News 20.06.22

MEET THE TRAINEES FROM THE SCREEN NSW ANIMATION & VFX TRAINEESHIP PROGRAM



ANIMAL LOGIC HAS OPENED IT’S DOORS ONCE AGAIN TO FIVE TALENTED TRAINEES SELECTED FROM THE SCREEN NSW ANIMATION AND VFX TRAINEESHIP PROGRAM! THE PROGRAM WAS ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, MENTORSHIP AND TRAINING FOR EMERGING PROFESSIONALS IN THE ANIMATION AND VISUAL EFFECTS INDUSTRY. MEET ANIMAL LOGIC’S LATEST AMBITIOUS AND TALENTED TRAINEES!

What is your professional background – where did you study and where have you previously been working?

Chelsea Nelson – Production Management
I have a customer service background and worked for Sydney Theatre Company before joining Animal. I grew up locally in Sydney and studied at UNSW, completing a B Fine Arts/B Arts degree in 2017 specializing in digital media and film studies.

Nicholas Lazo – Animation
Before I started my internship at Animal Logic, I studied animation at the University of Technology Sydney. It was there that I learned how to use 3D animation software such as Autodesk Maya, the principles of animation and the basics of character design and storytelling. Since graduation, I worked casual jobs at Coles and a media company while doing freelance 2D animation and illustration on the side, using my spare time to hone my 3D animation skills. The Screen NSW Animal Logic Traineeship is my first experience working in an animation studio, which is pretty sweet!

Dolly Li – R&D
I’m currently completing my last year of Computer Science at UNSW.

An Thy Tran – Production Technology
I’m in my final year at UNSW, studying Computer Science and Media Arts! Since starting uni, I have been lucky enough to have opportunities including teaching programming, working on a proposal to VIVID Sydney, interning in the telecommunications and tech industries, and running escape rooms.

Jacinta Su – Surfacing
I’ve completed a Bachelor of Design in Animation at UTS and a Master of Animation and Visualization at the UTS Animal Logic Academy. I’ve also completed an internship at Meowfun Studio in China in 2019 as a 3D modeller.  

Chelsea Nelson

Nicholas Lazo

Dolly Li

An Thy Tran

Jacinta Su

What inspired you to pursue a career in the industry?  

Chelsea – A love of film, a desire to learn more about the animation & VFX industry, an opportunity to be challenged and the chance to work with a great bunch of talented people.  

Nicholas – Ever since I was really young I’ve been drawing pictures and creating comics and characters, so I sought a career where I could use my passion and skills. I quickly focused on animation, thanks in part due to shows on Cartoon Network such as The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack. My love for 3D animation has more recently emerged from my time in university, as well as from seeing the medium be pushed in increasingly interesting ways in recent years in films such as Into the Spiderverse and The Lego Movie. My dream would be to have my own show one day!  

Dolly – I’ve loved art and animation since I was a kid so discovering that I was able to combine that with the more technical path I decided to take career-wise just made perfect sense.  

An Thy – Due to video games and films like Final Fantasy X and Avatar, I developed an interest in how computer graphics come together, so I was very keen to see how to contribute to it myself! I’ve also always liked creating art, so being able to create art as a team in the industry interested me.  

Jacinta – I’ve always been fascinated about animations and games since I was a child; watching both 2D and 3D animations and game cinematics have always been inspiring for me and I always wanted to become a part of that. To me, the process of surfacing is like giving life and stories to the model, and I’m really passionate about the animation industry and being a surfacing artist.  

Tell us a bit about your role and the department you work with.  

Chelsea – I work in the production department, where I’m learning how to use Shotgrid which Animal uses as its project management software. I’m currently learning about scheduling and tracking tasks within the assets department, which is made up of modelling, surfacing and rigging. I’ve been buddied up with some wonderful Production Coordinators who have taken very great care of me.  

Nicholas – Currently I’m working as a trainee in the animation department. In this role, I’ve been practising the animation fundamentals with guidance from my mentor. These include things such as walk cycles, posing exercises, throwing objects, weightlifting exercises, and character performances. Everyone in the department has been super welcoming, and it’s great to be surrounded by so many like-minded people! In the future, the plan is for me to join a project at Animal and work on background character animations or walk cycles, something I’m really looking forward to.  

Dolly – I am a Software Engineer Trainee in R&D Production Systems. I’m still slowly trying to figure all the bits and pieces of what we do but we essentially develop and maintain distributed systems software underlying all of Animal Logic’s productions. This includes asset management, production tracking, pipeline automation, and render farm scheduling.  

