Pene­lope Pochez

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Escape Studios - Pene­lope is a back­ground de­signer and car­toon pre­pro­duc­tion artist, and has worked on car­toon an­i­ma­tion pro­duc­tions in New York.

The grad­u­ate looks back at her course at Es­cape Stu­dios

What have you been study­ing at Es­cape Stu­dios?

Af­ter six years work­ing in illustration for an­i­ma­tion, I wanted to switch to visual ef­fects. But I re­alised it re­quired a lot of skill that I just didn’t have and that I needed to learn. So I took the com­posit­ing MA at Es­cape Stu­dios, and I handed in my last pro­ject a month ago. I’m at the stage now where the col­lege is help­ing me with my showreel and get­ting my ap­pli­ca­tions ready. Even though the course has of­fi­cially ended, they’re be­ing re­ally help­ful and proac­tive with their help.

Why did you pick Es­cape Stu­dios?

My fancy New York art school was fun but it wasn’t prac­ti­cal at all. Af­ter I grad­u­ated, I was just so clue­less on the jobs for the first year. So I wanted to make sure that what­ever school I went to ac­tu­ally taught me all the prac­ti­cal skills I needed to get a job.

What soft­ware have you stud­ied?

Most com­posit­ing is done nowa­days in a soft­ware called Nuke. It’s a very com­plex, not very user-friendly soft­ware that takes time to un­der­stand. It’s in­cred­i­bly ver­sa­tile, but you have to learn how to use it.

What were the other stu­dents like?

I was in a pretty small class­room. One of the other stu­dents had stud­ied me­dia at un­der­grad­u­ate level and an­other came from a fairly com­puter science-ish back­ground. I found that at Es­cape, around a third of the stu­dents come from de­sign back­grounds and two-thirds come from com­puter science back­grounds.

Did you work in a group or alone?

At first, we’re on our own, be­cause it’s such a hand­ful to un­der­stand the in­tri­ca­cies of how this soft­ware works. And then half­way through they have us work on a group pro­ject. That was prob­a­bly the most fun. Learn­ing to work with other peo­ple on a pro­ject, and com­bin­ing each other’s skills to make a shot look bet­ter than we could have on our own. The way they gave us projects was pretty well man­aged. At the end of it we re­ally had a lit­tle bit of every­thing to show in our showreel.

At the start of your ca­reer, did you ever think you’d be work­ing in this field?

Def­i­nitely not, but in hind­sight, it does make sense that I would evolve into visual ef­fects from the more il­lus­tra­tive as­pects of an­i­ma­tion. It of­fers a whole new world of pos­si­bil­i­ties: visual ef­fects are in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing.

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