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April 26, 2019

Spring Show visiting artist: Allison Orr

Allison Orr

โ€œI want to be the person I always wished I had as a resource when I was a student.โ€

By Jessica Moore

Allison Orr is a lead animator at Sony PlayStation, where she focuses on cinematic animation work and oversees the animation team. She visited CIA during Spring Show to present to students, offer feedback on their work, and impart some career advice. After her presentation, she sat down with us for a Q&A.

Where are you coming in from, and can you tell me a little bit about what you do?
I’m actually coming in from Westlake, Ohio. I used to work in San Diego and now I’m working remotely for PlayStation. I do mostly cinematic animation work, so I work on the cut scenes in-between gameplay, and I oversee the animation team and help the younger animators.

How did you get into animation?
I first got a degree in math from Denison University in Columbus and then decided I wanted to animate and got an MFA in computer animation from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York.

That’s interesting that you went from math to animation.
Yeah, I always wanted to be an animator. My goal was to be a Disney animator. I sort of found a winding way to that point because I went through some very dark, disturbing video games in order to get there, but I ended up working on a Disney movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, last year.

What brings you to Spring Show?
I contacted Anthony Scalmato (assistant professor and chair of Animation). I wanted to be a part of animation in Ohio because when I was a student, there weren’t opportunities at schools locally where I could learn 3D animation. So, when I saw the program here, I wanted to do whatever I could to help out. I want to be the person I always wished I had as a resource when I was a student.

Have you had a chance to view the artwork?
It’s amazing. I’m inspired by what they’re doing here. I said in my presentation that the student work I’ve seen is a million times better than anything I did as a student, so they should be really proud of what they’ve done. It’s really professional and you can tell how much love and time went into it all.

What kind of interactions have you had with students?
Last fall, Anthony let me shadow him during an animation class, where I got to see a lot of work in progress and give students a little bit of feedback. It was really cool to see last night how far along they’ve come since then and to watch them defend their work.

What advice would you give to students?
Overall, I think it’s important to be self-motivated because no one goes into their first job knowing everything. You’ve got to have a good attitude and be willing to put in the work to learn what you need to in order to do the job. That stuff is more important than talent in my opinion. Leave your ego at the door and be open to opportunities that maybe weren’t on your radar. For me, it was video games. I never expected to work on games and somehow I ended up there and still got to my end goal of working on a Disney movie.

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