Interview with Jeremie Passerin - Rigging Supervisor at Blur Studio
Hello Jeremie, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in CG and are you self-taught or have taken some training?
I graduated from the Georges Melies Animation School in France in 2004 and got hired that same year to work on a TV Series at Def2Shoot in Paris. At that time my dream was to work on an animated feature film and when the opportunity showed up in december 2007 I left to work at Pumpkin 3D on Bibo Bergron's (director of Shark Tale) next movie called A Monster In Paris. That was an amazing project but we had some problems with the production and I left a year after to move to Australia to work on Legend of the Guardians (director Zack Snyder) at Animal Logic. That was my first experience in a big studio and I learnt a lot.
Back in Europe, I did some tool development in a studio in Barcelona and some freelance in Madrid, Paris and London. I was actually waiting to get my visa for the US.
In January 2012, I moved to California with my wife and daughter to take the position of Rigging Supervisor at Blur Studio.
Please tell us about your job title and where do you work?
I am currently working at Blur Studio in Venice, California. I am supervising the Rigging Department on all the projects done at Blur.
How did you break into the industry?
I've always been fascinated by Animation but I wasn't really sure that was a real job. When I was a student I started by learning Computer Science and Communication then I discovered all those amazing animation schools we have in France. I took one year of art school to improve my drawing skills and the year after I was admitted in the Ecole Georges Melies where I learnt CG Animation. Like many schools I had to present a short film to get my diploma. Most of the studios from Paris were there during my jury and I got a job offer right after!
Working with some studios is always a dream of many artists and Blur is one of those, so how do you feel and how blur is different from others?
Blur has always been a studio that amazes me. Back in the days, I was one of the dreamers. I remember being blown away by the WarHammer cinematic and all the shorts they produced. Even recently before working there, I was really impressed by the Batman Arkam City cinematic or the opening title for the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. They have a unique touch.
Now that I'm working there, I can tell you; this is also a unique place. Blur has a friendly work environment. Tim Miller, the boss, is seated right in the middle of the room, working with us every day. I think it's the perfect size for a studio. We have the chance to work on amazing projects and the communication is simple, the team is extremely talented.
At what point in your life did you make the decision that that’s you want to be a Rigging Artist or this is by chance?
I was first an Animator on a TV series but at the same time I got more and more interested in Rigging and tool development. I'm a technical guy but I have an artistic background and I realized that it was a good mix for this job. I learnt scripting and really enjoy helping animators, providing them with the best possible rigs and some handy tools so they can focus on the performance.
Are first steps in game industry hard?
Blur is not actually working on any game. We are creating game cinematic but aren't doing anything real time or developing any gameplay. So this is a very smooth transition, this is still CG Animation.
Please tell us about Blur recent project ElderScrolls Online and what was your main role in this project?
This cinematic is the first one I really supervised in Rigging at Blur. To be honest I was a bit concerned when I first saw the concepts with all the action and the heavily armored soldiers. I could see a lot of troubles coming our way but I talked with the team and realized that Blur is used to this kind of challenge. I was supervising the department but I also learnt a lot during that production.
The projects are going very fast here. I think we only spend between 6 to 8 weeks rigging all the characters. The challenge is to give enough control to animation so they can achieve the extreme posing that those characters are supposed to do. Looking at the armor they carry it's almost impossible for them to move, but we have to find a way to make it happen and it has to look realistic.