Jun 13, 2012
Creativity and Efficiency VS the Rise of the East-Indian VFX Industry
The East-Indian VFX industry faces a challenge that will either make them rise or fall and the key for their future success is educating their workforce. The North American industry also faces challenges that could diminish their overall attractiveness, creativity and efficiency if they are not acknowledged and dealt with.
Over the past years, India has positioned itself has a viable option for outsourced Hollywood projects. In fact, the East-Indian VFX, Animation & Post-production industry has seen a robust 31% growth rate since 2010. This growth was generated not only by the amount of outsourced North American work, but also to the general increase of VFX content and 2D/3D conversion projects. The East-Indian industry has gone so far as to build new VFX facilities in order meet the demands of projects outsourced from Hollywood.
Even considering the amount of work being outsourced to India, the East-Indian industry needs to focus on providing higher quality work to keep up with North American demand and competition. Despite having skilled artists for roto, keying or mocap animation clean-up, the Indian VFX industry’s growth has recently been flattering out due to the general lack of skilled manpower.
Since it already has the educational resources, experienced workforce and the talented artists to lead the marketplace, the Western industry’s challenge is to keep productions from going overseas. Currently, India as well as Asian countries are focusing on creating and improving educational resources for their workers, and meanwhile, Western countries are looking to maintain a competitive level of creativity and improve their productivity and efficiency for the future success of the their Media & Entertainment industry.
Teaching the Indian VFX Industry.
In 2011, the East-Indian Entertainment and Media industry’s central concern was the future growth of their industry. Following the release of Avatar, a number of VFX film projects where produced in East-Indian facilities and released in the Indian market. Unlike Avatar, these projects didn’t generate much success due to the culture’s lack of traditional storytelling, the audience’s high expectations and the poor quality of East-Indian movies compared to Hollywood’s blockbuster productions.
In reality, East-Indian studios can produce non-creative VFX tasks on a number of shots for Hollywood studios at a fraction of the cost of those outsourced in North America. However, in order to continue generating growth in their industry, East-Indian Studios need to improve the technical skills of their artists.
In a recent interview, international VFX expert Peter Chiang pointed out that since North America’s film industry is the biggest in the world, it’s important for the East-Indian industry to learn from them. He explained,
“it is important for India to attract Hollywood supervisors to teach the Indian VFX industry their work methods and for the industry to adapt the methods for their own purposes”.
According to Chiang, increased and improved education, as well as attracting Hollywood talent to teach East-Indian specialists North American standards, are indispensable aspects to the industry’s success. He believes it’s getting tougher to impress audiences by the day; expectations grow with every movie. ‘‘Audiences are now much more savvy to the way visual effects are created and it is becoming harder to trick them”. What this means is that VFX companies need to stay one step ahead of the audience, pushing the boundaries to produce more amazing images. “It also creates a very high standard for the work and more competition,” explained Chiang.
In 2010, the East-Indian M&E industry decided to begin fulfilling its education needs by launching The Institute Of Creative Excellence (ICE) in Mumbai. The institute was created to provide industry-related courses in order to fill the gap between the demand and supply of industry professionals that exists in the country. Recently they’ve also announced that ICE is expecting to open in Delhi’s South Extension area to offer full-time and part-time courses in acting, cinematography, direction, editing, production, scriptwriting, sound recording, 3D production and VFX.
A Balance Between Creativity & Efficiency.
In today’s times, every industry faces similar challenges once the state of the industry reaches maturity growth. Fundamentally, the VFX industry’s challenges are no different from any other. However, what makes its challenges unique is the high level of creativity that is inextricably tied to film and television.
In this extremely competitive international marketplace, India’s local industry is facing challenges in the quality of its output while the Western industry is facing challenges relative to product pricing and workforce productivity. The difference between local industries that succeed and those that fail is in how well short term and long term goals are balanced and in how much emphasis is placed on bringing added value to productions.
Short term goals should be focused on company efficiency. Having an efficient business means a company is highly productive and its workforce collaborates properly. Some short term goals related to efficiency include implementing a strong management team that will keep a watchful eye on projects and team progress; establishing a short-term budget to give financial framework to the VFX house; finally, encouraging collaborative effort on incoming projects in order to gather and develop data, or project intelligence, more efficiently.
On the long term, companies should strive to develop and implement innovative processes, services and products. These types of long term goals not only benefit companies by building a long-term survival scheme for their business, but also the industry on the whole. Companies shouldn’t be afraid of implementing their new and unseen ideas; when brand new and innovative ideas are introduced, the industry’s creative limits are stretched and its boundaries broaden, creating new opportunity for all.
Time for Changes.
Since learning about their key challenges, the East-Indian VFX industry is slowly resolving its issues and is creating long-term solutions to their problems.
If this sort of initiative continues, India will overcome their lack of VFX professionals which will inevitably help them continue to grow and attract even more Hollywood productions. Their future success exists within the assumption that they’ll have the capacity to compete with Western-quality productions, visual effects and post-production services.
In order to calm the wave of productions being outsourced to places like India and to ensure the future of North American VFX industry, Western companies need to react quickly to others’ progress. If the North American industry learns to properly combine creativity and efficiency (in essence, short term and long term goals) their attractiveness, competitiveness and overall dominance in any market will be assured.
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