The Setup

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Sagan Yee

Sagan Yee

Animator, indie game artist

Who are you, and what do you do?

I'm Sagan Yee, and I'm a classical animator with skill points in experimental game design and digital media education. I graduated from Sheridan College's Classical Animation program back in 2011. Since then, I've animated for TV shows airing on Adult Swim and Disney XD, collaborated on interactive projects that involved things like throwing literal knives at the screen and experiencing transhuman psychedelia in the back of a van, shot rabbit-ninja machinima for a sci-fi webseries, made an Earthbound fanimation, and have coordinated several game-making workshops and outreach programs for the Hand Eye Society.

Currently I run Game Curious, an initiative aimed at exploring video games as an artistic medium, and am a community member of Dames Making Games. You can read/watch/play some of my projects on my website.

What hardware do you use?

Since 2010, I've done everything on a 15" MacBook Pro running OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. I will update my tech based on the needs of the project, but otherwise I'm pretty resistant to change. Case in point: I was still using a flip phone in 2013.

As a digital animator, I rock a Wacom Intuos 4 for all my artistic needs. For backups, I had brick-like Seagates for a while, but lately I've been looking to get another Western Digital Passport since they're so light and portable.

Recently I went to Japan and needed a light travel computer, so I have an Asus Transformer Book that becomes a tablet when you remove the keyboard. Now I use it for light document work while sitting in coffee shops (often making me the only patron without a MacBook Air).

For someone who works so much in games, I don't own a lot of gaming equipment. I got a Nintendo 3DS XL for Christmas this year, but most of what I play are weird little browser-based games or whatever is Mac-compatible on Steam.

And what software?

I own Adobe Master Collections CS4 and CS5 since Sheridan College started including it with tuition as part of their Animation program. Most of my animation contracts have had me using Flash CS4. I like Flash because I'm familiar with it; I try to make my animation look more traditionally hand-drawn, rather than the heavily tweened puppet-style animation that Flash is often infamous for (although I often use the tweening function for efficiency's sake). I use an older version because I have a few plugins to help with keyframing that don't work with newer versions, and because sometimes my clients need files downgraded to CS3.

I use Photoshop CS5 for illustration/concept work as well as animation clean-up and colouring, After Effects CS5 for special effects and compositing, and Premiere CS5 for editing. I use Audacity, Google Docs, and Dropbox for the reasons you might expect.

On the games side, I've dabbled with Stencyl, Ren'Py and Twine to make small prototypes and teach others how to use them in my workshops. Lately I've been teaching myself Unity and C#. I've also just discovered Asana, project management software that's been handy for organizing certain tasks.

When I need to take a promo photo for interviews or panels, I use the Interstellar Selfie Station by Christine Love and Nadine Lessio. Accept no substitutes!

What would be your dream setup?

I'll probably stick with Mac for my new computer since that's what my Adobe Collections need; either the latest MacBook Pro or a desktop computer with more punch. Either way, I will want it to be able to run Boot Camp as I've been running into more and more situations where I want access to Windows. Like when I accidentally buy Windows-only games off Steam and can't play them!

I'd also want a second monitor for when I'm coding and to make having multiple windows open a little more organized. While I'm at it, I'd toss in a new Wacom Intuos Pro and Autodesk Maya (as I'm starting to explore 3D animation more). Maybe Toon Boom Harmony, as I hear it's great for people who are used to hand-drawn animation in Flash but want something a little more professional.

On the gaming side, it would be nice to have the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U so I can actually play the console games my friends are constantly raving about. I think having an Oculus Rift, Unity Pro and maybe an iPad of some sort would be interesting for experimenting on other platforms, but I think I may be getting ahead of myself. There's just too many toys to play with!

The Ultimate Setup would be a dedicated studio space of some sort, with walls that don't make every cool poster I try to put up fall on the floor at the slightest temperature change.

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