Interview by Victor Yap
What do you do when you’re unemployed, have the necessary skills and talent to land a job in the animation or pre-production/post-production industry and thinking of trying your luck with freelance creative work? Well you could hunt for contract work, join an agency, or drop off a copy of your CV/portfolio at studios with the hope being assigned to a role in a big featured film/animation series project.
The other option is to follow what Daim Dziauddin, an Animator/Illustrator in POLYGON PICTURES INC (PPI), did. So what had this eager young man with the easy-going character gone and do exactly? Like any budding artist who wants to jump into the industry he loves, he follows a lead, shows-off his works, establishes a connection, impresses people, and, thus, has put a foot into the doorway. In doing so, he had been given the opportunity to work with a few world famous brands and teams in the animation, videogame, and toy industries. The list includes the studios behind Capcom (Street Fighter IV), Hasbro (Transformers: Prime), and Disney Studios (Tron: Uprising). The last two are currently playing in HD on ASTRO.
PPI also had other major productions as well, such as Lucasfilms (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Square Enix (Thief), Capcom USA and Namco Bandai Games (Street Fighter X Tekken), Tecmo (Dead or Alive 4), Kadokawa Games (Lollipop Chainsaw), the now defunct SNK Playmore (King of Fighters: Maximum Impact 2), and, just recently, Ghibli Studios (Ronia, The Robber’s Daughter).
Head on over to http://www.ppi.co.jp/works/ to see more of PPI works. Of course Daim had been a part of some of these projects but he worked primarily on the two animated series that are now being aired on Cartoon Network and Disney Channel channels on ASTRO.
What do you work as in PPI?
I started out as an animator in PPI. Somehow, along the way, I ended up being an illustrator during one of the projects my team had been assigned to. Because of that, I now have to alternate between the two roles. It mostly depends on what they need more – if they need an illustrator, then I’d be that or I’d switch to animator if there is a shortage.
What’s the story? How did it started for you?
Well, it’s a pretty simple story. I had been unemployed at the time and on the lookout for job opportunities. My old college friend that I met with one day told me that his friend got into Polygon Pictures through some CG event in Singapore. I knew my chance is lying in wait over there so I took the opportunity to make a trip to the island nation and attended this convention that the organisers called CG Overdrive…I think? It is at this massive 3D computer graphics event that I met some PPI folks there. They’d been really nice then and I believe I impressed them some. Of course, the rest – as they say – is history.
What projects did you work on?
With my team assignment, I have directly worked on the following projects: Tron: Uprising and Transformers Prime. There are others I want to share about but I’ve been advised against doing so. (Ed: I’ll give you all, dear readers, a hint as to what Daim worked on: it’s a famous fighting videogame with water effects.)
What inspired you to consider such a job?
Animation has been something that caught my interest since I had been a kid. Although…well, can I be frank with you? Originally, I used to love doing animation. However, as I grew older, my passion had somehow gradually diverted to story-writing. In fact, my need to do better stories has pushed me to improve the innate animation processing skills I have with me as well since they go hand-in-hand. In turn, the desire to do better animation work also motivated me to write better stories.
What were you doing before you decided to work on animation?
I was, erm, studying animation? (Laughs!) Seriously, I graduated and got out to look for a job. I just followed a few leads, did what I need to do, then landed this job. And so…here I am in Japan living the dream!
What sort of gadgets do you use? Are you an Apple or Android?
Truthfully, neither. I’m very tech-unsavvy and would rather just pick up a device that can help me do my work.
If there is one thing you’d like to do for the animation industry, what would it be?
Of course, it has to be about making an animation that Malaysians can be proud of! I want to produce something that is not condescending. Rather, it will be something that is classy and stylish. In fact, I’m already in the process of making that animation, so fingers crossed as I work hard and hope it will change the world! If you want more information on this, I will be updating the whole work process on my Facebook page (facebook.com/daistorypage) and Youtube channel (http://youtu.be/9BvrmSxyNLg).
What sort of advice do you have for would-be artists?
I would say stop pandering to people (like the masses or even your own close critiques) and create stuff that excites YOU. I’ll let you in on a personal secret: finding an audience is a non-issue for creatives. In fact, it really shouldn’t be a problem. There will be people out there who will like your work.
Any tips for budding animators who want to join the animation industry?
For animators…well…just observe life around you, especially the people that go by. In being observant and mindful of your surroundings, you’d be able to improve your skills further. It’s the best way to learn in my opinion!