By B. Krishna Mohan
With the State Government making a beginning for an Innovation in Multimedia, Animation, Gaming and Entertainment (IMAGE) tower, which will be an one-stop shop for all things animation and allied fields, several existing players are enthused about the prospects that will open up.
City-based companies have already handling overseas assignments and their numbers are bound to increase, said industry exports. The new facility, which will have render centres among other infrastructure, will turn Hyderabad into a creative engineering hub, they said.
“Hyderabad’s will be the preferred destination for multimedia, animation, gaming and others. There will be a lot of common facilities at IMAGE that smaller companies can use on a pay-per-use basis. Since the ecosystem is present, new companies will be keen to set up their operations here,” said K Basi Reddy, chairman and chief executive officer at city-based Digiquest India, a digital post production facility that caters to film, advertisement, television, animation and gaming industries.
Set up in 2004, the company has so far invested about Rs 40 crore. It also offers multiple training modules. “We have plans to scale up, particularly our education programmes. That will see an investment of about Rs 100 crore in phases. Part of this can be in the IMAGE Tower as well, depending on the incentives,” he said.
Reddy, a veteran in the field who has worked on policy issues and advised on the project, said exports of multimedia, animation, gaming and entertainment from could double by 2020. “The exports, as per estimates available, could now be about Rs 800 crore,” he said adding that focus should be on addressing the skill gaps in the sector.
“IMAGE Tower has been a labour of love for everyone in the VFX community within Hyderabad,” said Pete Draper, division head and chief technical director, Makuta, which worked on multiple projects including Bahubali and Eega.
“We as a studio have advised on development and facilities for several years now. We are excited that this will give opportunities to new studies and creatives,” said Draper.
On investments, he said: “It all depends on if we qualify for a space. The aim is to get new studios up and running. That is what we are most interested in. We would look to use the facilities as best as we could. I think it would be more poignant for new creative to collaborate.”
L Maruti Sankar, managing director of 7 Seas Technologies, said: “The IMAGE tower is a first of its kind initiative for animation related fields by a government. A lot of global companies will seek to start operations here. We are in the process of expanding. We have started in Hyderabad and will be logical to expand here to get further benefits.” The company is now working on a few gaming products for this Christmas, he said.
“We will look to have about 30 seats. We guess IMAGE tower’s model will be on similar to T-Hub, were the occupants pay per seat. It will give us access to some key hardware, which will help in enhancing the output and reducing the time taken,” said Hemanth Satyanarayana, chief executive officer at Imaginate Software Labs, which works on artificial and virtual reality projects.