Head of Maya Development, The Mill
“Escape is brilliant. It’s just such a hub for this entire industry… they’re pretty well connected.”
Fascinated by Pixar’s Toy Story back in 1995, Suraj Harrington-Odedra began to realise his ambitions for CG at the age of twelve. Fast forward six years, Suraj took his first steps in 3D by enrolling on an Animation degree at Swansea Metropolitan University. The degree taught him a lot, but he needed more, so the VFX Production course at Escape Studios seemed the perfect stepping-stone between university and working in the industry. And by Jove it was. On completing the then five month course in 2008, Suraj landed a job at The Mill and has never looked back. Over the past five years Suraj has made an incredibly quick transition from junior tracking artist to a senior position in their commercials 3D department. Over that time, Suraj earned himself the impressive title of Lead 3D Artist, and is now the Head of Maya Development.
“I remember thinking to myself… wait, this could be a career? That’s kind of awesome! Finishing my course at Escape, I immediately started at The Mill and was put to work on a job for Infiniti, which is an American brand of car. I was brought in to help with tracking, and over time I got quite good at it. However, having made a name for myself in this area, I got labelled as a tracker for the first year or so, and ended up spending most of my time tackling various difficult tracking jobs. After a while I had to put my hands up and say to the guys that I wanted to try something else.”
Life at The Mill
Luckily for Suraj he was working with a lovely group of people who completely understood his frustration and admitted to having taken advantage of his patience and his talent for tracking for far too long. During that fist year at The Mill, Suraj was co-leading a project for the commercials department, giving him the opportunity to dip his toe into other areas. This got him noticed by the rest of the team as being someone who was equally talented in a range of areas. As a result, Suraj was entrusted with many of the more technically demanding jobs, helping him to push himself that extra bit further, and getting him where he is today.
As Lead 3D Artist for the commercials department, Suraj was responsible for leading projects, laying out pipelines and generally figuring out the quickest and cheapest way to complete the job. One of the advantages to working somewhere like The Mill is the range of work that comes in and of course the fact that they have international facilities.
“The beauty of working in the commercials department is that you’re faced with a different problem to solve every week. It definitely kept me on my toes. The schedulers are all really sympathetic to the kind of work you want to do, because ultimately they know if you’re doing a project you want to do, then you’ll put your heart into it, and give it so much more.”
Over the past five years Suraj has undoubtedly ranked up an impressive list of credits, but here’s just a few of his proudest moments: Audi A8 Advanced State of Mind (the first major stereo job at The Mill - London), Muller’s Wonderful Stuff, Tetley's Reanimation, Wrigley’s 5 React Gum and Samsung’s Incredible Journey.
Have you been trying to imagine yourself in his shoes? What a great thought, that you too could work in an industry as dynamic and as fun as this. If you’ve had even the tiniest inclination to get into this line of work then maybe its time you got in touch with us. Escape could well be the start to your new career. Make sure to check out our courses and other success stories in more detail.