What is your name and your current occupation?
Micah McNeely and I am a freelance 3D modeler and Texture Artist.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before Animation I was a Production Supervisor at Kinko’s Copies and the Chappell Episode “Pop Copy”was a day in the life of my job LOL! My experience there gave me the interest in computers and design so, it wasn’t too bad of an experience
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Oh Man one of the coolest things for me to work on were game cinematics. I worked on cinematic trailers for Colonization/Civilization Revolution and a yet announced game. That being said, I am now working on environments for the PC title FORGE and that has been a great experience for me because although most of my experience in the VFX studio category I have always wanted to work on a video game.
How did you become interested in animation?
Ever since I was a kid I loved comics and games! I grew up in the Marvel Comics and NINETENDO era and when my mother put my first console on layaway at our local Kmart I was hooked! I would say that I also had an artistic eye from a young age and thought it would be great to make a living in art but, right out of High school I enrolled in Nursing School. My goal then was to get a steady job in Health Care but half way through the program I was miserable. My Anatomy professor came across some of my note cards
in lab and said “ Can I see you after class Mr.McNeely?” Thinking I was in trouble, he said look I saw your note cards and I think you should go into Maxillary Reconstruction instead of Nursing because it’s more of an art for then science! So, I walked out of the meeting and dropped my classes, it hit me! I didn’t want to be in medicine I wanted to be an artist! Not knowing what I wanted to do with art I took a break from thought and started playing Blood Omen 2. My wife then flicked the light bulb on and said “ Would you want to make art for video games?” It was all downhill from there!
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Lubbock, TX and decided that if I were going to be in the animation industry I needed to go to school outside my hometown. I packed what I could carry literally and moved to FL where I got my degree in animation and business. After graduation I then moved back to TX with my wife in Dallas were I still reside.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Well, I usually will open my emails the first thing in the morning and reply to any that are necessary and evaluate what I have for the day… Once I make a huge pot of coffee and feed my two kids breakfast I will read any notes my Lead or director has made then begin the day Modeling or texturing!
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The absolute thrill I get from creating a whole world on my computer! Maybe it’s a God complex or something lol but, the idea that I can create anything in my head, move it, light it, and destroy it has appealed to me the first day I opened a 3D package!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I think it’s the fact that as a freelancer I have to wear many hats…. Normally that would appeal to me but, when I have to spend half my day bidding and sending out invoices it can get frustrating especially when you love creating things!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
My tools of trade are Maya, Zbrush, TopoGun, Photoshop but, depending on the client’s needs or requests I may use 3DsMax or Xsi and of course Pen and Paper!
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The time frame between contracts is the one thing that I find the most difficult. Having a wife and two kids makes it even harder… I have managed to stay pretty busy lately but, I always fear the end of a project.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes I have and even being in the industry for 5 years I am like a kid in a candy store when I meet or work with someone who has done a master piece! I have had the pleasure of working with greats from ILM,Dream Works, Trouble Maker Studios and ID software.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Oh man, I think the one thing that stands out was my flight to FL for College. I had to have about 2,000 cash to get me to FL and I didn’t have it! I was a nervous wreck for 3 weeks trying to sell everything I could to get my apartment and extras once I got there… I ended up selling my car the night before my flight for 2,000 cash! How is that for timing!
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I have been working on doing my own games and apps so, be on the lookout for Sinister Game Studios! I hope if all goes well we can get something shipped by the end of the year.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I am actually double jointed in the shoulder blades and Thumbs. When I pop the blades out it’s like Spanish Fly to the ladies ;)!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Perseverance and self-promotion Is the key to surviving in this business! I once got great advice from a fellow artist who once said “ The sooner you invest in yourself and come to grips with the fact that you are the end product, the better off you will be.” That advice had made a lasting impression on me and I am always thinking about it.
Always remember Michelangelo was a commercial artist !