Monthly profile:Daniel Lupien (FXAU99), Graduate of the Visual Effects for Film and Television program

22 July 2010
POSTED BY (3D Professionals)

Interview with Daniel Lupien (FXAU01), Graduate of the Visual Effects for Film and Television Program, Senior Environment Artist at EA Montreal. 

1- Which company do you work for and what position do you hold there? I’m working as a senior environment artist at Electronic Arts (EA) on a game currently being developed, of which I can’t divulge the name, for obvious reasons.

2- Why did you choose a career in 3D? First of all, I’ve had the most atypical path since my background has absolutely no connection with 3D. Indeed, I was a respiratory therapist in an operating room for 4 years at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and I hadn’t really touched a computer in my life. I always loved to draw and I loved movies. So, when I saw “Jurassic Park” for the 38th time and was no longer challenged by my job as a respiratory therapist, I said to myself: that’s what I want to do and I’m gonna do it! Right away, I started working on my portfolio and applied to the NAD, and immediately left my job in the health sector to take a big leap into 3D!

3- In what way did the NAD Centre help you start a career in 3D?  The NAD Centre was crucial in the launching of my career. The reputation of the teachers is incredible and the contacts you make while studying there are precious. The NAD really has a great repute and being able to add its name to your CV at the start of your career is like adding another string to your bow.

4- What is your career path? I started off as a freelancer for a couple of months working on the clip “Dans un spoutnik” by Daniel Bélanger, a recipient of several awards. Afterwards, I headed to Ubisoft as a texture artist to work on the game “Myst Revelation”.  After that project, I started working for Ubisoft’s cinematics department. I was in charge of the Textures team (Lead Texture). Three years later, I decided to leave the world of video games to return to that of film and television. I spent a great year at Groupe Image Buzz where I was again in charge of textures. At that time, EA Montreal was starting its own cinematics department and they asked me to join their team to create environments, and to later become lead asset (modeling/textures). After an amazing adventure of nearly 4 years with a fantastic team, the cinematics department was closed down and I was transferred to a video games team where I’ve been working as a senior environment artist for 8 months now. Throughout all of this, I had the opportunity to teach the advanced textures course for 2 years at the NAD Centre; this was a highly fulfilling experience, which I would repeat at anytime!

5- What do you enjoy in your profession and why? After 9 years, I still wake up with a smile every morning. I work with dynamic and passionate people. I’m constantly faced with new challenges and this prevents me from falling into a professional rut. I also love the entire creation process. Going from a blank page to the finished piece is extremely fulfilling. The day when I don’t derive this type of pleasure from what I do, I will move on to something else. Life is too short to be anything but passionate about your work.

6- What are the qualities needed to succeed in your field? The greatest quality for a 3D artist is being able to adapt to change. Of course, talent also plays a huge part, but it’s a career that is in constant evolution, so you must continually learn new things, new tools. You can’t be afraid to take up new challenges. Being able to step out of your comfort zone is probably what will help you progress the most in this industry.

7- Do you have any advice to give to students who wish to make a career in 3D? Firstly, we all end up running into each other whether we work in film or video games. Your attitude, your credibility and your notoriety will remain with you throughout your career. The people you mix with today could very well be the ones that hire you someday or be called to give their opinion of you at some point. As mentioned previously, contacts are extremely important; you probably have a better chance of finding a job through one of your contacts than through your CV/Portfolio. Secondly, don’t hog your work and don’t take comments personally. We’re all artists and it’s not always easy to take a step back from our work and to remain objective. Treat comments and feedback as a blessing, an opportunity to learn and to improve upon your work. The goal is to offer the best possible product while adhering to the client’s requests. After all, it’s the final result that counts.

7-   Do you have a dream? A dream? Not really. I’m already doing what I love and I’m paid to do so; how could I ask for more?