Meet Your Mentor: Katerina Dzolganovski

Meet Your Mentor: Katerina Dzolganovski

Katerina has been working in the industry for over a decade as a modeller, texture artist and animator. she's worked on everything, from feature films to triple-a video games.


She just finished work on two major films, The Huntsmen 2: Winter War which is due for release in April & Star Trek Beyond set for release in July. Some past titles she’s worked on are: 300 Rise of an Empire, Silent Hill Revelation for film, to Falling Skies and Almost Human for television; and last but not least on the gaming side of things, FIFA 2014 and World Cup 2014.

Kat has come a long way to get where she's at - it’s important to remember we’ve all had to start from the beginning at some point and it was no different for her. She stresses to keep trying and eventually it will come to you.

Don't give up keep trying, you may not go at the pace everybody else is, but you're going to catch it.

Kat gave us some great advice about the industry and what her experiences in it have been like.


What got you into this field of work and when did you know you wanted to make this a career?

Movies, specifically the movie Aliens. For me it wasn't something I wanted to do since I was 5 but it definitely interested me. I could draw from a really young age but never really took an interest in pursuing it until my last year of high school when I decided to go into classical animation and realised I needed a portfolio to get into the program. 

I worked on 2D commercials for 2 years after graduation but wasn't complete happy with what I was doing. I went back to school for 3D and that’s when it clicked. That's when I knew this is what I want to do.


What fears did you have breaking in to this industry and what did you do to help overcome and cope with them?

Am I going to fail???? Then I realised yes I will. Will they be epic? Maybe, maybe not but I'm going to learn from them and get better. I stopped worrying about making mistakes. I started realising my mistakes made me a stronger artist. 

I took more risk, got faster, better and enjoyed myself a lot more.


What advice can you give to someone who wants to work in film and game but is unsure about taking that first step?

I would research schools, not just reputation but who the teachers are. Are they industry professionals? Is this school simply built on longevity? Experience is the best teacher so make sure you're learning from professional who are up to date with skills and industry standard work flows. 

Be proactive, start looking at tutorials, read up on the different disciplines within film and game. This will give you a better understanding of what kind of jobs you will be doing once you graduate.


What advice can you give that will help newcomers to become the best they can be in this field of work?

The more time you practice your discipline the better you'll become. Be open to criticism and learn from it and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Listen to the advice of a senior artist. There's no one way to model or texture or rig or light or animate. Seniors are a wealth of knowledge, so ask questions. One more thing, don't be afraid to ask questions.

I wish I knew then what I know now and what I know now is, practice, patience, and don't take it personally. 

When you find yourself under a lot of pressure what do you do to get yourself back on track?

There's good stress and that can raise your productivity but there's also bad stress which is when you’re so overwhelmed you no longer function efficiently. All artist at some point experience this. If I'm working harder but getting less done then I've hit a wall and I have to change something. For example: I have a tight deadline and I get stuck on a particular section of my model. Instead of swearing at my monitor I'll go out for a walk, grab coffee with coworkers and when I return I'll start on a different part of the model. By the time I reach the part I was frustrated about I'm now looking at that section with a fresh pair of eyes.

For more info on Kat check out her Portfolio



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