• Date: June 17th, 2014
  • Author: admin

One of the oldest industries in the Philippines is the  Animation industry. As far back as the 1980’s, Filipino animators have contibuted their talents and skills in creating cartoons we enjoyed like The Flintstones and other Hannah Barbera shows to name a few.


Today, the Animation industry has proven that it is here to stay. With new investments from foreign and local studios, the international community is looking at vast talents they can tap in the Philippines. This means better opportunities for aspiring Filipino Digital Animators.




Mr. Nelson Udaundo, an animation veteran and part-time faculty at First Academy, shares with us what it’s like to be an animator and what it takes to succeed in this field.


Who is Nelson Udaundo?


I’m  a Philosophy  graduate from the University of the Philippines. Having no  formal  schooling in the arts I had to learn  the academic side of the arts  on the job and through years of collaboration with animation industry  experts , foreign and local. To date, I have over 25 years of animation experience and have worn many hats in different productions and in different studios.


How did you get into Animation?


By chance. The very first animation studio to set up its  operations  at Bloomingdale Building , Legaspi Village Makati, which  was my area of coverage as a systems consultant for the first generation  IBM microcomputers (desktops) Awed and amazed at such a novel line of work, I tried out the screening test for assistant animators just for the heck of it since I have been drawing as far back as I can remember from childhood. I passed. Thats my start in the industry.


What’s it like to be an animator? What is your daily routine?


As an Animator , you will start and end your day doing the scenes, sequences you are assigned to. If you have a fresh sequence or “run” to animate, to start with the first scene in the sequence and work your way doing the scenes in sequence. This involves familiarizing yourself first with the scenes relevance to the whole story by studying the storyboard and looking at the layout that is based on the storyboard. Then if the scene involves dialog for the characters, you listen to the dialog track repeatedly until you get a clear idea what kind of emotions should show on the characters face, action and expression. It is very important that you understand the story point in the scene you’re working on in relation to the preceding scene and the succeeding scene, and to the story as a whole.after studying everything, even acting out in front of a mirror the kind of movement, acting expressions , timing the scene involves the animator start to draw the key poses which he seems fit for the scene.


What are you currently working on? Or what was your latest Animation project?


Right now I’m working on an animated series ( freelance) based on the  live action comedy movie “george of the Jungle”


Who have been your role model/s, or who has had the most influence on you?


I cannot pin down one single icon or role model . Everything and everyone who I feel has the better way of doing things inspire me in my job. Drawing-wise though I hold up Glean Kean and Vilppu as my inspiration in drawing for animation and timing. The likes of frank Frazetta, Moebius, Peter Chung, Feng Zhu, John  Kricfalutzy , and a lot more inspire me in design . Hayao Miyasake inspire me in his story concepts and characterizations. 



What is Animation?

Animation is a composite and  layered endeavor involving almost all the arts. It is the merging of the fine arts with the live action and theatrical forms accompanied by the musical arts as well and enabled by cutting edge technology and applications. So  it is a far cry from one’s appreciation of a painting done by a single artist. Animation is an amalgam of the visual and sound arts. A product of a gathering of various talents from different persuasions and disciplines , working together to produce a visual narrative that conveys a message. So that makes it hard to credit to a single person role your inspiration because  every movie is a product of a team of talents.


Do you need to know how to draw to be an animator?


In 2d animation , its a must. in 3D , it is not as much a must BUT unless an animator understands how  body language delivers the message through posing , acting and expressions that are believable, then digital tool is rendered almost useless. The machine and the software may deliver and render content but it CANNOT  animate by itself or decide on its own how to produce even a single scene. They are just tools of the hands that handle them, and the owner of those hands must understand visual storytelling.


Being an industry expert, what do you think are the top 3 skills to become a good Animator?


Before anything else, the animator must have sufficient drawing skills to handle various kinds of design, from cartoony to realistic genres. 


He must have a good idea of timing , based on what he sees in real world physics of motion and convert it into a “caricatured, exaggerated versions using cartoon characters.


Last but definitely  least is that he must have a good sense of acting to act out the required emotions and visual message  of the scenes/sequence by drawing them or using the software to enact the characters.


What is the career outlook for animators in the Philippines?   


Careers for animators in the Philippines, from my point of view as a trainor and artist is very positive. We are starting to get the attention of digital animation producers just like in the glory days of 2d traditional era when Manila got the attention of the biggest overseas producers and movers of the industry.  The migration of the pioneers of the industry  to the digital platform is being completed by a new generation of tech savvy left-and-right-brainer talents that sooner or later will compete with the world’s best in the digital arts given some more time.


Calling all cartoon lovers, if you are passionate about animation, why not make a career out of it? Become a digital animator!  Give us a call and we’ll show you how to get started!