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Reza is moulding the next gen of creators

It’s said that a good teacher explains, but a great teacher inspires. Reza Sarkamari is the Animation Department Coordinator at SAE Sydney and is well respected by his students for his ability to do just that, inspire them.
Reza moulding next generation

With over ten thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel, recognition by Autodesk as their ‘AREA artist of the month’, and a list of students who have gone on to have successful careers at studios like Industrial Light & Magic, Reza is regarded as one of the true leaders in his field.

Going back to the beginning of his career, Reza began his journey in animation when he was just 18, as an environment modeler at Saba Co in Tehran, Iran.

“I got the chance to work with a small group of artists on commercial advertisements using 3D Studio 4.0. It was a very different world back then where we had to go through software manuals to understand how applications worked,” Reza said.

Teaching the future

For the last two decades, Reza has been moulding the next generation, with almost ten of those years at SAE Sydney.

“It’s very difficult to have a boring day at SAE when you’re in class. You always leave the campus with at least one exciting, funny, or interesting story to tell,” Reza enthused.

“I am blessed to collaborate with a very talented and professional team outside the class as well which makes my daily experience even more fulfilling.”

One of the most satisfying aspects of teaching, Reza added, are the connections he’s built with students who have gone on to carve careers in the industry.

“I have days when students from twelve years ago message me on LinkedIn or YouTube to let me know how they’re doing. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing the impact you’ve had on someone’s life, to the point that they remember you years later.”

“As an educator, I don’t seek praise, so former students dropping me a message is motivation enough to be the best I can be for myself and my students.”

One of Reza’s former pupils, Enrico Leasa, a Layout Artist at Industrial Light & Magic, explained the impact his former teacher has had on his career.

“In the industry you have to have strong problem solving skills, so that was something Reza drilled into me during my degree,” Enrico said.

“For me personally, he was really effective in giving me confidence in my own ability and helping me grow as an artist – I’ll always be appreciative for that.”

Sharing his knowledge

With over ten thousand subscribers, Reza’s YouTube channel provides step-by-step tutorials on how to develop your animation and creative skills.

“As an educator, it is important to stay active and practice what you deliver in class. YouTube has created this opportunity for me where I’ve been challenging myself to explain different animation concepts,” Reza said.

“I never get bored when I design fun, creative, and interactive content that allows my audience to learn and grow.”

Most recently, Reza was recognised by Autodesk, one of the leading 3D design, engineering and entertainment software companies, as its ‘AREA artist of the month’.

“This title means a great deal to me, since only 12 artists globally have the chance to receive this recognition every year. It’s also inspiring for my students, and illustrates to them that good things happen when you work hard, and you love your profession.”

Industry insights

Looking to the future, the animation lecturer discussed the developments in the industry and the opportunities available to animators through virtual production.

“We’re living in an exciting era where the entire animation production pipeline is shifting and virtual production is creating new opportunities for multiplatform storytelling, creative talent, and creative technology skill sets,” Reza said.

“Since the pandemic began, every major studio I know has revisited its production strategy. Many artists believe that virtual production may be the solution to remedy the issues some of the studios are having.”

And for those who’re looking to make their mark in the industry, Reza had some valuable words of wisdom.

“Having a willingness to learn, resilience, and motivation are important factors to succeed. I always say to my students that mistakes are nothing to be ashamed of but rather a chance to learn and do better next time.”

Two students working on animation

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