Samuel Michlap began his animation career as a layout artist on the Walt Disney Classic “The Lion King”. During his five years at Disney, Samuel learned first hand how to create compelling visuals to help tell the story as only Disney could do for generations. During his second film at Disney, ” The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, Samuel began leading teams of artist while contributing the cinematic vision for the film as a JourneyMan Workbook artist.
Having been thoroughly trained in composition, lighting, story telling and film making, Samuel was recruited by the newly formed DreamWorks Animation Studios, as a visual development artist for their first feature animated film, “The Prince of Egypt”.
Sam helped establish the visual styling for several key sequences in ”POE”, including, The Red Sea, Death of the first Born, and The Ultimatum, as well as helping to create the lighting design for most of the film.
Sam has played a key role in establishing DreamWorks as the premier world class Animation Studio it is today.
From its formation in 1995, until 2005, Samuel remained at DreamWorks having served as a Lead Visual Development artist, Art Director, and ultimately Production Designer. He contributed to “POE”, “The Road to El Dorado”, Sinbad”, “Shrek”, “SharkTale”, and “Tusker”.
Sam decided to take a break from his duties at DreamWorks to pursue a career as a Fine Art Gallery Painter. Having been in the service of fabricating complete worlds from his imagination, Sam turned his attention back to his classical roots as an Illustrator and returned to painting exclusively in oils. His goal was to create emotional urban landscapes. Always searching for the “Soul in Art”, his paintings were well received by collectors due to their strong filmic staging and romanticized lighting.
In the late ’90′s, Samuel found himself right in the middle of the transition from 2D to CG made films. Instantly captivated by the potential of CG tools, Sam began searching for the best, most efficient way to create his new vision for the Art Department. After several years of trying, he was able to realize his goals for creating a new powerful Art Department while serving as Production Designer on the film “AstroBoy”. By embracing new technology and ways of working, he helped completely restructure how art is created for feature films. “The end goal is to use the most appropriate tools/artists at the right time in the creation process” says Sam. “Fear of change can cripple people from fully realizing the potential these new tools can bring to our films”.
Sam still finds time to give back what he has been given to students who wish to pursue a career in Art. He is a part time Faculty member in the Illustration Dept. at The Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, Ca. Sam also gives lectures and conducts workshops for plein air painting, composition, film analysis, and visual development.
Sam rejoined DreamWorks Animation in 2008, and has since worked on “Madagascar 3″, “Turbo”, “MegaMind”, “Attack of the Killer Carrots”, a DVD short film, and the most recently anticipated film, “The Rise of the Guardians”.
Presently, Sam is serving as the Production Designer for one of DreamWorks’ exciting upcoming Feature Animated Films due out in 2015.