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iAnimate Student Spotlight - Jean Nguyen

Jean Nguyen landed his first job for Glu Mobile as an animator for Dino Hunter, a mobile app game, thanks to iAnimate! Jean also made a good friend in Games workshop 2 that helped him get a job at Hardsuit Labs right after Glu Mobile studio closed down. He spent the last 5 years at Hardsuit Labs working with amazing people and gained valuable experience with Mocap. Unfortunately, the game he worked on at Hardsuit Labs was moved to another studio. Jean couldn't update his demo reel with any work he had done, so he spent the last few months updating his demo reel with new personal work that got him a job now at Sucker Punch Productions!

“It still seems unreal but I’m very excited to announce that starting next week, I’ll be joining the @SuckerPunchProd as a gameplay animator! I can’t wait for <3”

Jean Nguyen via Twitter

After he graduated from a 4-year college, Jean felt his demo reel and animation skill wasn't good enough to get his first job at a gaming studio, so he found iAnimate.

"I was very attracted to the rigs they provided, which till today, I still use. I also saw so many students' works that looked good and motivated me to join iAnimate to get better. I wanted my work to be shown like that one day and motivate others as it did for me.”

Jean took the following Games Animation here at iAnimate:

Jean learned that nothing beats using references, so he worked on his processes and made what professional animators do in studios. Here are Jean’s creative processes that he does on his iAnimate assignments:

  1. Before starting a scene, the first thing I do is find references, even if it's just an idle, to get started. I want to see my character's personality first, so I start by creating multiple passive poses to help me get an excellent visual and sense of the character.
  2. I plan my animation as much as possible before I start making another pose since I like to work straight ahead.
  3. I picture myself as the character and figure out what the next move will look like, how the character thinks, and what is the character's thought process. Then, I make sure the poses are strong and the feel of the animation feels excellent. Because I work straight ahead, I usually end up with many poses, not just the golden poses.
  4. Once I have all the poses down, I start adjusting the animation's timing. My blocking should look and feel good already where it doesn't take too long to polish.

Most of Jean’s work is for gameplay animation, so the most important thing he learned from iAnimate is how the animation feels. The game is for the players, so it is essential that everything feels terrific and is responsive. Players should be able to read what is going on, so having a solid pose, distinguished silhouette in enemies, and significant contrast changes between moves and timing in animation can help push it to feel amazing for the player.

Jean's student demo reel

You can reach Jean via:

Q&A with Jean Nguyen

iAnimate:What do you think of your online Instructor(s), and how did they help you?

Jean: Richard Arroyo and Brett Pascal were my two iAnimate game instructors, and they helped me grow so fast within a short period. I learned to push my animations to the next level that fits what game studios are looking for.

I was prepared and ready with their expertise once I got hired and started off running on my first day at Glu Mobile and Hardsuit Labs.

iAnimate: How did iAnimate help you to evolve as a character animator?

Jean: What made me evolve as an animator after iAnimate is learning what makes an excellent animation for video games. I also learned what it is like day to day for an animator at a game studio, which made me prepared once I got hired. Another important thing I've learned is that communication between your team and co-workers is vital, so any questions, no matter how small or silly they might sound, should be asked. Great animations for games take teamwork from every discipline, so don't be shy.

iAnimate: What kind of animator do you consider yourself after taking your workshop?

Jean: I became a more confident animator, ready to continue growing because I can see how much I've improved after the game workshops, which also shows during my interviews. When I was hired, I wasn't just hired because my art test looked good enough but because I was confident, passionate, and excited to animate.

iAnimate: What kind of animation project do you want to work on?

Jean: I want to be known in the animation community for my work in games. I want to have students look at my work and be motivated like I was. I want to make a difference in the games I work on, especially action-fighting games. I believe my experience with Mocap from start to end is valuable for games.

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