We had the pleasure to interview Zeng Lin Senior Animator who has been working at Industrial Light and Magic, Lucasfilm Animation, Tecmo Koei... working on many of the greatest VFX films from the latest years, Star Wars Episode VII, Star Trek Into The Darkness, Transformers, Avengers, Pacific Rim, Rango...
If you want read this interview in spanish, click here.
1 - Hi Zeng and many thanks for this interview, please, tell us about your currently position?
I'm currently a Senior animator for Industrial Light and Magic London.
2 - You are also working on a personal big project with your own characters, Comics, plush toys... maybe an animation short film ?? Tell us all about it... ;)
Besides animation, I created an ongoing webcomic series called <Girl n Monkey> It's a slice of life genre and I even created my own Monkey plush toys as merchandise.
My current big project for this year is to create a Graphic Novel called < The Yellow Monkeys > it's a sci-fi action graphic novel that is more for teenagers and adults.
3 - How did you get your first paying job in the Animation Industry? Who was your employer and what was your job title?
My first job as an animator was with a Japanese Game studio called, KOEI TECMO, I have just finished my national service and have created a mini animation reel of a small ninja robot which was around 20secs long, they have just set up a studio in Singapore and were seeking entry level animators, so I went for the interview and got the job.
4 - What are some of your favorite projects you're proud to have been a part of?
Probably the first Avengers film and Pacific Rim, we had a great team and although the shots were challenging , it was also really fun.
5 - What was your favorite Character to animate?
6 - Are you formally trained as an artist or are you self-taught?
I studied animation in a polytechnic, back then 3D animation was really new and we only got to focus on it at our last year, I was taught more on classical animation , the ones with the light box and tons of paper.
7 - What part of your job do you like best and why?
Mostly the satisfaction of being part of a team that produced a movie that will be remembered throughout film history.
8 - What is the most difficult part for you about being in the animation business?
Learning to "kill your babies"
Sometimes in this animation business, you may have your most favourite shot , the one that you have put in many hours,days and maybe months of your time to make it perfect...only for it to get cut from the movie. Ouch!
This is painful for any artist but as a professional, you need to move on and not take it to heart.
9 - Most of the companies are frequently working on shots with motion capture and / or hand key animation...For all the aspiring animators what would you say are the top skills that should have to become a professional animator?...
I would always advise any aspiring animator to train their foundation , body mechanics , weight, timing, and all the principles of animation, you may like a certain style of animation, but to even master your own style or preferencce (creature /character acting/fights) you need to have your foundation strong.
Motion capture is just a tool , use the tool well to help enhance your animation and don't be afraid of it.
10 - Is there any advice you can give to an animation student trying to get into the animation business?
Practice, practice , practice.
Be humble and listen to critique.
11 - Would you recommend Schoolnology to the new students? Why?
With your list of instructors, most definitely! You have instructors that are very experience,really friendly and honest , you have the right mentors to help kickstart and boost your animation skills to becoming a professional much faster, you will still have to put in the time and effort but you will be on the right track to achieving your dream job.
"Mostly the satisfaction of being part of a team that produced a movie that will be remembered throughout film history"Zeng Lin