Monday, April 24, 2017

CAA Alumni: Dayle (Class of 2013) Sanders's Life After Graduation

Dayle Sanders

Hi there, my name is Dayle. I graduated from Computer Animation Arts in 2013 (“Computer Generated Arts and Animation”, as the course was known as back then!) I currently work as a Junior Animator/ Animation Fixer at Jellyfish Pictures in London. It's great to be able to share with you today what I have been up to and offer my industry perspective too, as a former classmate and fellow Rochester alumni.

For my final major project, "Kinnaree", I collaborated with Andriana Laskari - my classmate in the same year. Here is our graduation film below, and “Hemaraj” too; a dog-like creature who only wants to play.

"Kinnaree": The story is inspired by Thai Mythology and involves two creatures of the magical Himmapan forest; a legendary forest that lies between Heaven and Earth in the Himalayas. The art direction stems from Buddhist & Lai Thai art as seen on the actual characters and the environment surrounding them.

Shortly after graduating, I interned for A+C Studios in 2013 for three months, which soon kicked off my first industry role as a Freelance Motion Graphics Artist and Animator with the company. A+C are an award winning stop motion animation company based in Margate, a seaside town in the South East tip of England. I worked on unedited footage (rushes), stop motion VFX and produced digital illustrations and animations for explainer videos - short videos that aim to promote a business, service, idea, app or products. As well as on occasion, assisting at animation workshops and team-building events around the country, including clients. EDF, Unilever and Jaguar.

Working beside a talented crew of compassionate story-makers and story-lovers, you are aware of the hard-working labour that is being actively invested into the art form. You learn to recognise it's not easy, quick, or cheap. The stop motion work is smothered with love and care and it shows. Here are a few examples below of a motion graphics explainer video and stop motion animation I was involved with:

  A+C Studios specialise in stop motion / stop-frame animation.

 Explainer video - Would Love To Go

This promo focuses on two characters — Jane and Kate, with their individual experiences in meeting new people online. The narrative looks at a free & paid subscription dating sites and how the characters interact with them.

A+C Harrod's Christmas advert 2014 featuring the voice of Jane Horrocks

“With stop motion animation known for its unique story-telling ability, A+C Studios were approached by TBWA/London to create ‘The Land of Make Believe’, an animated fairy tale of the story behind Harrods’ iconic Christmas lights.”

In an effort to rekindle my 3d roots, I decided in 2015 it was time for me to seek out new challenges. I gravitated toward London to see where else I could continue developing myself. The doors opened when I acquired the Production Runner role at Jellyfish Pictures. There was also vacancies for Junior Animators, but I was inexperienced for the role. By applying for the Runner role and embarking on this route to build up in this way, I began to learn in and around the sea of potential, the many departments that contribute toward the production outside of animation. It restructured my perception and I discovered other roles that exist behind-the-scenes! 

I started mid-production as a Runner for “Floogals”, a children's animated series shot in a real house with photo-real-CGI aliens. For the duration of the production, my duties included editing assisting, 3d layout, and ad hoc. Assisting the crew in-and-out of the studio and on the film set. Live-action footage plates are shot and the CG characters and props are composited onto them.

"Jellyfish worked with Zodiak Kids to help bring Floogals to life, creating and animating characters for approximately 500 minutes of animation."

Dennis & Gnasher: Unleashed from Beano Studios for CBBC
Jellyfish Pictures

At the start of the year, I became a Junior Animator/ Animation Fixer on Jellyfish's new production, Dennis the Menace. Actioning intersections, asset replacing, and animation alterations. I work on a few shots myself from time-to-time, too! From character, prop and environment layout in Maya, to polished animation approval.


Since then - and in a pursuit to specialise in animation - I've been studying on an animation course, iAnimate, which is great practise for boosting the skill. It works in tandem with on-the-job performance. Here is a short animation below of the character reach assignment on the course:

I recommend filling your life up with motivational material, books, videos, incrementally improving yourself post-graduation because it does not end there. There's not a moment you do not sponge up some sort of creative information. 

It's really scary after you graduate, to dive off of the diving board into the “real world”, but it doesn't have to be. Subscribe to the idea that the industry is relentless, hard and uncertain - because it is. But it is so much fun and this contrast matters a great deal, there's a strong sense of pride and potential that comes with it. The real practise arises when you completely allow the process and go in with an attitude of embracing commitment. You'll continually understand that this giant combination of emotions is worth every moment. Be nice and smile, be polite. Network and grease the relations. Be malleable and be open to being amazed and immersed everyday. Become close friends with your peers and superiors, and that is helpful, because in life its sometimes who you know too! 

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