YDA’s Paris-based Project Manager Soraya Assi continues her hunt for new French graduates who have produced stunning work – and came across this delightful animated film. We catch up with the former ARTFX students Arthur Seguin, Kimberly Honma and Clément Lauricella.
Which school are you from and was “Reverso” your graduation film?
The three of us come from ARTFX 3D Animation and Special Effects School in Montpellier (France). Reverso was our graduation film. We were a team of three – Clément Lauricella, Kimberly Honma and Arthur Seguin – as well as a few freelance students worked on some of the sequences.
How did the idea for the narrative come about? Did you all contribute to the development or was it just one person who wrote the script?
The idea came from Clement who dreamt one night that he was walking on the celling and was trying to communicate with the normal people below him who weren’t listening. After this Kim and Arthur joined the project and we developed the scenario together. We all considered it important to have all the team agree on the different parts of the scenario.
How was the tone and feel decided on?
It took us a lot of time before being sure about the art direction for Reverso. At the beginning when Clement first had the concept we thought the art direction would be in 2D style but we changed our minds in pre-production. We did some tests in Pixar rendering with Hair in dynamic for the character’s hair and SSS (Sub Surface Scattering) for the skin. The tests were convincing but we were moving away from the initial art direction so we went back to the main idea improving it to the maximum.
Have you ever worked together before? How did you find collaborating with each other?
During our studies at ARTFX we had worked together within different groups such as comic books, short films and stop motion but more importantly we were also friends.
At the end of the second year, when we had to select the project, the teams got together and it was no surprise that we ended up together. We knew our strengths and weaknesses and being friends for many years helped us to excel during the movie making. Each one of us came with our own personal touch and ideas to enhance the scenario.
There’s a lovely pen and ink quality to this film – what methods and programs did you use for animating?
We used Maya for the animation, After Effects for some effects and RealFlow. We shot each other to have a base for the animation. The most difficult part was to think of how the main character Barney’s motions were affected by his reversed gravity so that it would look natural. We used to throw objects in the classroom so we could understand the gravity and the character’s movement. One day we even lifted up Kim and stuck her to the celling, her footprint is still there.
What were the key lessons you learnt from creating the film? And what were the main challenges of the production.
Working on a project for a year is already a big challenge as you have to find the motivation to keep going. The learning process is incredible; working methods, communication between the team members, the technical part but also all the unforeseen problems that you have to face.
Another challenge was the film length. We didn’t want to cut the scenario so that it would stay understandable for the spectator. We had to manage a seven-minute film with 100 shots, about ten sets and five characters. So we had to find some tricks to manage our time.
When did you realize you wanted to become an animator?
Clement: I used to love making up stories and drawing when I was younger but I really understood that I wanted to create stories and pictures at the end of my studies in computer science & communication (a moment of aberration). But I quickly realized that I needed to evolve in a creative space to blossom.
Kim: I always liked photography and video games. Creating pictures was for me a logical choice
Arthur: For me it comes from my youth, I was surrounded by thousands of comic books at my parent’s shop. I grew up exploring different worlds and my dream to finally create mine is getting closer each day.
What are you doing now and what would be your ideal job?
Clement: I am currently a 3D artist in a post-production house NightShift in Paris where I’m learning a lot and working on different productions. Afterwards I would like to interact more in pre-production and maybe direct myself one day.
Kim: I work at Ubisoft in Montpellier and I hope to continue in the video games world.
Arthur: I’m a freelance graphic designer. My ideal job would be to work in a small or medium advertising agency or to go into the video game area.