Though the majority of stalls at Comic Con were set up with the aim of turning merchandise into money, there were three that were markedly different. The gaming industry is rapidly growing in the country, and though we are up to our armpits in software engineers, there is still a lot of room for people who have been specifically trained in the art of game making. These schools had stalls at the convention to inform and recruit potential talent:
The Asian Institute of Gaming and Animation (AIGA) was once involved in production, but has since moved over into education. Located in Bangalore, it trains aspiring game developers in two streams – game art & animation and game programming. The institute offers a 3-year degree course, a BFA in Digital Design, with an in-service option for those already working in the industry. It also offers shorter certificate, diploma and professional diploma courses that cover game art, programming, digital art & design, animation, 3D visualisation and game environments.
The shorter courses are useful for those who are interested but unsure if they should commit to the industry as they teach the basic skills required and give enough exposure to help make an informed decision on whether to continue in the field. The BFA course also involves an industry internship and a placement process.
A +2 degree is required to be eligible for the courses, along with a portfolio of work. An assessment is carried out for art and/or aptitude depending on the course. The individual assessment is to assess each person’s strengths and weaknesses and see whether they are suited for the course.
The Singapore 3dsense Media School was also present. The college caters to both new talent in the industry and those looking to expand their skill sets before joining the work force.
They offer three specialised 1-year courses to help prepare for the animation and game industries:
- Visual Effects & Technical Direction
- Animation, Modeling & Compositing
- Concept Design & Illustration
They also offer short, part-time courses for training with specific software like Maya, 3ds Max and Nuke.
An O-level or equivalent qualification is required for entry. Applicants must also be at least 16 years of age and must have a pass in English at the high-school level – though if these requirements are not met, candidates may still apply and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
There is a personality test, interview, and a portfolio must be submitted. A background in art, design or computer graphics helps, but is not required – the primary requirement is passion and dedication.
The courses have three intakes every year during March, July and November. You can find more information about the application process here.
I spoke to Alvin Leong from the institute and he advised that applicants do their research about the industry:
“Find out what roles you will be doing. A lot of people jump in because they like games but don’t realise that it takes a lot of hard work. Understand yourself before you make the leap.”
The Vancouver Institute of Media Arts (VanArts) offers seven 1-year courses including 2D/3D Character Animation, Acting for Film & Television, Digital Photography, Game Art & Design, and also a number of part-time courses.
Both the 2D/3D Character Animation and the Game Art & Design courses cater to jobs in the game industry. The former also equips students with the skills necessary to go into film animation. It focuses on animation and not texturing, lighting and charter creation/modelling. The Game Art & Design course trains students in concept art, texturing, lighting, rigging, character modelling, and game level design.
Admission can be done online. The full-time diplomas require applicants to be of at least 19 years of age or high-school graduates. A 12-piece portfolio must be submitted. For the 2D/3D Character Animation or Game Art & Design courses, a minimum of 5 pieces of life drawing is required (figures, still life or portraits), with the choice of the rest being up to the applicant. There is also an English proficiency requirement that requires either a certain score on a standard proficiency test (IELTS, TOEFL, etc) or submission of high-school transcripts showing that English was the main language of instruction during high-school education and/or two years of post-secondary.
You can find more information on the application process here. There is also dedicated assistance for applicants from India. The college will help students take student loans. Part-time work while studying (up to 20 hours per week) is also possible during the courses, and a one-year work permit can be applied for after a year.