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Animation Grad Interview: Trent Trombley


We recently caught up with one of our original animation grads from Kelowna, Trent Trombley. Trent graduated from the program in 2006, and he currently works on a contract basis with Art Bully Productions.

Art Bully Productions “is comprised of experienced 3d art professionals dedicated to developing and producing outstanding AAA quality art to game developers of all sizes. The principal artists specialize in characters, creatures, weapons, vehicles, and complex prop structures.”

We asked Trent a few questions about his career and how he got to where he is today. Here’s what he had to say!

CAT: What was it in the past that led you to pursue your passion in animation?
Trent: I have always loved art and drawing especially comics, movies, and games. I took 3 years of fine arts at OUC but after school I found myself working as a supervisor of a photolab and realized that it wasn’t the path I wanted to take. Around that time the Centre for Arts and Technology opened its doors, so I decided to quit my job and go to school again to pursue my passion in animation.

CAT: Describe your current job – what does your average day look like?
Trent: I work on a per asset basis. My employer, Art Bully Productions, will send me an email telling me they have an asset in mind for me and give me a link to the brief such as how much the asset costs, the triangle budget, the reference and the deadline for that particular asset. If I agree I will sign a contract gather the reference and start work on a basic mesh getting the proportions and look right. With each iteration I make I usually have to post where I am at in the production pipeline on the company forum so the art leads can give me any critiques and changes that need to be made. This will go on until I complete the asset which consists of the base mesh, a high resolution model in Zbrush and the low poly for in-game as well as textures.

CAT: What was the one thing you would take away from your experience at CAT that you use every day?
Trent: Quality control. Sometimes you get caught up thinking the work you do is the best of the best especially when you’ve grown up being the premiere artist in your school but the world is a big place and is very competitive. The instructors I had really showed that you need to push the envelope to succeed in this industry.

CAT: Tell us about your career path and where your education led you from graduation to today:
Trent: It was a long hard road after graduation. It took me 4 years to get my foot in the door as a freelancer. There were times I thought I chose the wrong career path and almost wanted to give up. I would work on online competitions and practice my craft for a few months and have a lot of drive to succeed but then sometimes I would get derailed after sending my portfolio to studios and not get one reply back. The Forums that I frequented though would be the means that landed my first job because of how involved in competitions I was I got the attention of the employer I work for now and the rest you can say is history.

CAT: What is the one thing you would tell potential students about your experience at Centre for Arts and Technology?
Trent: Don’t rely solely on the school for your education. Learn from your peers from forums from books you name it because if you limit yourself then you won’t succeed in an industry that’s always evolving.

Also be passionate about what you do because the people who groan and complain about assignments that others get excited about will be the same people who groan and complain about the assets they get assigned to if they are working in the industry and that lack of enthusiasm really shows in someone’s work.

CAT: What does it take to build a career in your industry?
Trent: Perseverance. You have to always keep at it to make it in animation.

CAT: What is your ultimate career goal?
Trent: I would really like to get into a studio and experience the dynamic that comes with studio work as opposed to freelance. I think having that many talented individuals under one roof can only help to grow my creativity as well as my skills. Then who knows-maybe I’ll someday start up a game or freelance outsourcing studio.

CAT: What is your advice to potential students that are looking to pursue a career in animation?
Trent: Make sure this is what you want to do and keep at it. If you hate to draw or hate the process of creating but thought you want to work on video games because you love to play them then go find something more suited for you. Keep playing the video games, but leave the making of video games to the people who have a passion for it.

CAT: Thanks for catching up with us today Trent – keep in touch, and all the best in your future endeavors!