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02/03 Saturday 10:59AM

the art of animation - ambuyart style

Denny loved cartoons as a kid.  He still loves cartoons as an adult.  He loves them so much that he creates them, makes them move and lets them tell stories. Denny Azriman started as a cartoonist for a local newspaper and now, he is an animation artist and he is constantly working to bring his imaginations to life. Anyone who can amuse us and bring out the child in us through humour and cartoons belongs in our good books and deserves to splash funny characters on our page.

When did your love for cartoons begin?
Since I can remember things. I had a home video of my birthday party when I was 3. When I know how to use the VCR, I recorded Mickey Mouse cartoons so I can watch it over and over again.

Where do you get inspiration for your cartoons?
Sometimes it is just a jolt in my right brain. Sometimes from experience, reading something or just anything. I train myself to overcome creative block by doing some basic activities – making a mindmap, prioritising, watching Youtube, sleeping, walking, or simply ask my wifey’s what her thoughts are.

What are your favourite cartoons and cartoon characters?
I can’t omit the classics although the list is cheesy. Sesame Street, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, the Muppets, Mickey Mouse and other Disney’s characters, original TNT cartoons, He-Man, Care Bears, My Little Pony, Jane and the Hologram, Macross, Doraemon, Beauty and the Beast, Wall-E, Toy-Story 3, Shaun the Sheep, Spongebob, but the most awesome is…Samurai Jack!

What did you do before you started animation?
Drawing cartoon comics for Juara, Mekar, Borneo Bulletin…

What are the tools required for animation?
Going into digital animation requires some money but it is faster than the traditional method. So I started with a B$1500 Acer (core2 duo 2.0ghz, 4gb ram, 256 video ram, in 2008!) computer, a B$371 Wacom, USD300+ for a Toonboom studio and a pendrive (to transfer files to production houses and other freelancers).

How long is the process to animate a 1-minute program?
Not taking into account the pre and post-production processes, just the production process takes me one to two working weeks, depending on the difficulty of animation.

What advice do you have for somebody who wants to take up animation?
Go to Youtube or Vimeo and learn the making-of videos. Study the artistic side. Learn the way to ‘cheat’ too, who cares. Test your chosen software by making some short personal projects. Prove to yourself first then prove to clients that you are able to deliver. If your intention is simply to do it as a hobby, you've got lots and lots of time to learn animation.

Have you worked with any celebrities? Local or international.
I’ve done the animation part of Malam Anugerah Pelangi 2008-2009 while the voice-over was done by Pelangi FM’s DJs.

What are the challenges to the animation process?
The pre-production really. If this part is screwed-up, it's hard to change during the production. There is one most tiring project, thank God it is over! Copy and paste could be the solution. But some cases it is beter and faster to start all-over again because of technical issues. Imagine it is done in traditional animation, I think I will faint.

What has been your most memorable assignment so far and why?
So far it has to be Malam Anugerah Pelangi 2008-2009 simply because of the creative freedom given by DJ Helen and DJ Iril. I was only present once at the concept briefing where they gave their input and then the rest was up to me to make it awesome. On the night of the event itself, I was very happy when I saw the crowd enjoying and laughing at the funny bits we produced.

What are your favourite 3 creations you have done lately?

1st was my first fun corporate video for Suci Mineral Water.

2nd is Laminit di Hari Raya (2010) with RegalBlue Productions. There were a lot of character animation required for that 1 week job which really tested my abilities.

Last but not the least, has to be the Malam Anugerah Pelangi 2008-2009.

What do you think of the local industry relevant to your work at the moment and where do you see it in 5 years time.
If we are talking about the local scene, I can only depend on local production houses, SMEs, government agencies and RTB, which is not sustainable for a full-time team specialising on cartoon animation. In 5 years time, my team will have a presence in the regional broadcasting market, that is the only way to push our dreams further.

Any animators you want to work with?
Genndy Tartakovsky - creator of Samurai Jack and Dexter’s Lab.

The last workshop/ seminar you attended and why?
It was in May 2008, an effort by RegalBlue Production - ‘2 days of Discovery’ by Encik Hassan. The workshop was more on story-telling for a movie - from the artistic perspective. We saw how P.Ramlee movies, Run Lola Run, Sepet and other great movies were made. It made me aware of my work, then and now.

Do you have any workshops on the horizon?
Yes of course. One thing on my mind is 3D animation using Blender. I will announce it once I can find the best time.

One way you market yourself?
My advantage is  that the name Ambuyart is already known since my time at Brunei Press as a cartoonist. So potential clients can associate cartoons and the name Ambuyart.

Do you advertise? If so where?
No, I don’t advertise really. Just have a good network. Some of my friends are reporters, so free advertising maaa...

How important is an awesome website to your business?
Very important. It will only be awesome if the portfolio is awesome. Currently, I am only using Facebook since I have to wait to have enough material to put on Ambuyart.com.

A website and/ or blog you visit often?
Youtube, Vimeo and Cgsociety.

What’s a typical day like for you?
 I usually start my day in the office at 8.45 a.m. after dropping off my wifey at work. Emailing and facebooking till 9.30 a.m. Start working till 11-ish then stop for a Milo-break. 12-ish is lunch. 1.30 p.m continue working. 3.30 p.m is 'Asar praying time and another Milo-break. By 5 p.m. I must go out of office or wifey will have a tantrum.

Something you are still learning?
A lot…right now my priority is 3D character animation.

What is your greatest fear?

I’m dead and doing nothing that benefits the living and my dead soul.

Something that is overrated?
An Facebook ‘friend’ chatted with me and said because of me the creative industry is different now. No lah. I am just playing my little part.

Something you are saving up for?
Ada le…

What item do you wish you had designed?
I am not a designer but if I can have a go at designing cars, I wish I had designed Porsche 911 series. Not to change it but just put my name on the designing team. Since 1963, the look of a 911 has remained pretty much the same.

If you could have lunch with anyone who is famous who would it be?
As long she pays the bills no problem. She? Katy Perry!

Your favourite movies of all time?
Beauty and the Beast, Wall-E, Toy Story3, Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, The Rock, Transformers.
Finish this sentence – If I had one wish….
I wish everything turns out to be ok.

Your readers can find out more about me and what I do:
Facebook search for Denny Ambuyart Azriman and Ambuyart Animations.

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