Prashanth Pandurangaiah

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What is your name and your current occupation?
First off, please allow me to thank you for doing this interview with me. I really appreciate the opportunity.

My name is Prashanth Pandurangaiah and I currently work as a Technical Director in the Assembly dept at Blue Sky Studios.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Before getting into Blue Sky Studios, I worked in the IT industry for a few years as a programmer. This was right after my Bachelors and at the time I did not know that animation could be a career for someone who has no art background, so I pretty much went with the flow without realizing my heart sought something else. I worked there until I found out that I could actually work in animation with my background.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Our curriculum at Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), where I did my graduate studies, was not quite what we’ve come to expect from a master’s course. We worked on semester-long projects and learned on the job rather than sit through classes. This also helped me take on different roles in the team and worked as an FX Animator for a project, in which we had to create animated videos of traveling in space. This was a very cool project and I learned so much.

Apart from my school projects, I would have to say my first animated film (also my first at Blue Sky Studios), Epic, is my most favorite project that I’ve worked on. I worked with amazing people on Epic and it felt really great to finally have my dream come true.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Bangalore, India. Ever since I was a kid all I really cared about is the kids hour and cartoon network on TV. It was mesmerizing to be carried away to a magical place, be it about a silly little mouse being chased by a cat, or seeing a dog owned by an anthropomorphic mouse getting entangled in funny business or watch a duck in a sailor’s outfit throw temper-tantrums. It was then that I decided I wanted to be one of those behind the scenes, whose work would put a smile on my face, and wanted to do the same for others. After getting my bachelor’s in computer science, I worked for an software company for a few years and then decided to do my masters (at CMU) in the US, which then served as a gateway to the industry. I was given the opportunity to work for Blue Sky Studios right after I completed my master’s degree and haven’t looked back since.

What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
With my computer science background being put to good use, I primarily develop tools (or software) for the team. If we’re doing something more than twice, my department looks for ways to automate the process. There may be some processes that, when done manually, are tedious and might lead to errors that are easy to overlook. That’s where I come in, and after discussing with my supervisor, I develop tools that will simplify the workflow. In addition, I also work on the digital sets and environments in the animated movie.

What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best feeling is when I see my name on the big screen at the end of the movie, when the credits roll. Also, seeing the happy faces in the audience while watching a movie I’ve been a part of is extremely humbling and that’s one of the things we try hard to achieve here at Blue Sky Studios.

What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Sometimes things don’t work the way we expect it to and we don’t realize that until it’s quite deep in the pipeline, and we have to finish and deliver our work while maintaining the original deadline. It can be exhausting, but in the end, it all works out, and we’re always happy with the result.

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?
We use Autodesk’s Maya for most of our work. Maya is used by every animation studio and is a very important software to learn if one wants to work in animation. Some of the tools that I develop are developed to be used within Maya. With computers getting faster and more resources at our disposal we’re now able to do more in less time. This has resulted in improved technology being developed to be able to “see” something better way before we need to render, so that render cycles are not wasted, allowing us to work more efficiently.

What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
A lot of people from outside the industry do not fully understand how 3D animated movies are made and to explain the process can be challenging as the lingo used in the industry is not easily translated over to the natural language.

If you could change the way the business works and is run how would you do it?
I’ve always been intrigued with different departments and how they achieve their output, or how they solve the issues that they encounter. Most of the time there’s a communication gap because we may not clearly understand each other’s work-flow. I have found that there could be more opportunities for inter-departmental exchange, so that those interested can work in different teams and gain more varied experience.

In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
Yes!! It’s curious that Ice Age was the first ever 3D animated movie that I saw as a kid and now I work here at Blue Sky Studios. Co-incidentally, the first movie I worked on was directed by the same director (Chris Wedge) who directed Ice Age. When I saw Chris Wedge in the hallway and he said “Hi”, I was pleasantly surprised and mumbled something in an alien language. I often also run into the director of Rio and Rio 2, Carlos Saldanha, and both, Chris and Carlos are amazing people. Once on a school tour to Walt Disney Animation Studios I got to see Glen Keane.

Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I once got stuck in an elevator and pondered life and its meaning. The elevators at work were going through a rough patch this one time. We decided to risk taking them, got stuck with just enough space to see the hallway, but not enough to get ourselves out. Firemen had to be called in. It was a long evening.

Any side projects you’re working on that you’d like to share details of?
I’ve been learning different technologies that could be useful at work, and I constantly try to improve myself and keep myself updated on the latest technologies.

Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I like playing the guitar and play it occasionally. I can only play the intros to a few of my favorite songs though.

Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
I know it sounds cliché , but from my experience what I’ve learned is to never give up. Also make contacts, reach out to someone on the various forums available. People in the industry are generally very helpful and usually don’t turn down requests for advice and feedback. There are also tutorials available online for basically everything today, so utilize them to learn something that may not be taught at school.

Jobs: Instructor- Visual Effects

Job Description – Instructor- Visual Effects (08720)

Job Description

Click here to apply.

Instructor- Visual Effects  08720

Faculty

Description

University of Colorado – College of Arts and Media

Instructor- Visual Effects

The Visual Arts Department in the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD) seeks a qualified individual to fill a full-time faculty position as an Instructor of Visual Effects. This position, with a starting date of August 2017, will have a teaching load of eight courses per academic year and will also be responsible for re-developing two existing classes in Particles, Dynamics, Visual Effects and Compositing.

THE DIGITAL ANIMATION CENTER

Ranked by Animation CareerReview as #19 of the top 50 Public Animation Schools and Colleges in the U.S the Digital Animation Center program provides an uncompromising level of university-level undergraduate instruction in the theory, practice and application of digital 3D media. DAC faculty are experienced professionals with many years of real, practical work experience in a wide variety of animation expertise from broadcast, film, museum, scientific visualization, simulation and the gaming industries. The goal of the Digital Animation Center is to bring together diverse scholars and practitioners to provide optimal learning experiences for students in creative imaging and visualization solutions for the evolving areas of research, production and entertainment.

The University of Colorado Denver and the College of Arts and Media

The University of Colorado Denver is comprised of the recently consolidated Denver Campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus. The consolidated university confers more graduate degrees each year than any other higher education institution in Colorado, offers over 130 degree programs in 13 schools and colleges, and brings in nearly $400 million annually in sponsored research.

The Denver Campus is located downtown next to a vibrant commercial and cultural district, three major professional sports venues, the Denver Convention Center, and city and state government offices. The Denver Campus alone has anenrollment of over 15,000 learners, and has a highly diverse student population.

The College of Arts & Media, located on the Downtown Denver campus, offers B.F.A. and B.A. degrees in Studio Arts, Art History, Film and Television and B.S. and M.S. degrees in Music with studies in the rapidly growing field of audio forensics. Visual Arts majors select programs in Art History, Drawing, Illustration, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, Digital Design and Digital Animation.

Minimum Qualifications:

  • A minimum of four to six years of relevant, practical and professional experience in Visual Effects
  • Strong portfolio of work that reflects a high degree of knowledge in Visual Effects
  • Strong understanding of the overall production pipeline
  • Expertise with Maya, Houdini and Nuke
  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to convey the conceptual and applied aspects of knowledge to a broad range of students
  • Committed to excellence in teaching, learning and to working within a team environment
  • Ability to maintain a climate that is collegial, that respects and values diversity, that treats faculty, staff and learners fairly and that is hospitable to creativity and innovation
  • Bachelor’s degree

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Masters degree in animation or related field
  • Strong history of teaching courses at the university level and course creation
  • Proven leadership skills
  • Demonstrated initiative and strong problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrated excellent communication skills
  • Dedication to curricular innovation
  • Internship/industry/education connection and collaboration skills and project management.
  • Strong network of contacts with other professionals, agencies and employers

Salary and Benefits:

Salary is commensurate with skills and experience. The University of Colorado offers a full benefits package. Information on University benefits programs, including eligibility, is located at Employee Services.

The University of Colorado Denver is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist in achieving that goal, we conduct background investigations for all prospective employees.

The University of Colorado strongly supports the principle of diversity. We encourage applications from women, ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and all veterans. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires that verification of employment eligibility be documented for all new employees by the end of the third day of work. Alternative formats of this ad are available upon request for persons with disabilities.

Special Instructions to Applicants: Review of applications will begin on April 1, 2017 and continue until the position is filled. For more information on the College of Arts & Media, or the University of Colorado Denver in the downtown Denver campus, visit our websites at www.ucdenver.edu or cam.ucdenver.edu. The University of Colorado Denver is dedicated to ensuring a safe and secure environment for our faculty, staff, students and visitors. To assist in achieving that goal, we conduct background investigations for all prospective employees. The University of Colorado is committed to diversity and equality in education and employment.     Application Materials Required: Cover Letter, Resume/CV, List of References Application Materials Instructions:

Applications are accepted electronically at CU Careers, refer to requisition ID: 08720

When applying, applicants must include:

  1. A letter of application which specifically addresses the job requirements and outlines qualifications
  2. A current Resume/CV
  3. The names, addresses, daytime telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for three professional references, either attached to your resume/CV or uploaded as a separate document

Please be advised that the University does check references as part of the employment process.

