TOMB RAIDER UNDERWORLD
Copyright 2008 www.tombraiderchronicles.com
[ May 9th 2008 ]
has released a fantastic interview with Tomb
Raider Underworld conceptual artist Joel Boucquemont,
who answers questions on the science behind developing
video-games with an onus on Lara's latest adventure.
long have you been working as a concept artist?
been playing at concept artist since 95 but really
it became a full time job 6 years ago. Prior to
that the teams and projects were a lot smaller
so an artist would multitask a lot more.
route did you take to get into the games industry
in terms of education and professional experience?
I went through the equivalent of a master of fine
art in a serious French school that was visionary
enough to acquire computers for graphics when
that was still a heresy (it was in 86 and the
school is called Ecole Emile Cohl for those interested).
I highly recommend the school.
that I lived for a while as a bohemian illustrator
until I found an ad in a Boston newspaper for
an artist job in the game industry. I have been
in since and I donít regret it.
it like working on a game as popular and established
as Tomb Raider?
I remember back in the days (when I was working
on NASCAR and Indy-car sims) being fairly jealous
of the people who worked on Tomb Raider which
came out that year. It was a lot cooler than what
we were doing in my opinion. And here we are 10-ish
years later. Funny how it works sometimes, isnít
is that now my mother has something to brag about
and show her friends. She doesnít quite understand
what I am doing but even she knows Lara Croft
(Laraís big in France!). My friends too think
of me as less of a bum now. Ha-ha. Seriously,
itís rather nice to work on a project that has
worldwide recognition. Especially after years
of working on obscure or canceled games.
your average day working on Tomb Raider.
in, drink coffee, get cranking, watch the Daily
Show on the net, drink coffee, get cranking, chat
do you work with the dev team, and which members
do you work with?
very closely with the Art Director. But there
is also a fair amount of interaction with the
World Builders, Effect Artists and even Sound
Artists because, in the end, it all goes into
the mix to create a rich experience for the player.
you describe the process for getting the vision
for a level or character in the game designer's
head onto a piece of paper? When you have completed
the art what happens then?
you talk with the Art Director to try getting
all the infos needed for the piece. Size, mood
intended, level of detail expected...etc. Then
half way through the picture we meet again for
an evaluation of the direction taken. From that
I bring it to the next level where we decide whether
itís finished or not.
that I start on a new one just like in Chaplinís
ďModern TimesĒ. As for the picture itself, it
sails to its new home and become the reference
for the person building the world intended. If
the picture sucks they are the one who really
long does an average piece take to complete?
days it ranges from a couple of days to a week
for an environment piece loaded with details;
Depending on the scope, level of complexity and
do you get your inspiration?
the subject matter, the net, and my troubled past
..Ahem. No, really it comes from everyone and
is the favorite piece of concept art youíve worked
your all time favorite piece of TR concept art?
do you research your art? Do you visit locations?
thatís a good one! I wish they sent me to the
Yucatan, China or even the moon. Perhaps you could
say a word for me? They actually have sent a couple
of colleagues out to get some great reference
material and that helped tremendously.
many concept artists have been working on Underworld?
6 of us have been at it in different capacities
and different times.
you always been a fan of Lara?
she is a cool character but more importantly I
think it is one of the rare games out there making
people travel to exotic semi real locations. Itís
cheaper than a plane ticket and we try very hard
to make it as immersive as we can. Hope yíall