What is your name and your current occupation?
I’m Subbaiah Addanki, affectionately known in the VFX & Animation industry as Subbu Addanki. Currently I am working as a Lead Rigging Artist & Creature TD for a full cg animated feature film at Barajoun Entertainment, Dubai.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked as a senior automobile engineer on CAT excavator machines for 9 years. That experience helped me in rigging mechanical characters and troubleshooting various issues arises during the pipeline. It improved my trouble shooting nature. One more thing, I got state 2nd rank in Diploma in Automobile Engineering.
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Currently working on Bilal Movie. I enjoyed a lot working on some regional movies like Once Upon A Warrior produced by Disney etc. This experience helped me to evolve as a tools developer. Here is my IMDB link, it shows the other movies like Robo, I worked on.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
Basically I was from Automobile background. I have enjoyed drawing ever since I was 7 years old. One day I had been waiting for my family members at theater to watch movie. Instead of waiting, I just went into bookstall and I have seen advertisement on a weekly magazine. The famous characters of Lava & Kusha, from Indian mythology, sons of lord Rama got my attention. These characters inspired me a lot to step into animation industry. That time I was at the age of 32. My kids were studying 1st & 3rd grades. I thought that “How can I get into animation by leaving current job and study animation for one and half year without job and continuing my kids’ education in Hyderabad city ”. Then my wife knowing my strengths suggested me that I can do this. That’s it I just resigned the job and jumped into animation college with in next two days. All this is possible with the support from my wife and blessings from my parents and god.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Most of my day is spent in office and remaining time and weekends on R&D in rigging, animation and primarily in the maya python API. I am posting some latest updates on rigging and python programming on my sharing groups in linked-in and face book etc. Whenever I had something to share, I do post on my website.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I love to work more on Python Programming and R&D in pipeline issues, because this generation of animation needs more automation. Everywhere deadline pressure is high. Tasks need to be completed in less possible time without losing the quality of work. Increasing job hours and all these made me to focus on automation Developed various pipeline scripts like as_AssetsLib, as_ScriptsLib & as_GeoCache etc. and various other tools like as_HyperSkin, as_EasyBird, as_EasySnake, as_EasyRig, as_EasyInsect, as_EasyQuad, as_CreateWind, as_SkinTransfer, as_PathAnim, as_AutoAnim, as_RagDoll and as_MultiSnakes etc.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Repetitive tasks, because they consumes lot of time. That’s why I am trying to find out easy ways to automate the same. Instead of doing same tasks again and again, I can do something innovative. In that process, I developed Hyper Skinning System; it automates most of the skinning process. This is built on Art & Technology combination and its purely my personal. I have developed this tool in 2 years span using my personal time after office hours . It preserves volume at many areas like elbows and shoulders after hyper skinning is done on character. There are many features in this system in addition to automation, to speed up the skinning task. I have used geo centric mechanism in this tool. Here are the links for hyper skinning system:
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?
I am using Maya and open source software like Python. Lot of developments are coming in Maya Python API and in Python 3.0. Maya python API 2.0 is much faster than older API. Now I need to update all my tools with latest updates. With the development in technology, my work is getting smarter than earlier with the tools update.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
The toughest part is unstable industry and sometimes staying away from family for long duration. I am finding it difficult to make balance between professional and personal life. But it is not impossible, as I already proved it when I changed my career from Automobile to Animation at the age of 32. That too I take Rigging as specialization, though very less jobs are there for this position at that time. This is in contrast to others in my batch J
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Not much. In this business, we do travelling more generally. I have attended some nice workshops which have been inspiring. While I was in automobile industry, I travelled a lot. That time, I came to know about animation. Now also I do like travelling J
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I was away from family during last two years since I couldn’t move family in the middle of academics for my kids. Moving with family for jobs on contract basis is not so easy. Lot of shifting work involved in this. This is the toughest phase I have ever seen in my life.
Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I am spending some time on developing my website, doing R&D in lighting and rendering etc. Major role I am playing during my personal time is the development of tools at home. All these tools can be seen at my website.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
Being palmist, I have predicted the future of lot of people during last 18 years. And those predictions came true most of the times. I have seen some of the predictions helped me in my personal life also.
While switching from automobile industry to this animation filed, I have used this skill also.
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Believe in your logical skills to become a tool developer. Whatever you are doing, try out as best as you can. Sometimes, there is need to do lot of research on net to get information about the requirements for the tool you are going to develop. Once you develop the tool, you need to present it in video or pdf form and nice way. Lot of patience is needed, since development of some of the tools need time. Studying the existing tools on creativecrash like sites, can help improve your skills to write some better tool, which can be understand by you and others in pipeline.
Some other sharing groups, I am managing, are here:
Thanks for sharing this. So much inspirational. Thanks for your good advice. Believing our logical skills.
You are welcome. It my pleasure to see your comments here.
Hi thanks for the article really it was very much helpful for freshers, and inspirational.subbu all the best.
Thank you Bhaskar. Your comments always gives me more energy.
subbu all the best.
Thanks Shiva. I remember the live sketching we have done in college days 🙂
Hi, nice subbu.v came to know much more abt animation and d projects u handled, infact starting from d shift of profession. It’s great and proved d saying “there is a will there is a way”.
Once again it’s a nice n inspirational. Thanks Subbu for sharing.