[TOA] A Pipe Dream Come TrueMay 18, 2023 | Campus News
Almost every aspiring animator dreams of one day landing a job in Pixar Animation Studios – often regarded as one of the best animation studios in the world known for its critically and commercially successful animated feature films. Based in Emeryville, California, the studio is behind some of the most beloved films of all time, such as the Toy Story franchise, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Up, Ratatouille, Inside Out, Coco and many more.
For Malaysian animator Sherwyn Wong Hung Vern, that distant dream turned into reality this year when he got accepted into Pixar for the position of a Crowd/Fix Animator. His role is to create animation for shots that require large numbers of secondary and background characters, and coming up with creative ways to give them specificity. He also polishes other animators’ works and makes sure there are no noticeable errors when shown on the big screen.
His love for art and animation started from watching movies, cartoons as well as playing video games from a young age. He would always draw things that piqued his interest like dinosaurs and robots. Ultimately, some of the movies that influenced him to pursue a career in animation were The Land Before Time, The Lion King, Transformers and Inside Out.
Seeing how much their son loved drawing, Sherwyn’s parents thought architecture would be a great career to pursue – a high-paying and respectable job, according to Asian parents’ standards. During a visit to an education fair, he was not at all impressed by the architecture courses there, until they stumbled across The One Academy’s booth as fate would have it, and the rest was history.
“I loved watching movies but never thought it was possible that such a career existed. The college provided such an amazing opportunity to learn the process of filmmaking and animation. It didn’t take long for me to convince my supportive parents to enroll me in,” said Sherwyn, who graduated from the Digital Animation programme at The One Academy.
“The solid foundation I received there has helped me get a head start during my studies overseas and my career today. It included having imbued the valuable 12 Principles of Animation into my work, identified my own workflow, and developing my creative eye which took years of experience. Also, having created a short film as a group helped simulate an environment similar to the professional industry. From there I understood the importance of collaboration and communication, which I take with me until today,” shared the 25-year-old Kuala Lumpur native.
During his final year of study, he wore multiple hats as the lead animator, director of photography, storyboard artist, compositor and layout artist of their student animated short film, “Guan Gong & Cat”. It won Gold and Silver in the Kancil Awards, Silver in DigiCon6 Asia and The Rookies Excellence Award. Through this experience, he learnt a lot on how to be a team player, to manage tight deadlines and to be open in communication.
After graduating, he went on to work for Illusionist Animation Studio, where he worked on multiple projects from China and Japan – one of them being Netflix’s Knights of the Zodiac: Saint Seiya, which was his first ever accredited project. He has also worked at Halon, a previsualisation studio based in Los Angeles, on multiple live action films, TV shows and games.
As to how he landed the opportunity to work at Pixar Animation Studios, he said that “one of the best ways to get an animation job at Pixar is to get into their prestigious internship program, so that was the target I set during my time in college.”
“I eventually received an offer for the internship in 2021, but sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to as I encountered some complicated visa issues due to Covid-19. Because of that, I had to give up my internship spot which was quite depressing. So close yet so far… but even then, I never gave up applying and continued to hone my craft,” he recalled of the time his dream almost slipped out of his grasp.
However, hope was on the horizon when an offer came out of nowhere. The people at Pixar remembered him for his work ethics and personality, as well as his predicament regarding the missed internship. He was overcome with emotions when he heard that during the interview, and after a successful evaluation, he was accepted to be part of the team.
“Until now, the experience of working at Pixar still feels surreal yet emotional. Working alongside the best artists and people in the world, and creating movies loved by everyone is nothing short of a dream come true. It’s still hard to believe that I’m working here but I’m going to keep giving my all to maintain this dream and to hopefully help create new ones for the future generation,” he expressed.
As of right now, he is working on an animated feature film which he is excited for everyone to experience. In the near future, he hopes to continue improving his craft and eventually grow into an animator position at Pixar. Meanwhile, he tries not to think too much ahead of the future and rather just focus on what he is doing now – enjoying every moment of working at the studio.
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 over 30 years, by providing diploma and degree courses in Advertising & Graphic Design, Digital Animation, Digital Media Design, Film Visual Effects, Interior Architecture & Design, Illustration, Fine Arts, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making, Game Design & Computer Science. 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].
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