Featured 3D Artist of June 2007 – Patrick Beaulieu

Below you can read the interview with the 3D Valley’s Featured Artist of June 2007 – Patrick Beaulieu. Patrick discovered 3D animation at school and decided there and then to invest his time in cartoon design and animation. He works with 3D Studio Max and uses Shag hair/fur for the fur and feather on his characters. Patrick has worked for large companies like Hybride Technologie and Ubisoft. Currently he is employed as a character animator for Activision. He has worked on many large projects like Racing stripes, Sin city, Shark boy and Lava girl, Snake on a Plane, Open season, Surf’s Up, Rainbow Sin Vegas and more!

3D Valley Featured 3D Artist of June 2007 – Patrick Beaulieu. Patrick discovered 3D animation at school and decided there and then to invest his time in cartoon design and animation. He works with 3D Studio Max and uses Shag hair/fur for the fur and feather on his characters. Patrick has worked for large companies like Hybride Technologie and Ubisoft. Currently he is employed as a character animator for Activision. He has worked on many large projects like Racing stripes, Sin city, Shark boy and Lava girl, Snake on a Plane, Open season, Surf’s Up, Rainbow Sin Vegas and more!

Gallery album of Patrick Beaulieu
Website of Patrick Beaulieu

Can you tell us a bit about yourself: Who are you and what do you do in your daily life?

My name is Patrick Beaulieu, I’m 25 years old. I was born in Quebec City, Canada. I grew up in a neighborhood named Notre-Dame des Laurentides, where I stayed for more than 20 years. Since I was a boy, I’ve been interested in artistic skills. I decide later on to go for a 3D formation in 1999 here in Quebec City at Institute Athena. At school, I discovered animation and character creation, so I decided to invest my time in animation and cartoon design.

Do you have traditional art experience?

Patrick: I always loved to draw ever since I was young. I’ve always gotten my kicks of creating things. I also had a passion for portrait reproduction. At that age, it’s only a pastime, now, every character that I draw is made from a sketch. The sketch is a very important step in the creation of a character to establish all the details, accessories, style, and to have a clear and precise chart for the modeling so you don’t lose time drawing during the modeling. Sometimes when I have a clear on the work you want to do, I can pass that step 🙂 But the better way is to always be sure and to respect all the steps in the process of creation.

Character sketch Socrate

Which software packages do you use for your artwork?

Patrick: At home I always use 3D studio Max and Shag hair/fur for the fur or feather on my character. And for the texture part, I use Photoshop or Painter, depending on what kind of texture I need. I also worked with XSI and Maya at home when I work at Hybride and Interstation to practice my skills for my professional work. But in general, that’s all the software I always use.

Can you tell us a bit of the way you work on your art.

Patrick: First of all, to create an image or a character, I always make a quick sketch to determine if the idea is good and if the character seems interesting and if I want to develop it more profoundly. Once the character is established, I start modeling. I work in extrude edge, to be more precise, I work from a plan. I extrude all the main lines for the character to make a polygon cage, once the cage is final and that all the proportions are good, I close everything in quad if possible to obtain a better result. I generally do my texture with Photoshop. For lighting, I like to use Vray for my main lighting filters, for some filters, like Fallof, Ambiant etc. I use Scanline from Studio Max, for the creation of fur on my characters; I use Shag Fur and Shag Hair (Digimation). Finally, to make the final montage for all my filters, I use Photoshop and I add all the filters one on top of the other while adjusting the colors and contrasts here to obtain the desired quality.

Bobby Bubbles The dark knight

What and/or who inspires you?

Patrick: I get inspired by everyday things at work and by the people around me. I adore going to 3D forums or 3D galleries to keep up to date with what’s being made. There are a lot of good artists that do extraordinary work. It’s always interesting to learn their techniques or admire their originality. Artists like Richard Rosenman, Kolby Jukes, and Antropus are the ones that I respect the quality of their work. Animators like Mike Thurmeier, Mark Behm, and Cameron Miyasaki are very inspiring for my work.

Do you have a favorite piece of your own artwork and if so, why?

Patrick: Freaky Bird is probably my favorite character. I made him a while back but he’s still the one, in my opinion, he has the most charm. He is very expressive, simple in his modeling and silhouette but his attitude is very interesting. I would like one day, to create another character that would attract me as much. His colors and his stupid look always make me laugh.

Freaky bird – Click here to watch
a little short with Freaky bird

What is your goal as an artist?

Patrick: I would like to be original, to be able to renew and better myself in my work, to advance in my professional and personal life. I would also like to take on new challenges and work on more inspiring and enthusiastic projects.

Besides 3D Valley, which other CG sites do you visit regularly?

Patrick: CGsociety.org, 3Dtotal.com, CGchannel.com, Zbrush central, Animation Arena, 3DVF.com, Deathfall.com, …

What was your first break in the business?

Patrick: My first job was on a video game as a video animator. It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about animation.

Do you have any tips for the artists who admire your work?

Patrick: To be persevering, original, create their own stuff, develop their own style, to inspire themselves with what exists and to focus on their work and not try to copy someone else’s style. They should also put in a lot of time on their work and yet be critical of their work. They can learn a lot by the people who surround them but most of all they have to accept critics.

