The School of Animation and Media Studies (SAMS): Empowering Students to Seamlessly Harmonize their Skills 

The School of Animation and Media Studies (SAMS), Madurai, Tamil Nadu

Career-oriented programs are instrumental in preparing students for the complexities of the professional world by providing them with the right blend of theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and industry exposure. Institutes offering these programs often establish strong networks with industry professionals. This provides students with opportunities to interact with experts, attend industry events, and build valuable connections that can aid in their career development.

Among these institutes The School of Animation and Media Studies (SAMS), Madurai, Tamil Nadu is at the forefront. It is a distinguished unit of Subbalakshmi Lakshmipathy College of Science (SLCS), which was founded in 1994 under the visionary leadership of Dr. R. Lakshmipathy, the Founder President and Joint Managing Editor of the largest circulated Tamil Daily, “Dinamalar.” Driven by a deep commitment to address the employability challenges faced by conventional degree graduates in the early ’90s, Dr. R. Lakshmipathy’s vision materialized into the establishment of an institution dedicated to offering job-oriented degree programs.

SLCS has evolved into a pioneering institution, focusing exclusively on career-oriented degree programs. Accredited with a B+ grade by NAAC and affiliated to Madurai Kamaraj University, SAMS at SLCS has continually adapted to the evolving landscape of technology and media studies. In 2009, the Department of Animation was established, offering the innovative B.Sc. Animation program. Recognizing the growing demand for skilled professionals in the industry, the department transformed into the School of Animation and Media Studies in 2023.

Bridging Educational Gaps

The institution has successfully established Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with numerous industry-leading companies, fostering collaborations that effectively bridge the gap between the industry and the institution. The curriculum undergoes meticulous tailoring to align seamlessly with the demands of the industry. As part of this commitment, industry experts actively participate as members in the institution’s Board of Studies meetings, ensuring a continuous process of course validation.

Incorporating the invaluable insights and recommendations from these industry experts into the curriculum is a consistent practice. Additionally, the institution maintains its commitment to alignment with industry standards and requirements through regular semester-wise Board of Studies meetings. This sustained effort reflects the institution’s dedication to staying abreast of industry dynamics and providing students with education that meets contemporary professional needs.

Encompassing Diverse Array of Disciplines

The curriculum at the institution encompasses a diverse array of disciplines, showcasing a commitment to providing a well-rounded education. This includes Fine Arts, covering Drawing, Painting, and Sculpting; Architecture, with a focus on Interior, Exterior, and Elevation design; Animation, incorporating Traditional, 2D, and 3D Animation; Gaming, encompassing Design and Development; CG, spanning VFX and Virtual Production; Film Production, covering Photography, Cinematography, and Editing; Emerging Technologies, such as VR, AR, Mocap, and Photogrammetry; Design, including Graphics, Digital, and UI&UX; Programming, covering HTML, C#, Python, and Java; and Marketing, which includes Digital Marketing, Social Media Management, and Entrepreneurship Development.

Since the inception of the program, the institution’s curriculum has been meticulously crafted around the principles of “Project-Based Learning,” with an impressive 90 percent of the courses being inherently practical. The institution not only motivates but also provides guidance to students in developing portfolios and showreels. Moreover, active mentoring empowers students to explore freelance opportunities and engage in part-time artistic endeavours (Earn while you learn).

Enriching Creativity

Animation serves as a dynamic platform at the institution, empowering students to enrich their creativity through immersive experiences that stimulate their imagination. A remarkable 90 percent of courses are delivered in a practical format, ensuring students gain real-time experience. Each course begins with an introductory phase, delves into core concepts, explores the latest technologies, methods, and adaptations, and culminates in hands-on exercises, providing students with a comprehensive and experiential learning journey.

The School of Animation and Media Studies stands as the sole provider in South Tamil Nadu to boast a coveted partnership with Unity Academic Alliance, opening up opportunities for students to delve into the world of Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR). It is actively pursuing Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with leading companies, aiming to integrate cutting-edge technologies such as Motion Capture and Photogrammetry into its curriculum. Anticipating the future, it also offers an additive course on 3D Printing.

The School of Animation and Media Studies (SAMS) proudly introduces modern programs tailored for students. For those who have completed their high school education (+2), It offers B.Sc. Animation with specializations in Game Design and Development, as well as Visual Effects and Film Production. UG graduates can pursue a PG Diploma in Animation Techniques. Its curriculum is enriched with job-ready courses covering UI & UX, 2D & 3D Animation, Visual Effects, Virtual Production, AR & VR, Motion Capture, Photogrammetry, 3D Printing, and Film Production techniques.

Innovating Teaching Methodologies

SAMS’s paramount objective, spanning from the precision in curriculum design to the innovation in teaching methodologies, is to empower students to seamlessly harmonize their skills with the dynamic requirements of the industry.

