Ross Tran Finds his Light with NIMA

Beneath all the art is the power of emotion 

Concept artist, digital illustrator, instructor, Youtube sensation and author, Ross Tran could not be more excited than to share with the art community the news about his latest project, NIMA. A labor of love and passion, Ross has been working on his original character and universe for the past four years and recently launched with a beautiful, cinematic art book. This is just the beginning for Ross as he shares with us his vision and next big update — the animated short Find your Light.

How would you describe your vision for NIMA?

I wanted to fully develop a universe that was mine, fill it with characters who come from all walks of life, and share it with the world. Rather than delivering NIMA’s story through a typical art book, I added cinematic storytelling/manga/game encyclopedia elements to create a unique experience! My vision for NIMA is to expand her world through different avenues, allowing people to experience it in different forms. I also want the series to represent what I’m about — pursuing your passions.

How has your experience as a pre-production artist helped you with NIMA?

Having worked in the industry as a pre-production artist, I’ve definitely learned the importance of following an idea/concept through. Even if you’re not really feeling it in the moment it always has the possibility to turn into something good. When working in visual development, you never know what you can come up with! Always brainstorm, experiment, play around, and have fun with concept ideas because you never know where one little thumbnail can take you.

What is your process like?

My process is incredibly sporadic and organic. I’ll always start with something that inspires me (an idea, a photograph I saw on Instagram, a character from a TV show, what have you) and explore it. There’s always a lot of changes and it’ll go through multiple renditions as I tend to follow my gut and feel the design out.

How did you decide on creating an animation?

I’ve always enjoyed building worlds since I was a kid, translating what’s on my mind onto paper; seeing them come to life is always the most exciting part. I wanted to take the next step by animating my beloved characters and vivify NIMA’s world!

What are some of the challenges with animation?

The biggest challenge for me, personally, was to design a story concept that matches the flow of what I’m trying to convey. I wanted to take the audience on an impactful emotional journey while telling my story, all in a minute-long animation. It’s a tedious process as there’s a lot of moving parts involved — timing everything to the beat of the music, quick compositions, and ensuring every seconds-long scene is impactful/easy enough to digest. I really wanted to communicate the true meaning of what this project is about. My message with NIMA and this animated short is to find your light in dark times, and to have trust in the process of life. Beneath all the art is the power of emotion and to inspire others.

Which form of animation do you love best?

While I appreciate all art forms of animation, my biggest childhood inspirations (FMA, Ghibli, etc.) take the form of 2D anime. That’s what I envision for NIMA and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What’s next for NIMA?

I’m currently working on a YouTube video where some of my favorite artists create their own rendition of NIMA! For long term plans, I’d love to see NIMA become a full-length anime series.

For more about Ross and NIMA, follow Ross on ArtStation, Youtube and his website.


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About the author

Partner & Alliances Manager at ArtStation