Placements in Animation 

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:

  • Digitoonz

  • UTV Toonz

  • Reliance MediaWorks Ltd

  • Pentamedia Graphics

  • Toonz Animation India

  • Maya Entertainment Ltd

  • Reliance Animation

  • Nipuna services

  • Vibgyor 360 

  • Visual Connections

Some of the leading firms in the world recruiting animators include -

  • Walt Disney Studio Animation

  • Pixar Animation Studios

  • Sony Pictures Animation

  • DreamWorks Animation

  • Warner Bros.

  • Studio Ghibli

  • Technicolour

  • Google

  • Acer

  • Adobe Systems Pvt. Ltd

After completing their animation degrees, students may choose from various career prospects depending on their specializations. Some of the popular and lucrative career prospects in animation include:

  • 3D Modeller

  • 2D animator

  • Animation Graphic Artist

  • Video Game Animator

  • Special Effects Animator

  • Character Animator

  • Cartoonist

  • Storyboard Artist

  • Animation Software Developer 

  • Background Painter

  • Art Director

  • Medical/Forensic Animator

  • Scientific Visualisation Animator

  • Motion Designer

  • VFX Animator


Starting Salaries in Animation

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 modeling are some of the highest-paying specializations in animation. 


Subjects Similar to Animation

Candidates interested in pursuing a career in animation may also consider the following streams and subjects-

  • Graphic Design

  • Fashion Design and Technology

  • Product Designing

  • Gaming/Game Design

  • Computer Graphics

  • Art Direction

  • Portraiture

  • Comic designing and conceptualization

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Animation FAQs 

Which is the most lucrative specialization in Animation?

Mathematic modeling, medical animation, forensic animation, 3D modeling, and art direction are some of the highest-paying specializations 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-dimensional 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.