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Building Worlds with Armand Serrano, Visual Development Artist

July 26, 2021 | Campus News
Building Worlds with Armand Serrano, Visual Development Artist

The Virtual International Design & Creative Masterclass 2021 is an initiative that aims to boost and nurture creativity among the young generation, inspiring them to bring forth their talents in this thriving creative era. Organised by The One Academy, the live sharing saw to eight master experts from various industries connecting to a wide audience of secondary school students and industry players keen on broadening their perspectives.

Conducting for the Digital Animation section was Armand Serrano, a visual development artist, art director and production designer for animated feature films and games. In his sharing titled “Visual Development and Production Design for Animated Films & Games”, the 31-years industry veteran presented on his working process, philosophies, several of his past projects and designing methods.

During his expansive career, he has worked for Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, Blur Studio, Niantic and currently Skydance Animation. Some of his well-known credits include for animated feature films such as Mulan, Surf’s Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Raya and the Last Dragon, and the upcoming Marvel Studio’s television series What If…?, just to name a few. He had also done work for games such as World of Warcraft, League of Legends and Hearthstone.

In animation where specialization splits between character design and environment design, Armand Serrano specializes in visual development for environment, also known as a world-builder who builds the world that the characters live in. He said that there are two things a world-builder should simultaneously be – a designer and a storyteller – the designs have to make sense and the story has to be believable. He also pointed out that the three factors of a successful animated film are: a compelling story, appealing characters and a believable world.

“Research is just whatever is the most effective way of learning the subject that you are going to tell the story of,” said Armand, who supplied that an environment designer has to wear different hats, such as a painter, architect, engineer and interior decorator, and to do as much research as they can to show authenticity, believability and functionality.

He also showcased the 3D workflow and his working process of using Adobe Photoshop as a staple tool to draw and paint by hand. To help him visualise other worlds and places, he uses the Virtual Reality Oculus Medium software that allows him to be practically inside the virtual world, to gauge the scale and distance as if being at a real set. He then uses the Blender software to manipulate the lighting to create many facets of a scene. He expressed his wish for more artists to use the Virtual Reality tool, being more convenient and speeds up the production process, which would benefit the industry as a whole.

Building Worlds with Armand Serrano, Visual Development Artist

“The best thing that I would always suggest to students to be able to create a solid portfolio is to create a story and make visual development from there. Find a story that would inspire you. It’s important to have a story or concept because it will give you a clearer picture of what you have to do. If you don’t do research, it shows in your artwork,” he explained on the importance of storytelling.

On the key qualities to become a professional visual artist, he advises students to set an industry-practicing artist as their standard and to observe their work as the benchmark that they have to try to achieve. To have a quality of work at par with the professionals, then only can they consider themselves one as well.

“Talent alone is not enough, but discipline and hard work are important too. I call it the 4P’s, you have to practice, have perseverance, patience and lastly, it takes a lot of prayers, to get in and also stay in the industry,” advised Armand lastly. The session ended with a Q&A session with the audience, where Armand responded to their queries from a professional animator’s standpoint as well as giving helpful pointers and advice to aspiring animators.

The One Academy is committed to providing the best art education programmes and continues to nurture its students passionately through its “Masters Train Masters” coaching philosophy, which has been practised for the past three decades, by providing diploma and degree courses namely Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts and Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making. For more information on The One Academy, visit www.toa.edu.my or call +603-7875 5510 or e-mail your enquiries to [email protected].


跟随视觉开发美术家 Armand Serrano 构建世界

2021年国际线上创意与设计大师班,旨在促进和培养年轻一代的创造力,并激励他们在这个蓬勃发展的创意产业中发挥自己的才能。由The One Academy举办的直播分享会中,有来自创意产业不同领域的八位大师级专家,与广泛的受众们分享他们的心得,包括中学生以及想要拓宽视野的行业相关者。

在数码动画环节里主讲的是 Armand Serrano,他是一位动画电影和游戏领域的视觉开发美术家、艺术总监和制作设计师。迈入动画行业的第31个年头,他在主题为“动画电影和游戏的视觉开发与制作设计”的分享会中讲述了他的设计过程、设计理念、之前参与的几个项目和设计方法,让观众惊叹不已。

Building Worlds with Armand Serrano, Visual Development Artist

在他广阔的职业生涯中,他曾为迪斯尼动画、索尼动画、暴雪娱乐、拳头游戏、Blur动画、Niantic软件等公司工作。他参与制作了多部著名动画电影,如《花木兰》、《冲浪季节》、《天降美食》、《精灵旅社》、《超能陆战队》、《疯狂动物城》、《无敌破坏王2:大闹互联网》、《寻龙传说》以及即将上映的漫威动画系列《假如…?》等。此外,他还参与了《魔兽世界》、《英雄联盟》和《炉石传说》等游戏的动画制作。

动画可细分为角色设计和环境设计,而Armand Serrano 专门从事的是环境视觉开发,即构建角色生活的世界。他表示,世界构建者必须同时扮演好设计师和讲故事者的角色;设计不仅得具备意义,故事也要有可信度。他还指出一部成功的动画电影离不开三个要素:引人入胜的故事、抓眼球的角色和可信的世界。

“要想理解叙述的故事主题,最有效的方法就是做好充分研究。”他补充道,环境设计师还必须随时转换不同的身份,包括画家、建筑师、工程师和室内设计师,并尽可能大量的进行研究以展示真实性、可信度和功能性。

他展示了3D工作过程,及如何使用 Adob​​e Photoshop 作为主要工具来进行手绘和上色。他使用虚拟现实软件Oculus Medium,以帮助他想象其他的世界和地方,让他仿佛置身于虚拟世界中,就像在真实场景中一样衡量尺度。他表示希望更多的美术家使用虚拟现实工具,能更方便及加快制作过程,对整个行业都有好处。

Building Worlds with Armand Serrano, Visual Development Artist

“我总是建议学生最好创建一个故事并从中进行视觉开发,然后加到作品集里。找一个能够激发你创作灵感的故事;故事在创作中扮演了很重要的角色,因为它将引导你更清楚地了解自己需要做些什么。研究是否做得充分,都会体现在作品中。”他重申了故事叙述的重要性。

被问及成为专业视觉美术家的关键素质,他建议学生以业界实践的美术家为自己设定标准,以观察他们的作品作为他们必须努力达到的基准。能达到与专业人士同等的作品素质,那么他们才能认为自己是专业人士。

“仅靠天分和才华是远远不够的,纪律和勤奋也很重要。练习(Practice)、毅力(Perseverance)、耐心(Patience)和祷告(Prayers),你必须拥有这4P才能踏入并留在这个行业。”他总结道。在最后的问答环节中,他从专业动画师的角度为观众答疑解惑,并为有抱负的动画师提供了许多有用的提示和建议。

The One Academy在过去长达30年来,持续秉持其“专才培育专才”的教学理念,致力于为学生们提供最好的美术课程,其中的文凭与学士学位课程包括广告与平面设计、室内建筑与设计、数码动画与游戏设计、数码媒体设计、广告插画与电影美术、电影视觉特效、纯美术、ESMOD巴黎时装设计等。欲了解更多详情,请拨电03-7875 5510、电邮至[email protected]或游览www.toa.edu.my以获取更多信息。

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