CG Today : Aptech, where you served as Academic Head, received Franchise India’s prestigious “Hall of Fame” Award for excellence in franchising. Franchising has been a thread which has run through your entire career. Tell us a little about how you have successfully grown one training school to many training schools through the act of franchising.

Santhosh : I had a great experience at Aptech and I learnt a bunch of new things from Aptech. We had a great team there and I got the opportunity to work on sales, lead generation, centre management, franchise management and lot more.

Franchise business is a really tricky one and hard to manage when it comes to education. If we don’t pick the right franchise owner, the entire framework will collapse in no time. Franchise Business required a strong backend team to support the growing training centers and growing HR requirements. Lot of technological investment is also required before scaling up the presence. I think it’s a high time for all of us to evaluate how successful the franchise model is for the creative education industry. I think to deliver uniform quality we required directly managed campuses rather than franchise. In India it’s very hard to find franchise owners who are passionate about media and design industry, and most of them focus on short term gains.

CG Today: Do you think it is absolutely necessary for a student to have a college degree before he or she, enters an animation technology school?

Santhosh : I think we need to take this question in a different perspective. For doing animation or visual effects projects you need a good understanding about the basic principles, strong technical knowledge and creativity. For gaming you basically require strong analytical skill along with the above said points. The requirement of a degree is the discretion of a company. If you look at the major MNC companies like Sony Image works, Technicolor, etc they are insisting for college degree along with the diploma; some other companies are not insisting on that. So I hope it all depends on companies’ HR policy. But in most of the cases a strong demo reel is the calling card to the industry.

 

 

CG Today: Though your title through most of your career, thus far, has predominantly been Business Head, do you consider yourself a lover of digital arts, as well?

Santhosh : Yes, I am in love with this wonderful art. I don’t think anyone can drive this business in pure bottom-line perspective. You need to experience and understand properly about this art before engaging into media and design business.

CG Today: At the animation schools with which you have been involved, can any of the courses be taken online, and, if so, is this a viable way to learn some aspects of animation?

Santhosh : No, currently we are not offering any online program; in future we are coming out with online video tutorials.

CG Today: What methods are used at animation training schools to ensure that the institution is staying abreast of the superfast growth of technology in this ever changing industry?

Santhosh : Our advisory board consists of studio experts, educationalists and HR managers. We meet every three months and discuss the updates, upcoming technological advancements, new software adaptations and lot more. Every six months we use to have an internal technical audit to evaluate our current products with the market requirements and based on this review we modify our programs.

CG Today: Can you mention the ‘top three important technical / tutorial websites’ for a student of animation?

Santhosh :

www.fxguide.com
www.creativecrash.com
www.videocopilot.net
www.gfxworld.ws

CG Today: On your website, you commented on the extraordinary VFX in the new American film, Black Swan. What blew you away about these effects?

Santhosh : Yes, it’s a wow feeling and I am very happy to hear about the academy nomination. I am really fascinated with the arm-wings in the dance scene; they all are digitally modelled after the skeletal structure and feathers of actual swans. The wings' position is mapped to motion-capture. The filmmakers avoided the bulk of a physical costume while re-creating bird-like joint placement and elongated proportions. It’s really a new approach and looks really interesting.

CG Today: Santhosh, thank you for taking the time to be with us. Your thoughts and ideas have been insightful.

Santhosh : Thank You.

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Santhosh. KG – Business Operations Head,

Clusters College For Media & Design,

Bangalore, India.

Website : Clusters | Clusters - Blog

e-mail : santhosh_trans [at] yahoo [dot] com

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