Melissa Coarezza

What course did you study?

3D Animation

Where are you working at the moment? 

Moving Picture Company (MPC)

How did you get into animation? What made you choose this career?

I’ve always been obsessed by Final Fantasy’s cinematics, video games in general and films. During middle school with my best friend we used to watch tons of movies and we used to create plays of those movies with costumes and swords, to give our beloved fallen heroes another destiny. Basically we’ve written a screenplay for a potential sequel of 2004’s King Arthur because of our crushes on Lancelot and Tristan, and we used to act every weekend until we got separated at high school. But that was the main reason I decided to study cinema, which brings me to my degree in engineering. At the beginning of my Master’s I followed a couple of Computer Graphics & Virtual Reality classes and then a Computer Animation class and that’s the moment I realized. I thought: ok, I have studied cinema foundation and techniques and I am madly in love with videogames CGI cutscenes such as the ones in Uncharted saga and Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts, it seems much clearer what I want to do! And from there on I started an intensive path studying animation and motion capture and in less than two years, I started working for a major VFX company like MPC! It was like an enlightment, it felt so obvious and yet it took me so long to find my way and purpose. But everything now has come together and I couldn't be happier.

What does an animator do? 

The role of the animator is to bring characters to life, to give them believability and express their emotions. In VFX we also must make sure that the characters are realistic enough to let the public believe they can be part of the reality we’re showing.  It’s a very long and detailed process but it’s so rewarding.  

What skills does an animator need? And do you need to be a good artist?

A good eye for detail, and a lot of patience! You’re going to spend hours looking for the right reference to give your character that exact movement in that tiny little frame range. It’s a matter of research and processing.

What’s the thing that surprised you the most when you first started in the industry?

The environment. I couldn’t wait to see how things worked behind the screen and I’m still living the excitement and enthusiasm it’s like the first day of school or the day you go on your first trip overseas.

What advice would you give someone looking to start a career in animation?

I may sound repetitive but keep studying hard, you won’t stop studying. Never. That’s the secret to be successful. It’s good to have dreams and please do follow them no matter what but don’t take anything for granted, you must earn it. Be respectful with your colleagues and team mates. Be humble in accepting criticism. I know great animators that before this used to work as surgeons or civil engineers, so the sentence ‘it’s too late’ is not allowed, it’s just an excuse.

 

  

Keep studying hard, you won’t stop studying. Never. That’s the secret to be successful.

Melissa Coarezza