Young aspiring designers get interactive on an exclusive dialogue session organised by The One Academy; inviting special guest Phat Phuong, lead set dresser from world renowned studio Pixar Animation Studios and Spencer Ooi, co-founder of Studio Climb Malaysia to bring about their collective experience of over 30 years working in the entertainment art industry. The 2-hour dialogue session was joined by The One Academy Principal, Tatsun Hoi and head of Digital Animation department, Seamus Tan.
Students learned how Phat, who has been working at Pixar for the past 10 years, begins his career in architecture before venturing into Pixar. For Studio Climb Malaysia specialising in concept design and visual development, Spencer said that some of the trying aspect of the job lies on time management, organisation and planning; how to deal with limited time frame given by the client and how to produce a quality work at the same time. "Also, to read director's mind well and have the passion to get great things done," Spencer added. He explained about the role of a concept artist and ways to deal with client when conflict happens.
Through answers to questions such as what happen when a job briefing is received, students get to understand more on the pipeline of working in an animation studio as both Phat and Spencer explained further on their job responsibilities and how to deal effectively with technical challenges that will arise on the job. Students were also given a sneak peek on what set dresser department does and how Phat goes about his day at Pixar.
On the challenges of working as a set dresser or modeller, Phat said that getting into the mind of the art director is important, as well as understanding the vision, paying attention to detail and having a constant dialogue among the people you’re working with. Students also asked about what Pixar is looking for in a set dresser, hoping to hit the basic requirements for the position.
"You need to have a good sense of aesthetics, know the fundamentals, colours and develop a good eye in art as well as keen observation skills," said Phat, adding that the ability to have curiosity in seeing details of your work is also important. "In this industry, you’ll always meet someone who is better so always see how you can improve and continue to improve. This applies to other fields as well, and in my case, learning architecture has helped me to work on what I can apply onto my work now," Lastly, he advise the students to be creative with their show reels when applying for a position in the entertainment art industry.