Share your personal background.
Since young, I had explored various creative fields such as web, product, multimedia and graphic design by taking part in art & design competitions and taking up multimedia/design/film/art related subjects in school. After graduating from the university with a Computational Science with Mathematics degree, I worked as a business planner in a manufacturing firm for more than a year. Then I left my job and took up a diploma course in Digital Visual Effects and Animation (Specializing in Character Animation) at 3dsense Media School (2005). Upon graduation, I made a switch to the 3D Computer Graphics (CG) industry.
What inspires and motivates you?
The satisfaction and recognition I gain from doing a job that I love is what motivates me.
Your motivation for carving a CG Career.
Since young, I always have a strong interest and inclination towards both the Arts and Sciences, and I always get a kick out of being involved in every creative thinking process. Furthermore, I have a strong interest in acting and the media industry. I realized that CG is the only area that allows me to do all these things that I love and make a living at the same time.
Was it difficult to convince/explain to your friends and families that you are choosing this as your career, when you started?
Well, many of them felt I was taking a huge risk and they must have thought I was out of my mind. Not everyone could understand why I would give up a stable and comfortable office job to go into full time study again and switch to an unrelated field. To them, it was like I've "wasted" my university degree to study full time for a job that doesn't even need a degree. Anyway, I didn't really have a hard time explaining to them mainly because I don't see myself accountable to them how I choose to live my life. But there were a few close friends that were quite supportive and these are the ones who must have known me well enough. As for my family, I'm glad that they are quite supportive too. It wasn't hard convincing them I guess mainly because my parents know me quite well too. They know that I wouldn't take uncalculated risks and they have witnessed first hand how unmotivated I was at that time when I was in my previous job. So they must have felt that it was not such a bad idea afterall.
Why did you join 3dsense Media School?
I was looking for a short term course that is industry focus. So I did a little research and found that many local schools at that time which offered short term courses are not that ideal; Most of the courses were either too focus on the software aspects and neglected on imparting artistic skills, or they were too general. The only course that stood out was the one offered by 3dsense Media School. I compared its syllabus with another well known school overseas and noticed that they were quite similar. Furthermore, the course is conducted by many renowned CG Artists who are currently working in the industry, so I was quite confident that this is the right school for me.
Share your learning and studying experiences in 3dsense?
As the duration of the course is relatively short, the learning was quite intensive. We had to spend long hours in school, to the extent that the school had become very much like our second home. This could be stressful for some people but if you enjoy what you do, it is actually a very rewarding experience. It prepared us for the actual working environment where there're usually tight datelines to meet. The lecturers also know their stuffs well and are very approachable and helpful. Also, the school has adequate facility and I was quite impressed with the professionalism in which classes were conducted. It also helps that the staff are very open to feedback from students and you could see that no efforts were spared to make the school a good learning environment for everyone. The long hours spent in class also gave us a good opportunity to establish better bonds with our classmates so we were all like a big family in there.
Your opinion of the difference between self taught digital artist and a school trained digital artist?
A self-taught artist has to be more resourceful to find resources on the internet or books to help him learn. So whether or not he is able to learn the right skills depends on whether he is able to find the right resources. It will require a great deal of discipline for this person to accomplish his tasks as most likely there will not be anyone there to constantly supervise him. So it requires a very resourceful and strong willed person to be able to do self-learning. As for a school-trained artist, he probably will have access to more readily available resources and facility provided by the school. There will also be a structured syllabus for the student to follow and regular assignments to keep the student on his toes. A school-trained artist can also get immediate feedback from his lecturers on his work and this is a luxury which a self-taught student may not have. So if the school has a good training programme, then a school-trained artist attending that particular school will have a chance to learn more using a shorter time as compared to a self-taught artist.
Where are you working now? Tell us about your work role and responsibility.
I'm working at Infinite Frameworks as a 3D animator. In the past, I had worked on television commercials doing animation and modelling. Currently I'm working on the animated feature film, "Sing to the Dawn". My role in this film is primarily a chracter animator, but at times I have to help out in other tasks such as modeling, layout and lighting.
What personal and work characteristics are important to have when doing the job you do?
You have to be a fast learner because you'll always be constantly learning something new on the job. Also there will be times you'll be given new tasks that is beyond the scope of your primary role. So when that happens you'll have to learn fast and work efficiently at the same time. You also need to keep an open mind and be open to feedback and criticism on your work. Egos can get bruised easily but you have to understand that as a cg artist, your main responsibility is to give what the director wants in your work. Your work would probably need to have to go through a few changes before the supervisors or director approves it. This can be quite a gruelling process so you need to be mentally strong enough to handle it.
How different is it now from your initial expectation of the CG industry? Your passion, dreams and aspirations? Has it changed?
Some people may have the impression that the CG industry is a glamorous industry but in reality it is not really so. Thanks to the people in the industry whom I have spoken to, I was already quite mentally prepared before I entered the industry. It turned out that it wasn’t really that far from what they have shared with me. As you’d probably have guessed it, my passion, dreams and aspiration hasn’t changed one bit.
What are your goals for the future? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I hope to spend the next few years gaining as much experience as I can in production when I’m still young and physically fit. After that, I would eventually go into teaching or become a consultant to share the experience I’ve acquired and help groom future talents.
What would be your dream project to work on?
My dream project would be a 3D animated feature film that is entirely conceptualized and produced locally, which would match up to the standards of those from Hollywood and it is a film that we would be proud to truly call it our own.
What are the personal attributes you think is important for someone to enter and work in the industry?
I think it’s important for the person to be humble, resourceful, posses a thick skin and a never-say-die attitude. Most importantly, the person has to be in this industry because he loves his job and not because he wants to make a lot of money. If it’s for the latter, it will be a miracle if he can last long in the industry.
Advice for aspiring CG Artists?
Never stop learning and always aim to be better than what you can already do. It may sound like a hard thing to do but you’ll be surprise how far passion can take you. =)
Click HERE to go to the article at 3dsense Media School's website.