Spyros Dimitropoulos is a mouthful of a name, which is fitting because this Greek-born jack-of-all-trades is quite the guy. Spyros' first Masters degree (in Civil Engineering) apparently wasn't enough for this mover and shaker, because eight years later he got another Masters—in Fine Arts. And just to drive the point home he graduated Summa Cum Laude.
Now Spyros is the Art Director at Lion's Ark, a successful production studio that focuses on game development, post-production, 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, and VFX. His previous analytical-style education wasn't a total waste though, as his background in engineering has given him a pragmatic and logical approach to the production process ensures that his studio creates high-quality work, on time, and remains on the top of their game.
Spyros recently shared with Animation Career Review his successes, hopes for the industry, and advice for anyone looking to get into the animation/game development business:
What is your firm's focus within animation and what led your firm to have such a focus?
We are focusing in video game development, post production services for TV ads, and visual effects for film industry.
Fill in the blank: The future of animation is: ______________.
3D Holograms, Virtual and Augmented Reality Gaming
What are the best and worst aspects about working in the animation field?
Creativity and brainstorming, to conceive and generate unique projects which will satisfy your client. Worst aspect is the time necessary to create hi-quality work in short deadlines.
Among your firm's achievements, which one(s) are you the most proud of?
All projects where Lion's Ark gave innovative, creative input, during the concept development stage.
What skills/qualities does your firm seek out when hiring new employees?
Work ethics and talent!
What particular schools, if any, does your firm recruit new hires from? If none, where do you recruit new hires?
The Art Institute (AI), Digital Media Arts College (DMAC), Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD),etc.
But great talent sometimes comes without any college education background
What advice would you give to aspiring animators?
Be open to any format and any media of Art. Spend time to create a good show-reel. Build your resume step by step. Choose wisely job positions which will benefit your resume in the long term!
What were your most challenging projects, and why?
Game development. They are so many challenges and obstacles rising from the transition between 3D package to real time engine and interaction
What kind of education did it take to get you where you are today?
Masters in Science and Masters in Special Effects Animation. But my love for Art, was always my highest degree.
What animation software packages does your firm prefer to use? Which one would you recommend to beginners?
Every 3D software out there is good. It is the tool which can help the artist to create masterpieces!
Could you share with us your best story about working in the animation industry.
Seeing my name for the first time as a Special Effects Designer in credits for a project that aired on national TV.
Do you think that there is an increasing or decreasing demand for animators overall? Why?
For sure there is an increasing demand for animators. We are living in a decade of the 3D industry’s boom. But the bar is being set higher every year, and the competition from talented 3D artists is tough these days.