Meet our awesome 2D FX Artist Anabela Faria! She almost pursued a career in fashion design but she realised it was the design part she was really fascinated by! We managed to catch her for a few minutes to chat about her role and why she loves animation.
How did you get into animation?
When I was a kid I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer, not that I knew anything about fashion but because it was what I drew all the time. Then when it came the time to talk to a vocational counselor at school, she told me it probably wasn’t a good idea to pursue that career because there weren't a lot of jobs in that area. I’m really glad she did because I don’t think I fit the stereotype for a fashion designer at all, ahahah ;)
In high school I tried messing around with 3ds Max for the first time. I remember for my first project I modeled a little piggy, it was lumpy but cute, I was so proud of it.
My interest in 3D and animation grew even more and even today, I still think it’s amazing the way you can create imaginary worlds and stories from scratch.
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
My first job out of college in 2008 was as a 3d generalist and animator. After that, I roamed around other areas too like design, advertising, motion graphics, games. But even if the project was more “serious” I was always trying to add a hint of animation like, "this video is too boring, it needs a few shiny particles or a little character talking... let’s add some charm”.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I’m a 2D FX artist working on a new show. I work with the art director to create 2D key FX like steam, dust, magic, splashes, smoke, etc. Whatever is needed to support the action happening in the scene. These FX are usually stylized so, usually, we are more focused on getting nice shapes and volumes that fit well with the 3D animation, even if that means bending realistic physics.
What are your biggest influences/inspirations?
My favourite illustrator is Chris Riddell, he has a peculiar drawing style, and has illustrated and written several of his own books, even though they are more child-oriented (who cares?) I love them!
As for FX related artists that I like, there are so many of them I have lost count. I lose myself watching making-of's and breakdowns of movies and game FX. Still, here’s a few that I keep following and are awesome FX references -
What’s your favorite tool to use and why?
There are so many different software apps, that it’s hard to pick just one favourite. Especially for FX, there’s a bunch of specific software apps/plugins specialised in just one type of FX, like liquids, smoke, particles, etc. So I usually end up using whatever is needed to achieve the result that I want.
What advice would you give someone considering getting into animation?
Do your research, talk to professionals, try to visit different studios, do work experience and try to understand the different areas and roles that exist in this industry. That’s something that I think some of the schools lack, because they only focus on training students to be animators, for example.
When you’re young and you dream of working in animation, you probably only think to try and get an animation course degree, still there’s a bunch of other roles you can pursue in this area inside an animation studio, that might not be as well known but are interesting too, check what other options you have and make an informed decision.
Also, keep in mind that because you picked one it doesn’t mean you can’t change later. Invest time on improving your skills beyond what the school requires of you and “Work Until Your Idols Become Your Rivals” (no idea who said that but it’s a cool one).
What do you like most about working in animation?
The work environment, working with a bunch of talented artists is always inspiring.
One thing that I really enjoy working here, is being able to see the early stages of development, I’m always amazed by the sketches and concepts for the shows. I feel like I’m privileged because usually that’s something that the general public doesn’t have access to, since they only see the finished product. Unless they release art books, and yeah I wish I could buy ALL of artbooks in the world!
What’s been the most challenging thing about working in animation?
This isn’t really specific to the animation industry but just me in general, sometimes I find it very hard to detach myself from work once I get home. If there’s something bugging me I can obsess about it for ages, go through infinite google searches and tests, I’m too stubborn to let it go.
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
I like to do traditional sculpture, it’s amazing to see something born at your fingertips. But on the other hand, it’s a very time consuming and very unforgiving medium, especially if you’re used to digital tools, there’s no “undo button” if you make a mistake, you ruin everything and have to start again. Also, there’s this thing called gravity, that’s a bummer when you don’t make proper armatures and every move can make it tumble and squash.. it happens too often!
I also enjoy photography which is a bit less nerve wracking, especially with film photography there’s no instant snap, it’s a patience game to think carefully about every photo, you don’t wanna waste precious expensive film!! Then, wait until you finish a roll and it gets developed and surprise..."I didn’t even remember taking this photo”, it’s totally worth it.
Are you interested in getting into animation? Keep an eye on our Behind-the-Scenes and Tutorials pages for more interviews and #TopTips!