SIDM Alumni Feature: Remus Low
By Lynette Wu
School of Interactive & Digital Media
Published on 30 Jun 2020
Wonder what it's like working as an animator on a Scooby Doo movie?
Curious about life after SIDM and National Service?
We spoke to our SIDM Alumnus, Remus Low, to find out more about his job at ReelFX, his journey from NYP to where he is now, and what words of advice he has for aspiring animators!
Remus graduated from NYP's Diploma in Digital Media Design (Animation) in 2014.
After graduating, he had a couple of months before entering National Service (NS), and he took the initiative to apply for an internship with Omens Studios (an award-winning animation and interactive studio based in Singapore) and managed to get in. During his time with Omens, he worked on animation for TV series.
After completing his NS, he applied to various studios and, was ultimately accepted at Cum Creative (which was setup by a fellow NYP SIDM Alumnus).
During his first year with Cum Creative, Remus also took part in NYP’s Earn & Learn programme taking classes and working at the studio at the same time. During his second year, he took an online animation course with Animschool for 1.5 years; furthering his education and preparing the demoreel for his next big move, which led him to where he is now - at ReelFX, based in Canada.
What do you enjoy most about your work? What has been your favourite project so far?
Animating is always a joy. When I’m thinking and finding interesting ways to bring characters to life, the process brings me a unique sense of fulfilment.
I've only completed my first film so my favourite one will have to be Scoob!
Was being an animator your dream job? How is it like working with ReelFX?
I've set my goals of becoming an animator when I was 15. It was 2009 and UP just came out, and after watching the movie, it just felt like that was my calling.
Working in a feature film is as amazing as I thought it would be. I got to meet many industry veterans, directors and amazing artists.
What made you take the leap and venture to Canada?
I've always set my eyes on working for the feature film industry and Canada is one of the countries that has many opportunities in this field.
How did you get noticed by ReelFX? What was your portfolio like then?
After I completed my course in AnimSchool, I compiled my shots and sent out my demoreel to multiple companies (More than 20 of them!).
You can have a look at the demoreel I used to apply here!
Working in Singapore and in the Canada, what are some of the differences?
The main difference will be in the language spoken.
Here in Montreal, French is the primary language so signboards etc are all in French.
However, most people here can speak English as well and have all been really friendly and nice to me.
When I first arrived, I came at the beginning of winter and it was a huge contrast to the hot and humid Singapore. Winter here spans for what feels like 6 months. The coldest it ever reached was -24 degrees and it can be difficult to adapt to, but if you're well-prepared it will be a nice and refreshing experience.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced along the way? How did you overcome them?
As with many artists, I’ve been through phases of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. My way of overcoming them is talking to people I trust to help me stay grounded and put me in perspective.
Living away from my family amidst this Covid-19 situation is challenging, thankfully they are just a video call away, so I make a conscious effort to call them more often.
How was your experience furthering your craft with AnimSchool?
Animschool was great, the instructors are all working in the industry so they are all kept up-to-date with the latest software and skills.
It was also really inspiring and motivating to be in a class with other aspiring animators all over the world. I've had many classmates that I look up to and learned so much from in the process.
How has SIDM helped you on your exciting journey?
SIDM laid down the important foundation for me to even begin this journey. The technical skills I've learnt throughout my three years allowed me to be competent at Cum Creative and ultimately enabled me to juggle schooling and working at the same time.
Having a good grasp on the software allowed me to be able to animate without having troubles navigating Maya, and I feel like this is a huge oversight to many 3D animators.
The lecturer that impacted me the most was Mr. Carlos. I came into the course with no background in arts (I was a pure science student in secondary school) and his guidance helped me hone my foundation in art.
I went from a person who didn't really know how to draw to someone who is decent enough. He gave a lot of assignments and practices and constantly encouraged me along the way. His teachings and his words of encouragement have stuck by me ever since. Till this day I feel incredibly blessed to have learnt from him.
What advice would you have for your SIDM juniors/ young artists?
Don’t be distracted by fancy tools, flashy advanced tips and tricks you see others pull off. Focus on your foundations first. It's often the most important.
Many people often jump into animating a complicated scenario (i.e fight scenes etc), but I encourage you to focus on the foundations first. It's often the most important thing.
With strong foundations, you can make a simple bouncing ball feel alive, and that will be far more impressive. From there, you can build up step by step and feel an exponential growth in your development.
On the contrary, if you're doing something too complicated for you to handle at the start, you may end up feeling discouraged after and in turn hinder your confidence.
What advice would you have for the ones who are always considering working overseas?
Do your research first. Everything from the places you want to work, to the country you are going to live in. That being said, go out and explore with an open mind, take in the new experiences and appreciate everything around it, good or bad.
Map out your goals and think about the many ways you can take to achieve it.
Beyond that, it's all up to your own effort and believing in yourself that you can do it.
Do you think going to university is necessary to get a job in the industry?
The short answer is no. But there’s more to this and it varies with each individual.
Employers will be able to recognise your ability and potential if your skills are of industry standard, regardless of your paper qualifications.
There are many artists who drop out of college upon receiving a job offer.
Attending university or not has its pros and cons.
Besides training your skillsets, studying at a university increases your likelihood of meeting like-minded individuals and building connections which will be beneficial down the road.
Having a degree also gives you an edge over others in Visa application to work in places like the US.
Will you return to Singapore and benefit us with your experience in the local industry?
As I’m still relatively early on my animation journey, I cannot say for sure when, but I would like to return to Singapore at some point, perhaps to teach.
Lastly, where will you go on from here?
I look forward to honing my skills and becoming a better animator every day.