#PeopleStories: On Being an Animator
On the artist
What are your current projects?
Professionally, I am following the path to becoming a storyboarder. Personally, I am self-publishing a tarot card game, and trying for a video game project.
Who are your favourite animators?
I am a big fan of Joseph Gilland, a famous visual effects animator who is now retired.
Where do you derive your inspiration from?
Many things! Anything can be a source of inspiration; from cartoons and comics to primal Minoan arts, and French painters such as Gustave Moreau. Even sports mangas, natural landscapes and industrial brownfields can be creative stimulis. Everything around you can be used to stir your imagination.
What would be your dream job?
It is still a bit early in my career to think about it, but ultimately, it would be nice to be responsible for a small team one day, either as an art director or a lead animator.
What is the best thing about being an animator?
The delight of seeing your work come to life after days of effort. Even if your animation lasts only a few seconds, giving life to characters and elements is simply wonderful! Etymologically, ‘animate’ means to ‘give a soul’, and for me, being able to do just that is amazing.
And the worst?
Animation is hard and tedious work in essence, and as an animator, you need to learn to accept this. What is harder is redoing the daunting work all over again, which happens far too often due to a computer crash, a mistake or on the director's new orders. You will have to deal with seeing your beloved work discarded frequently, and you just have to bite the bullet and take it as a challenge to do even better.
Which is more important? Education or experience?
Both are important since you never stop learning in the animation field but it is better to start with a professional school. Theories are important but a good art school needs to be aware of market needs, and keep up to date with the technology used in studios. Employers also tend to look at your portfolio rather than just your diploma so you can’t rely solely on a school's prestige. In short, you need to make the effort on your own.
What are the qualities that animators should have?
Efficiency and autonomy. An animator has to produce both quality and quantity. You need to focus on what's important and avoid losing time on details. You have to adapt if the orders change, and not be discouraged if you have to do it all over again. It really is an ant's work!
Name some of the careers in animation.
In 2D: Storyboarder, key animator, animator, layout artist, cleaner, background artist, concept artist, character designer, prop designer and compositor.
In 3D: Modeller, rigger/setup, animator, VFX artist, lip sync, background artist, lighter, render artist and compositor.