We are in the Golden Age of CG Animation: Philippe Gluckman

Philippe Gluckman is currently creative director for the DreamWorks Dedicated Unit, a position he’s occupied since relocating to India in October 2008. As such, he oversees the creative and technical execution of the projects produced within the unit, most notably DreamWorks Animated Feature Films such as ‘Puss in Boots’, ‘Madagascar 3’ and ‘Rise of the Guardians’. Most recently, he was the visual effects supervisor for ‘The Penguins of Madagascar’, the first DreamWorks Feature Film to be principally produced in India. Prior to this, Gluckman acted as visual effects supervisor for DreamWorks Animation’s 2008 animated feature ‘Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa’, a role he previously also held on such animated hits as ‘Shrek the Third’ and the original ‘Madagascar’. He began his career as a traditional 2-D animator, as a partner with Storyboard and as an assistant animator at Cartoon Farm, both located in Paris; he studied graphic arts at the Ecole Nationale D’Arts Appliques, Paris. AnimationXpress.com got Philippe talking about the upcoming Animation Masters Summit organized by Toonz Animation and here is what he had to say… What is the session that you will be taking at the Master’s Summit and what will you sharing during the session? The Penguins of Madagascar, a major DreamWorks Animation feature, was produced predominantly in India by the DreamWorks Unit in Bangalore. Prior to that, we had handled portions of the films, usually in the conclusive stages, but here for the first time, we were to participate in an entire project, from inception to final delivery. So we’ll focus on that unique process, its challenges and successes. We’ll explore what it took to establish the aesthetic and technical foundation for such a large project, how we discovered to best bring the idea to life, and how it was carried out throughout the film. What are the things that you expect to see at a gathering of such proportions? I am looking for the extraordinary inspiration you get from listening to talented people describing their craft. I look forward to the wonderful passion and curiosity that makes the industry here so vibrant. How does it feel to be a ‘Master’? What tips or advice would you give young film makers who will be attending? Well, frankly speaking, although flattered I’ll admit I do not feel like a master at all!! I happened to have started my career in animation at a fortuitous time, and feel very privileged to be participating in a sort of Golden Age of CG Animation. As far as advice, I would tell young film makers to free themselves, to not feel limited by boundaries in what they attempt. Film making has become increasingly convenient thanks to technology, so there is really no reason for not completely fulfilling their creative ambition. I think it’s great to draw inspiration from such presentations, I hope it will fuel their desire to create their best possible original works of art. What are your views on the current scene in the animation industry in India? How can it be bettered? There is definitely an increasing exposure to the highest quality of work here in India, on several fronts. Long gone are the days where we were only trusted with smaller tasks. This trend should hopefully continue, as we continue to prove that the skill and artistry live here with passion. Gleaning experience outside is important, but we should make sure that the best possible opportunities are available to CG artists here, in India. What are the skills sets that young artists/film makers/animators must possess to make a mark in this competitive environment? Obviously, a great blend of technical and artistic skills, that precious rare combination! But also, in a field where things are increasingly specialized, it’s important to first acquire a good understanding of the process as a whole, for which there is no better way than making one’s own film. What sets CG artists apart is those who take superior initiative, who do not let themselves be impeded by obstacles, who always figure out a way no matter what to execute the project they have imagined.