Graphic artist, 25, lands ‘dream job’ with Lucasfilm
Kalene Dunsmoor has just landed a gig that most digital arts grads can only imagine.
The 25-year-old has landed her first full-time job with none other than Lucasfilm Animation Company in Singapore. The group works with teams at Lucasfilm Animation in Marin County, and with Industrial Light and Magic and LucasArts in San Francisco, Calif.
Kalene and her new found friends spend their days creating a wide variety of work, including 3D digital environments, matte paintings and composites (combining elements into a single image or footage) for feature films, as well as 3D assets for games. "I have always had it in the back of my mind that working for Lucasfilm would be my absolute dream job," the Torontonian says. "I thought perhaps one day I’d be able to do that with more training and experience. This happened way sooner than I had thought."
She applied for the job in September after attending a job fair in Montreal — and within three months she got the call. Because Lucasfilm Animation Singapore is a brand new studio, they have more opportunities for entry-level talent. The California companies don’t hire straight out of school, but Singapore is building a new talent pool up from the ground level so there are lots of opportunities there.
Kalene didn’t have years of digital arts training — although she did spend a year in the program at Humber College. Getting to a Lucasfilm Animation studio in Singapore was more about learning a centuries old discipline.
The clincher says Kalene, was her two years of studies at the Academy of Realist Art in Toronto — one of the only studios in Canada that provides art training in the "academic style." There full and part-time students of all ages and skill levels can study a process that trained the likes of Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Rembrandt.
Reaching the upper levels of digital arts takes much more than fantastic computer skills. A top notch portfolio has to include demo reels, three-dimensional art work, digital samples and a solid sampling of life drawing. "That’s the way studios can really judge your talent. Anyone can copy a photo or create a digital image. But being able to draw anatomy is a big part of this work," Kalene says.
As far as settling into life in a new country, she says it’s all one great adventure. "I’m exploring all sorts of new areas. And to think, I had never even been on a plane before."