What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Roja Huchez.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
When I was a kid I used to work in the automotive industry handing out car parts to Mechanics. I realized early in life I needed to go to school to get a better life otherwise I’d be doing that type of work for the rest of my life. A great job, but it wasn’t for me, I needed to do art.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I worked on some characters in the movie Avatar among other films in a studio in New Zealand. It was a humbling experience being part of such a talented team. I learned a lot and hopefully now can share that knowledge wherever I go.
How did you become interested in animation?
Same old story as everybody else I guess. I was one of those kids who stayed in to draw. Mostly copying comic book covers. All the way through school I found all my classes interesting but kind of boring except art class where I could flick my pencil across the paper and get an A. Art just came naturally for me.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in Vancouver Canada and lived in Toronto Canada most of my life. I went to Sheridan College Classical Animation Program after High School and got work in animation studios through second year and right out of final year. I worked in a cartoon studio that had a CG department early on when Computer Animation was blossoming. I worked at home on my own learning Maya to create a demo reel using Google and my own experimentation as a learning medium. After showing my stuff to the CG department in that studio they took me in and started me on my first CG cartoon show.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I have the best job in the world (for me). I get into work and sit down to work on character modeling and their facial expressions. I say it’s the best job for me because it’s a dream to breathe life into characters and creatures for feature film.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I have some of the most talented people in the world working around me and we go for lunch. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if I’m dreaming. I learn a lot from everybody around me and it challenges me to become a better artist.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
There is nothing I do not like about my job. If there is something I am forgetting it’s too small to even be an issue.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
We work in Autodesk Maya and a 3D sculpting program called Mudbox. In regards to technology, I have access to people who write tools to support the workflow of artists. They make our lives very easy so we can focus on breathing that life into creatures.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Moving to far off countries is usually the only way to work on the best projects, and it’s a bit hard on my family.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I work with and have worked with some of the most incredibly talented individuals who have walked this planet.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I grew up with a single mom. She did a great job keeping me alive but I had to work hard to get to where I feel comfortable today. I guess that’s what drove me to become better and better as an artist as I got older. Striving for a better life.
Any side projects or you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
Not at the moment. I like to model people’s faces, but I’m not working on one at the moment. Gotta get my act together.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
That’s a tough one. Nope I don’t think so. I’m normal.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Work your ass off and when you hit a wall, work your ass off even harder. Your success will come, don’t get side tracked by something you think is failure. There is no failure if you do not quit. It’s that simple.
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Roja you are so talented its fantastic. I am proud to know you and be part of your life.