What is your name and your current occupation?
Ivan Pinzon, Principal Engineer, SketchBook Dev Lead.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked for Imaginova Corp, developing an Astronomy App called “Starry Night”.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
My current project, SketchBook for iOS and for desktop and Starry Night
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Bogota, Colombia and 14 years ago I moved to Canada. I got involved with the digital artist world when I joined Autodesk to work in SketchBook.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
It’s a combination of different things: code, debug, investigate and learn, plan and schedule future releases and a bit of customer support.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I really like to investigate and play with new concepts and ideas, try to find something that is going to be useful for our users.I also enjoy optimizing code. Faster is better.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Finding / reproducing bugs that caused our users to lose work. It’s frustrating to get these complains and more frustrating sometimes to not be able to reproduce these issues.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis, how has technology changed in the last few years in your field and how has that impacted you in your job?
My main development machine is a Mac and developing for iOS requires to have some iPads, iPhones and iPods. It’s incredible how technology has evolved. The latest iPhone/iPad are more powerful than the computer I had a few years ago. This has allowed us to push for unbelievable features for a mobile device. Something that a few years ago was just crazy to even imagine. The current trend were mobile is getting closer to desktop is very interesting. Seems that these 2 will eventually merge.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Keeping up-to-date with all the technology changes and being able to take advantage of them in a short period of time. It’s both challenging but at the same time motivating.
If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I would like to spend more time investigating to find new innovative tools. But, work has to be done so finding a good balance is never easy.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I’ve had the chance to watch and listen to a few amazing guys, from sketching artists to animation professionals from studios like Pixar and Marvel. Different techniques and tools. This has given me a chance to understand what artists need and with this I try to find a fun, simple and effective way to expose this in our software.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Leaving my family and my past in my home country and starting from scratch again in Canada while keeping my wife and kids afloat
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
All I can say is that I’m working in some interesting technologies/features that I hope eventually are going to see the light of day.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I love airplanes. I have a private pilot license although I haven’t flown in a few years and I like to build and fly aerobatics model airplanes. I’m lucky to have my son Nicolas as my partner and we compete in Canada and the US. I also like to play the piano.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?Although I’m not an artist, I’ve had contact with many that have started from zero and have been persistent enough to develop a clear style and technique that differentiates them from the rest, finally becoming successful and recognized. Take advantage from the social networks: Deviant Art, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, …