India vfx sector grows

Animation and effects shops employ latest technology

India’s animation and visual effects sector is projected to grow 18.7% annually to reach $1 billion in revs by 2014.

In the vfx space, the go-to place is Mumbai’s EyeQube Studios, a partnership between Bollywood giant Eros Intl. and digital matte painting guru Charles Darby. Winner of a vfx Emmy for “Rome,” Darby has worked on more than 40 Hollywood films including “Titanic,” “The Matrix” and the “Harry Potter” franchise before moving to India to set up the studio, which employs the latest workflow solutions technology like Isilon Storages, Foundry’s Nuke and Assimilates’ Scratch.

The company’s proprietary SUN grid-based render-farm system networks over 2,000 CPUs, making it one of the largest render farms in the world.

California-based Rhythm & Hues’ Mumbai and Hyderabad facilities are also in demand, with a large portion of its projects outsourced there. Much of the vfx for “The Golden Compass,” “The Incredible Hulk” and “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” was created there.

In the animation space, the market leader is Toonz, a unit of Swiss conglom Comcraft. The company, which has offices in Los Angeles, London, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney, offers end-to-end animation services including 3D and 2D, Flash, stop motion and vfx on a full spectrum of media platforms. The 500-strong workforce is based in an 18,000 square-foot studio outside Thiruvananthapuram, capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala. Clients include Disney, Universal, Paramount, the BBC, Sony and Cartoon Network and projects include “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus,” “Wolverine and the X Men” and “Dragonlance.”

Another Indian company taking rapid strides in the sector is DQ Entertainment, headquartered in Hyderabad with smaller facilities in Mumbai and Kolkata.

DQE, which employs some 3,500 people, raised over $100 million to fund expansion plans and has a creative link with French group Method Animation, with whom they are producing, in stereoscopic 3D CGI, “Charlie Chaplin,” “Iron Man” and “The Jungle Book,” among many other titles.