PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Not everyone finds their passion in life as early in life as Samuel Shin did.
At 14 years of age, Samuel is already a savvy 3D digital animator, working with a Minecraft animation YouTube channel that has nearly 3 million subscribers.
His work is tedious: a single scene can take days to animate.
But for Samuel, it’s time well spent — and his schedule is flexible.
The high school freshman, who lives in Beaverton, is getting his formal education online through the Oregon Virtual Academy.
He told KOIN 6 News he “can spend as much or as little time as I need on it.” -It’s the perfect schedule for a student whose hobby demands large chunks of time. A 30-second scene can take a week (or more) to create if the designer spends 4 hours a day working on it.
Samuel said he started getting “seriously invested” in digital animation when “The Lego Movie” was released in 2014.
“It just blew me away and I needed to know everything about it,” he said.
Even at such a young age, Samuel started recreating Lego stop-action movies on YouTube.
His work with Legos eventually gave way to an interest in the popular video game, Minecraft, in which players use block-shaped objects to build 3-dimensional worlds.
“Minecraft is insanely popular,” Samuel said. “It is the number-2 best-selling game of all time with nearly 93 million yearly players.”
His talent and passion for the job caught the attention of Black Plasma Studios.
Samuel said he sent some of his work to the popular YouTube channel in an email.
“Right off the bat, they were interested,” Samuel said, adding that the response was “incredible.”
His project for Black Plasma Studios is a web-based series called “Songs of War” due out later this year.
Working with an online group doesn’t stop the teen from feeling connected to Portland’s larger creative community. He said he recently started to feel like he’s now a part of the local scene.
“It feels amazing to be recognized as that now,” Samuel said.
Samuel hopes to eventually get an internship at Portland’s Laika Studios and, from there, get his foot in the door at Pixar.