Meet Our Staff - Aaron Gay

commonvision: What is your role at commonvision? How long have you been working there?

Aaron Gay: As an animator at commonvision, my role is to create videos and advertisements that broadcast on the many screens in the Commons and around the university. I also like to help out with the front office and take passport photos, too!

cv: How/When did you know that you wanted to be an animator?

AG: I’ve always been into art, video games, cartoons, anime and other similar things, but my interest in animation started in my senior year of high school. My school offered several specialized courses to be taught at a separate facility, animation was one of them. Except, it first wasn’t what anyone expected. Everyone, including me, came into the class the first day ready to learn how to draw 2D cartoons. But the teacher quickly said that it was a 3D modeling and animation class, and the animations we would make would primarily be for educational, forensic, and real-world purposes, not for entertainment. A good handful of students left after that, and it also scared off all the prospective students that visited throughout the semester. However, a close friend and I stuck to the program and found it really enjoyable! My teacher shared much of his experience in the animation industry and held my class to professional standards, which gave me a good mindset to take into college as I explored newer methods and fun 2D projects.

cv: What is the best thing about working at commonvision?

AG: I love how everyone here is so friendly, fun, and supportive of each other. A day never goes by without some laughs or smiles going around, and that really helps to lighten up the mood when the workload gets high. I’m not much of a talker myself, but that doesn’t stop everyone from pulling me into something!

cv: Are there any projects that you are particularly fond of having created?

AG: I’m really fond of the animation I created for the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. I had a great time playing around with all the graphics and figuring out how to get the message across in the best way. What I was most happy about was that I eventually ended up with something my client was pleased and excited about! It’s been running on the screens for quite a while now, and I’m reminded of the experience every time I see it. I also recently finished working on comic panel posters for the bookstore, as well as an animated version.

cv: What is so delicious about corn pudding?

AG: Ah, corn pudding… Well, I am kind of picky about just any old corn pudding. It has to be my mom’s corn pudding, which is so special she saves it almost exclusively for the holidays. When done right, it has a sweet taste unbefitting of corn and a consistency similar to oatmeal, which I also like. It’s a house favorite, and you’re lucky if there’s enough for seconds.

cv: Can you talk a little bit about your process? How do you get started working on an animation?

AG: Sure! First, what I like to do before actually starting on any animation is to make concept drawings. The drawings can be of the design and color palette of a character, the timing of a particular action, or anything else that comes to mind. When actually starting to animate, I prefer to work from the outside in and work in segments. This helps me to envision how I want something to ultimately start and end, and it creates reasonable boundaries for me to work in. I’m still working on this part, but I’ve been trying to save adding the fine detail for last. I have a habit of wanting to put as much detail as possible in one frame before moving on to the next. This can be good at times, but in the case that I need to make a revision or backtrack, that’s a lot of work for me to tear through and redo, which takes up quite a bit of time. I find it easier and more effective to rough out everything first, and then layer on detail afterword. It helps me manage everything and keep aware of where I am at, too.

cv: Do you prefer traditional drawing over digital drawing? 

AG: Hmm, that’s kind of hard for me to say. I started out with traditional drawing on paper with pen and pencil, so that comes naturally to me. On the other hand, I like the freedom of making quick edits and composites with digital drawing, but it’s often hard for me to make the first few marks and sketch freely even with a tablet. So, what I usually do is draw on paper first, scan in the drawing to a computer next, and then color and retouch digitally.

cv: You like to watch investigative TV shows. How did this come about and which ones do you like the best?

AG: Yes! I’m not exactly sure how or when I got hooked, but I’ve always liked crime, mystery, and drama. Investigation Discovery is one of my favorite networks, with my all-time favorite show being Homicide Hunter, followed by Cry Wolfe. Both shows recount and reenact crimes and investigations recounted by the law enforcer, one being a detective and the other a private investigator.

cv: Do you think it is easier for people to commit crimes by watching all these shows??!!!

AG: That’s a good question. I’m not entirely sure, but I think it does make it easier to some degree. I’ve seen several scenarios where the criminals were able to get away with whatever crime they did because they either went about the crime in such an unusual or clever way, or found some foolproof way to beat the system. Of course, the shows are dramatized, but some on-the-fence offender somewhere may not realize and suddenly feel inspired to wreak havoc based on the latest episode he saw of A Crime to Remember. To me, it’s more like these shows can give false hope to those already willing to go against the law. In a positive light, I actually think that these shows have the potential to inform the viewers what kind of behavior is unacceptable. It also reminds them of those who put themselves in danger every day to help others.

cv: You have written and drawn your own mystery-adventure. What is it about? What are your plans with this adventure?

AG: My story takes place in world with plenty of uncharted regions, and numerous exploration guilds spread out across the land. These guilds are filled with explorers, whose job is to shed light on all the world’s shadows as well as serve the general public. My story focuses on one explorer who joins the guild of his dreams, but then finds himself blamed for a massive theft affecting an entire hidden culture and their deity. He’s then forced to be in service to the deity until he proves his innocence, finds the true culprit, and returns the stolen relic. I’ve gotten pretty far story-wise, but I’ve been doing much more character development than writing lately. Maybe it will take me somewhere in the future, but for now, it’s a good outlet.