|Last week I posted part one of the interview that I held with some of the workers at Studio C. This is part two of the interview. Once again, our guests are:|
Tobias Cortes: compositing and editing supervisor.
Marvin Barillas: 3D supervisor.
Lily Vasquez: 3D animator.
Ludwing Paniagua: Matte painting supervisor.
Among you there’s a 3D supervisor, editing supervisor, producer, animator, and matte painting supervisor. Is this kind of task division done for every project?
Tobias Cortes: I would be the editing and compositing supervisor. I have in charge two people, and depending on the project we will assign tasks to each of us. Usually there’s one of us working on editing and the other two people working on compositing. When some graphics need to be animated and some scenes need color correction, animation, or rotoscoping, they are taken over by a compositor. When you are dealing with storytelling, you send this to the editor. Here in Guatemala, people think that the editor is the one that does everything and that his work consists only of copying and pasting, but that’s not true. I started as an editor, but after a while I grew more interested in compositing. Editing is more about telling a story using some elements, on the other hand, compositing is more related to fixing those elements to make the scene work.
Lily Vasquez: I wouldn’t really call them divisions, however we do it to keep track of what we are working on. Sometimes an animator will make textures, but that’s because we are used to knowing a little bit of everything. Just because I specialize in 3D doesn’t mean I don’t know how to use 2D programs. We have to do our part when the workload is too heavy.
Marvin Barillas: We try that everybody knows at least the basics of everything, because sometimes the workload is so big that we have to do everything ourselves. That’s also part of the Latinamerican culture, though. However, we also need people who are specialized on their craft, so, for example, if they want to paint, they will only do texture work.
Ludwing Paniagua: We are usually involved in every other process, either supervising or working on a specific thing, or maybe just giving opinions [smiles].
How is it that a Central American studio manages to work on such remarkable projects? What do you think is the key to your success?
Tobias Cortes: We owe it to 3 things:
1)Thinking of ourselves as conquerors, not conquered. Guatemala is a country where people think of themselves as inferior to others. We have already changed that and we are trying to change the minds of the people around us.
2)Doing quality work, and not settling with something that barely does the work. Carlos always says that we have to make different versions of our work even if the first version looks excellent. Sometimes we’ve even reached an amount of 100 different versions.
3)To shed any limitations and then to think as if there were no limits on what we can do. “We don’t have time”; “I have to go”; “I’ll do it tomorrow”; “we don’t have the right computer for this render”; “60% of the population can’t read or write”; “the taxes...” are all just excuses. We don’t care about missing the bus or that we don’t have money to buy dinner. We help each other because we want to stand out from the crowd, and there’s always someone there to lend you a hand. That’s what I mean by shed any limitations.
Lily Vasquez: We owe it to Carlos Argüello. He knew people in Hollywood because he had worked with them, and he knew in Guatemala there was a group of people capable of doing the work. Everything we do here in the studio is based on teamwork.
Marvin Barillas: We always try to keep our standards. Carlos Arguello, our founder and artistic director, has always told us to give our 110% in our work. That has helped us to fight mediocrity and improve the quality of our work more and more. We just believe in ourselves.
Ludwing Paniagua: Carlos has 20 years of experience in the field, and he has also grown up with many people in the industry that know his good work.
Here in Central America there are surely a lot of animation studios interested in working on big-budget films. What kind of advice would you give to such places?
Tobias Cortes: Show people that you are the best, not only with your work, but also with your attitude.
Marvin Barillas: Keep your own national identity. Keep your quality standards and always strive to reach any goal you set to yourself.
Ludwing Paniagua: Don’t give up. Step by step the world is realizing that small countries like these can also do good visual effects.
Can you define the perfect employee?
Tobias Cortes: He/she has to be able to learn, teach and create, and also has to have passion for the work. We don’t want people that know their tools (software), but rather what you can do with your tools; also we don’t want to see what you made yesterday, but what you are working on today, and what you will be working on tomorrow.
Lily Vasquez: All I can say is that the person has to like this job. They need to work hard and know how to deal with the work pressure. They also have to be the kind of person that doesn’t usually hang up the gloves.
Marvin Barillas: Here at Studio C, we look for people who are passionate about doing excellent work. They don’t need to be experts, but they do have to know how to work in a group, and know how to deal with pressure.
Ludwing Paniagua: We look for talent, but above all we look for hardworking people that are passionate about this work, and that are able to show their qualities when it comes to using the different tools to get the job done.
I’ve seen you have plans to open an animation school in Guatemala. What kind of courses will you offer? Is this school planned to be a more affordable option for people in Central America?
Tobias Cortes: The main objective is to offer people interested in this technology an option so they don’t have to look for opportunities in other countries; if you want to look for those opportunities in other countries, you look for them as an option, not an obligation. The school will offer courses in 2D and 3D animation, compositing, digital painting, and production, among others.
Marvin Barillas: The main idea is for people to have access to this technology. We want to have professionals on all the different areas of visual effects. We also want to support art and our country identity. It will be more affordable for people, and they are even creating a foundation to give away scholarships to the people that request them.
Ludwing Paniagua: No doubt it will be a more affordable option. At first, the courses will be focused on 2D and 3D animation, digital illustration, interactive design, and production design. We will then move on to different areas, such as music, acting, and film.
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Did you miss part one of the interview? Check it out here.
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Animation Alley is a regular featured column with Renderosity Staff Columnist Sergio Rosa [nemirc].