Rising worldwide demand for digital artists

EducationWorld April 16 | Career Focus Magazine EducationWorld

This 21st century career, which involves creating computerised commercial artwork and designs, is a hot and happening career option – Swati Roy

To the ever-growing list of tech-driven careers spawned by new IT and computer technologies, add digital art. This 21st-century career, which involves creating commercial artwork and designs using the computer, has emerged as a hot and happening option for IT savvy and artistically inclined professionals, with advertising agencies, design firms, publishing houses, television production companies, electronic media, website and internet businesses scrambling for their services.

A digital artist uses computer software programmes such as Photoshop, Corel Draw and Cinema 4D, to create computer/multimedia concepts, design and simulations for mass production. In this, she is different from a traditional artist who uses raw materials such as master pencils, brushes, paints, etc to create exclusive art.

With sophisticated computer technologies at her command, a digital artist is capable of combining painting, filmmaking, photography, digital design, video, installation art, sculpture, animation and sound to produce multimedia digital art. Because it is relatively cost and time effective compared to traditional creations, digital art is being increasingly preferred for advertising purposes and by filmmakers to produce mindblowing visual effects. Digital art customers comprise the electronic and print media, video games, website design and the film industries, but almost as often, it is printed out and hung on walls.

Study Programmes

A bachelor’s degree in fine arts/graphic design/visual arts is a good foundation for a career in digital art. Among the well-reputed design institutes offering fine arts programmes are the Sir J.J. School of Applied Art, Mumbai; National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad; Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore and Maeer’s MIT Institute of Design, Pune. Digital art is offered as an elective in the degree programmes of these institutions. Moreover, the dedicated Indian Institute of Digital Art and Animation, Kolkata, offers certificate/diploma programmes in digital art.

For those keen on studying this subject abroad, Pennsylvania State University (USA) and University of Kent (UK) offer bachelor’s degrees in digital arts. An online certificate programme is also offered by Pennsylvania State Online University while www.iversity.org offers a Mooc (massive open online course) in digital art.

After acquiring a basic grounding in the principles of art and design, it’s important to familiarise yourself with, and master computer software used to produce digital commercial art. A number of IT training and education institutes including Aptech, NIIT and Maya Academy offer short-term learning programmes of popular computer/multimedia software packages.

Pay and Progression

Although digital art is in its nascent stages, for those with unconventional ideas and creative flair, there’s rising demand and an array of choices. Freshers start at Rs.30,000-40,000 per month with Rs.1-1.5 lakh normative for experienced digital artists. There’s also the option to work freelance after acquiring five-six years work experience.

“With online media businesses and enterprises growing exponentially, there are huge opportunities worldwide for artists with digital conceptualisation and design skills and deep knowledge of design software. For artists who love to create and innovate, this is an exciting career combining graphics, animation, illustrations, videos, etc to produce multimedia digital art,” says Sudeepti Tucker (23), a young and talented digital artist working with Delhi-based design firm Quick Brown Fox Design (estb.2010).

Professional Profile

A graphic design graduate of NID, Ahmedabad, Tucker interned with several Delhi-based design studios such as Turmeric Design and Quicksand Design Studio before signing up as a digital artist-cum-graphic designer at Quick Brown Fox Design in 2015. During her short but eventful year-long career she has created digital designs for the Bangalore-based Cupick.com (online aggregator and retailer of artworks) and for top brands such as Titan Watches and PVR Cinemas as well as digital posters for several theatre companies and NGOs.

“Practical exposure and experiential hands-on learning is important to evolve as a digital artist. My advice to aspiring design students is to intern with design firms during their undergrad studies and acquire as much practical experience as possible while simultaneously mastering multimedia software programmes. To succeed as a digital artist, you need to not only be a great ideas person but also proficient in managing graphics/multimedia computer software programmes,” advises Tucker.

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