Jacco at the beach Marvin

Christa: You work as a character animator. What do you us as reference material for your animations?

Patrick: Currently I’m working on Bee movie and I can make the animation like I want. It’s for the video game from the movie so I need to adapt my style to have the same look like that of the movie. That’s a really cool challenge. Normally, In a video game company, you don’t have a lot of time to use references, you just need to animated good and fast. At Beenox, we have enough time to put on a shot, so we can create a good animation. That is so cool! When I need a reference, I start searching on internet or YouTube to find it. But, I think the best way to animate is to created something new in your head, try to find an original animation, don’t use a cliché, be original. With this method your animation will always be original and different.

You recently changed your job. You worked at Ubisoft as a lead animator and since recently you work at Beenox/ Activision as a character animator. What made you decided to change your job?

Patrick: I had a great time at Ubisoft during the 2 years I worked there. It was a great experience and I’ve meet great people in all fields of video gaming at Ubisoft. I changed my job because I wanted to be more challenged by my work. Sometime when you work for a company, there is a project you don’t feel or you don’t want to work on. Not because it isn’t a great project, but because you have worked on same projects like that one before. The challenge is not more there for you. That’s why I decided to move to Beenox.

Beenox is like a small family. The animation team is awesome, everyone is really cool and great in their job, my lead animator is a really cool guy too and a talented animator so it’s really great for me to work with this team. It’s really cool to be part of this family now. I was a lead animator at Ubisoft, but at Beenox, I’m a character animator, so I’m just animating, and that’s so cool!!! Working as a lead animator is really great, but you need to manage the staff, approve their work, and all the other tasks that come with the job. Now I can return to my passion; animation, and focus on the animation only.

If we would follow you for one day on your work, what would we see and/ or learn?

Patrick: Probably the way I animate a character. I work with “Pose to Pose” method to establish my poses. For a more complex animation, I like to use thumbnails to determine them. I also determine my time in 3D Max before starting, by playing on the timeline and noting the time of my animation. I work on Step Mode (curves), I work my poses with Max before coming with Bezier. Once I like my poses, I start to refine floor contacts, trajectories, offsets etc.

Fern Arnold

Which areas of your work do you enjoy the most?

Patrick: The challenge in the animation part. All new shots I need to animate are always a great challenge. I need to find the best way to do my sequence to have the best result I can. In the animation field, that’s never the same, you’re always animating something different. That’s one of the reasons why I love animation.

Which projects have you worked on?

Patrick: Racing stripes (movie), Sin city (movie), Shark boy and Lava girl (movie), Snake on a Plane (movie), Open season (game), Surf’s Up (game), Rainbow Sin Vegas (game) and more!

What would your dream assignment be?

Patrick: To work for Pixar as an animator without a doubt. It’s been a dream of mine for a long time.

What is your favorite CG character from the movies?

Patrick: Scratch from Ice Age, because he’s expressive, his animation is quick and snappy and his personality is very interesting. It’s a universal character everybody loves him, he’s perfect besides who doesn’t love a squirrel. Who would dare criticize it. Like I told you before he’s perfect!! 🙂

Click here to watch or download
Patrick’s Demo Reel

How would you describe your own personal style?

Patrick: My style of characters are mostly cartoons and simple. I focus on their expressions and on their cute or freaky look. I always try to give them their own identity like vibrant colors and emotions even though most of them are happy. I love animating my characters to be energetic, snappy and with fast movements. I love to animate cartoons but I also like the realistic style as well.

Are you currently working on something personal of professional that you can share with us?

Patrick: Professionally, I’m currently working on Bee movie at Beenox (Activision studio). That’s for the video game from the next Dreamworks animation movie. The animation part is really important on this project. That’s really challenging for animator! I can talk a lot about that, but stay updated on the net… the movie will be really cool, and the game will be a really great too. With a lot of good animation! I like to work on this project, I work with other talented artists and animators. Everyone at Beenox want to make the best animation sequence, so at this stage, the project looks really good!

Personally, I’m currently working on a short with cartoon characters with some other guys from Beenox. I work on a Goldorak project also with other friends and I work on a torent animation sequence. So that’s a lot of projects for now 🙂 I always create new characters when I got some time, so I invite you to come visit my website to get more information and my work progress will also be updated on my site: Squeezestudio.com

Tweedle Eggs creation

Is their something you can’t work without?

Patrick: Red bull!!! when I get into work I take two cans of this energizing drink, I know it’s not good for me, but it gives me so much energy that I can’t do without. Music is often necessary while I work. When I work on an acting shot or an animation what more can I ask for. I try to get as few distractions as possible when I work on my animations.

What do you do when you are not working or creating something?

Patrick: I love playing the electric guitar. I’m always researching for new tonality. Once in a while I buy pedals and a guitar. Playing music with friends is a passion for me. My biggest passion is my family; my daughter, and girlfriend. We like to spend time together doing all sorts of thing. That’s what life’s about! 🙂

Charley the bear – Click here to watch a
short animation with Charley the bear

Christa: Thanks for your time and the interview Patrick!

Gallery album of Patrick Beaulieu
Website of Patrick Beaulieu

Interviews with other artists

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