Here’s some comments from an experienced overseas director that serve as a testimonial for the quality of work being done in India. They also hint at the course that Indian animation is set to take in the near future.
The overseas director we are speaking about is Nic Camecho. Currently CGi Projects Director for ‘The Zoo Group’ in London, Nic is producing and directing CGi for the Jack Frost BBC TV special and TV series.
Nic has in his illustrious career, been animation and project supervisior for major U.S Animation producers including Disney TV, Nickelodeon, BBC, Cartoon Network, Universal, Paramount, ABC. Nic has supervised projects such as 101 Dalmatians, Hercules, Buzz Lightyear, Family Guy, Richie Rich, The Secret Garden, The Prince of Atlantis CGi, Rugrats go Wild Movie and CGi TV series The adventures of Piggley Winks. His work has found him frequently shuttling between Los Angeles, Philippines, Korea, China and now India .
Here in Mumbai at the Maya Entertainment Ltd (MEL is doing production for Jack Frost) studio, Nic spoke to Animation ‘xpress about his assessment of the quality of work being done here and future trends.
On being asked to compare between the usual suspects amongst preferred outsourcing destinations, Nic talking solely about 3D, favored India as opposed to China, Korea and the Phillipines.
He stated, “At the moment India is probably running the crest of the wave here with regards to animation production. One of the things that work India’s way is the better quality and the better interaction you can have with the animators who are comfortable with english here, that’s a huge barrier overcome purely on that basis alone.”
“China has obviously problems with regards to understanding story, form, how to animate, even in india you have a lot of animation and art schools that are training in 3D, there’s more commitment to 3D here (In India) than anywhere else.”
“Phillipines,I dont think they have the technical ability there. Having worked there for 3-4 years myself I know that their infrastructure still isn’t stable. If it was upto me to assign a project I wouldn’t take it to the Phillipines, though they do have some good animators but they are traditional 2d animators not 3d animators. I think Phillipines needs to restructure.” he commented.
“Korea was gearing up to 3D, but because of the huge drain on the studios with the 2D market dropping it has got behind. Quite a few studios there have spent a lot of money on digital ink and paint systems and all the hardware. Suddenly those things stopped and left a lot of studios that hadn’t finished paying for those digital paint machines. So they didn’t have money to change to 3D and didn’t have the time to retrain people. Korea has fallen behind in a way.”
“I dont see anyone being a clear leader in regards to 3D production. I think India has an edge over the others in terms of sheer quality. I see a lot of 3D work coming into India.” stated Nic.
“As far as India is concerned, at the moment there are some very nice fledgling products coming out of here. There’s some good creativity, some good animation, some very nice stylisation and I think you are going to find that a whole flood of projects that will come in here”
Talking about the global animation scenario, Nic stated, “At the moment CG and in particular where CG for TV work is concerned, the whole world is in its infancy. We’ve had some projects coming out of Taiwan and China and they’ve been photo realistic and although hugely stylised, they’ve employed a lot of motion capture. The look is very game/series orientated and very faster produced, you dont really have a very creative qulaity to it.”
“Whereas now we are starting to see more creative, more stylised animation being produced and designed for television and therefore the rest of the world is trying to figure out where to actually produce the shows. because they are large number shows, usually 26 half hours, generally which broadcasters will want to see produced within a 9-10 month period. For that you need a lot of studios, lots of infrastructure and a great deal of stability financially and with the people.”
“That is the scenario at the moment, with regards to where projects not only are being designed but also where they then are going to be placed and produced. As far as India is concerned at the moment there are some very nice fledgling products coming out of here and there’s some good creativity, some good animation, some very nice stylisation and I think you are going to find that a whole flood of projects that will come in here and India is at the moment just ramping up with more and more animators , more and more studios, and really the only way that is going to grow is by taking on more and more projects.”
“That doesn’t mean taking on projects before properly executing ones at hand. I am talking of charting a solid plan where you know that you have more than enough people to cope with a particular project in a certain amount of time, and then building on that, using the experience of that team to then build a second team and then third team so that you can then get 3-4 productions in house, at any one time as the guys at Crest have done in a way.”
Showering praise on MEL’s work for the currently under production Jack Frost, Nic said,”I am very happy and overwhelmed with the modelling and texturing. The lighting is now looking very nice. I have begun to just see the first character animation tests and the results are very encouraging” said Nick.
“We have worked with a couple of other studios and tested other studios and they were’nt really as upto scratch as we would like, don’t mean to say they are not good, but only that Jack Frost is quite a high quality product that needed a more experiencd and better studio and as far as we are concerned, in India there are only 2 studios that fit that catregory for us at the moment, one is Crest and the other is Maya.” he stated.
I have worked with Crest before, I know them very well, the animators etc, they are all very good. I’ve really liked MEL because they have the visual effects side as well, which gives them a very good technical base, and we’ve got a lot of effects in Jack Frost as well that we needed. It made much more sense coming to MEL for 1 project, then just trying to squeeze something into Crest.
Talking about Jack Frost, Nic said that the BBC Christmas special is “Probably one of the biggest animation projects that the BBC will do over a year, slated for a christmas airing, Jack Frost has one of the most prestigious slots, they dont get any better than that. It is going to be very highly looked at. It’s gonna be sold around the world by BBC Worldwide and is non denominational which means that it is non religious, so it is not neccesarily a christmas tale and it has a christmas feel because of the frost, winter and the snow and basically has the potential to be sold anywhere in the world.”
“If the BBC are happy with how it looks in about a months time, then there is talk of a commission for a TV series. But that would depend upon scripts etc. At this moment I would say it is a 50:50 possibility. Because it is looking so nice, there would be no reason not to put it to a series.” he further added.
Putting the India arguement in a clear perspective, Nic summed up by stating, “India is certainly a cost effective solution, the cost of creating 4 original characters in the US would be the cost of creating the whole TV series in India. That’s the difference!”email@example.com