Maritime Business College’s 2D/3D Animation & Digital Arts student Sovanney (Pana) Buy hasn’t had a typical journey to post-secondary education.
Before arriving in Canada, Buy worked as an elephant trainer for a company in Cambodia called Panda Tours, who trained him on the behaviour of elephants.
His job was to show tourists how to take care of an elephant such as how to bathe and feed them properly.
“I miss that time a lot,” said Buy. “I miss the elephants and the connection between humans and elephants.”
Buy later moved to Thailand and lived with the Hill Tribe working in agriculture and doing watershed management. He would help educate them about farming, land/soil management and the downside of slash and burn agriculture on the environment.
In 2017 he arrived in Canada through a work permit program.
Upon arrival, he moved to the Annapolis Valley to work on an orchard doing crop production, packaging, food production and pruning for two and a half years.
Once he became a permanent resident he started looking at education opportunities and a new career.
He found the 2D/3D animation and digital arts program at Maritime Business College on social media and was drawn to it.
Before enrolling he knew little about art. He spoke to an admissions representative at the college who asked him if he had any background in it. He replied he did not, but drew on his experience of being a Budhist monk for 15 years in Thailand to help him adapt and learn.
“It can’t hurt to have a little bit of worldly travel knowledge,” said MBC 2D/3D Animation & Digital Arts instructor Skyler Greencorn. “The more you view the world the more likely it is that you can translate it into your art. He certainly has a lot of life experience, which also helps quite a bit because that’s something that’s translatable as well and it shows in his work.”
Buy has found the 3D modelling to be the most enjoyable and interesting part of the program so far.
“I kind of have an addiction to learning it,” he said. “I like to challenge myself to manipulate in the 3D modelling program, C brush and texturization. We can use our imagination and our creativity in order to create something in a 3D perspective.”
After he graduates he’s unsure of where he would like to work. For now, he’s making an effort to enjoy the experience of being in the program but is leaning towards a career in 3D modelling in the video game industry.
“He has a certain skill set that I believe applies itself really well to the more mechanical instructive elements of what we do,” said Greencorn. “He has a 3D modelling inspiration that I think is very obvious and apparent to me.”
The level of passion that Greencorn brings to teaching his students and for the industry is also something that Buy appreciates.
“It’s a great thing. If I have a question I can ask my instructor and anything he knows he will gladly transfer the knowledge to us.”
Greencorn added Buy’s work ethic is great and he always produces an impressive product. He’s also adept at picking things up very quickly and spends a lot of his own time working on his skills.
“He goes home and continues to work. He’s very dedicated to learning new things on the side, picking up new skills and becoming the best he possibly can be. Every week he’s coming in with a new set of tools he’s picked up on his own on top of what I teach him in the classroom.”