Creating Memorable Animations: Introducing Kukari Animation Studio
Kukari Animation Studio is a studio from Mexico, specialised in Commercial and MKT digital, Cinematic video game, Movies, Series and Music Video. The team boasts of great artists with a mix of talent and experience in the 3D animation film industry, who work passionately on each project to give you a unique and distinctive approach that will be remembered forever.
Fox Renderfarm is dedicated to providing fast and secure cloud rendering service for our clients around the world. We have over 200,000 happy customers from 50+ countries and regions. And Kukari Animation Studio is one of them! We are glad and thankful that Kukari has chosen Fox Renderfarm.
Here‘s an exclusive interview with Javier Mendez Lafon, one of the founders of Kukari Animation Studio, in which he talks about his CG journey as a Supervisor Lighting/ Comp and CG Director and his belief and vision as an entrepreneur in Mexico.
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Javier, thank you so much for accepting our interview! Would you please introduce yourself?
Javier: Hello, first of all, thanks for the opportunity of letting us know each other. My name is Javier Méndez. I’m 31 years old from Ciudad Juárez. I studied Digital Animation and since I was a little kid my dream was to become a movie Director.
FR: How did you encounter CG and get started in the CG industry?
Javier: My first approach was seeing an ad in the local newspaper about a 3D animation course that was completely new to me and as it caught my attention, I decided to enroll. I remembered we used an old software that doesn’t even exist anymore.
My first experience in the industry was at the age of 18 when I was starting my career. It was then that I had the opportunity to collaborate as a volunteer in the first full CG film made in Mexico.
FR: What movies/tv shows/ games are your favourites respectively?
Javier: My favourite movies are Jurassic Park, Star Wars and Back to the future. My favorite TV shows are Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. And games Zelda, Mario Kart and Halo.
FR: Any artists or artworks inspired you most?
Javier: Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg are two of my favourites directors. And something that inspires me a lot is to look at my friend’s artworks.
FR: The Indie 3D animation short, HOME of my MEMORIES, received many awards and honors, how do you feel about it?
Javier: I feel very satisfied because after seven years of work I see now the results of so much effort by so many people and I am very pleased that so many people in different parts of the world recognise the great work and story that was carried out.
FR: What’s the inspiration of the HOME of my MEMORIES? How do you come up with the idea and style?
Javier: My inspiration comes from personal experiences from my childhood. When I was a child I liked spending time with my grandfather, who had a hobby of making models of miniature houses. It was fascinating to see how we can make so many beautiful things with our hands. Years later when my grandfather passed away, I went to visit his house and there was still a shelf with some of the little houses that my grandfather had made. While remembering those beautiful moments, I imagined myself making me small as the same scale of the little house to enter through that small door that was half open. And in my imagination I saw how when I opened that door I found my grandfather living inside that model house. It is curious to see how people who are no longer around are still alive through memories and in the things they did in life.
FR: What’s the pipeline of the HOME of my MEMORIES?
Javier: In 2012 we started doing a lot of the pipeline in Softimage, but the software was discontinued, forcing us to move to Maya in the Lighting and Lookdev processes. For textures we used Mari, for all the Fur we used Yeti, for render Arnold and for comp we used Nuke.
The software was loaned by the animation studio I was working for at that time, which was very supportive.
FR: What is the most enjoyable part and the most difficult part while creating the Home Of My Memories. And how did your team solve it?
Javier: I really enjoyed the last processes (lighting and comp, Sound Mix), when you can already see your idea materialised. But the hardest part is getting resources to be able to cover some expenses, and to achieve this, we did a crowdfunding campaign.
Javier: In Huevocartoon, I worked on three different films, in two of them I had the opportunity to supervise the Lighting and comp area. The experience is always unforgettable because of the people you meet along the way. You will hardly remember how you solved your assignments, however the moments lived with the team are always unforgettable. And making projects in Mexico is so fun due to the warmth of the people who feel very close.
FR: Would you tell us the pipeline and production about the 85 minute animated feature film, UN RESCATE DE HUEVITOS?
Javier: It is one of the largest projects that have been done in Mexico, however the budget is a bit limited, which makes us be very careful when working and planning the pipeline.The movie has a lot of characters with fur and that was a big challenge in all departments.
FR: What’s the motivation of founding the Kukari Animation Studio?
Javier: Our main motivation is to have fun while we enjoy doing what we like the most. We want to bring all of the ideas from anywhere in the world to life, creating memorable stories that make us proud. Kukari’s philosophy is to be a home and family for everyone who wants to work with us, human relationships are very important to us, both with the client and with the artists.
There are a lot of talented people in Mexico and we would love to be able to do projects from anywhere in the world.
FR: Would you please introduce your team?
Javier: The key of the team is the experience of the people and their human quality.
The studio has been founded between Andy Rodriguez and me. To strengthen the visual and technical part, Chuy de Leon joined the team as Art Director. And for the Technical part, Alberto Juarez and Sergio Diaz joined.
We are currently a team of more than 15 artists, all with experience in the film industry.
FR: Being an entrepreneur, what’s your belief?
Javier: Being an artist, my belief is largely oriented to the people and their talent. I have witnessed how projects work so much better when the artist is trusted. As a studio we want to keep communication channels opened and equal treatment of anyone within the company. We want to be a big family.
FR: Would you share with us your next step?
Javier: Mexico is a great option to produce 3D animation because we have a lot of talented people and we are extremely competitive in prices.
As a studio we want to grow these next two years and show what we are capable of doing, to receive projects from other parts of the world.
FR: Could you share with us the CG industry in Mexico?
Javier: The CG industry in Mexico is growing a lot, however much of the talent emigrates abroad, now that we have realised that we can work from anywhere in the world I believe that the industry in Mexico is going to take a big leap.
FR: How do you like Fox Renderfarm’s rendering services?
Javier: Alberto Juarez, our technical consultant, recommended your rendering services to us due to a great experience he had, achieving the best results in a very short time and with a low budget.
FR: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Javier: Whatever you are doing today, do your best work, make it with passion and joy, because what we do today, is for what we will be remembered for tomorrow.