Please do not submit any of your application material (via email) to the job posting contact.

Job Category

: Faculty

Primary Location

: Denver

Department: D0001 — Denver Campus – 30120 – CAM-Visual Arts

Schedule

: Full-time

Posting Date

: Mar 3, 2017

Closing Date

: Ongoing

Posting Contact Name: Bryan Leister

Posting Contact Email: bryan.leister@ucdenver.edu

Position Number: 00668157

Who Framed Roger Rabbit-The 3 Rules of Living Animation

 

Gizmodo has a great article up a video  done by Youtuber kaptainkristian detailing the reasons Who Framed Roger Rabbit worked so well.

From the site:

Robert Zemeckis has been hit or miss for almost two decades. But in the eighties, he was on fire. Along with Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is just one of those movies that remains great no matter how many years pass and its technical achievements are still a marvel. But why does it work so well?

From a storytelling perspective, Roger Rabbit was funny, unique and had some great performances from people like Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd. But YouTuber, kaptainkristian is more interested in breaking down what sets the film apart from other movies that try to mix live-action with animation.

Check out the entire article here.

Dagan Moriarty

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What is your name and your current occupation? 
My name is Dagan Moriarty, and I am currently an Asst. Art Director at ‘Sesame Workshop’ in NYC.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I worked a few different jobs back in the day, before I graduated from HS and shipped off to Art School. My favorite was working in a skateshop, but that’s a gimme. There were definitely a few interesting and offbeat gigs peppered in there as well… I worked in a Bagel Store for 2 weeks for a really mean and cranky boss.  I accidentally burned an entire batch of bagels one morning, and I thought she was going to take my life right in front of the cream cheese case. She was so mad! That’s probably when I decided that a life in bagels wasn’t for me…Though I still find them delicious.  Back in High School, I had a friend who’s father was a Real Estate Agent. He sold a lot of foreclosed properties.  Often times he would need to completely gut the homes and clean them up before he could put them on the market… So he would pay us 100 dollars a piece to go into a house with a baseball bat or a table leg and just demolish the whole interior… It was amazing!  Cabinets, furniture, literally everything except for load-bearing walls. I still remember the roaches scattering as we wreaked havoc on everything in our path. Best summer job in history!  It was a great way to work out our teen angst while making some loot!

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of? 
The two things that jump right to the top of my head are ‘The Mr. Men Show’ for my friends at Renegade Animation and the ‘Skunk-Fu’ animated series that we worked on for the mighty Cartoon Saloon over in Ireland. (Worked with the team over at Fat-Kat
Animation Studios on that one.) Both of those shows were a cut above in terms of quality and craftsmanship, and they were a lot of fun to be a part of. We’re also working on some really cool stuff right now over at Sesame that I am excited about… but I’ll keep those cards close to my chest for now.  🙂

How did you become interested in animation? 
First, through my grandfather. He was a wonderful artist who really loved to draw, and he imparted that passion to me very early on. I have a vivid memory of sitting with him when Continue…

Niklas K Andersen

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Niklas K Andersen, and I am currently working as an art director in Belgium.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
When I was in drawing school, I cleaned up in a local bar in Viborg, Denmark, before going to classes at the animation workshop at 8 am. Later, in between my first junior job and becoming full time in the animation industry, I was working as a telephone salesman full time. Not the most funny job, but I drew my ass off at night, and afterwards I got into the animation business.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Titeuf le Film, Brendan and the secret of kells, Plants(a feature project i worked on in Jerusalem, not coming out unfortunately) and Asterix and the vikings.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I am from Denmark, and I started out in Copenhagen at A-film.  I got accepted for a trainee period of 1 year. There Continue…

Edward Ernest

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Edward Ernest. I’m an associate flash designer at Sony Pictures Interactive.

 

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I was working at Home Depot doing early morning shifts as a freight package handler. There’s nothing like getting up at 3am to unpack and stock products and being unappreciated for your work…(sarcasm).

 

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’ve worked on a social game called “Island paradise” and Sony Picture’s first facebook game “Hotel Transylvania Social Game”.

 

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I was born in New York, I’ve lived in Philadelphia, but I’ve spent most of my life living in Atlanta, GA. I loved watching cartoon as a kid (I still do ). I wanted to be a paleontologist because I loved drawing dinosaurs, until I realized what they do all day. In high school, my twin brother and I would Continue…