Manvendra Shukul, CEO, Lakshya Digital, India

Manvendra Shukul is Co-Founder of Lakshya Digital and serves as its CEO. An undisputed gaming guru in India with over 20 years of experience, he has been a pioneer in the Indian video games space. Shukul has developed the first 3D game engine in India and has been responsible for setting up and running one of the largest animation studios of India. He is also a regular speaker at the GDC and NASSCOM events. His process-driven mindset has given Lakshya the huge advantage of SWAT®, a comprehensive workflow application that and its clients together seamlessly. Despite his stern looks, he is a people’s person at heart – a fact amply demonstrated by the fierce loyalty of his team and staff members.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted economic activity negatively almost equally across the globe. Between social distancing, slow downs and lock downs, work-from-home protocols have had people literally incarcerated for months now. With limited movement and forced stay at home protocols, people have taken to gaming in a massive surge that has seen the gaming market explode.

The pandemic has– almost inadvertently – shown the gaming sector to be remarkably resilient. The post-covid altered landscape for the gaming industry is replete with opportunities. The online gaming sector is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 40% to $2.8 billion by 2022, up from $1.1 billion in 2019, according to a Deloitte India report. The need for entertainment during COVID-19 lockdown, rise in internet penetration and monetization of games have contributed to a surge in the number of users. That, in turn, has brightened the prospects for the industry as a whole, and for a career in gaming particularly.

There are a number of career options that are today available to an aspirant in the gaming industry. Disciplines as diverse as Design, Art, Programming, Testing, Project Management etc. are all prospective lines for employment. Each discipline requires a distinct skillset and one can opt for a career in any discipline depending upon the skills and interests of the aspirant. Game Art, for example, which involves the creation of 2D and 3D graphics and animations (this includes all the interesting characters, exotic environments, exciting animations etc. that one sees in a game) is well suited for those with an interest and aptitude for visual arts.

Those looking to get into game art industry should consider enrolling for a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program at a good university followed by a good training programme that brings in professionals to impart knowledge and training on tools, techniques and processes.

While artistic ability is a key pre-requisite for a career in Game Art creation, one also needs to be skilled in the use of digital tools like Maya, Max, Photoshop, ZBrush, Substance Designer etc. and have a rudimentary understanding of how game engines such as Unreal or Unity work. Finally, one needs to have knowledge of the video game art creation pipeline, and the processes and techniques involved in the creation of digital assets for games.

Now that it is a multi-billion-dollar industry, there are many gaming careers option to choose from, both on the technical and creative sides of the field. If you have the commitment, skills and drive to immerse yourself in the world of video games, the possibilities are endless. There are varied job titles in the Game Art discipline, typical ones amongst which are:

Artist: This is a starting position and entails hands-on art creation under the supervision of a Lead Artist.

Senior Artist: These are experienced artists who have been in the field for at least 4 to 5 years and typically are entrusted with the more complex art creation tasks on a project. They are expected to work independently (with minimal supervision or direction) and may sometimes be required to take one or two junior artists under their wings.

Lead Artist: They lead teams of artists in specific areas such as Character creation or Environment creation. These are experienced and talented artists with team management capabilities.

Art Director: They are responsible for laying out the artistic vision for a game and providing leadership to the art team. This is a senior position that requires not only visualization and artistic ability but also strong leadership skills.

Some of the other common job titles include Games Animator, Animation Director, Concept Artist, Illustrator and Game QC Artist.

Game Art salaries compare favourably with salaries in similar professions. While starting salaries are typically modest (up to 25000 per month), this can grow to six figures by the time one becomes a Lead and can grow by huge leaps thereafter. Post-employment growth is immense and depends on talent, skills and other individual factors. While the growth potential is immense, like everywhere else, a lot depends on individual talent, skills and aptitude and a desire to learn and improve.

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