Meet our amazing Lead Texture Artist Mika Margolles! A native of the Philippines, where she was an avid scuba-diver, a few years ago she took a leap and dived into the world of animation! 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?
I just wanted a job where I could paint, travel and have a decent salary at the same time. With this in mind, my mother suggested I study visual effects. I had no idea what to do with my life, so I listened to her and gave it a go. I’m very lucky that the moment I started learning 3D, I fell in love with it and knew that it would be a career I would love to have.
How long have you worked in the animation industry?
Since August 2012. About 4 and a half years.
What's your current role and what does it involve?
I’m the Lead Texture Artist for The Stinky and Dirty Show Season 2. I make texture maps for the characters, sets and props, making sure all the maps will work and look good within the time we are given. I coordinate a lot with the Art Director to make sure the style of the show is in all the textures. There's a lot of work put into setting up the unwraps of all geometry for the series and we look for ways to improve each season to help ensure that the textures look the best they can. I also try to assist the other Texture Artists if they run into any issues.
What are your biggest influences/inspirations?
To be honest, I don’t follow any artists religiously. My biggest inspirations are the artists I work with. As a student and 3 years later on at Sony, I was inspired by my friend and mentor Justin Holt, who is an amazing artist. He taught me photorealistic painting, lighting and shading; and I was inspired by him to learn and work hard. At UPP, my friend Tomas taught me how to “see differently”, how to really look at my work and see what’s wrong, what looks good, etc. Eventually, he inspired me to start portrait work. Here in Brown Bag, I really learn a lot from Art Director on The Stinky and Dirty Show, Phil McDarby. And I love seeing the work of my other colleagues.
What’s your favorite tool to use and why?
In Maya: unfold 3D and transfer attributes. They save a lot of time doing UVS. In Mari: the Paint Through Projection tool, the Procedural Tiling, and the Slerp tool. They just make life easier. In Photoshop: too many!
What advice would you give someone considering getting into animation?
Try all the different roles and study really hard so you know which field you like the most (modelling, texturing, lighting, animation, rigging, etc.) Then when you realize what you like and what you are good at, really develop that skill and make an amazing reel focusing on that. Your reel will take less time, be less overwhelming to make, it will look much better, and in the end it will be much easier to land a job.
What do you like most about working in animation?
I like that I can spend my workday painting and creating shaders. I also like that I will never stop learning because I will always be working with artists who inspire me and teach me their tricks.
What’s been the most challenging thing about working in animation?
On a bad day I will have a creative block or no inspiration; or I would not even know how to begin a texture or painting.
Outside of animation what are you most passionate about?
I love to dance, sing (but I’m really bad), travel, and scuba dive.
Are you interested in getting into animation? Keep an eye on our Behind-the-Scenes and Tutorials pages for more interviews and #TopTips!