An interview with Carlos Baena by Amit Dixit.
CGIndia Interviewed Pixar's Animation Guru and co-founder of Animation Mentor Carlos Baena, who talks about his work, Animation Mentor and also give some tips for aspiring Animators. We thank him for taking time out from his busy schedule to chat with us. Thanks!
CGIndia: Please, Tell us how you got into Animation?
Carlos Baena: I got into animation because of a combination of things. I grew up loving films and cartoons. I moved to San Francisco from Spain to study art because I didn’t know what I wanted to study. But when films like Toy Story and The Nightmare before Christmas came out, I realized I wanted to be involved in a deeper level of storytelling so I began to study animation.
CGIndia: How do you succeed in the animation industry?
Carlos Baena:There are a lot of factors that help an aspiring animator to succeed in this industry. It takes a lot of motivation and being constantly inspired because you put in a lot of hours. Animation takes weeks, if not months, to create. You need to have a lot of patience and be able to observe everything. There are a lot of things that you want to do that require the study of how things move. You study animals, study how people have conversations, how people gesture with one another. You study little things that people normally take for granted, but for animators this opens a whole world of things. It takes a lot of discipline in the sense that you work with a lot of different people in a very collaborative process. You have to learn to work with a team, regardless of different personalities. You work with creative people who all have different opinions – it takes some learning in terms of working with people like that. But by sharing and collaborating, you are pushing the industry forward. Once you are in the real world, you have to work with a lot of different directors, and sometimes these directors work differently. You have to learn how to basically bring their vision to the big screen and to the character you are animating.
CGIndia: You are co-founder of Animation Mentor. Tell us more about Animation Mentor. How and on what level you are involved with its students??
Carlos Baena:When we were students, we learned from our experiences at other schools. There wasn’t a willingness to share, so a lot of the learning was very underground. Someone had a tape that was a recording of a recording of a recording of some presentation that someone gave at Disney. We all soaked it up. It didn’t matter about the quality of the recording; we wanted the information because it was priceless.
One of the main reasons Bobby Beck, Shawn Kelly and I decided to create Animation Mentor is because we wanted to share our knowledge. There are a lot of people out there struggling, and the easier you make it for someone to learn, the more they can push the industry forward.
Bobby, Shawn and I founded AnimationMentor.com in 2005. We all have experience as studio professionals and Shawn and I are still working in the industry. (Shawn is a senior animator at ILM) Bobby, who worked at Pixar Animation Studios, is the President and CEO and oversees Animation Mentor’s day-to-day business, educational programs and culture.
I currently work as a full-time animator for Pixar Animation Studios, and have been there since 2002.
CGIndia: What all points you can think of, an animation student should keep in mind before he/she starts to animate?
Carlos Baena: Having good ideas is one of the main points an animator should keep in mind when animating. Ultimately, animation is about the idea and that is what you are communicating. You may have an amazing, well crafted and executed animation, but if the ideas aren’t good people won’t be into it. I know some people who don’t know that much about animation, but have a lot of potential to do well in animation because they have great ideas and the creative drive.
You also have to stay motivated. If something didn’t work out this time, maybe it will work out next time. You are learning. Enjoy the process and the journey. Sometimes we are so focused about getting to a place, we forget about all the things in between. Maybe you won’t be working at Pixar or ILM in the next year – it might take 10 years. But enjoy the process. You’ll learn something and will have a better time in all the places in between.
CGIndia: Do you have a Dream Project? What would you like to do in the future?
Carlos Baena: In the near future I’d love to work on short films. I want to tell a story. I think most creative people have something to say. All artists have something to say, which may be through film, painting, and photography. For me, it’s short films regardless of the medium. I enjoy both animation and live-action just as much, so I’d love to do something at some point.
CGIndia: What are your hobbies and past-times?
Carlos Baena: I love anything that’s related to films. Watching movies, making things on the side such as shorts, live-action, composing music or photography.
CGIndia: Anything else you want to add… a self question or a Shout on top of your lungs??
Carlos Baena: Have fun with what you do, and try to help others along the way.
I am proud to be a cofounder of Animation Mentor which has helped individual animators changes their dreams of an animation career into realities. I love how the Animation Mentor community builds on its own through students learning and sharing with each other. I encourage anyone who is motivated and excited about an animation career to become part of this supportive community. It’s challenging, but the work is worth it. Our students have also found true friendships through Animation Mentor, and these friendships are worldwide!
Thanks for taking time out and chatting with us. We certainly like to have more of you on our website…may be a Tutorial or some time. Thanks again and Good luck for your future!!
- Regards, Amit Dixit.
>> Visit Carlos Baena Website: www.carlosbaena.com
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