Consistent Growth of Freelance Animation Industry
Freelance is growing bigger every day and gradually evolving into a phenomenon that is spreading across areas from software development to mobile app and web development, data science, analytics, art and design, creative writing, translation, digital marketing, legal services, accounting, architecture, engineering, and more.
From just 204 billion USD in 2018 to 248.3 billion USD in 2019, the projected gross volume of the gig (short for ‘gigging’ or ‘having paid work’) economy is expected to reach 455.2 billion U.S. dollars as per an industry report by Statista. (The gig economy is commonly defined as digital platforms that allow freelancers to connect with potential clients for short-term jobs, contracted work, or asset-sharing. – Statista.com)
Just as with other fields, freelance is now a major force in the CGI (computer-generated imagery) field, specifically, Gaming, VFX (Visual Effects), and Animation. Innovation and advances in technology have added unprecedented flexibility to the work paradigm, increasing the possibilities for remote work and making life easier for CG (computer graphics) studios and CG artists; key stakeholders in the CGI space.
The availability of powerful CGI software, high-performance computers, high-speed internet, and other technological developments are all contributing to the growth. For instance, cloud and hybrid services are delivering multiple advantages for the CG production pipeline including risk mitigation, scaling of infrastructure, greater economies of scale, and increased transparency. As a result, a significant chunk of post-production Visual Effects (VFX) for a feature film or production work for a 3D animation film is being executed online by freelancers across the world. Several other developments are helping build momentum for the growth of the Gaming, Animation, and VFX freelance industry.
The trend is being expedited by the Covid-19 pandemic that has triggered an economic downfall across the globe. With several companies across sectors winding up and many others fighting to live another day: one of the biggest casualties has been the employees. While a large part of the workforce (excluding those who are attending office physically) are now in the ‘Work-from-Home’ mode, the rest of the workforce has been fired and is jobless.
Experts believe there is a good chance that a considerable section of the freelance animation artists now working from home may continue in the same mode, albeit in an individual capacity, after the situation eases, while the others are likely to embrace the gig economy and become full-time freelancers.
A blessing in disguise, this development comes as an opportunity for many who always wanted to take up freelancing so they could be their own bosses, earn more, and achieve a better work-life balance. They now have the opportunity and will add to the global community of freelancers which continues to grow. According to an Intuit market study, it has been projected that more than 40% of Americans would be working independently as freelancers on a contract basis by the year 2020. And India is right behind, ranking no. 2 in the global freelance workforce after the US.
Categories of Freelance Animation Artists
CG studios and producers seek a variety of freelance talent to execute their projects online. The talent train includes freelance animation artists with different specializations and experience levels. Some of the popular freelance roles sought after by producers and CG studios for their projects include:
Screenwriter, Music composer, Music and sound designer Game design artist, Game development artist, Game modelling artist, Game tester, Storyboard artist, Concept artist, Character Designer, 2D Animation artist, 3D Texturing artist, 3D Lighting artist, 3D rigging artist, 3D Character animator, CHF (Cloth Hair & Fur) Dynamics artist, Background Artist, Layout Artist, Environment Design artist, 3D Dynamics FX artist, Motion graphics artist, Colour grading artist, Matte painter, VFX compositor, Rotoscopy artist, Paint/clean-up artist, VR (Virtual Reality) artist, AR (Augmented Reality) artist, UX designer, UI designer, Web developer, Web designer, Digital marketing executive, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) executive, Graphic designer, Illustrator.
Large CG studios that produce work for feature films, short films, animation films, television commercials, infomercials, and educational, science and technology and research and development projects scout for talent at online marketplaces.
The CG studios/producers and freelance animation artists meet at online freelance marketplaces such WorkDeer.com and collaborate on film, advertising, education, design and, science, technology, and other projects. The platform gives studios access to a large base of registered freelance animation artists (Gaming, Animation, VFX, Graphic, and others) while the artists use the platform to bid for projects posted by studios.
The freelance marketplace is a great boon for CG studios focused on reducing costs. India is gradually warming up to the concept of the gig economy. As the demand-supply ratio improves favourably, it will be a win-win situation for CG studios/producers as well as the growing army of creative CG freelance animation artists in India. While industry experts are predicting that freelancers will dominate the regular workforce in the next 5 years, the markets are alive to this prospect and it is just a matter of time before reality arrives.