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Hocus Pocus Studio – Interview

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Adam: What has been going on with KinematicLab and Hocus Pocus? How did becoming apart of another studio happen? I’d like to hear more about that.

Clovis: When I started KinematicLAB on my own two years ago, I wanted to try the adventure alone, see if people were interested by what I do, the tools, my rigging services…etc It turns out very well and it totally fulfilled my goals. But I worked alone from home and I needed find another work environment. My Friends Laurent and Jeremy started Hocus Pocus studio at the same period I started KinematicLAB. We worked together for a few years before my work at Imaginarium Studios, and we are good friends. So because we had common goals we decided to associate our two companies in one. The main idea was to bring my skills in a studio environment and work together in bigger projects, while we continue to sell my tools and make new ones.

Adam: What cool projects have you been apart of this year that you would be able to talk about? I have seen some nice stuff that you helped make with Tendril.

Clovis: I started the year by a big and exciting project with MoontowerVFX, I had to rig all the creatures and digital doubles for the “Lazer Team” movie. It was a really high end rigging work, I really love that kind of challenge. At the same time we worked on a music video clip for MysterySkulls and Warner, which was very challenging as well because of a very tight schedule and the kind of VFX we had to do. And we continue to provide services such as rigging for other animation studios. That’s what we did for Tendril. They asked us to rig the Spider and the cobweb as well. It was not really complicated but needed to be realistic, so I gave them a great freedom in the rig to move/stretch every joint independently. We have more things to show, but we can’t talk about it yet.

Adam: Civil War was released a few weeks ago, which was a internally created project from Hocus Pocus, focusing and showcasing the companies skills. How long was the development timeline on that project ? How did you guys come up with that idea when thinking about creating something internally? Very nice work all round.

Clovis: Since Hocus Pocus exists we have work that comes to us, but they don’t really offer us the opportunity to show what we can do, and what kind of projects we would like to work on. So we decided to dedicate this summer to work on our own projects to show what the studio skills. Civil War was one of them, that’s hard to give a timeline because it started last year, but we worked on our spare time. I think we can say it took like two months at 3 people to really do it. The idea came from an artwork from Alex Ichim that we loved and we simply asked him if we can do something with it.

Adam: We love seeing projects from people in the community, will there be anymore internally created projects in the future? I think you’re all off on a good start here with Civil War. How big is the team at Hocus Pocus? Did everybody work on it?

Clovis: We also have another internal project but it’s way bigger and complex than this one, with large and realistic environments, crowds…etc (I had to make specific tools to manage that kind of things ). We will not have time to finish this one this year, but of course we will try to do that kind of project as much as possible. We are 3 people, Laurent Basset who worked on the Mecha and assets for the environment, modeling, texturing and compositing, Jeremy Angonin who worked on the lookdev, shading/rendering and some modeling texturing as well, and I did the rigs on this project and some tools. We had two interns this summer, Théo Peronnard who worked on the soldier and the animation for the Mecha, and Nicolas Ney who worked on the artworks, matte paintings and visual researches for the 2nd project.

Adam: What can we expect to see from your new store and what will we be able to do on your new website? Are there going to be any new commercial tools in the works that will be released there in the future?

Clovis: On the new store the buying and licensing process is more simple and straight forward. We will offer discount codes from time to time. People will be able to review our tools, give notes ask questions, discuss features…etc I also hope in the future we will see more things in the user gallery, so I invite every users who want to share something to contact me. Of course new tools are coming, I have so many of them in development, free ones and commercial ones as well, updates for existing tools…etc You will also see R&D projects released as tools, so stay tuned.

Adam: As an artist what has got you excited recently in this industry? Wheather it be VR, MCG or changes in how things in the industry are working. It’s really cool being apart of something that is constantly evolving.

Clovis: VR is definitely something to consider, as well as realtime engines which I think becomes more visually amazing each year, so I hope to see that kind of realtime environments and workflows in 3d softwares. MCG is great as well but that’s not a game changer in the industry, nodal workflows are here for a long time, but for a 3dsmax user, it brings a whole new world of possibilities.

Adam: How do you feel about the current state of software programs from companies like Autodesk – do you feel that they are now listening to the artists that use it or is there still work to be done on that front?

Clovis: I am really involved in beta testing 3dsmax (well I which I have more time for that), and I also was invited in Montreal recently for what they call the “Gunslinger”. That’s basically a week where they invite a bunch of users to talk about their use of the software, their ideas, requests, and they show us what they do for future versions. I really confident that they are going in the right direction, the dev team is really listening to our requests…I’ve seen things…, and the last two versions proved us they are working on it more than ever.

Autodesk is a big machinery, so it takes time, they have complex processes, but they are going forward. The thing with 3dsmax is that the user base is so wide, they can’t just release tools for VFX or animation like what they do in Maya (their user base is pretty much only animation, VFX and games industry), otherwise a big part of users would be disappointed not to see things they need. But great things are coming for everyone don’t worry.

Adam: We don’t usually do interviews anymore, although we would never give up the opportunity to interview somebody who is trying to do something really cool in the community. Creating tools, projects and sharing cool stuff is what we love seeing. Thanks again for taking the time to talk to us.

Company website: http://www.hocuspocus-studio.fr/

Clovis: https://vimeo.com/rauquenrol

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