From Bidor to the Spider-Verse: This Malaysian animator is living her dream

Malaysian animator Loke Sin Yee talks about her experience working on the hit animated movie 'Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse'.

If you’ve seen Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse, you’ll know that the movie has a myriad of different visual styles, intersecting, interacting, and melding into one another like a superhero kaleidoscope. (If you haven’t seen the movie, what are you waiting for? We gave it 10 out of 10 in our review here!)

A movie with such technical and visual brilliance needs a team of equally brilliant people to animate it, and one of those animators is Malaysian Loke Sin Yee.

Hailing from Bidor, Perak, Loke, 31, is a ‘Lighter’ on the film, in charge of bringing colors and archiving the comic style through compositing the visuals for Across The Spider-Verse.

According to her, her job begins once the other departments in the ‘upstream’ of the animation process are done with their part.

“”After they are done, it is handed to us to light the environment according to the colour themes, and then render and composite them together, adjust the colours, and tune the styles based on each different world,” she said, adding that she mainly worked on scenes involving Miles Morales and Gwen Stacy, the two lead characters of the film voiced by Shameik Moore and Hailee Steinfeld respectively.

In this sequel to 2018's Into The Spider-Verse, Miles comes up against a new villain, The Spot (Jason Schwartzman), who poses an even bigger threat to the Multiverse. He also meets Gwen once more, who is now a member of a 'Spider Society' of Multiversal Spider-Men led by Spider-Man 2099 (Oscar Isaac).

Loke says she mainly worked on scenes involving Miles and Gwen.Loke says she mainly worked on scenes involving Miles and Gwen.

A graduate of the Dasein Academy Of Art, Loke has been working in animation for eight years now, first in Malaysia, before branching out to overseas companies in Australia, before finally landing in Sony Pictures Animation in May 2022.

Once there, she was thrown into the deep end with Across The Spider-Verse, which she said was quite a challenge for her at first because most of the other lighters had already been working on the project for a while.

“Once I came in, I had to adapt to a new software, new pipeline, and quickly get up to speed with everything, because the movie had started way before I joined. So I had to pick it up as fast as possible,” she recalled.

“The hardest part was adapting to the style (of the movie). I don’t think any other animation would be as hard as this one, which has so many styles.”

Loke is a graduate of the Dasein Academy Of Art, and has been working in animation for eight years now.Loke is a graduate of the Dasein Academy Of Art, and has been working in animation for eight years now.

Still, Loke wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, animation is a field she had been dreaming of joining since she was a child.

“When I was young, I watched a lot of cartoons and was amazed by all the movies,” she recalled. “I wanted to be like them (the animators), and do something amazing that would inspire kids all over the world as well.”

Her interest and talent in art was apparent throughout her youth, and while her father was initially against her pursuing an education in animation after her SPM, he eventually relented.

“At first my dad wanted me to study Form Six, but I didn’t want to do that. So I convinced him by saying that I got decent grades in SPM, but might not do as well in Form Six!” she said.

“I also told him that if I studied art, I could get a scholarship and he won’t have to pay so much!”

Spidey finds himself in a tight spot while fighting The Spot in In 'Across The Spider-Verse'Spidey finds himself in a tight spot while fighting The Spot in In 'Across The Spider-Verse'

Fast forward eight years, and Loke is now living her dream, working on one of her favourite film franchise.

“When I found out I was going to be working on Spider-Verse, I screamed, and messaged everyone to tell them about it!” she said with a laugh.

“! I loved the first movie so much – when it first came out, the colours and the style it was presented in really wowed me, so I couldn’t believe I would be working on the second one!”

As for the future, Loke was tight-lipped about what she is working on next, but one thing is for sure, she’s not done with Spidey just yet, especially since the third film, Beyond The Spider-Verse is coming out next year. “Next, I’m working on the third movie, and after that, we’ll see!” she concluded.

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