MONT.IR – Samuel Simanjuntak

Hai Anak Bengkel!

Di awal tahun baru ini kami kembali menghadirkan tokoh MONT.IR: Samuel Simanjuntak, yang saat ini bekerja sebagai Environment/Generalist Artist di industri VFX internasional. Langsung aja kita ngobrol-ngobrol yuk!

samuelBengkel Animasi (Bgkl): Hi Samuel! Happy New Year! Thanks for having the time to chat and share your story with us.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Samuel (Sam): Hi, I’m Sam (Samuel Simanjuntak), I was born in Solo, Indonesia. I’m currently working as Environment Artist/Generalist at MPC Montreal. Before working here, I used to work for a smaller company called Side Street Post, and that was my first job in the vfx industry. I’ve worked on few TV series, such as: Spooksville, Window Wonderland, The Christmas Ornament, and Signed Sealed Delivered, and also feature films: X-Men Days of Future Past, The Martian, Pan, The Legend of Tarzan, X-Men Apocalypse, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman

Bgkl: Wow! That’s a pretty solid portfolios! Congrats for working on such big projects! So, what made you interested into CG and decided to choose CG as a career & profession?

(Sam): Watching movies such as Toy Story , Monster Inc, Jurrasic Park, The Day After Tomorrow, etc, got me interested into CG. That interest made me learned how to make my own 3d animation. I took an animation course and also learned from several tutorial books. But all that didn’t made me choose this line to be a career yet. I was just doing it more like a hobby. At that time I was just doing some freelance works, and was also teaching basic 3D, while finishing my study in Computer Sciene. I always thought that computer science is going to be my career. But after some time, I felt like I’m more and more into CG rather than Computer Science.

After graduated from university, I decided to further learn and develop my skills in CG and pursue a career in VFX industry. At the time, my family was against me, they didn’t support my decision as there were not or very limited job opportunities for such career line in Indonesia. But in the end, I managed to convince and getting full support from them.

Bgkl: How was ur learning process? Did you have any formal education related in CG? 

(Sam): I took animation courses and read many tutorials. I also did several small freelance works, which allowed me to apply the skills and knowledge that I have learned. After graduating from University in Jakarta, I went to Vancouver to learn CG for VFX formally.

Bgkl: Can you tell us the story of landing your first job in the industry?

(Sam): I got my first job at a small VFX company one month after I graduated from VFX school. I found out about them from a job fair that I attended in Vancouver. I was hired as a VFX Generalist, where I was required to do almost everything, but my main task was doing FX simulation.
I consider myself very lucky to be able to land my first job, considering the competition amongts all the graduated students from all over the world, who all were looking for a job in the VFX industry in Vancouver. Many of my friends had to go back to their home country because they couldn’t get a job, or didn’t get  any extention for their work visa.

Bgkl: And how was your career journey goes from there up until where you are now? Please share with us the ups and downs

(Sam): From my first company, I then got hired by MPC Montreal as FX TD for X-Men: Days Of Future Past. After that project was over, the FX department shrinked down as there were no project requiring many FX works. Few of my colleagues were being let go by the company, while me and the rest were being asked to be transferred to the Environment department to help build CG Vegetations like trees, bushes, and other plants for the Cinderella project. I also helped did camera projection setup for the show. After that project was done, I decided to stay in the Environment department until now.

Bgkl: How did you managed to start working overseas? What do you think is needed to compete in international industry for a CG artist like yourself?

(Sam): I studied VFX in Vancouver so I think that was my starting point to live overseas. But this doesn’t guarantee to find a job.  As I said, the competition was tough, there were many artists from all around the world, who were all competing for jobs.
If we want to compete in the international industry, we need to keep improving our skills. Always keep learning and updating our portfolios. International companies will prefer to hire foreigners with more experience, rather than a fresh junior artists. They would rather look for local talents to fill in for junior positions. It’s also important to keep up with the technology/software that are being used in the industry, because sometimes companies have the tendency to hire someone who has the experience using the tool/software that are used in their pipeline.

Bgkl: Working in a company as big and as reputable as MPC is a huge deal!
How is the experience like working in a big company such as MPC?
Can you tell us what is your role in the company? What is your main responsibility?

(Sam): It has been a really great experience. Here, I can learn many things and improve my knowledge and skill in VFX. But I always remind myself to update my knowledge cos the competition is still happening, even when you already working inside the industry.

Working as an Environment Artist/Generalist, my responsibility is to create photorealistic CG environment, which includes modeling, texturing, shading, lighting and rendering. I also do camera projection setup.

Samuel.jpg

Samuel’s work in various film projects

Bgkl: What do you think is the 3 most important things for a good Generalist/FX TD should have? And why is that?

(Sam):

– A strong artistic and technical skills. Artistic skill is to create beautiful final image, while technical skill is to find a way to achive that.

– The desire to always keep learning and improving.

– Passion to do the work and creating the arts.

Bgkl: Can you share any memorable moments in your career life that you really think is important to you

(Sam): There was one time I was awarded a 3ddmvp, which appreciates the most valuable artist in the 3ddmp/environment department. Eventho’ it’s not really important, I still feel great about having it.

Bgkl: Which amongst your work, that you really proud of and feeling most satisfied with? why is that?

(Sam): I like one of my work in X-Men: Apocalypse, in Hank’s Lab scenes. I had a big part on building the lab props from the beginning until the final render.

Bgkl: Do you still have any future dream? how do you grow and motivate urself to reach that dream?

(Sam): I hope i could open my own VFX studio one day, and I need to always do my best and keep learning and be better to achieve that dream.

Bgkl: What do you do in spare time that helps you grow as an artist?

(Sam): A little bit of photography. I also like to watch good tutorials to always feed my brain with new knowledge.

Bgkl: How do you see our local animation education & industry progressing in your eyes?

(Sam): I think it has a big progress. I noticed that more and more Indonesian artists are now working in international industry, which means that the quality of our local education and industry is getting better.

Bgkl: What do you think is needed to make them progress even more and able to compete in international market?

(Sam): We have to keep improving our education level to match the international level. That way, our artists can produce high quality works and able to compete in the international market.

Bgkl: What do you think Indonesian CG artists chance of breaking into international industry?
What do they need to have to compete internationally?

(Sam): Indonesia has many talented CG artists and definitely has the chance to break into international industry. To compete internationally they’ll need a good demoreel and experience. Junior artist can start gaining experience in the local industry, and in time, with enough portfolios and experience, they will have bigger chance to work overseas.

Bgkl: Thanks a lot for sharing, Sam! All the best of wishes in the new year for you!