In 2011, the size of the Indian VFX industry was around 31 billion dollars, but within 10 years it has risen to massive 74 billion, with international companies like MPC, that has expertise in double negative frame store or digital domain, have been establishing their offices there and now shifting from rotoscoping and cleanup to Creative visual effects creation, India’s VFX industry will surely continue to grow having its own huge film industry. India has also established its own VFX companies over the years. What made the Indian VFX industry rise constantly in the last decade, let’s find out.
Let’s talk about India’s VFX industry. The turning point was in the 1990s, when CGI Computer Generated Imagery started gaining importance, and that was also noticed by the Indian industry.
Soon, Indian companies decided to advance themselves to match with international competitors until recently, everyone associated India with rotoscoping. It was the number one place for outsourcing. This kind of work, also so-called paint and cleanup work, which usually means wire removal and manually painting out unwanted objects, was being sent to India.
Big VFX companies, like the mentioned MPC, have established their branches in India to have their own teams for such work. However, a gigantic film industry, there’s around 1800 films being produced in India each year, compared to around 700 made in Hollywood, that clearly developed a need for visual effects due to relatively lower budgets. Those effects had to be created locally, and so India’s VFX studios began to emerge.
Prime focus, Makuta, VFX or Red Chillies are just couple of examples of India’s VFX powerhouses. Those companies are responsible for some amazing effects created for Indian films, but they begin to spread on international productions. Red Chillies is one of the leading firms in the country that has now more than 300 artists working for them.
Their scope of work ranges from beauty, work environments and set extensions creature, creation and effect simulations. Their credits include some Indian blockbusters, but they also had a bite on international productions like Sin City 2 or league of gods. VFX, is not just about film projects.
Commercials are today in demand for visual effects as well. One of the leading firms named Famous Studios claims to deliver 15 to 20 TV ads each month, with heavy VFX work. along with the VFX industry, the animation studios in India bloomed and companies like green gold, animation or toons animation, are producing dozens of animated films and series for Indian and international markets.
India’s VFX industry is quickly catching up with the latest technology trends. It’s no different with the virtual production stages with LED screens, as originally used in the production of Mandalorian, are being built in India and were used to continue producing movies during the pandemic.
Actually, despite the massive impact of Covid 19, the animation industry in India grew by 10 percent in 2020, while the whole economy was going down. Some of India’s biggest films featuring heavy Work effects include Bahubali, produced in 2015, with a budget of approximately 28 million dollars and 90 of the movie having some kind of visual effects created by 17 VFX studios and around 600 artists in 2022.
A third part of this film will be released later. 2.0, 2018 science fiction, film being the most expensive Indian film. So far, with around 76 million dollars budget, visual effects were created by Double Negative and 22 Other companies and animatronic effects by US-based Legacy, effects known for Avatar, Avengers or Jurassic World, Zero, a 2018 romantic comedy for which the main actors (Shahrukh Khan) height had to be reduced to around 137 centimeters, visual effects were provided by Red Chillies’s VFX. Over the years, the demand for visual effects all over the world has increased dramatically. VFX studios were opening branches in different parts of the world to catch up with the demand and to gain access to new artists.
In the meantime, VFX artists in India gained experience and we’re now ready to move from simple tasks to more demanding ones. This is especially visible with “Double Negative” The London-based, VFX company was bought by Indian Prime Focus in 2014.
Originally VFX offices were taking over rotoscoping and cleanup work, but recently we see that more complex work like compositing or VFX simulations are being done in their Indian branches. That was the case with Dune, Matrix Resurrections or the Uncharted. The rapid growth of India’s VFX industry is also influenced by government’s financial incentives and wider education possibilities with universities offering VFX and animation studies.
Some of the most known are Unibrain School of Media Design, MAAC Maya, Academy of Advanced Cinematics, National Institute of Design or Sonipat University. Despite VFX industry growing constantly since the last decade, the younger generation in India and their parents are still facing difficulty getting out of the century-old mindset of pursuing career in Law, Government Service, Engineering or Healthcare, but the career trends are quickly changing, Visual Effects Industry gets more recognition and starts offering good financial conditions. Junior VFX artists in India can earn around 150 to 350 US Dollars per month. Mid-Level artists can expect 400 to 800 and Senior VFX artists earn up to around 1500 per month.
Lead artists and supervisors Salaries can be substantially higher India’s VFX industry has now managed to grab 10 percent of the global market and is expected to rise by 25 percent in 2025.
India will definitely take large chunk of world’s VFX production. However, with growing demand for Visual Effects and rising salaries in India, I don’t think that we would see an outflow of jobs from Europe or America. Huge number of film and episodic productions for numerous streaming platforms will simply create new opportunities for VFX artists around the world, including India.
So, this is how Indian VFX industry is taking over the globe.