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Breathing life into characters: Stanley Soendoro’ 17
  • Alumni
  • High School

I'm Stanley Soendoro, and I graduated from SJII back in 2017. I'm a senior at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), majoring in animation and minoring in visual effects!

Little did I know that the three-year scholarship I received around 7 years ago to study at SJI International Singapore would have impacted so much on my life. From the fantastic people I met to the places I got to travel (to do service, of course!) to the student clubs and leadership roles I got involved in, I owe this school a debt of gratitude. The times I've spent here, without a doubt, played a significant role in sculpting the person I am today. I even felt closer to my own Indonesian culture after playing the Balinese Gamelan here for the first time, thanks to Mrs Susi Teo. 

Back then, people thought I would be majoring in architecture due to my IB combination (Visual Arts, Math, and Physics HL). The truth is, I love things related to creativity and problem-solving! I also enjoy playing badminton, guitar, and drums, solving puzzles, and doing magic. However, I'm very passionate about animation, specifically 3D animation. However, being a 3D animator has only sometimes been on my radar since a young age. I didn't even know its existence until I watched a YouTube video in 2014 about how Pixar created its films. Aside from having a greater appreciation for animation, witnessing the process's intricacy sparked my interest in exploring this medium deeper – so I did and fell in love with it!

The animation industry is highly collaborative, and people usually specialise in one area. Our biggest responsibility as 3D animators is to move the characters you see on screen. We are like puppeteers moving digital puppets on the computer (so drawing skills are not even necessary but can be a huge plus). However, it is much more than merely 'moving' them. We breathe life into these characters and give them believable motion. We consider each of their personalities because they do not all move/behave the same. Take Joy and Sadness from Pixar's Inside Out – both have opposing personalities and visual designs and move differently. Even though the animation is a time-consuming process (what an understatement), I still cannot say how rewarding it is to see our character come to life. The reaction I get from my audience is pure magic, and it never gets old!

I've always been surrounded by supportive people who believe in my dreams, especially my family, to whom I'm forever grateful. When I got into SCAD, suddenly, I was surrounded by talented artists who were all passionate about the creative industry. It was a great environment, but the scary part is realizing that some of them would eventually be my competitor. Suddenly I wasn't the only aspiring animator in the block. It's very easy to feel intimidated by your peers, but the way I like to think of it is that they are also my collaborator and motivator. I kept pushing myself to do above and beyond, grasped all opportunities for collaboration, and sought ways to improve my skills from every resource possible. One can never learn enough of anything, so be humble and keep learning!

Our industry consists of more than just "people who draw" (like I said, even 3D animators do not need to draw). While it is considered a creative field, there is a lot of technical stuff going on behind the scenes that support, if not enhances, this craft, especially in 3D animation. An animator is just like a needle in a haystack (you'll understand this when you watch the end credits of any animated film). There are probably roles you did not even know existed, so I'd advise people interested in this industry to do their research. 3D animators can work in games, TV series, and films, to name a few. Our field is highly competitive – some recruiters will receive hundreds and even thousands of applications, so we need to make our work stand out. My rich Indonesian culture inspires me, so I try to infuse them into my work whenever possible. I also love trying new things and challenging myself – making mistakes early is an integral part of the journey! 

My dream goal is to one day be a feature animator (those who work on animated films in studios like Pixar, Sony, DreamWorks, etc.). However, I am open to exploring different possibilities and being involved in as many various projects as possible with different industries, so long as I get to do what I love most: animate! During my 2021 Summer break, I got the opportunity to be a freelance animator at Lumine Studios in Jakarta and worked on a children's TV series. I learned a lot throughout this experience and am thankful for having a glimpse into professional career life. If you have a passion you want to pursue as your career, believe in yourself and persist to achieve it because when you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life! 


  • Alumni
  • High School

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