Renowned industry experts actively participate as mentors and advisors, imparting invaluable insights to guide SAMS students in excelling in a dynamic marketplace and staying at the forefront of the latest industry advancements. This collaborative relationship provides students who join this industry-integrated institute with exceptional opportunities to engage in real-time projects. Supported by its cutting-edge infrastructure, they gain hands-on experience with live projects across a diverse array of studios.

The institute has received numerous awards throughout the journey. It includes:

  • Mr. Ramesh, (2009–2012 batch), was recruited by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and is currently leading the Multimedia Team in the Multimedia Department.
  • Techmahindra hired Mr. Dhanabalan, a 2012–2015 Batch alumni with extensive expertise as a 3D generalist, in recognition of his excellent skills.
  • Its alumnus, Mr. Praveen Kumar (2013 – 2016 Batch), and his team achieved distinction by securing the Best Animation Movie Award for their film “Sutta Vadai” at the Gateway Festival at Anna University, Chennai.
  • Another accomplished alumnus, Mr. Rajamanickam (2014 – 2017 Batch), earned recognition by winning the Best VFX Award on October 12th, 2019, in the Nalaiya Iyakkunar 2019 Season – 8 contest hosted by Kalaingar TV.
  • Its alumnus, Mr. Kiran Raj (2014 – 2017 batch), who was working in the Tata Elxsi for a long time, is currently on his way to London to work for “Jaguar: Luxury Sedans.”
  • Mr. Shiva (2015- 2018 batch) and his team also claimed the Best Animation Movie Award for their short film in the DSNOVA 2017 event organized by Dreamzone, Madurai.
  • Its esteemed alumni, Mr. Balasubramani Parthasarathy, made significant contributions to Disney’s 2016 movie, “The Jungle Book,” as part of his talented crew. Their company, MPC, located in Bangalore, earned the prestigious Oscar Award in 2017 for their outstanding work.
  • Mr. S.Nagaraja Dharsan (2015- 2018 batch) showcased his artistic talent by securing the 2nd prize and a cash reward of Rs. 5,000 in a drawing competition organized by the Madurai Isha Yoga Centre.
  • Its dedicated alumnus, Mr. Suganeshwaran (2020 – 2023 batch), earned the Best Character Designer Award for his 2D Animation short film, “Remembrance,” at the Gateway Festival 2023 at Anna University, Chennai.
  • Ms. Bala Shri Swetha (2020 – 2023 batch) made a notable impact by winning a prize in the Photography competition at Exposure 2022, an event organized by the Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science, Chennai.
  • Ms. Madhubala (2020–2023 batch) got placed with CTC of Rs. 75,000/- per month for her internship and placement at the prestigious corporate “OLA.”
  • Ms. Abuja (2022-25 batch) won 2nd Prize in Regional Level Story Telling Competition.
  • Ms. Thamarai Selvi (2023-26 batch) won 2nd Prize in the Regional Level Face Painting Competition.

Offering Value-added Courses

In SAMS comprehensive curriculum students explore courses such as Cultural Heritage of India, Environmental Science, and Value Education. As an enhancement, students also have the opportunity to enroll in a value-added course focusing on professional communication, equipping them with the confidence and conciseness required for effective professional communication.

This comprehensive approach empowers students to delve into the core values, cultural traditions, and integrity of our nation. Furthermore, students actively engage in commemorating both national and international events through the creation of awareness posters and videos. These creations are prominently featured on the institution’s official social media page, contributing to the enlightenment and engagement of society.

As part of their educational journey, students embark on educational field trips to historical sites. These outdoor study experiences provide an enriched understanding of ancient eras and offer a hands-on, practical perspective to their learning.

The faculty team, alumni, and industry experts serve as mentors for the students, assisting them in gaining knowledge and exposure that will help them wrap up their projects, develop their showreels or demo reels, acquire knowledge about the latest developments in the industry, etc. As a result, Innovative Project-Based Learning has been effectively finished, which positively impacts their promising future.

Fostering Entrepreneurship Development

The curriculum is designed in connection with entrepreneurship development, and students are encouraged to develop unique concepts for start-up companies. To gain exposure towards the industry, students are encouraged to work in self-driven projects.

For the Industry-academia Collaboration, SAMS has organized the Madurai SLCS Animation Summit in November 2023. Furthermore, it plans to scale-up the studios for the Preview theatre and virtual production. Additionally, SAMS is hoping to launch a gaming club for students that will educate them on the design and development of the gaming industry and make it possible to monetize it by launching in the Play Store. SAMS intends to publish a magazine periodically with articles from professionals on industrial expert talks, ideas, and trends as well as works developed by the student fraternity.