Nicholas Quek, alumnus of The One Academy and senior animator at ILM Singapore (Industrial Light & Magic) Studio, Lucasfilm's VFX and animation studio is making waves for lending a hand in Avengers Endgame.
Originally from Kuala Terengganu, Nicholas and his family moved to Selangor when he was younger and this is where he developed and refined his creative skills before heading to Singapore where he currently resides. His passion for the creative arts and animation sparked early on as he recounts randomly doodling on pages of books even from a young age. His lack of drawing skills in his early years only motivated him to further hone and master the art. Uninterested in the mundane routine of a job with standard office hours, Nicholas began exploring career options such as a sportsman or an artist. However, upon realizing that the prospects of a professional squash player can be limiting, he turned his focus to the world of art instead.
He enrolled into the Digital Animation course at The One Academy and it was here that he learnt, practiced and mastered the art of animation. He cites the Transformers movie as a redefining moment for him in which he felt a calling to work in the animation industry. After completing a stint of contract jobs at ILM Singapore, he was hired as an animator where his job entails capturing the director’s vision of what the characters are to deliver in a particular scene or shot.
In Avengers Endgame, the 31-year old and his team in Singapore worked on sequences with heavy facial and animation such as the scenes with Smart Hulk. In regards to the challenges faced while producing those scenes, Nicholas stated that getting the look and emotion into the 3D puppet was pretty challenging. Reproducing the nuances and micro movements that actor Mark Ruffalo makes was tough but after studying acting footages by the star closely they were able to pull off a stellar job.
When asked about the heroes in his life, he said that it would have to be his parents, Richard and Nancy Quek. He reminisced on how even when faced with challenges, his parents always emerged together stronger at the end and this truly inspires him. His advice to future animators and those interested in venturing into the creative industry is to keep learning, improving and not be put off by mistakes and failures as everyone has a different growth rate. He also stressed on the importance of staying humble and being open to criticism as although skills are vital, having a good attitude is equally important. He also highlighted on making use of the multiple sources available on animation and urges them to gain knowledge on animation through these various channels.