The VFX and animation industries have historically been the starting gate of 3D in India. With a decades-old established presence of 2D animation outsourcing studios, during the second half of the ’90s studios gradually adopted CG pipelines and started working on international shows. This was not an easy task, as CG training courses were at the time virtually nonexistent in India. Studios had to learn and train their teams to adopt these completely new workflows, shifting traditional 2D artists to 3D pipelines.
While starting as outsourcing and post-production service companies, they gradually became more proficient in the art of 3D, with a myriad of small and larger companies making up the CG ecosystem in India. Throughout the last decade, the output quality and quantity of these studios has grown steadily. The main shift in the past years has been international studios becoming more and more interested in either opening their own studio in India, such as Digital Domain opening a studio in Hyderabad in 2017, or investing in already existing Indian companies, such as the acquisition of Indian animation studio Paprikaas by Technicolor in 2010, or the joint venture between Framestore and Pune-based VFX studio Anibrain in early 2018. These international studios have not just brought investments but also added to the creative and technological pool in India.
Another trend has been the growing increase in demand for domestic IP versus services for international projects. Nowadays, Indian animation and VFX studios not only support CG content creation for international movies and TV series for a worldwide broadcast market but also work on domestic projects, which increasingly employ the use of CG (Baahubali, 2015). The animation industry has seen steady growth in the past years, but IP work has been growing faster, by 18.4% from 2018 to 2019, versus 8.9% for services, according to a 2019 KPMG report. According to the same report, “The Indian animation, VFX and post-production industry is expected to more than double in the next five years.”