I sat down this week with Vitor Vilela, an animator by profession and someone I’ve known to be very open minded in sharing his thoughts, ideas and approach for animating characters. He has worked on popular animated films with names such as Open Season 2 and 3, widely popular animated short Kungfu Panda Secrets of the Furious Five and a wide variety of commercial work in his portfolio. A well experienced veteran of the animation industry I inquired his thoughts on his creative process and about animation, this is what he had to say…
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how did you get involved in animation?
Vitor: I’ve always liked drawing and illustration a lot and used to draw characters and creatures in my school notebooks. I started my under graduation in advertising, and in 2001, became interested in CG.
I began with modeling, rendering, texturing and every step of a character development process, after 3 years studying I got my first job in the field, where I had the opportunity to learn animation. Since then it became my passion.
I’ve worked at some of the biggest animation companies here in Brazil, like VetorZero, GloboTV, SeagullsFly, and in 2008 I’ve joined the remote animator’s team at ReelFX Creative Studios, where I had the opportunity to work on some great projects such as KungFu Panda Secrets of the Furious Five (short film), Open Season 2 and 3 (direct-to-dvd titles) and now we’re working on a great project which I can’t talk about yet.
2. What do you like most about being an animator? Would you say you’re into character animation or computer animation?
Vitor: Animation, like many other artistic mediums, is a way to express feelings, ideas, jokes and things that only imagination can bring to us. It is an exhaust valve of our routine. And also as an animator, you have to train your eyes to see the world differently, to observe details that a regular person wouldn’t notice.
I would say that I’m more into character animation rather than computer animation. Even though I spend most of my time working at the computer. I believe CG animation is so much more than a software or hardware, it’s a creative process.
3. What led you to where you are today?
Vitor: A lot of study and hard work. there is no shortcut to it, you have to live and breathe animation if you want to work with animation. You have to show your work, get some feedback from others, learn and improve your work from it, always!
4. How do you approach your work? What is your typical thought process?
Vitor: This is hard to explain, I don’t have a right way to approach my work, I guess every shot/scene/sequence is a different challenge, but in general I like to spend some time thinking about my shot, listening to the audio over and over until I have a good solution in my mind, then I try to express that idea someway, sometimes I spend a whole day just working in one pose, sometimes I draw thumbnails and ideas for the shot, sometimes I record a video reference, sometimes I just open Maya and start to animate like crazy.
I think this is something that depends on your mood and definitely depends on your deadline!
5. What do you find challenging about being animator?
Vitor: The most challenging thing is that you’re working on something virtual, that doesn’t exist, and you have to turn it into a breathing, living character, you have make it look real, believable, charming, scary, lovely… you have to show these traits to your audience.
6. What skills do you think are important for being animator?
Vitor: Patience, perseverance, organization, observation, drawing, storytelling skills… music and dance skills too, you have to know something about rhythm.
7. Any closing thoughts?
Vitor: I’d just like to say thanks Ani-Jobs for this interview, I feel very honored and glad to be part of this great community!