AVATAR: Interview of Hassan El Youbi, TD Ligthing at Weta Digital

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AVATAR: Interview of Hassan El Youbi, TD Ligthing at Weta Digital

Post by VinceFX on Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:29 pm

- Hi Hassan, can you explain us your course??
I'm a self-educated person in artistic domain. I headed for CNBDI Angoulême to have CG specialization in 1994.
My experience, I acquired it in different Parisian and European companies such as MacGuff or Duboi...

- How did you arrived on one of the most expected movie of these last years??
Between two productions in Paris, I decided to fill the recruitment page of Weta Digital.
I was definitely far from suspecting that I went working on such quickly AVATAR, at this moment THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL and LOVELY BONES were under way.



- What was your job position on AVATAR??
I worked as Lighting Technical Director.

- Can you explain us of what consisted your job??
At my arrival to Weta, I joined the SHOTS department of AVATAR.
We were in the center of the others departments: animation, living beings, "Clothdynamic", compositing, with daily updatings of information.
It was not rare to make some proposals of design, clothing or lighting.

- On which sequences did you work??
I in most cases worked on night sequences:
- the sequence of battle with kinds of wolves Viperwolf, it was the first meeting between Jake and Neytiri.
- "Zen" sequence with the WoodSprites when Jake is encircled by small luminescent jellyfishes and accept them in his hand under the look of Neytiri.
- the Na'vis ride in the forest to the Hometree.
- the sequence of the Jake's introduction, prisoner, to the leader of the village.
- the sequence of life inside Hometree.
I also worked on the sequence of the Hometree's destruction.



- Night scenes are absolutely beautiful! Did you encounters some problems before arriving at this result??
Not really, it was a true pleasure!
The workflow of Weta is ground well! On the basis of reference scenes, we had a broad field of research and covering which presented itself to us.
It was a true pleasure to light the characters in this world and the bioluminescence helped us to take down the depths of the jungle.
And what a surprise to see again these scenes in stereoscopy during projections daily!



- What was the size of your team??
Hmm… when we took a sequence, we were no more than 2 artists and a lead at the beginning, this helped to prepare a workflow.
Once this task finished, the rest of the team joined us to finalize the job. Anyway, it depended on sequences, some of them asked many more artists than for others.

- How was a typical day on AVATAR??
We prepared plans for meetings " dailies " in general in the morning to see if everything works; animation renders and compositing.
Then preparation of dispatches in the evening for conferences-call with James Cameron.

- The number of artists on the film is impressive. Did james Cameron explain you directly his ideas or did he pass by the VFX supervisors??
It became impressing the last 6 months (NDR: almost 900 artists only to Weta!!).
And concerning ideas and comments of James Cameron everything crossed by the supervisors what simplified task.



- For this film, Weta recruited some of the best artists in the world, how was the working ambience?? I imagine that there had to be a true dynamics between all these artists??
I keep on it a very good memory!
What most marked me, it is the number of artist different nationalities which all speak the same language. To give you an example in my room: there was German two, an American, an Italian, an Japanese, an Egyptian and an Australian!



- What was the most complicated thing on this show for you??
The huge amount of data to be managed! And this kept growing till the end.

- The movie is now released, what look do you have on this experience??
On the human side, it was grandiose!

- You worked more than year on this film. What is your best memory??
The country, people and job when the comments of the director was passionate.

- Apart from vacation, what is your next project??
This is going to become clear in February

- Thank you Hassan for the time which you dedicated us.
Thank you Vincent.



Vincent Frei

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VinceFX

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