Hi, my name is Stanley Soendoro and I was born and raised in Indonesia. I’m a Junior at SCAD concentrating on 3D character animation as well as taking Visual Effects minor. Currently, I’m an animator on SCAD Animation Studios working on their second short, Hex Limit!
What area of animation do you enjoy the most and why?
As much as I love storytelling, I am very much fascinated with just making things move! Anything for that matter, be it a full body character, creature, or even just a book page flip (I know, I can be a geek when it comes to animation). When things start to move on the screen as a result of your hard work (and sleepless nights), you’ll get that rewarding feeling that I just can’t describe. But making character moves on screen isn’t enough; it’s our job to breathe life into them, adding personalities while telling a compelling story that the audience can relate and empathize with. And that, altogether, is why I enjoy animating so much.
What is a challenge that you’ve had to overcome?
To recognize my limit and know when to stop. I used to be a perfectionist and it wasn’t fun at all! While it may be nice to always strive to make my work look good, I sometimes could get carried away and spend too much time tweaking little things that only I would probably notice the difference. I’m slowly getting better on this thankfully, and I learn that no shots would ever be ‘completed’ nor ‘finished’. One can keep improving some areas, adding details here and there, but at the end of the day, we need to meet our deadline no matter what. So I try to focus my energy and time, not to make my shots perfect, but to the best level that I’m capable of. It doesn’t matter if I make some mistakes, the important thing is that I’ve tried my very best, applied the notes/feedbacks from professors, learned from my mistakes, and move on!
What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?
“Remember that this is finally the time you get to focus all your work towards your passion. But don’t be afraid to experiment new things, make mistakes early, and reach out to your peers and professors for extra help, you can never learn enough of this craft. SCAD offers a lot of helpful resources, so be grateful and take advantage of that. Collaborate with other students outside schoolwork, but make sure to have fun with it! As the Pixar’s Soul has taught a lot of people, there are so so so many things out there more important than our passion and career. Don’t burn yourself out over projects; make sure you enjoy life and have a good work/life balance. Also, get enough sleep, man!”
What inspires you during a difficult project?
I guess this goes for all projects regardless of the difficulty level, but taking time-offs from my projects really helps me a lot! When I take a break and go outside or do something else, it clears my mind and destress my brain. And sometimes, I even get inspirations from the random things I see on the streets, or at the park, or even in my own backyard. They can come in unexpected places and time, so don’t shut your door ever for new ideas and inspirations 🙂
What experiences have stood out to you?
Being involved in collaborative projects! I’m so grateful to be a part of SCAD Animation Studios to work on their second short film, Hex Limit! Working alongside this group of talented people, even remotely, has taught me so many invaluable things I rarely get in normal classes. I learned a lot from my team and Professor Warman on working in a professional environment. It made me realize the true essence of our industry that is built around collaboration!
What are some things you are looking forward to this year?
Definitely excited to see how Hex Limit comes together after all the amazing work the team has put in! I also hope that the short film I’m co-directing, Kaghati (check out our Instagram page if you’re interested https://www.instagram.com/kaghatifilm/) can be finished and shared to everyone. And lastly, I’m also looking forward to just seeing myself learn new things and grow as an artist and individual.
What inspires you?
I get inspired by many many things from everywhere: from observing the little things in this world to looking up to my idols in the industry. Working with other people also motivates and inspires me to keep pushing my work above and beyond.
What classes have you enjoyed, and why?
Ah, there’s a lot! I enjoyed all my character animation classes, especially with Professor Crossley. He always taught us things beyond just animation concepts, sometimes even delved into the technical realm like basic rigging, deformation, etc. The creature animation class (ANIM353) with Professor Warman was also very refreshing! I learned a lot from him and animating non-human characters made me recognize and appreciate the beauty of nature around me (I love observing animals now more than ever). Okay last one I promise: I also really enjoyed VSFX160 with Professor Fowler as I finally get to learn basic Python coding!
Have you worked on any projects outside of class?
Yes, I’m currently involved in a couple of senior films, Pirate Lesson and Shift, where I’m helping out as a 3D animator. I’m also really fortunate to be able to work on Kaghati, an Indonesian animated short film I had the privilege to co-direct. I’m also doing other collaborative and personal projects outside class and it has been a very rewarding learning experience!
Is there anything you want to see SCAD offer in the future?
More cross-discipline collaborations with other majors! I remembered getting so excited when they first announced SCAD Animation Studios with their first film, Bearly. An animated musical short? What a perfect opportunity for the animation department to collaborate with visual effects and performing arts department! I wish there are more projects like this with more majors getting involved to collaborate on a project with SCAD’s full backing and resources. I don’t think many other schools have this yet.
What made you decide to go to SCAD, and when did you choose to go to SCAD?
