How did you get your start in the animation industry?
I started my career as a Freelance 3D Generalist while attending graduate school at New York University. I animated graphics for music videos and commercials. It was a bonus to interact with clients representing companies such as HBO, MTV, and BET very early in my career.
While completing my post-graduate degree, my thesis project, named “Dive”, caught the eye of a recruiter from Sony Pictures Imageworks. That recruiter promised an opportunity for one of Sony’s upcoming projects. Fortunately, he kept his promise. Less than 6 months after submitting my thesis, I signed a contract to work for Sony and never looked back.
My initial role was Associate Lighting Technical Director. I created Lighting Template scripts that would make the workflow easier and as mistake-free as possible, for Senior Lighters.
Under the guidance of many artists, leads and supervisors, I found success within the Lighting and Look Development department for many years at Sony Imageworks. I continue to develop a skill for creating computer-generated shaders and lighting to match the client/ director’s vision.
What influenced you to become an artist?
My Dad, Grandpa and Uncle were all artists early in their lives. My Uncle even made a career in design. Family serves thee initial art influencer in my life.
When I became more career-oriented, a website called Motionographer captured my heart. Motiongrapher is a blog that features videos of the best creative Visual Effects and Animation projects. Every time a new blog post popped up, I wanted to learn how to recreate the visuals that were featured. Sometimes that website would share tutorials and offer behind the scenes exposure to how the high-end visual productions were made. I wanted to make cool stuff for a living, using the software mentioned in some of the Motiongrapher articles/ tutorials.
What projects have you worked on? and what was the most memorable?
I worked on a wide range of Live-Action and Animation projects at Sony Pictures. My credits include Alice In Wonderland, G-Force, Cat and Dogs 2, The Emoji Movie, Hotel Transylvania 2, Storks, Small Foot, The Amazing Spiderman, Spiderman Far From Home and Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse.
“Spiderman: Into The Spider-Verse” was my most memorable project! After working on so many Spiderman projects it felt amazing to work on one that won an Oscar! Seriously, it was great to check into work, look at comic book references all day, and contribute daily to something so artistically beautiful on the big screen.
My 1st professional project:
- Music Video: Fantasia Barrio // Song: When I See You
- Creative Team: Brian Deka Paupaw and Director Lenny Bass
How has the industry changed since you started?
There are much more online resources out there! If you have access to a consumer/ prosumer grade, personal computer and youtube the Visual Effects and Animation world is your playground. I learn through youtube.com every day! I expose myself to new rendering and animation techniques at home just as much as I do at work. Earlier in my career, I heavily relied on work training to maintain 3D Animation software knowledge.
what is your advice to others?
Open yourself up to as many career options possible. I did not plan to work on Animated feature films. Some of my earlier interests included teaching, music, painting, dance and physics. I met a countless amount of people that had an impact on the eventual career path and course studies. Some told me I should dance. Others told me to just focus on Fine Art. I absorbed as much advice as possible and came up with my own path. Develop your own life path and make confident choices. If you are a generous person and thankful to all those that you encounter along the way, things should work out!
What is one thing you would have wanted to know before you got into the industry?
Your job is to make others around you better! I thought my only job was to make great images. Listening, observing, congratulating and continuously improving communication between team members is key if your goal is to work in a Visual Effects/ Animation studio environment. The best part of my job sometimes is when I can write a great review or help someone get a shot approved by the director!