Hullo everybody !
Glad to share with you a new Lighting Club article ! This month we have been honored to talk with a guy we follow for a long time now : Péah.
Péah is currently visual development Artist at Mikros Animation Montreal. He worked on awesome projects in studios such as Cinesite, Ubisoft, Atelier d’Animation, On Animation as both lead concept artist and vis dev artist. He is also well known for his huge amount of personal projects with an awesome style and universe. You can feel and see in every images he creates there is a strong work about lighting. Beside of this, Péah is a vis dev teacher and also currently working on two books.
A vis dev artist with a strong lighting universe, both video game and feature film industry background, creating two books, and also teacher… That what quiet obvious to ask him to share with us his lighting approach (and in the meantime if he succeed to find some time to sleep) isn’t ?
Hey Peah, thanks a lot for answering our questions ! Tell us more about you and your resume.
Hello ! I’m a french concept artist currently living in Montréal, Canada and mostly working for feature films. I started in the industry 10 years ago while working for Ubisoft on Red Steel 2 and moved to other projects like Ravings Rabbits. In 2012 I was offered a job in Canada to work on Ballerina … and never came back ! Right now, my time is split between working on upcoming movies, teaching at École Pivaut Montréal and advancing two book projects with what’s left !
First question, what is your definition of a good lighting / good mood ?
A good lighting is one that support and enhance emotions. Light, such as composition, colors, and design is a tool that should support the story and lead the viewer in the proper emotional state, rather it be wonder, shock, peace or danger. A very good lighting add subtlety and timing into the order of when the viewer sees the elements, sometimes it has to been straight away, sometimes you discover clues in a certain order to get the whole picture of what you’re viewing. That’s the magic.
You worked for both video game and feature animation, could you describe the differences from your perspective of vis dev/2D lighting ?
It’s two different approaches. In the video games I worked on, the lighting was of course used to set a mood but mostly it had to point to where the player had to go or what it needs to do. Sometimes everything had to be overcast because everything had to read and be clear for the player. In feature animation, story is key so it have to support the moment of the movie and the emotional state of the characters. It’s an utilitarian tool versus a narrative tool.
You worked on Ballerina, could you tell us more about this project and what were the challenges lighting wise ?
Ballerina was a very special project for me as it was the very first feature I worked on. It was a transition project from video game to animation, so I had to rethink the way I used to make concept art and put my focus in different places. Such as “cool design” versus “design that support the story”, in animation, most of the time less is more. Lighting wise it was a time in history when electricity just arrived in everyday’s life, most of houses were still lighten by candles and only rich people could afford electric light. So we thought about the warmness of candle lighting and the brighter electric light (in the opera) and how we can play with those to support the evolution of Felicie’s journey. We had also to study stage lighting as the movie focus on Ballet, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about ballet shows, an area that I was completely ignorant about.
You also worked on Playmobil the movies – and you putted a lot of awesome moodboard/colorscript online recently – How was it ? Regarding your work, it seems to have a lot of different mood in the movie !
Thanks ! Playmobil was a great movie to work on in the sense that it had a lot of variety in it’s environments. We jump from a western town, a jurassic forest, a fairytale castle and a superbowl arena. For each environment, with the supervision of Rémi Salmon (production designer) and Julien Rossire (art director), we had to develop a unique mood and color palette. It’s all over the place color wise and we had the space to explore and propose very different flavors for each location the characters visit. It was the first color script I took charge of and I learned a lot on it, things like “how to light a futuristic dance club” or “does the dinosaur reads in front of the laser show ?”.
You are currently working on the next Sponge Bob feature film, are you able to tell us more about this project ?
Only that it’s gonna be awesome !
What are you references artists ?
It’s continually evolving ! It’s hard not to get overwhelmed today by the huge amount of talents on internet. That much so that if you ask me my currents influence I better show you my instagram feed.
Do you use 3D lighting sometime ? Did you try VR ? Do you think VR could help the vis dev part of a project ? If we think about Goro Fujita VR projects we can imagine the future of vis dev in 3D isn’t ? Is it something you feel as a good or a bad thing ?
No but I would LOVE to ! I started self teaching 3D on Blender last year and my current skills are really basics (modeling and basic surfacing), the power of real time lighting is absolutely amazing to experiments very quickly different light scenarios and I plan to expend my 3D skills to this area this year.
VR is to my opinion the next big thing in concept art, it’s not there yet but it’s going to be in couple of years. I’m hugely impressed by the potential of quickly sketching ideas and being able to turn around it, pan, and place cameras. It’s going to be such a strong tool for directors in Animation and live action and I think that artists such as Goro Fujita are paving the way of the next step of what visual development is going to be.
How do you choose your colors ? Do select a range of color before to start something ? Do you take references ?
I always think of light first. What time of the day it is ? What is the main subject of this picture ? What am I trying to tell ? What is the emotion I want to convey ? Answering those questions will help me figuring out the light first and from the light I can think of temperatures and so on. My approach to colors is very methodical, I try to think of the local colors of the elements and how they will be affected by the light (keeping in mind strength and color). References is always a good idea, as it will fuel your creativity by giving you hints of how other artists answered the same problem. I use pictures from my travel from time to time if I need to refer to a special light condition or color palette. A trip in Iceland will give you inspiration for years to come !
You are also vis dev/concept art teacher, what would be your best advices for students reading this ?
Be patient, and be consistent with your efforts. I remember a teacher telling me at the end of Art school that “color will never be my strong skill”, today I work mostly on color script and color development. No matter where you are right now, if you put the hours and study smartly you will catch up and improve your current skills. Studying the masters (traditional painters), photography and painting from life are a shortcut to curb your level much more quickly !
You work a lot on a personal project – which are incredible, we do love the style in the Lighting Club – and there is a new book incoming isn’t ? Could you tell us more about it !!
I really hope it’s going to be by the end of this year ! 70% of the layout is done but there is still a lot to do so I would not give out too much information yet. It will be a collection of illustrations, concept art and sketches I did the past couple of years.
Thanks for your time Peah, and your sharing ! As we usually say, welcome in the Lighting Club, a last thing to add ?
Thanks for having me ! I realized last year that one of the key elements to keep my artistic practice alive and healthy was to get back to what I like as a child or a teenager. Exploring early artistic crushes or childhood memories with a more experimented eye is a fantastic way to keep the fun in any art form (especially when it become your job) ! Keep it fun and always reconnect to what make you pick up the practice in the first place !
Indredible style and color isn’t ? If you are curious enough, feel free to follow him on Instagram ( https://www.instagram.com/peah_art/ ). He is currently posting Inktober everyday and this is dope as usual. In the meantime if, like us, you want to have a beautiful edition of his book, you can visit his online shop on his website ( http://www.peah-art.com).
See you soon for a new Lighting Club article with something that should be a bit more technical this time… Keep posted 🙂