Meet the Speakers 2020: Phoebe Shaw

Meet the Speakers 2020: Phoebe Shaw
February 11, 2020 CG Futures


Phoebe began her career at VFX studio, Rising Sun Pictures, where she worked as a Character Technical Assistant on films including Thor: Ragnarok and Peter Rabbit. in 2017 Shaw transitioned into the game industry, and began working as a Technical Artist at Mighty Kingdom. In her 2+ years at Mighty Kingdom, Phoebe has developed an extensive rigging and 3D asset pipeline, bringing her knowledge of film asset pipelines to the Adelaide game industry. Shaw now leads the Rigging and Pipeline departments, including the development and maintenance of proprietary auto-rigs and asset management systems.

Q: Can you briefly walk me through your story – how did you get your start in the industry? What’s your current role like?

A: After studying an Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media at AIE, I worked as a Creature Technical Assistant at Rising Sun Pictures, on Thor: Ragnarok, where I worked on digital character doubles. Working at Rising Sun was a really amazing start to my career, I worked with some really great experts in my field, and they taught me a lot about the high-end rigging pipeline. I eventually moved to Mighty Kingdom to work as a Technical Artist, where I began development on the 3D rigging and asset pipeline that Mighty Kingdom uses today. I am also now the Lead Rigger at Mighty Kingdom, and am heavily involved in mentorship and development at the studio. Mighty Kingdom is a dream studio, where ambition is highly encouraged, and there’s a really great culture for personal and professional development.

Q: Tell us about your work. What are you most proud of?

A: I spend most of my time writing in Python for Maya. I code a lot of our 3D rigging modules and studio tools, which means we can automate a lot of tedious or difficult processes and eliminate human error as much as possible. My greatest achievement at Mighty Kingdom to date, has been the automated rigging system we use for all of our rigs, and the 3D asset management pipeline- which I’ve developed over the last two and a half years at Mighty Kingdom.

Q: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?

A: My skillset is a little rare, which is a bit of a double-edged sword. I’ve never struggled to find meaningful work, and I find it very easy to justify the need for automation in our studio. I feel super rewarded when I hand over a new tool or a new rig update, and the time or effort I have saved another team member becomes clear.

I did struggle at first, moving from the film industry where I was surrounded by other, more senior Python for Maya devs, to a game studio where I was at the time the only one. It was sometimes difficult to know if I was making the right decisions. I have since found a lot of resources online and have an online community in the tech art discourse, which really helps with that impostor syndrome. Growing the team has also been great, and having another rigger on board has lightened my workload and provided a partner to troubleshoot and blueprint code with.

Q: What is your biggest source of inspiration?

A: I find inspiration in the other developers and artists in my field, as well as the drive that my colleagues have to iterate, develop, and innovate! Any time I need a pick-me-up I watch demo reels and tutorials from other devs and I feel inspired again to make new awesome things!

Q: What’s one random fact that people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I have an identical twin sister! She’ also studying to become a programmer, and she’s my best friend.

Q: Any final words of advice?

A: Always be friendly and talk about what you are passionate about! Passion is contagious, and when you talk about something you love, your eyes get all sparkly and it’s really clear that you love what you do.

Twitter @phoebe_techart


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