• 한국어
    • 日本語
    • 中文-繁體

    2023.01.05 The Originality

    Animator, Game Art, Daejeong Choe

    <THE ORIGINALITY> is a series about NC’s new generation — they are immersed in their jobs where they find inspiration. They pave the way towards excellence and then aim even higher.

    People at NC freely express themselves and achieve growth by challenging themselves to new experiences.

    Oddly enough, I’m trying to find a balance between work and life to achieve professional growth. In general, animators need a healthy dose of stress and pressure to produce higher quality work. At one point in my career, I pushed myself too hard, and it affected my health. What’s evident to me now is that this type of overwork for the sake of professional growth isn’t sustainable. I repeatedly remind myself to have a life outside of work which allows me to do my job with greater enthusiasm.

    Animator, Game Art, Daejeong Choe

    Animator, Game Art

    The job of an animator is to create “movement.” As an animator, I use my imagination to create things that don’t exist and make them come to life. My work is not limited only to characters. Starting from the background to conversations and menus, most elements that have motion within games fall under animation. When the characteristics of the moving subject are clearly conveyed, the player can have more detailed interactions with these characteristics, which allows the player to fully immerse themselves in the world within the game.

    Creating Movement that Doesn’t Exist

    I am working as an animator for an IP currently in development. I mostly work on animating the movements of monsters in the game. Whether it be people, animals, or plants, I give life to the unique movements that match their form and characteristics.

    Animators must see and observe a lot, if they wish to expand the range of motion that they can express through their work. In particular, game animators visualize the movements of characters and materialize them. To express movement that doesn’t exist in real life, researching sources of reference is essential. When no ideas come to mind, I search for similar references and combine basic movements to create new ones.

    Imagine in 360 Degrees

    A game character’s movements must be natural and believable from any angle, not just from a single point of view. Interaction of the movements with the environment must also be considered. Whether it be characters bumping into each other, a neck twisting from impact, or the action of picking up something from the ground and passing it to somebody else, we must be able to materialize the movements resulting from interactions between characters, monsters and the environment.

    Even working on abstract concepts is part of the animator’s job. For example, if I want a character’s combat scene to look cool, I have to make sure that the animation supports that purpose. Animators must be able to create a plethora of data and clips corresponding to various movements in order to ensure natural interactions, which must then feel real to users, thereby helping them fully immerse themselves in the game.

    What I Like Most About the Job

    The Charm of Giving Life

    I majored in Sculpture. Sculpture is a fascinating form of art that captures and expresses a moment in time. However, rather than conveying a singular moment in time, I was instead more attracted to expressing “movement.” I was interested in the process of observing a motionless character, imagining its nature, and materializing this nature into actual movements.

    During my studies, I had a chance to put my major to use by making a claymation video. At first, I wanted to use clay, but soon realized that this material had certain limitations. Eventually, I ended up creating the video using 3D animation. While working on the 3D video, I found myself enjoying the aspect of creating movement animations. As I had always enjoyed cinema, I was considering it as a career for some time. However, I was more drawn to animation since I felt that this was the field that I would enjoy and excel in the most. That is how I started my career as a cinematic animator.

    Natural vs Eye-Catching

    An animator’s role in cinema is to express visuals as realistically as possible. The results must not feel like they are generated by computer graphics (CG). The work we do mostly consists of making the animations feel believable, even for non-existent beings. The most important thing is to make everything work together according to the rules set by the director.

    The direction that game animations take is a little different. The animated subject must be designed so that any movement can be perceived by the player more clearly. If the subject is a monster, then its appearance, posture and movements must be defined more so that the characteristics which show it is a hostile target are more distinguishable. Compared to movies, which focus on camera angles to capture the image required for the scene, games demand dynamic factors, such as postures or actions, which must take interactions into consideration.

    How Far Can I Go?

    I used to think that in order to do cinematic animations, I needed to experience Hollywood. I always wondered what the scope of work done by skilled animators was. My desire to experience various projects was so strong that I moved to Canada without much of a plan. After moving to a new country, I needed to build my professional network and reputation from scratch. As I found myself going through this process repeatedly, I realized that I didn’t have the luxury of taking things slowly.

    The level of work done by animators handling major Hollywood projects was definitely high. I found that the bar was set high. After experiencing the level of work demanded by the industry, I realized what I had to do and learned how to work more efficiently. It became clear to me that if I wanted to have as many experiences as possible and grow professionally within a set amount of time, I had to work on my concentration skills. That is why I have developed the habit of creating the environment that helps me concentrate. After that, I make an effort and focus on the task. Even now, I work on some details in advance to optimize my work speed.

    Endless Challenges and Boundless Opportunities for Growth

    After working at several companies, I found myself at NC that provided boundless opportunities to grow as an animator. Whenever I oversaw the tasks that I was unfamiliar with, or when I was stuck on how to draw certain motions, there were plenty of skilled animators who I could turn to.

    Not only did these animators have impressive careers and possess solid know-how, but they were also very passionate about their work. Considering that such skilled animators work with sincere love for what they do, it is only natural that they achieve high quality results. I believe that NC’s strengths are that they offer many learning opportunities and have a large pool of experienced animators.

    Strategies to Keep Work Fun

    Leveling Up as an Animator

    Most animators, including myself, probably chose this career because they find the work fun. When I look at the people around me, they are still on the lookout for fun projects even in their 50s. The life of a game animator is sort of like an RPG in which I develop a character which is “me.” The more I have fun, the more I want to do better, and the more I put in the effort, the more growth I achieve.

    My motivation comes from the sense of accomplishment that I get when I see myself grow bit by bit as I work on different projects. Every time I realize that there’s much more to learn in this career, I feel relieved rather than feeling afraid. In fact, I look forward to how much more I can grow as an animator.

    Finding the Balance for Sustainable Growth

    Oddly enough, I’m trying to find a balance between work and life to achieve professional growth. In general, animators need a healthy dose of stress and pressure to produce higher quality work. At one point in my career, I pushed myself too hard, and it affected my health. What’s evident to me now is that this type of overwork for the sake of professional growth isn’t sustainable. I repeatedly remind myself to have a life outside of work which allows me to do my job with greater enthusiasm.

    I think that to stay in a job for a long time, it is not enough just to love what you do — you should also make sure that your life isn’t only about your work. In some sense, growing professionally also means learning to balance your personal and professional life.

    Cooperation is Key to Quality

    Game animation can’t be done alone, no matter how skilled the animator is. The final workpiece can be completed only when everyone puts in the effort. Since animators from different departments often work together on the same project, bringing the idea that was finalized only on paper to life, coordination is necessary. Through repeated mediation between multiple departments, the quality of the final result is elevated and the optimal result is achieved.

    Working on various projects, I came to realize that having an attitude of listening to and accommodating the opinions of others is important. Not only is this essential for quality, but people who are able to absorb the opinions of others like a sponge tend to develop their expertise faster than those who stubbornly stick to their own opinion.

    Becoming a Creative Animator

    I believe that a skilled animator is someone who demonstrates creativity rather than technical expertise. After all, I cannot say that I’m a good animator only because I can use a program well. I plan on continuing to develop my own unique style through further experiences and effort.

    It is also important to keep in mind that creativity is fostered in a fun environment. The environment helps animators feel appreciative of the work they do and stay motivated. I try my best to contribute to the working environment by approaching my colleagues as an energetic and accommodating team member.

    My current goal is to become an animator who can be trusted with any task — I want to be a professional who everyone relies on and looks forward to working with.

    * The content stated in this interview is the personal opinion of the interviewee and does not represent the official position of NCSOFT.