Fri 28 Jul 2017

Simon says do this

He was a few months shy of his 18th birthday and Simon Coles, having left Spotswood College, was embarking on his next life journey with no real idea about a destination.

The young man who claimed to have no real artistic ability elected to enrol in a couple of WITT courses, a certificate in Creative Graphics and one in Creative Technology, thinking the topics were broad enough to help him make a decision eventually on what he wanted to do.

His decision in 2010 was to prove life changing.

He completed the courses and, prompted by tutor Vicky Catlow, enrolled in Media Design School in Auckland where the next three years saw his skills in 3-D animation and visual effects work blossom culminating in a Bachelor of Art and Design in 3D Animation and Visual Effects.

The rest, as they say, is history.

When the War for the Planet of the Apes was released this month, a member of the Weta Digital layout department was among the long list of credits at the end. It was Simon Coles.

The 25-year-old, who has worked for Weta for a year, has been back in Taranaki for a break and yesterday spoke to Vicky Catlow’s current creative technologies students, explaining how his year at the Bell Street campus had helped shape his career and to encourage more Taranaki talent.

Simon’s journey to Weta Digital included a couple of positive detours.

His first job after media school was with animation house Cirkus where he was involved in the creation of an award winning Airbnb advertisement in 2014.

“There is the bridge I moulded,” he explains, as the advert runs through on YouTube. “You can also see how it was created through another link.”

You can indeed: check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHPCQXT8r4w and

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ0E1J_4Ocg .

It was there Simon was given his first taste of the unique and bustling atmosphere as thousands of hours of work is put into creating a short film clip which is nothing short of a work of art.

His next assignment was to work on the animation for Power Rangers as one of a team of 20 working in the stable of PRPVFX.

With solid experience under his belt the former WITT student was in demand – offers for work came in from Australia, Ireland and Canada.

But he chose a company closer to home with a remarkable reputation – Weta Digital.

Today he works long hours and loves what he is doing.