What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Hector Lopez and I’m a character animator/game developer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I did quite a few jobs in my days before getting into animation. The craziest I would have to say when I worked for a food dristribution company. My job was a material handler working inside a freezer stacking pallets with frozen meats. We walked in there looking like eskimos since the temperature inside was 0 degress. I worked there for several months while I was in school. After a couple months I got used to it. Being inside a room at 0 degress doesn’t bother me anymore. Unfortunately, since I was in school full time I could not keep up working there since it was a graveyard shift. School came first.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve worked with several animation studios on loads of projects. The projects I had most fun on was doing facial animation for “Red Dead Redemption” and “GTA IV Ballad of Gay Tony” for xbox 360 and PS3. I always enjoyed playing games like Grand Theft Auto and all Rockstar games for that matter.
How did you become interested in animation?
My interest in animation came at the age of 17 when I was still in high school. I was always drawing and I remember my art teacher suggested I get into animation. Back then I knew nothing about animation so I started reading up on animation books from early Disney animators. After that I was hooked.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles. After finishing up my studies in animation I started sending out demo reels to small studios. My first job as a 3D animator came as a freelance gig doing small animations with lip sync. It was fun.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
In the mornings everyone at the studio gets together to discuss what the objectives will be for the day. This usually takes about 15 – 20 minutes. After that I go back to my desk and look in my file to see what shots are assigned to me. Once I review it I start planning it out. Usually I have a good idea of what I want to do right from the beginning. After that I spend the whole day animating. What more can I ask for.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best part of my job is when I get to see the work I did once the final product goes public. It’s a good feeling knowing that I contributed to a fun project.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
The least part of the job is more on the business side of things. For most studios once a project is completed we move on to the next studio. Work is available only if studios have work. If not, we move on.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
The softwares I work with on a regular basis are Maya and 3ds Max.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
I would say not being in the business. It’s hard sometimes to stop and find some time for myself. Really take time off and go on holiday. Even on my days off I find myself working on personal projects.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Oh, yes. On a day off I decided to go to the zoo to sketch the animals and who do I see doing the same, Glenn Keane! He was there with a group of people sketching animals. It was a great experience looking over his shoulder as he sketched.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I would have to say when I was in animation school. I was in school full time and working a night job full time as well. I hardly sleeped. My weekends were only for sleeping. It got to a point where I started noticing that it was effecting my health. It was tough since I needed a job to get myself througn school since animation schools don’t come cheap. I did that for 2 years.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
On the side I run my own small animation studio, www.take10animation.com. We make game apps for the iphone and ipod. Our recent game Fly Run will be available on the app store on Sep. 29, 2011.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Not really. But I can flip my eyelids inside out.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
It’s a competitive business. You need to always stay on top of your game. Always keep learning and better yourself. Now go animate something.