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CARMEN NGAI                                                       

PORTFOLIO: www.carmenngai.com 

C: (510) 390 – 4391  | danger.carmen@gmail.com

Character TD-Cloth / Technical Director 

Testimonial:

“Carmen’s eye for both structural and simulation design is unequal to any other tailor I have worked with.  She translates simple experience sketches and obscure references into fully realized costumes that enhance the character’s personality and dynamics.  Details like the quirky flaring in Up’s Young Ellie’s clothing or the sweeping silk sleeves of Brave’s Queen Elinor are signatures Carmen styles into her work that set her costumes apart from others.  She is fast, adaptable to changing technology, and collaborates without ego while also working independently with experience and calm”

Claudia Chung

Brave Simulation Supervisor, Pixar Animation

PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY:

  • 8+ years’ experience in Character Tailoring and Cloth Simulation
  • 13+ years in Computer Animation: Character Tailoring, Simulation, Character Rigging, Lighting, Compositing
  • Key contributor on 6 Academy Award-winning animated feature films, 3 short films, and 1 TV special atPixar Animation Studios.
  • Recipient of VES Award in 2010.
  • Presenter at SIGGRAPH in 2009.
  • Relocating to Canada in 2014 (Canadian Citizen).
  • Technologies: Maya, Linux, Pad (2D pattern making software), Perforce, Flame, and Pixar’s proprietary software: Presto, Edna Design, and 3DCloth.

SIGNATURE STRENGTHS AND SKILLS:

 CLOTH TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

  • Consistently sought out to work on high-profile projects; recognized for sharp attention to detail and relentless dedication to make things “pretty,” authentic and true to the character’s personality.
  • Illustration background coupled with high computer literacy; aesthetically driven and technically minded, constantly pushing the edge of innovation and artistry.
  • Pro-active communicator who is production-minded; sees the larger picture and adapts readily to fluctuating schedules.
  • Excellent collaborator with a strong reputation for efficiency and independence.

WORK EXPERIENCE:

PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS, Emeryville, CA

2001 – Present

Toy Story of Terror: Character Tailoring | The Blue Umbrella: Character Tailoring | Brave: Character Tailoring  | | Up: Character Tailoring, Simulation| Ratatouille: Character Rigging, Character Tailoring | Wall-E: Character Tailoring | One Man Band: Character Tailoring |Incredibles: Character Rigging, Cloth Tailoring | Monster Inc.: Lighting 

HIGHLIGHTED PROJECTS

THE BLUE UMBRELLA                                                                                                Animated Short; 2013 Release

Character Tailoring

  • Researched and developed 15 modular garments to clothe all the characters in this short film produced on an abbreviated production schedule with limited resources.
  • Resolved challenges of working in a new pipeline adopting techniques of photorealistic lighting, shading, and compositing.

 

BRAVE                                                                                                                           Feature Film; 2012 Release

Character Tailoring                                                                                  Academy award for Best Animated Feature

High-level individual character ownership: focused on the Queen Elinor, Triplets, Witch, and Lord and Young Dingwall.

  • Conceptualized and constructed the Queen’s costume. Overhauled existing rough depiction from an ancient, loose oil painting of a Queen costume.  Shaped costume into a beautiful fitted gown with multilayer long flowing sleeves and long tail skirt that would accurately depict the level of confidence and elegance this character held.
  • Created kilt costumes for the Triplets. Researched traditional Scottish construction of Great Plaid and Fly Plaid, the elements of a full kilt costume; customized fit to drape naturally over a stylized young child character.

 

UP                                                                                                                                       Feature Film; 2009 Release

Character Tailoring, Simulation & Character Rigging                               Academy award for Best Animated Feature

Production involved more individual character ownership; focused on the main characters, Carl, and Young Ellie.

Received the Visual Effective Society (VES) Award for the Outstanding Animated Character in Animated Feature.

  • Successfully balanced two shows (Wall-E and Up) concurrently, overcoming numerous complex challenges.
  • Challenged with using 2D tailoring methods to draft patterns, then “stitched”, tessellated and “relaxed” garments to create realistic 3D cloth tailoring for highly caricatured and stylized characters.
  • Conducted simulation testing before assets went to shots and provided support during production.  Worked with fabric simulation parameters and tailoring to squash and stretch characters, addressing unappealing folds that would form.
    • Led development of the main character, Carl, along with Art, Animation, and Character departments, to define the right body proportion and poses with the garments to create desirable shapes and silhouette that defined Carl’s personality.
    • Accelerated garment production. Set up all garment and collision body templates, mocking up clothing sketches used in tertiary clothing planning.  Mentored 2 new junior character tailors to get them up to speed quickly.

 

RATATOUILLE                                                                                                                 Feature Film; 2007 Release

Character Tailoring, Character Rigging                                                                Academy award for Best Animated Feature

Worked in a highly collaborative team environment, successfully balancing between Cloth Tailoring and Character Rigging

  • Achieved goals despite limited resources. As 1 of 3 tailors in the entire studio, was responsible for making 190 dynamic costumes and cloth props for every character in the film, requiring extensive development, innovation, and adaptability.
  • Challenged with creating realistic cloth tailoring for characters that were highly caricatured and stylized. Collaborated with the Art department and software engineers in the development stage to define the right “look” and achieve an appealing level of realism in the costumes.
  • Built 2 separate hand rigs that were applied to all Rat and Human charactersElevated rigging for a feature film that focused on the hands of the characters as much as the face, relying on “hand” gestures as a way to express emotion and add to the characterization.  Successfully rigged Rat hands to match artistic direction of “looking cartoony but with the right amount of knuckles” while the Human hands were “stylized realistic, with flesh and blood.”  

 

THE INCREDIBLES                                                                                                           Feature Film; 2004 Release

Character Rigging, Character Tailoring                                                                Academy award for Best Animated Feature

Ownership of rigging the face and full body of Violet, Mirage, and Mrs Hogenson.

Ownership of tailoiring Mr Incredible’s wedding costume and Frozone’s leather jacket and dress pants.

 

Earlier Engagements:  CG Artist, GVFX, Toronto, Canada, 2000 | Compositor, Guru Animation, Toronto, Canada, 2000

 

EDUCATION, PROJECTS & CREDENTIALS:

Computer Animation / Digital Visual Effects, Sheridan College, 1998 – 2000. Graduated with Silver Medal Award (top of class).

AOCA, Illustration, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada 1990 – 1995

 

Awards:

Visual Effective Society (VES) Award in the “Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture” category, 2010 | CAPIC Future Professional Award in Illustration, 1996

 

Speaking Engagements & Publications:

Presented “Pushing Tailoring Techniques to Reinforce Up Character Design,” Siggraph 2009 with Fran Kalal and Claudia Chung

Interviewed by Cosmopolitan Hong Kong magazine in 2005: “Work File – Life of Production at Pixar Animation Studios”.

 

Special Projects:

 “Bittermelongirl,” personal writing/painting project | Curator of “Combined Weight” Art Exhibition, a tribute to Dan Lee (character designer of Finding Nemo)

 

Citizenships: US (In progress), Canada, Hong Kong

 

Visit my profiles on IMDB and LinkedIn.