|Animation Draws BU Graduate into DreamWorks
30 June 2007
BU graduate Kevan Shorey talks about his involvement in the latest episode in the smash Hollywood series Shrek the Third.
Its no surprise that Hollywoods latest animated blockbuster received such a rapturous reception during its official UK premiere in London.
For starters, Shrek the Third features a leading man with a Scottish accent, and the actor Mike Myers who plays the friendly green ogre is borne of English parents.
Behind the scenes, Britains creative talent can really be seen at work, especially when it comes to bringing the characters to life via computer animation. Thats where BU graduate Kevan Shorey plays a key role.
Kevan is actually living out his childhood dream. As a youngster in South Wales, he had always had a vague notion of wanting to do "drawing on a computer".
The release of Toy Story inspired him to turn the notion of just drawing into a strong desire to become an animator.
I liked drawing, and I liked messing around with computers, so it seemed like a very nice way to spend a work day, says the 28-year-old.
As soon as I saw Toy Story, I knew that this was the career I wanted to pursue and direct my studies towards.
Kevan arrived in 1998 at the National Centre for Computer Animation in BUs renowned Media School and, three years later, completed his BA (Hons) in Computer Visualisation and Animation.
He then stayed on to complete a year-long Masters in Computer Animation, but he had already finished his first major work an undergraduate student film that would see his dream come true.
Joes Playtime is only a minute and a half long but its story of an imaginative lad armed with a toy gun and protected by a saucepan helmet made an impression on one of the best known makers of animated films in the world.
Shelley Page, the UK representative for PDI/Dreamworks attended the NCCAs student show in London. She liked Kevans film so much that she sent it to her colleagues in California.
As is standard on all of the Computer Animation degrees at the NCCA in Bournemouth, the final student short films are screened at the annual degree show in London to members of the visual effects and animation industries, said Kevan.
I was fortunate to have my work spotted by a representative of PDI/DreamWorks who sent my film over to San Francisco as a possible candidate reel for employment. It worked!
|BU graduate Kevan Shorey:
“As soon as I saw Toy Story, I knew that this was the career I wanted to pursue and direct my studies towards.”
Kevan now works for the company in California and has already performed his animation magic on a series of major releases, including Madagascar, Over the Hedge, and the last two Shrek films Shrek Two and Shrek the Third.
The experience of being part of the now legendary Shrek franchise is something Kevan never imagined and a definite experience that he wouldnt trade.
I feel very proud to have worked on the Shrek films, being such a high profile series, he enthused. It is an odd but amazing feeling to think just how many people are going to experience the work that I have created. Right now there is probably someone watching the film I had a hand in putting on the screen.
Although modesty prevents him from pin-pointing exact moments in the Shrek films that may suggest Kevan was here, he does credit some subtle acting moments from the third film as well as some of the more successful cartoony shots in Madagascar as being amongst his career highlights to date.
Preserving consistency of character is of the utmost importance in suspending the audience's disbelief, so I would like to say that my involvement is invisible to the audience, Kevan cautioned.
With that said however, every animator has a unique vision of how a shot will resolve itself, so each performance will exhibit something of its creator. There are people whose work on the film is instantly recognisable since some of their personality is evident in the body language of the characters!
Technically and technologically computer animation is forever advancing. Between the two Toy Story films, the technology supporting the animation improved exponentially, allowing animators to do much more with the characters. Kevan agrees that the same could be said of the Shrek series.
I would say that both the technical and creative aspects of the Shrek universe have evolved greatly since the first film, he revealed. Characters and environments can now be more detailed, and our crew is always learning new ways in which to take advantage of these technical advances.
|"Every animator has a unique vision of how a shot will resolve itself, so each performance will exhibit something of its creator."|
Things like long flowing hair, advanced lighting techniques and simulated clothing were innovations that have been implemented during production to improve the quality of the image and support the storytelling and performance.
As part of the first animation team to commence work on the next blockbuster, Madagascar 2, Kevans career is advancing nicely, though he admits to having to pinch himself at times to believe its all real.
I have only been a full-time animator for three years and I am learning new things every day so I am very happy where I am right now, he said.
I wish to keep on trying to produce more sophisticated and resonant performances, and this is a goal that will easily see out the rest of my career. In this I have found what I always wanted to do, and I'm going to stick at it and improve.
For other BU graduates thinking of following in his footsteps, Kevan believes that everyone has to follow their own route to whatever it is they wish to do.
It seems like most of the people working in animation in London are connected to BU in some way and there are a number of people working here at PDI/Dreamworks who also studied at the NCCA, he concluded.
Having a wide array of experiences to draw on seems to be handy for any future career, but its specifically true of animation. I would say that my approach has been pretty successful and I count myself very fortunate to have ended up where I am so soon after graduating.Related Links: