This month, we’re shining the spotlight on Aardman CGI Artist, Signe Tveitan. Read on to find out her proudest achievement, how she maintains a healthy work/life balance, and just how quickly she can solve a Rubik’s cube…
1. How did start out in the industry and what is your role at Aardman?
I am lucky enough that my first job is here at Aardman. Before that, I had a 3-month internship with a studio in Luxembourg called Zeilt Productions.
Here I work as a generalist CGI artist, meaning I do a lot of different things. All the way from sculpting concepts to final models, texturing, hair and fur, lighting and compositing. I really enjoy the variation in tasks, and I love solving the challenges that come with it.
2. To date, what has been your biggest professional achievement?
Not a strictly a professional achievement, but in my final year of university I pitched and directed the graduation film, City of Memories. I worked for a year together with 8 classmates to make the film. I consider this my biggest achievement so far because I was so nervous going into it. I had never directed before, and the scope of the project seemed so intimidating. But I pulled myself together because I knew that it was a unique opportunity that I did not want to miss out on.
It was tough, but I am very happy and proud that I did it. Since I graduated with the film in January 2018 it has been screened at more than 20 festivals, including Bristol’s very own Encounters Film Festival.
3. Name three people who inspire you:
Two of my great friends, and fellow directors from my year of university, Rikke Planeta – Director of Bacchus, and Philip Piaget – Director of Reverie. Not only are they amazing people and great artists, they have also started their own animation studio, Ouros. Phillip being an animator and Rikke being a CG artist, they are an unstoppable team and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them!
Lastly I have been really inspired by Frederik Storm, Art Director and Co-Founder of Monkey Tennis. He is a graduate from the Animation Workshop and was one of my teachers when I first started to learn CG at the school. I vividly remember him starting every day by sharing incredible CG work. All in different styles and genres of the craft. I just remember being completely blown away by the possibilities, and all the things I wanted to learn!
4. What do you like most about working at Aardman?
There is such a nice atmosphere here! Most people here have families and young children, so there is a really great understanding that people have their personal lives outside of work.
5. What new technologies do you feel have had the most impact on the way you create?
I have always loved drawing so learning 3D was a massive jump. Not that 3D art or animation is a new technology as such, but it has certainly impacted the way I practice my craft.
6. What’s your desk like – messy or tidy?
My desk is generally pretty tidy. I have a couple of notebooks for keeping track of feedback and to do lists. You can always recognise my desk because I usually have at least 3 different types of Rubik’s cubes laying around. My personal record for solving a regular 3×3 cube is around 1 minute and 30 seconds. No world record, but fast enough for me!
7. What are your goals for the year ahead?
I am really excited by the 4D film we are currently working on and I really hope that more big CG projects are coming in the future. If I at some point could work on an Aardman CG feature then that would be the dream!
8. How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I come in to work a bit earlier than most people so I can get things ready for the day. This also means that I get to leave earlier and I have most of my evening free to relax and work on hobby projects. At the moment I am trying to knit a Quidditch sweater!
9. What has been your all-time favourite project that you’ve been involved with?
Probably the 4D film I am currently working on! It has loads of characters, and I have had a lot of fun working on this project!
10. What’s your best advice for artists today?
Maybe this advice is a bit more relevant for students, at least I wish that I had heard it more while I was studying: “CHILL!”
Make time for the things in life that help you relax and feel happy. If you can’t make a deadline within the time frame without burning yourself out, talk to whoever is planning the project as soon as possible. Chances are that they will be understanding and help reschedule.
11. Who is your favourite Aardman character and why?
Gromit! I love how expressive he can be without ever uttering a word.