SAE Oxford Animation lecturer Mohamed Abdelrahman tells us about his career and artistic inspiration

13 May 2021

We caught up with SAE Oxford Game Art Animation lecturer Mohamed Abdelrahman to learn more about his career trajectory and to hear how he discovered his passion for animation and VFX.

You had a passion for art from an early age. At what point can you remember thinking to yourself ‘I want to make a career out of this’?  

This happened at two points in my life. First, when I was 16 years old and was choosing my university study, and the second one after graduating and deciding that Visual effects and Games are the industries that I want to work in.

What was your first role in the animation/VFX industry? 

Along with some friends I founded an animation studio startup at the beginning of my career, which was a great learning experience. But my first actual role in the industry was working in a children’s animated television series. I remember back then that I was responsible for creating background characters. My task was to create one new character each day!

What are some of your favourite animated films/VFX productions? 

As a child, I was always fascinated with visual effects made using old style stop motion model animation, in movies like Jason and the Argonauts and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Now I know that this was the work of the great artist Ray Harryhausen. During the early stage of using CG in visual effects, I was mostly inspired by Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 movies.

What art styles are you most inspired by? 

I generally prefer stylized over realistic, but the industry taught me to be flexible with working in any given art style.

You obtained your teaching qualifications at the University of Alberta in Canada, which has a thriving games industry. Why did you move to Canada from Egypt, and then what brought you to the UK?

Egypt lacks the specialised study in the games or visual effects fields, there are only general art studies. That’s why I looked for a good qualification elsewhere, and I was lucky enough to find this good opportunity at the Banff centre in Alberta. I came to the UK with my wife in 2020 as she got a job here. She is working in the games industry as well. 

What do you think is the most exciting trend or development happening in the games industry at the moment? 

Photogrammetry technology is definitely one of the main important developments in the games industry, which enables you to convert photographic images to 3D assets.

Check out SAE Oxford Game Art student Katy Lewis’ Major Project which used photogrammetry to create a cathedral interior

What attributes do you think make a good artist? 

In my opinion, continuous learning and development is the most important attribute in the ever-growing industries.

Is there any of your work online e.g. a website or an ArtStation account that students can check out?