Bangladesh, a new hub of animation outsourcing

Mohammed Shahriar Sharif | Published: February 28, 2019 01:03:10 | Updated: March 28, 2019 11:49:00

Shiki Ana is the ongoing flagship project of TechnoMagic. It is a TV series with three characters animated in full 3D. It will be an entertaining show with an aim to develop values, morals and teamspirit among children

The animation industry in Bangladesh is in its infancy. With only a few players in the market there has been little to no impact in the growth of animation industry. The dream to take Bangladesh to the big leagues of animation has dragged Arif Mohammed, a graduate from West Virginia University, USA back to  Bangladesh.  He has taken the initiative and formed a team consisting dedicated ones for this industry in the country.

Mohammed Shahriar Sharif interviewed Arif Mohammad, CEO of TechnoMagic, to learn more about this new industry and the challenges he faces.

Question (Q): Tell us about TechnoMagic. What motivated you to start the company?

Answer (A): TechnoMagic is a technology based firm and animation production house highly specialised in production of international grade 3D animations, games, architectural visualisations, augmented reality/virtual reality solutions. We also work with touch displays and network media player technologies. When I came back from the USA, I was looking to start my own business in the technology industry. Many of the possible options were very mainstream but I wanted to do something where I could be the frontrunner. It was then that my co-founder suggested starting our own animation firm. The animation industry was very small in Bangladesh and from my time in the US I knew that it was a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide. I was confident that the industry would soon be in demand in Bangladesh and it was also possible to get work-order from overseas countries.

Q: Give us a brief overview of the animation industry both at home and abroad.

A: There are only a handful of 3D animation studios in the country. Maverick Studios and Cycore Studios are also working on 3D animated content which are to be released soon. Games, films and commercials are some industries that heavily rely on animations. I believe the animation industry we are trying to develop is not based on competition but rather on collaboration. Every studio is very open to help each other because we all believe in further improving the animation industry. Resources for animation is very scarce and the community is too small which is why most animators know each other.

Animation studios are very popular in foreign countries. The size of the global animation industry was about US$  244 billion in 2015. The major animation markets include the United States, Canada, Japan, China, France, Britain, Korea and Germany. The outsourced computer animation production market is increasingly being tapped by North American and European film and television programme producers.

Q: Does Bangladesh have institutions to develop these skills?

A: Daffodil University and  Department of Computer Science and Engineering of Dhaka University are some of the places which have been producing good animators lately. Other than that, animation studios such as Simec Systems, Maverick Studios and Cycore Studios have started their very own animation training centres where artists can join in early stages in their career and get proper industry level experience that will help them further enhance their skills sought after by industries worldwide relying on 3D animations. Dreamer Donkey, one of the pioneers of 2D animation organisation in the country, also hosts animation conferences which animators from all around the country participate in.

Q: What challenges have you faced since you started?

A: The services we provide are for a very niche market. Our team, on many occasions, need to explain our services since many are still unaware of such services being available in our country. Some corporations are starting to see the value for animated branding contents. However, we still have a long way to go. Since this industry is still in its infancy, we had to face a tough challenge to find talented staff that matched our requirements. Now we have been able to assemble a very capable team that can deliver on tight schedules and exceed client expectations.

Q: Tell us about some exciting projects you've recently worked on.

A: We have recently worked on multiple augmented reality and virtual reality applications. One of our VR game projects was part of a big campaign in Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF). We were also a big hit at the REHAB fair for our 3D virtual reality apartment walkthrough. Our ongoing in-house 3D animated series 'Shiki Aana' hopefully will earn a good name in  the animation industry of our country.

Q: Where do you see TechnoMagic in the next three years?

A: In the next three years, I see TechnoMagic as one of the top animation and 3D content development studios and be considered  one of the pioneers of the industry. Our goal is not just to offer our services to the local market but also approach the international market. We plan to launch our animation abroad, become an outsourcing location for animation and set Bangladesh up as another hub for animation and high-quality 3D content development.

Q: What background do you consider while recruiting?  Who can work in your company?

A: I believe graduates from all fields are eligible to work in our company, if they are passionate about it.  We have various departments and we require people with diverse skill sets. Even our marketing executives have a firm understanding of the technical aspects of our business so that they can have a holistic view of the organisational activities. Our employees are from CSE, BBA, and arts backgrounds. We even have an employee in the development team who is an HSC candidate. Most of the work we do require trainings, and some are trained in-house before they can start working on projects. We also take interns as and when required and develop them so that they may join our company as full time employees.

The interviewer Mohammed Shahriar Sharif is arecent BBA graduate of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka.

He can be reached at shahriar127@gmail.com

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