Taking an idea and turning it into a work of art is no easy feat, but for animator and graphic designer Andrea Mercado, it is second nature. She continuously impresses all those she works with, whether creating memorable characters or fashioning a logo that perfectly represents a brand. She does not just make pretty pictures, she creates thoughtful images that present or sell an idea. It is this approach that has allowed her to rise to the forefront of her industry.
No matter the project, Mercado consistently impresses all those she works alongside with her capabilities and commitment. Whether animating original characters, like for the web series Paradigm Spiral, her film PINOF Animate!, and video games for Driver Digital, or creating original content for Fractl, Mercado knows how to engage her target audience.
“I wanted to be a graphic designer because it offered me endless job possibilities. I knew that being a graphic designer I wouldn’t be stuck making logos and branding for the rest of my life- not that I have anything against branding- but I could also design mobile apps and online games, and so many other things. As a person who doesn’t like doing the same thing over and over, having a job in graphic design is a very creatively liberating experience,” said Mercado.
One of the highlights of Mercado’s esteemed career came when she began working with NeuroNet Learning in 2013. NeuroNet is a research-based learning readiness program designed to help students develop fluency in essential reading, math, and handwriting skills.
Mercado was instantly intrigued by the job, feeling it was the perfect opportunity to do something good for the community. It involved making animations for kids to follow, which would activate a neurological network in their brains that would help them develop fluency in essential subjects. It is essentially a program that allows children, and even adults, to learn more quickly.
“I like that they are doing something meaningful for students. In a world where there’s more and more cases of ADD and ADHD, it’s good to know there’s a company providing children with the necessary means to make learning fun and easier for them,” said Mercado.
Mercado worked in 3D software to create character animations for NeuroNet. As the program is based on motor skills, the goal was for the users to follow the same movements the character was doing on screen, from clapping while doing the alphabet in random order, to going up and down a stool while counting numbers. Later on, they released a free app and she was in charge of creating some of the animations and graphics for it.
The experience was very methodical for Mercado. The company would send her a video of someone doing certain actions, and she had to use this video as a reference to animate the character doing the same actions as the person.
“Andrea is the best animator we have ever worked with. She can animate anything, the movement is natural, the facial expressions are excellent. In addition to animation, she is also a skilled illustrator. She is in the top five per cent of her industry,” said Jonathan Rowe, CEO at NeuroNet.
Mercado was the only animator on the project, so the program’s entire success depended on her. This did not faze her, as she simply enjoyed animating the characters. The software is now sold around the world, helping children develop key skills. Her work has allowed the company to generate over $2 million. That, for Mercado, is immensely rewarding.
“It feels great that my work on this project has been so successful. Not only because I was helping children learn faster, but because when I first started working at NeuroNet I never imagined my job would generate so much revenue,” she said.
For more information on NeuroNet, check out their website.