We got in touch with veteran local artist and head of Skills and Development for Animation South Africa, Wynand Lens (but call him Lens, he likes that). We asked him a few questions about his experience in the animation industry, his thoughts on animation in South Africa and his free slap on rig ( A bargain guys, go have a look at his Slap On Auto Rigging Script below).
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
Hi I’m Wynand Lens and I am head of Skills and Development for Animation South Africa. I have been a lecturer for 8 years and have been the head of the Centre for Fine Art Animation and Design in Cape Town for the last two years. Since then I have left teaching to start off on my own as a Free-Lance CG artist. As a lecturer I have gained a wide range of skills when it comes to 3D Computer Graphics. As a professional, I specialise in Character Setup (Rigging). I have worked mostly in advertising, but have done the 3D side of VFX work for a couple of Feature Films.
What do you think the future holds for Animation in South Africa?
Neal mentioned you have a Popular Auto Rig released online?
You bring life and laughter to any conversation [Fact]![Editor Neal: Tell us what you think has contributed to you being such a friendly and vibrant person?]
In what skill do you specialise?
What has been your most memorable experience in your work thus far?
How do you stay so creative and motivated?
I think there is no one key to creativity, instead it is based of a few practices. They are all the old ones everyone knows, Discipline, Attention and Effort. Thinking about where I am and where everyone else is on the 10 000 hour* ladder keeps me extremely motivated. This is a race, and we have so few years to run it in. Doing anything but your best is not an option. It is always a good idea to think of a problem before you go to sleep and let your subconscious play around with it in your dreams. More often than not you wake up with the answer.
Creativity comes from everywhere, but primarily creativity comes from solving problems. Find yourself a problem more difficult than you can initially handle, and your creativity will be ignited.
*10 000 hours is based on the theory that you need 10 000 hours of purposeful practice in order to be masterful in a field. On average it takes a human about 10 years of active participation to achieve that. Reading: Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers and Matthew Syed’s Bounce.
What is your opinion on the whole Generalist/Specialist discussion?[Editor: Do you feel artists should specialize or be generalists or should they learn a bit about many fields, but specialize in one or two fields?
Are you currently working for an institution or studio or are you freelancing?
Where can we see your work that you have done?
What has been your biggest project to date, anything learned from the experience?
What is your favourite piece of work?
Any other nuggets you’d like to share for future Animator/VFX Artists.
The only thing I’d like to say is ’10 000 hours of purposeful practice and you WILL be a success, guaranteed!’
What is your favourite beer? We like craft beer)
Do you have any social media links that we can visit?
That's what my work screen looks like. How about yours? pic.twitter.com/ptRKWfqUyh
— Lens (@wlenslens) November 18, 2015
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Neal's everyday work showcases a blend of technical mastery and creative innovation. His artistic flair is evident in his digital illustrations, where he produces captivating visuals on tablets. Additionally, Neal enriches written content as a co-author at Pixelsmithstudios, offering unique industry insights and expertise. This combination of visual and written contributions highlights Neal's diverse talents. As a Co-Owner of Pixelsmithstudios, he further applies his skills as a Motion Graphics Designer, specializing in various aspects beyond marketing content creation.