An Thy – I am in the Assets department as a Technical Director, which means that I can develop software and scripts that enable artists in Modelling, Surfacing, and Rigging to work more effectively, This can include addons to 3D software, scripts run through the pipeline to the final shot, and through procedural modelling. Since there are so many moving parts to a huge animated film, it is interesting to see how my team contributes to fitting it all together.  

Jacinta – My role is to texture models and I’m working in the Surfacing department. In the surfacing department we generate realistic textures and shaders for everything in the scene.  

In the few months you’ve been at Animal Logic, what has been the biggest challenge in your role?  

Chelsea – Wrapping my head around the production pipeline and the terminology – every time someone says ‘baking’ assets I think of a pie.  

Nicholas – The biggest challenges I’ve faced so far have definitely been the internal challenges, of dealing with imposter syndrome. From working at Coles to working at one of the biggest animation studios in Australia in under a year, it’s understandable that it’s been a big change to get used to! Fortunately, my co-workers are super kind and inclusive, and this combined with my skills increasing have improved my self-belief and made me feel more and more a part of the team.   

Dolly – The biggest challenge has been and still is trying to wrap my head around how our systems work. There’s also a lot of new terminology and technologies that I’ve never encountered before.

An Thy – One of the biggest challenges have been learning the ins and outs of the art pipeline. It can be complex!   

Jacinta – The biggest challenge so far has been the additional pipeline our project implemented a few weeks ago, but as we have guidelines and recordings going through the details, and with the help from our team members and supervisors I believe I can overcome this challenge soon.   

What do you enjoy the most about your role?  

Chelsea – I’ve enjoyed getting an opportunity to attend meetings where artists share their work. Animal also provides great snacks, and I personally can’t get enough of the protein balls!  

Nicholas – On a related note, the part I enjoy most about the role is definitely the work environment and the people. Having the experience of my mentor to help me improve my skills, and socialising with fun and creative people are definite highlights so far.  

Dolly – The thing I enjoy most about my role as a trainee is being able to talk to and absorb and learn from my team and the people around me.  

An Thy – In my role, I enjoy how much I am learning – there are a wide variety of tasks that require me to think differently for each one, and supportive team members to guide me to learn.   

Jacinta – What I’ve been enjoying the most about my role is the process of creating textures for the models and seeing them slowly coming to life  

Image (L-R): Chelsea Nelson, Dolly Li, Nicholas Lazo, An Thy Tran, Jacinta Su

How has it been working in a professional studio? Is it what you expected?  

Chelsea – Everyone is so good at what they do and it’s inspiring to be surrounded by professionals – they make it look easy! I’m particularly impressed by how everyone has managed to keep projects moving whilst transiting back and forth between remote work during the pandemic.  

Nicholas – WORKING AT ANIMAL LOGIC HAS BEEN AMAZING SO FAR. The environment that has been created, with art on the walls and props from various past projects scattered around the studio, reminds you of the awesome projects Animal has been a part of in the past and really make you feel like a part of something great. The facilities are not like any other job I’ve had before, and the culture of the workplace and of being surrounded by so many passionate people is a really special thing. I remember watching behind the scenes features on movies and tv shows, and seeing the studio walls being full of art and memorabilia from their various projects. I remember thinking how cool it would be to work in a space like that, and now I’m fortunate to say that working in a studio like Animal lives up to these expectations!    

Dolly – To be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect but it’s really fun to walk around the studio and see movie posters, props, and concept art at every turn.  

An Thy – It has been enjoyable working here. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by Animal Logic’s embrace of open source software, and cereal on tap.  

Jacinta – Working at Animal Logic has been great so far. Everyone has been very friendly and welcoming and they are all very kind to offer me help. I was assigned a buddy and both him and my supervisor have been teaching me a lot about the pipeline and new software.

What are you most looking forward to with this internship?   

Chelsea – Developing skills in production management that will hopefully lead to further opportunities within the industry. And working with great people!  

Nicholas – What I’m looking forward to the most is definitely the possibility of working on one of the projects Animal is working on. The thought of seeing my work on the big screen and being a part of a fully realised motion picture would be a dream come true!  

Dolly – I am most looking forward to continuing to learn more about how an animation film is made and how all the different technology teams contribute to film making and storytelling .  

An Thy – Learning as much as I can and meeting new people!  

Jacinta – I’m looking forward to learning new software and improving my surfacing skills with this internship.  

Anything else to add?  

Chelsea – It’s never too late to try something new!  

Nicholas – I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to work at Animal Logic and will continue to work hard to make the most of it!  

An Thy  Have a very nice day!