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New 2D animation studio to cater to animation industry in India

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 16, 2002
Escorts Group subsidiary Escosoft Technologies has set up a 2D-animation studio Escotoonz in Faridabad (Haryana)



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NEW DELHI

The average person is bombarded with advertisements every day, as savvy vendors have claimed whatever space they can - from public toilets to telephone booths - to capture consumers' attention in an attempt to sell their wares. That's why in today's cutthroat world of advertising it's crucial to have an ad campaign that will get your product noticed.

On September 27 last year, the Coca-Cola Company launched just such a campaign in the US. As riders on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority's subway system zipped through the darkened tunnel between the Dunwoody and Sandy Springs stations on Atlanta's North Line, they saw through the train's windows not the usual blackness, but rather, a vibrant, 20-second animation advertising Coca-Cola's Dasani brand of bottled water.

One reason the ad was so noticeable was due to its venue: one doesn't expect to see anything but blackened walls while travelling through a subway tunnel. But the other reason was the quality of the imagery in the ad. The innovative ad, which uses 3D water simulation and typography in a palette of blues to connote the refreshing properties of Dasani, was designed and produced by Phactory Productions, Inc, a New York City studio specialising in 3D design and animation for TV and film.

Escosoft Technologies Ltd wants to bring such technological wizardry to India. To that end, the 100 per cent subsidiary of the Escorts Group has set up a 2D-animation studio Escotoonz in Faridabad (Haryana). Alongside, the company has set up a training institute in Lajpat Nagar (New Delhi) on July 23, 2001, to produce skilled animators to give a kick-start to the nascent animation industry in India.

For starters, the institute is offering a seven-month training programme for Rs 64,000. Thirty-two students have already signed up for the programme; the company plans to absorb the best talents at Escotoonz. Escotoonz has hired the services of specialist David Harrison to don the mantle of chief trainer at the Escotoonz training programme. He has eight years' experience behind him, having worked with Walt Disney, at Sydney, Australia, on projects like Aladdin, Duck Daze, Goofy Moole, Lion King, Jungle Cobs, Beauty and the Beast II, Little Mermaid II, Lady and the Tramp II, Peter Pan II, 101 Dalmations et al.

Escosoft is convinced about the business opportunities in 2D-animation in India. Talking about the potential of 2D, Manvendra Shukul, head of interactive software, Escosoft Technologies, says, "During our study of the India animation industry and the manpower requirements vis--vis the international demand, we estimated that the demand for animators far exceeds the availability. For the Indian animation industry to grow, we need a training programme that can produce a few hundred animators in the next two to three years." Over the next couple of years the company plans to invest about Rs 2-3 crore in the animation-training programme.

Escotoonz believes Asia is fast becoming an attractive destination for foreign animation companies to outsource production work. Shukul explains, "The production cost of a 22-minute animated episode for TV is between $200,000-$300,000 in the USA or Canada. If the same is produced in India, production cost would come down to $50,000 or $75,000."

Though the biggest consumer of animation is the audio-visual medium, the art hasn't really proceeded beyond rudimentary levels. Ram Mohan, president, Mumbai-based UTV Toons and maker of an animated version of Ramayana, says there are two reasons for this. "First is the cost factor and second, cultural attitude. Producing one animated episode costs an Indian producer anywhere between Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh. And the most expensive live episode on TV costs around Rs 6 to Rs 10 lakh. The difference in price is humungous. However, with the spread of technology the cost is bound to come down. A bigger problem is the frivolous attitude of Indians towards animation. Animation is not appreciated as a form of art; it is seen as a form of entertainment for kids. There is no respect for animation as an art form."

Internationally, the scene is quite different. The animation industry worldwide is pegged at $ 30 billion for 2001, according to the Roncarelli Report (the Roncarelli Report on the Computer Animation Industry is the only annual market report and forecast for the global computer animation industry). And about 60 per cent of animation films seen worldwide are made in Japan.

Back home a lot remains to be done, says Shukul. "Animation is a great form of story telling for kids. In fact, we plan to make an animated action adventure series or a humour-based serial. We are in a dialogues with STAR, Sony and Zee for that."

To thrive, however, Escosoft would have to get into 3D animation sooner than later. For, most ad and media folk believe the scope is wider in 3D. For one, Anil Warner, vice-president & executive creative director, HTA, Delhi, is pretty emphatic. "In my view the future is in 3D animation." Mohan clarifies, "This is because the production cost and time taken is less for 3D."

So the battle for Escosoft may have just begun. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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