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Staff Profile: Dilen Shah

BY: Crystel Newman |

CATEGORIES: rising sun pictures, interview, jobs, rspvfx

M E E T   D I L E N   A T U L   S H A H 

A French rat with a flair for haute cuisine might seem like an odd inspiration for a career in movies… but it was Remy, the animated rodent star of the Pixar film Ratatouille, that helped set RSP’s Dilen Shah on the path to a career in VFX. Or maybe it started even earlier, by osmosis: after all, Dilen was born in Mumbai, the largest city in India, and heart of the most prolific film industry in the world. As a child, Dilen moved to Dubai in the UAE, and spent many hours over the next 10 years there watching cartoons, and dreaming about creating them himself. 

After finishing school, he completed a three year Bachelor in Computer Animation in SAE Dubai, as well as completing a one-year online 3D Animation course. His VFX career blossomed with a move to France - yes, the home of Remy - and for the next four years, he freelanced and worked at Dwarf Animation Studio.
From there, it was on to London for a year, where Dilen freelanced for a couple of studios, and in 2017 he set out on yet another major adventure, moving to the other side of the globe to join the team at Rising Sun Pictures as a senior Creature Technical Director.

WHAT DO YOU DO IN ROLE?
My job at RSP entails creating all set-ups related to any characters, creatures or digi-doubles. From Muscle and skin setup, creating grooms, cloth setup and all kinds of simulation work related to any kind of character, creatures or digi-doubles. Programming and writing tools and plugins to achieve better results, pretty much making them look cool!

WHAT MOVIES HAVE YOU WORKED ON?
Thor: Ragnarok, Tomb Raider, Animal World, Peter Rabbit, Monchichi, Pirata & Capitano.

WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING THING YOU’VE FACED IN YOUR ROLE?
Creating a stylised looking, realistic moving Rooster for the movie Peter Rabbit. It was the most challenging task due to the amount of time we had, and also it was a fully feathered creature we had created, which had a lot of acting and animation. 

WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN THE INDUSTRY?
More recognition for artist that work day and night to produce such high quality visuals.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THE VFX INDUSTRY?
Working on completely different creatures, from humans to birds to four legged animals to completely fictional beasts. Traveling to different countries for work and thus meeting like-minded and really talented artists from around the world.

FAVOURITE MOVIE YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Peter Rabbit for sure, as I got the chance to work as the Lead Creature TD on the show. I also worked on all the feather creatures ranging from the Rooster to the Sparrows and cute little chicks. Personally, it was the most rewarding movie I have worked on.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT WORKING AT RSP?
The Creature team at RSP is a blast to work in, as we all sync together and push through to create high-quality creatures in a time-constrained environment. Also working in the almost always-sunny beach city of Adelaide in South Australia is the added bonus for me.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN ADELAIDE?
In three words, People, Beaches, Nature.

Adelaide is a great city. Being a city boy, I love living in central Adelaide city, I enjoy it’s vibrant feel and ambiance. It also has great country side, perfect for a Sunday picnic, taking in the beautiful nature it has on offer.

WHAT ARE YOUR INTERESTS / HOBBIES?
I am always in to physical activities from hikes to sports. I love any racquet sports especially badminton. I love bungee jumping and sky diving as well, and would love to do more. I enjoy writing short stories on my blog, and I love to read about human nature and psychology.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT WE DON’T KNOW?
I lived in Dubai for 10 years.
I lived in France for 4 years and learned French in my first year there.
I worked in my Dad’s Construction Business for a year.

FAVOURITE MOVIE
It’s difficult to choose one, as there are many masterpieces, but here are my top favourites: Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather, Matrix Trilogy, The Dark Knight, Inception.

FAVOURITE DRINK
Any good Bourbon Whiskey will do!

CRAZIEST THING YOU HAVE DONE
Travelled to France for work without knowing the language, culture or anything about the country.

SUPERPOWER OF CHOICE AND WHY
Fly or run as fast as the Flash.

IF YOU COULD MEET ANYONE AT ALL WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Not really anyone I would want to meet, but If I could spend more time and talk with my late Grandfather, that would be just awesome.

PHOBIA
Don’t have a phobia of anything but really don’t like any slimy insects.

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS….
Kinder souls 

ADVICE TO ASPIRING ARTISTS
Don’t be afraid to push your own boundaries and go into uncharted territory, that’s where you will find your true strength in what you love, and what you really want. Just keep working towards whatever your goal is in life/industry, no matter what comes in your way. Always keep moving forward. 

There are a few quotes that have stuck with me through the years.

'Art is nature made by human' – Robert Bulwer Lytton.

'Art revolves around creating something that isn’t there' – Kathleen Hanna.

 

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