ANOTHER Thomasian conquers the world—this time, through her “incredible” artwork.

Virginia “Gini” Cruz Santos graduated from the old College of Architecture and Fine Arts in 1987 with a degree in Advertising and went on to become one of the minds—and hands—behind Disney Pictures’ latest animated offering, the top-grossing comedy The Incredibles.

As one of the animators of the film, Santos created characters that are fast becoming favorites among the young and the not-so-young alike. In this story of superheroes forced out of retirement to save the world, she worked on the characters Elastigirl (voiced by Academy Award winner Holly Hunter) and her super-kids, as well as Frozone (voiced by Academy Award nominee Samuel L. Jackson).

Her other credits include Toy Story 2, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo.

Santos was born in Pasay City and moved to Guam with her family when she was three years old. She eventually returned to Manila to finish high school at St. Scholastica’s College, Manila.

After college, Santos went back to Guam to work for an advertising agency, a post she said wasn’t challenging enough. She then went to New York to study Computer Art at the New York School of Visual Art.

For her graduation thesis, Santos created a short animated film called The Eclipse which she sent out to different animation companies, among them Pixar Studios. In 1986, Pixar hired her, and she has been with them eversince, a job which she said she just “stumbled” into.

“Actually, it was really funny,” she said. “Animation was the farthest thing from my mind. “

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Santos said although her art is mainly computer-based, it doesn’t mean that a lot of the “hard” work is taken away. “Pixar doesn’t want to stress the high-tech side of it. They needed to see my portfolio to see if I had the eye for aesthetics,” she said.

Santos explained that most of the work is still anchored on the “traditional” side of the art.

“A lot of people get attracted to the tech side, but for me that’s just a tool,” she said. R.R. Reyes, with reports from Philippine Daily Inquirer

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