I was very sure to pursue an education in 3D animation since my high school years, so I started looking up “best animation school in the world” or “top animation schools in the US” and SCAD is always somewhere up there. The selling point of SCAD to me was that they also offer 4 campuses in different locations of the world (5 including E-learning) that we can choose to study at. And shoutout to Mr. Danny Li, SCAD Hong Kong’s Associate Director of Recruitment back then, as he was invited by my high school’s university councilor to our school and talked to me personally. The level of personal reach that SCAD offers really drew me in further and my mind was set to apply to SCAD Hong Kong right there and then (and then I transferred to SCAD Savannah in my Sophomore year)!
What type of studio would you like to work in when you graduate?
My dream has always been to work in a feature animation studio as a 3D animator. But as I slowly learn about the other possibilities in the field, I became more open to try out different studios like games or VFX companies. Wherever I’ll end up at, I’d be very grateful as long as I’m happy with what I do!
What has been the best thing about SCAD?
The networks I’ve made and the friendships I built. The people at SCAD have always been incredibly supportive, be it the professors or my peers, and working alongside with them has been such a pleasure! I’m very proud to call this community my family (which would make farewells 10x harder when we graduate).
What are your goals after graduation/ What goals do you have for your career?
My goals in terms of career is to work in feature animation studios and to share my stories from my Indonesian culture through animated films. My personal goal is to just keep learning and collaborating with others on fun and exciting projects!
Do you have any advice for working as part of a team? (Question for students who have worked on short films only please!) Be open minded and vocal with your team. Being fortunate enough to have worked on several short film projects, I learned that being candor is very important in a collaborative environment. To be comfortable in communicating your ideas/problems to your team, giving each other constructive feedbacks and applying them, are some of the most effective ways to strive in a collaborative environment! You will learn so much from one another if you keep your mind open!
What has your favorite project been during your time at SCAD?
I probably couldn’t choose only one as my most favorite but animating a baby rhino during ANIM353 class (Creatures and Quadrupeds) with Professor Warman was definitely one of my highlight projects at SCAD. I fell in love with baby rhinos ever since I took that class!
Do you look up to anyone in the industry? And why?
I have an endless list of people that I look up to and has helped me throughout my learning journey. From Blender masters, 2D/3D artists and animators, to feature directors, here is the cut-down list of people that I truly admire and has majorly inspired/influenced me in one way or another!
Wahyu Ichwandardi (aka Pinot) – Indonesian motion media creator based in New York. Amazing 2D artist and animator who sometimes experiment using unconventional medium! He inspired me to do urban sketching as well.
Josiah Alan Brooks (aka Jazza) – Australian artist who just loves experimenting with different art mediums and creative stuff! I love putting his videos in the background and seeing whatever art he’s creating. His thorough experimenting process also influenced my workflow.
Andrew Price (aka Blender Guru) – Australian Blender guru, literally. I never actually watch his notorious donut tutorial, but I do learn a buttload of Blender things from 3D modeling to lighting and rendering.
Morr Meroz – New York based animation filmmaker. He also founded Bloop Animation Studios where I learned so much about creating short films and was inspired to create one back then!
Pete Doctor – What else should I say? He directed my favorite animated film Up. The brilliant mind behind Monsters Inc., Inside Out, Soul, and has definitely inspired me with storytelling.
Glen Keane – I also don’t know what else to say here. Amazing legendary Disney animator, and every stroke coming from his pencil is a work of art! His rough pencil sketch style animation is just… breathtaking!
Do you have a favorite animated movie?
Hands down, Pixar’s UP is still my favorite animated movie! From the story to the characters, down to the music, I personally think it’s a very well made movie and never once do I get tired/bored watching it (and I’ve watched it more than 10 times for sure). Like what Professor Warman said, I’d follow Carl wherever journey he goes through!
When in your life did you decide to choose animation as a career?
I’ve always loved drawing on notebooks and creating something out of cardboards as a kid, but I never thought of pursuing anything related to art, let alone an animation career (I didn’t even know they existed back then). It wasn’t until mid-2014 when I came across a YouTube video of how Pixar made their movies. It was my first time seeing 3D characters in their T-pose, unlit and unrendered. When I learned how the animators manipulated some values on screen to make just one part of the character move, it blew my mind that this is how they animate the whole body and began appreciating this medium. I started having so much respect for animators out there and started my journey learning Blender (it was still version 2.71) and ever since then I fell in love with the 3D world and decided to pursue my career as an animator.
What are some things you enjoy doing in your free time? I enjoy playing guitar a lot, I think it’s such a great refreshing activity to do in between my work-time. I also like biking around to nowhere and just observing people and nature around me. Sometimes I sketch them too! Other activities like badminton, swimming, and playing mobile/video games are some of the things I do in my spare time, too.
Thanks Stanley! Make sure to check out more of Stanley’s artwork over on his socials: