CG animator's passion for creating new worlds


31 Jan 2017

jonny bradley HERO



CG animator's passion for creating new worlds

31 Jan 2017

Alumni graduate Jonny Bradley credits the training he received at SAE Brisbane to helping him prepare for a variety of different roles in the Animation industry. The broad range of subjects he studied throughout his degree allowed him to easily swap between various roles in gaming development, cartoon shows and TVC's. 

SAE animation graduate Jonny Bradley
Since graduating with a Bachelor of Animation, Jonny has worked with Brisbane animation studio Liquid Animation with clients that included Disney Japan, Mattel, Golden Casket and SEQ Water.  He also lists games studios Spunge Games and N3V Games as past employers where he worked across television advertisments, cartoon shows, webisodes and mobile games, while simultaneously running his own freelance CGI company specialising in the creation of interactive animated installations and projection facades for festivals.  And if that wasn’t enough to keep him busy!  Jonny is currently building his own game using Unity that will allow the public to interact directly with these projection installations.

We took five with Jonny from his busy schedule and spoke to him about his time studying at SAE and the career he’s forged for himself in the colourful world of Animation…

What inspired you to enter into Animation?

I've always been interested in stories, especially the scenescapes they describe. While I find drawings and paintings intriguing, being able to develop environments and entire new worlds is what truly captivated my attention. Early Sci-Fi films such as Dune and Star Wars were truly inspiring in the way that they allowed artists to visually tell a story within an extensive imagined universe. However it was computer games which really hooked me into CG, being able to participate and interact within these imagined worlds is something special indeed!

SAE animation graduates work on a video gameSAE animation graduates work: Cartoon Survivor: mobile game

What are your fondest memories of your time at SAE?

Forming lifelong friendships with like-minded students, bonding over copious cups of tea and coffee figuring out how to finish certain projects. Feeling like something was impossible, but then making that breakthrough and being able to nail a project.

Can you shed some light on how studying at SAE lead you to where you are now?

Growing up I doodled and painted a little, however lacking fine art skills I didn't believe I could be involved in Animation.  Initially I enrolled at SAE to study Film & Digital Media but after seeing what the other students were being taught in their Animation course I was quick to switch over. The degree not only gave me the skills to create CGI, it also allowed me to understand the production pipeline throughout its many sections and appreciate the roles of others involved within the industry.

What are your career highlights?

Developing environments from concept to completion for a Lucky Lotteries commercial has to be one of my favourite moments. I was given the opportunity to contribute my own ideas throughout the project, enabling me to push myself both artistically and technically.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

Currently I'm working as a CG Generalist at SpungeGames on the Faily Games franchise. 
I also run my own business Jixal Boxx, creating various CG art, ranging from arch viz to projection mapping stages at festivals.

What advice would you give to students aspiring to become successful their field?

Be prolific with your art, don't settle for the status quo, and always try to push yourself further. Try to learn a bit of everything, but don't spread yourself too thin. It’s particularly important for CG artists to initially learn to be a generalist; this enables them to be a more valuable team member. Over time though you should narrow your focus to a specific skill that you can master.

If your interested in VFX, Technical Directors (TD's) are highly sort after. I find the role is extremely rewarding as you get to create amazing visual effects and are often paid well. Sometimes it can be a hard path to travel as you have to combine high technical knowledge with esoteric artistic skill.

If you lean more towards games it's critical to be able to not only create art within a 3D program, but also to understand how to use and manipulate these assets within a multitude of game engines.

Learning scripting will give you an edge over the competition, even basic scripts can save you vast amounts of time.

One final piece of advice would be to learn how to cope with tight deadlines, as it's true that diamonds are formed under pressure!

Did you do any studies before starting at SAE, or have you studied since? 

I haven’t done any formal studies since graduating from SAE, but I have undertaken some online courses – I continually try to fill in the gaps of my knowledge. In the past two years I've taught myself Resolume, After Effects, V-Ray, and most recently UE4.

SAE graduate works on animated show

What do you enjoy most about working in your industry?

I love working in a creative industry and being able to manifest ideas into reality.  Anything is possible if you put your mind to it – it's both exciting and humbling. There really is no limit on what can be achieved, the bar is continually being raised higher and higher everyday.

What did you love most about studying at SAE?

I enjoyed being in an environment where both tutors and fellow students were passionate about what they do and were always happy to help out and offer advice where needed.

Can you share an artist that inspires you? 

There are so many inspiring artists, a few standout ones for me are:

  • Vitaly Bulgarov & Grant Warwick – Amazing creators of next level CGI.
  • Allan Mckay & Ash Thorp – Prolific self taught artists who have reached the top of their game and now put in a massive effort helping the CG community. I would highly recommend checking out their podcasts.
  • Another podcast to check out would be CG Garage hosted by Chris Nichols who gives invaluable is night into the industry.

Follow Jonny


Facebook: @jixal.boxx
LinkedIn: @jmb70

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