Greg Murray recently worked on South Africa’s greatest animation to date “Zambezia” and we had the great opportunity of interviewing him and learning more about the everyday workings and life of an animator. We can’t wait to see what they work on next!
Set texturing / water
1.Tell us about yourself, how your passion started,where you are now?
I’m a small town boy. I spent most of my life growing up in Grahamstown, South Africa. After finishing school and feeling like a bit of a change I decided to try London out for a few years, which opened my eyes a lot through different opportunities and experiences. I returned to South Africa in 2004 and moved to Cape Town, with the intention of studying. I had always been interested in visual art, and even though at that point I didn’t know how to copy and paste, I decided to choose the computer as the medium, and begun my career in animation.
Character texturing / fur
2. How long have you been working in the animation industry?
I have been working in the animation industry since 2007.
Charcter texturing / fur
3.Where and what courses did you study?
I chose to study a two year introduction to animation course with The Animation School, which was based in Loop Street and then known as Universal Computer Arts Academy.
4. What field of animation do you specialise in?
Right now I specialise in the actual animation, mostly character animation. I didn’t choose this directly as it was more what was needed at the time and I ended up getting into it and enjoying it a lot. Although I do still hold a broad interest in most things visual, so I like to keep learning new techniques and disciplines. Some of these include photography, editing, film, colour grading.
Character texturing / fur / animation
5. Was it difficult getting into the industry after completing your studies?
It took a bit of hunting, but nothing more than usual. I think I was quite lucky finding a space in a small young company with a great boss.
6. What needs to happen in your morning routine in order to ensure maximum creativity?
If the job is fun then it seems to just flow. Otherwise you’ve just got to have a cup of coffee, put your head down and get to it.
7.Which Animation software would you recommend and why?
I don’t really like saying I think 1 software package is better than another, as this makes it easy to blame the software when things don’t turn out how you expected. At the end of the day they all do the same things, some better than others. Two packages I’ve used and liked are Maya and Softimage. They didn’t crash too often.
8. Any personal projects you’re currently busy with?
I like to keep myself busy, but usually in my spare time I stay away from the pc. I like to use my hands and build things, so at the moment I’ve just finished a surfboard and now planning on making a bench, table, bed etc.
I used to sell death insurance over the phone. I was once a gardener and garbage collector.
They used to call me Mainstay, after an incident involving a bottle of cane.. Other than that I’ve been called just about every word that rhymes with Murray (Editor: Snow flurry,Lamb Curry, you get the idea, we’ll stick with Murray since it reminds us of one of our favorite gaming characters ).
11. Your favorite project you’ve worked on?
I worked on Zambezia, a local full length animated film, which has just been released in South Africa. This was my favourite project to work on so far because of the scale and the experience gained.
12. What other projects,hobbies and interests do you have?
I like to surf a lot and like I mentioned I also like to build things, mainly furniture. At the moment I’m trying to resurrect my old pc, I guess this is turning into a “project”, but not a hobby.
13. Any tips for future animators?
Give it a couple of years to figure out what you would like to specialise in and then go for it. A lot of time is needed to perfect your craft. Have confidence in your ability and don’t sell yourself short.
Thanks for the great interview Greg, we wish you all of the best in your career. Keep on Inspiring!
If you would like to contact Greg you can reach him through his website:
Tel: (+27) 071 523 7276
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Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.