Today we have an interesting chat with super talented Quentin Vogel. Happy Monday and Enjoy!
Who is Quentin and what do you do?
I am an animation director, animator, CG generalist and Illustrator mainly working on animated feature films and commercials. I was lead animator on the highly successful animated feature film “Adventures in Zambezia.” Most recently I have animation directed a team of 25 animators on the up and coming, highly anticipated, animated feature film “Khumba”, produced by Triggerfish animation studio. Before this I worked in the commercial and short film sector with some of the most talented and well known animation production companies in SA.
I grew up in a small little town called Glenharvie in the North West and always had big dreams. As a child I always kept myself busy with either drawing or playing with my action figures. I was always involved with sports in primary and high school and through this I grew very curious of how the human figure works and how things move. Even though I did not have art in school my passion for it never stopped. I always knew I want to follow my passion but animation was not an option as a career choice at that time. After matric I found a school called The Open Window that teaches visual communication and 3d animation was one of their subjects, and this is where it all started.
How would you define your style or art?
My style is always evolving through the constant influence from some of the top artists out there. As an animator one needs to be very diverse regarding your style since every projects demands a certain style, whether it is cartoony, realistic, pose to pose, classical or stop frame. What makes this industry fun is that you learn something new everyday, as animation takes a life time to master since nothing or no body moves in the same way. My major influences regarding my style have always been animator legends like Glen Keane and Milt Kahl, to name but a few.
When working on bigger productions it is very important for one to be able to fit the animation style of the film because you deal with established characters and their performances must be constant throughout. This can be very difficult to achieve and requires experience.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by the world around me. I am constantly aware of how things move, how things relate to each other, the contrast between people and how certain personalities act and react to certain things or each other. I am also inspired by working and learning from other talented artists and animators.
I think the diversity of South African culture has so much to offer in terms of rich new stories for the world to see.
Tell us about your involvement in the animation film, “Adventures in
I was lead animator on the film. I was involved early on in production doing animation tests, character development and rig testing while working closely with the riggers (character setup department) before the animation production started.
I then led small teams throughout the animation process and was mainly responsible for animating the lead and secondary characters in a lot of the pivotal scenes.
Tell us about your involvement in the animation film, “Khumba”?
I was Animation Director on Khumba and was involved from the beginning of the production research and developing the characters with the Director. I worked with the modeling team to create blend shapes for all the characters, consulted and worked with the rigging department during character setup and also worked with the lead animators during animation and performance testing for all the characters. When animation eventually started I led and animation directed a team of 25 animators. During this time I was involved in acting out video reference and choreographing scenes with the animators and director.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently contracted to animate and direct a short animation vignette for cinema. Unfortunately due to my contract obligations I can’t give out more information regarding this.
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
The animation industry is very tough to get into. It takes hours and hours of hard work to improve yourself and gain enough experience to make yourself employable. Persistence is key, many talented artists, animators and students give up because they don’t see success or get employed as soon as they complete their studies. It also does not get easier when you land that great job. You need to know that you need to get rid of your ego as soon as you can because there is ALWAYS someone out there who is better than you. This applies everyone, from students to experienced professionals, there will always be fresh, young artists with loads of talent and enthusiasm. Instead of stepping back, embrace this, learn from everyone and as much as you can.
If you want to become a successful character animator I believe that you need to learn to animate realistic body mechanics, believable acting performance and completely understand the animation principles before trying “stylise” your animation. Build a good foundation first. If you are able, do sports, dancing or any form of physical activity because it will help you understand the body and how it feels when we do certain poses or movements. Animators are actors, learn how to act and study film and cinematography as much as you can.
In the South African industry it is good to be a generalist because the industry still strongly require one to be able to take projects from scratch to final product. So learn about all the aspects of CG . Working in broadcasting and commercials is a great way to do this. It is also very important to specialize in one field, especially if you want to work in film. If you want to be an animator, for example, then make an animation portfolio, showing your skills in character animation, and the same applies to the other fields. There is nothing worse to see a great lighting demo reel but with really bad animation. It distracts from what you actually want the employer to look at.
In my experience you don’t have to study to be successful as an artist or animator. If you have the talent and dedication you can make it work. It is not impossible! Some of the best artists I know are completely self taught. Experience is everything and the internet is a great resourcing tool. By studying you will build a great foundation in CG, learn the software, have time to experiment, earn credentials and build a network since most good animation schools are affiliated or at least have connections with animation studios.
If anything don’t give up, this is a difficult path to walk but can be very rewarding. And if all else fails, draw!
Animation Demo reel:
Where can our readers follow your work?
I am open for freelance opportunities and you can find my portfolio work and personal profile here:
Art Portfolio site:
More Information regarding Khumba, Zambezia and Triggerfish Animation:
Character Animation Portfolio: