If you live in the South, you probably came across this Silverworks billboard on one of your trips going back home. It’s been there for about a month already. It’s said to be situated at the Alabang Exit in the South Luzon Expressway. I’m not sure whether there are more of this and where they are located but this was the very first one to be spotted in Manila.
I haven’t seen it for myself but it means a lot to me. Why? Well, it’s because my BFF, James P. Manlangit, was one of the graphics artist for that billboard. It’s his first ever billboard right after graduating just this July from De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde with a degree in Animation. I’m so proud of you, Jems!
Here’s a video of the commercial by Silverworks’ Live To Play that appeared on TV:
He was the one to create the deer antler horns on the model. Seeing James always busy working on that for weeks gave me an idea of how taxing it is to be an animator or a graphics design artist. It was right then when I thought of making a blog post about him, so I asked James a series of questions. 🙂
What programs do you use for your projects?
“The default programs that I use are Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop, Premiere & After Effects and Pixologic Zbrush. Programs that I’m currently learning that I want to add to the default programs I use are The Foundry’s Nuke and Next Limit Technologies Realflow.”
How did you land on the Silverworks’ Live To Play projects?
“I asked my professor from CSB, Joel Chua, if he knows anyone or any place he could recommend for me to find freelance work while I was waiting to fly off to L.A. One day, I just get a message from sir Joel and he tells me about this project from Publicis JimenezBasic. He then showed my Multiply Portfolio to them and they liked my works specifically the Work In Progress I had on sea creatures because that’s what they were looking for. He asked me if I was up to it and when I agreed the next day I was able to contact Publicis.”
How did you feel when you were working on your Silverworks projects?
“Very excited and nervous. It was my first freelance work, and the funny thing was I thought it was just a poster around A3 or a wall sized artwork that we were gonna do. When I talked to Publicis, they said it was a billboard and I was shocked. So it was pretty exciting landing my first freelance with a big project and nervous since it was gonna test my capacity and knowledge in 3D.”
What were the difficulties you experienced while doing those projects?
“I had two problems. One was rendering fur and the second one was rendering really big images. It was the first time I rendered an image that was 3,000 by 3,000 and above. Fortunately, I was able to find answers to my problems and I learned a lot throughout the whole process.”
How did you feel when your first billboard was put up?
“Very excited to see it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to, well personally I was happier though when Aiko So (Art Director) sent the final edit of the Stag first before the billboard was put up. I just kept staring and smiling at it, haha. But the next day, when I looked at it, I told myself, I could’ve done better.”
What can you advice to other graphics artists, animators and whatnot like yourself?
“You have to make sure that you love what you do because you’ll go through a lot of frustrations along the road, and when that happens you’ll feel like you want to give up or ask yourself what did I get myself into. That is why it’s very important to make sure you love it because that’s what’s gonna get you through those tough times. It’ll be worth it and remember it’s not the destination that’s important, it’s the journey. Learn as much as you can and a very important thing is to always keep an open mind, learn to accept comments on your work; it’s the only way to improve.”
What are your other goals with regard to graphics and design?
“I have two sky high dreams, haha, but hopefully I’ll be able to achieve them. One is to put up a VFX company in the Philippines and the other one is to teach what I’ll be learning and experiencing here in the U.S.”
Besides graphics, animation and whatnot, what else do you do or focus on?
“Tough one, haha, what I do whenever I’m not in front of the computer or with a sketchpad? Hhhmmmm. Well, the second thing I love as much as art is physical fitness, haha. I love to workout, do body-weight training or pumping iron. I love to read, but unfortunately, I don’t get that much time reading anymore since I spend almost all of my time practicing in 3D and drawing so when I’m not doing either of the two, I read.”
What are the life lessons you attained from being a graphics artist or an animator?
“Always have an open mind and continue to challenging myself by always asking, is this the best that I can do within the given time frame or situation?”
What is your life mantra?
“Always do your best and push your limits.”
Who are the people you look up to when it comes to animation and graphics design?
“Hhmm there’s quite a lot, but the main ones would be number one, Feng Zhu, whom I’ve always idolized since high school. Then there’s Alex Alvarez, Neville Page, Dylan Cole, Aaron Sims, Eric Keller and lately John Brown.”
For those of you who are unaware, James is currently in Los Angeles, studying at Gnomon School of Visual Effects. He’s taking the Maya Fast Track Course which is said to be the “thorough and intense introduction to the premiere software being used in high-end 3D production”. In short, big time na BFF ko! LOL! 😛
If you want to get an idea of how awesome Gnomon is, click here to go to their official website. James is very lucky to be studying there because not everyone gets to grab such a unique and amazing opportunity.
What’s it like studying in Gnomon?
“It feels great and very exciting. It’s dream come true since I’ve always wanted to study here since high school.”
Share your current favorite experience studying in Gnomon.
“Everything! Every moment of it. The class that I really love is the sculpting class of John Brown. He really gives a lot of information every week within 3 hours and his words are just really, really inspiring.”
James has two more billboards coming out from Silverworks as well. Hopefully they’ll be published before this year ends. I’m so excited to see all of them.
If you want to look at the other works James has done so far, you can check his portfolio sites out:
On a more personal note, here’s James’ Twitter and Facebook (for subscriptions) accounts where he often posts about his current projects and the things he’s been learning. It’s actually very entertaining and highly insightful.
And if any of you happen to be looking for a freelance 3D artist, you can contact James via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know he’d be willing to do them for you, granted that he’s not so busy with his Gnomon projects. You can guarantee quality results from his output as you can see from his previous works.
Well, that’s it for now. Oh, and… JAMES, I MISS YOU!!! 😦