It is time, once again, to meet the people who make the magic happen here at AtmosFX. A recent arrival to the animation team is Lorisa Holland who joined us in March 2018. As the production manager, she's the person who ensures everything runs smoothly among the animation team.
For as long as she could remember, Lorisa knew she wanted to be in animation. As a kid, she found herself loving the aesthetics of video games, Japanese anime, and other forms of computer-generated technical art. As she got older and her understanding of the computer-animation industry grew, she felt liberated. "That was important," she laughs, "because I really didn't like drawing."
Originally from Virginia, Lorisa was the first animation graduate from Virginia State University. She later earned her graduate degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and subsequently stayed in the Bay Area to pursue her career.
Lorisa first worked as a compositor for a San Francisco pharmaceutical company, then later as a quality-assurance tester for the video-game company that makes Neverwinter, Perfect World, and Gigantic. She then worked as a recruiter, specializing in placing professionals in creative firms.
After a few more gigs, she visited some friends in Seattle. "I need to move here," she said to herself at the time. She soon did. For Lorisa, there was a certain appeal in the area’s recreational opportunities, as she enjoys kayaking, swimming, and brewery hopping. Professionally, she also was drawn to what she calls the "quiet hub" of film and gaming production.
The skills Lorisa developed in both cities are deep and wide-ranging. Lorisa’s technological and creative chops — plus her understanding of personnel and budgeting issues — put her in a perfect position to manage the AtmosFX animation department.
What does Lorisa do, exactly? Essentially, she's the one to make sure each person in the animation department has everything they need to create amazing digital decorations. She works with animators to create and meet deadlines, she forecasts delays, and coordinates live shoots with other departments. She's the one who makes sure the department runs as efficiently as possible.
Q: You say that at a very young age, you knew you knew you wanted to work in animation. Do you recall what inspired you?
Lorisa Holland: I've always enjoyed video games and cartoons, but the moment I knew I wanted to work in the industry was when I played Final Fantasy X. I was impressed by the cutscenes in between gameplay and by the amount of detail spent on the effects and style of the game. I started researching how to achieve those looks and from there it just spiraled.
Q: Your current role at AtmosFX allows you to draw from a wide range of skills — your time as an animator, quality assurance tester, recruiter. How do you see those roles coming together?
LH: Being a production manager with a diverse skill set is incredibly beneficial. My time as an animator and compositor help me better coordinate our amazing artists and ensure they all have what they need to accomplish their tasks. My QA tester experience helps me troubleshoot any technical hiccups we encounter, but also helps me explain systems and processes to others in a not-so-confusing way. My time as a recruiter adds to my HR and customer service talents to ensure both business and creative are able to meet in the middle. I believe this achieves not only the best products but also happy artists.
Q: Are there any characters/scenes that you think AtmosFX should create, regardless of whether or not the decoration would sell well?
LH: I would love to work with some more creature or fantasy elements: mermaids, dragons, or a twisted Alice in Wonderland, especially if it’s American McGee style!
Q: Not including Halloween, what is your favorite holiday?
LH: I really like New Year's Eve. It's a good finale for all the other holidays and I always enjoy celebrating it differently each year.
Q: What is your favorite movie genre and what are your top 5 favorite movies within that genre?
LH: Ooh, it's so hard to pick a genre and five movies from that! I think it's easier to pick five top genres. I'm a big fan of anything with a good story. Particularly narratives, dramas, and animated movies, with a few sci-fi thrown in. Honestly, I'm just a sucker for beautiful shots and stories.
If I had to list five movies off the top of my head, I'd like to watch this very instant:
- Big Fish
- Spirited Away
- Black Swan
- Interstellar (or Amelie, or Dunkirk, or Memoirs of a Geisha, Isle of Dogs was pretty good, I really loved Prometheus, basically anything by Ridley Scott ... I could go on ...)