Studio News

The View From The Third Floor: Phil Tsang

07.29.2021 — Categories: ,


What is your name and what is your position at TTF?

Hello! My name is Phil and I’m the Asset Supervisor looking after the 3D Assets Team for the London studio.

How long have you been with TTF

It’s just gone past my 3 year anniversary! 

What does your role look like day to day?

My role involves almost a 50/50 split of working on Shows as well as Departmental tasks.

Whilst working on Shows, I collaborate with the team leads and Supervisors doing the bread and butter 3D work which includes Modelling, Texturing, Rigging and Lighting. Otherwise I spend my time on Research & Development to help out with tools support and assessing new technological workflows and how we can improve our efficiency and speeds. However, quite importantly I pride myself in trying to keep in sync with the individuals on the team to ensure they are well supported, both technically and creatively. Finally, working closely with Production ensures that the right people are cast on the appropriate Shows!

What led you to work in the visualization and entertainment industry?

I always enjoyed all things “computers” when I was young and always wanted to get into Computer Animation. The influence of manga/anime and computer games from the Arcades in the 80s really embedded that desire for me! My major was in (BSc) Computer Science and (MSc) in Computer Games Graphics. That really led me to starting my career with gaming giants Electronic Arts. There has been a lot of transitioning back and forth between the Games and Film industry both of which are very gratifying in different ways.

What is your favorite part about working as an Asset Builder/Supervisor?

My favourite part has to be knowing the fact that the Assets Team builds everything the clients ever see! In many ways, the most important elements for me personally, is really the Asset team itself. 

The Asset Builders working in Visualisation are uniquely super charged and talented artists.

To differentiate, artists working in Film finals or AAA games have relatively so much more time to make specific things look pretty, where as the guys here need to hit 80-90% of the look for real-time in a fraction of the schedules!  They have to be smart & fast, artistic & technical, and ultra collaborative too. We are very lucky to have such a diverse multinational team mixed with energetic juniors and seasoned experts! It is immensely rewarding to be able to work with these people, and as a collective pushing the boundaries on what we can achieve together! 

For sure, it tops it off to be able to share Burger Thursdays with them (at least pre covid 19)! 😀

What advice would you give someone looking to get into this industry?

Go for it! 3D Modelling is always a good place to start, but learn game methodology with low poly workflows is a must (for now!). Back this up with jaw dropping high resolution sculpts (just look at zbrush central for the amazing standard of work from students!). Focus on less but with better quality in your Showreels. And like with everything else in life, work your socks off and you will have a better chance of succeeding! Feel free to reach out to professionals for feedback (though a reply is never guaranteed)! With personal work, you can’t be precious about it. There’s no right or wrong answers, and any critical feedback, just use that to try and improve yourself really. It’s a great career to have that’s very fun, creative and rewarding.

What is your biggest challenge working in Visualization and how do you overcome it?

The biggest challenge in Visualisation is being fast at solving problems but keeping the quality as high as possible. Many times, for example, because of the nature of previs where Clients need multiple iterations to explore ideas to help tell their stories, we have to be able to react quickly. 

We have an excellent library of Assets that is well supported by our advanced pipeline tools that allows us to put together scenes in lightning fast times. So, being prepared in terms of technical resources is essential, and then ensuring that we have very smart and talented Asset team members to add their creative flair tops it all off! 


What’s your favorite artform?

I really enjoy watching live theatrical performances. There’s such a buzz with the energy and talent on stage backed by countless hours of rehearsals and preparation. Love the atmosphere it creates with all the lighting, props, set decorations and costume designs. When it all comes together on the night, it creates a very memorable experience to appreciate and savour!

If you hadn’t become an artist, what would you have been? 

Realistically, I would’ve been in IT or working in restaurants! However, if I could pick any career, then I would probably be a sports person in Football or Tennis!

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I think from multiple sources, including film/music/animations/games for absorbing different styles creatively, positive stories of how people overcome their struggles to keep my feet on the ground, and of course, finding my “anchor” with the Rock for work ethics, motivation & building good daily habits for self improvement!

What piece of media was the biggest influence on you as a kid? 

Biggest influence specifically to art, is probably the japanese anime Dragonball Z. As a kid, I was blown away completely by the sense of power and scale with those stylised characters and gigantic sized fireballs! It lead me to draw non stop on my sketch pads and wanting to have a career in Animation!


You’re on the run from a hoard of zombies, what do you do?

Get Thor’s Stormbreaker axe and run back towards them!

If not London, where?

Asia! Enjoying the hot beaches with a cold local beer in hand!

First thing you buy when you win the lottery is…

I’m thinking way too long for this answer! Given the current circumstances, COVID Vaccines for everyone who are interested? 

What is on your desk, right now!

Photos of TTF Christmas Party 2019, Mini Street Fighter joystick (for my retro gaming!) and an empty espresso cup!

Describe your life as a movie title!

Lucky Ground Hog Day! It’s important to remind myself how lucky I am compared to others less fortunate in the world.

People would be surprised if they knew…

I enjoy growing my own veg at the local allotments! There’s so many hidden lessons to be had in investing time in sowing seeds, patience building with consistently good habits in watering them and reaping the rewards with a lot of hard work and effort over time with sweet juicy fruit and veg! 🙂

Not to mention to not be afraid of getting your hands dirty with horse manure when planning for the following year to get some great compost!

TV Show/Film you’re ashamed to admit you love!

I’m a Celebrity – Get me Out of here! (Love watching the contestants reactions when eating the delicious 1000 year old fermented eggs) 😀

Maybe not as shameful as regular viewings of Coronation Street and Eastenders (though love is a strong word!)! 

Just for the record, I’ve stopped that now! I’m cooler than that.

Ideal superpower?

Time travel! Would love to see the dinosaurs (thanks to my 6 year old’s influence!) and also see what happens in the future of Humanity, Space Travel and Aliens!


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