We’re back with another exclusive Q&A, part of our Behind the Shell series! We sat down with Mikros Animation‘s VFX Supervisor, Matthieu Rouxel on all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Keep reading to find out more about Matthieu and his work on the project 👇
Q: Hi Matthieu, can you tell us about your career journey into Mikros Animation?
A: I started at Mikros in 2016 as Lighting and Compositing Supervisor on Captain Underpants. It was a very exciting and fun project for Dreamworks from which I learnt a lot for my first time in this position -especially in creating a good relationship with an Art Director.
I then navigated from one project to another with different budget sizes.
I moved to a CG Sup Image position on Sponge Bob; another project with very ambitious artistic and technical ambition on which I could extend my skills in more upstream departments.
Some of the reasons I keep working with Mikros Animation are the variety of projects and their quality and the creative spirit of the studio that is driven by the artistic aspect, no matter what the challenge is.
Q: What was your first reaction after learning you’d be working on the Animation for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem?
I would have never imagined having a first experience as a VFX supervisor on such a major franchise and with such talented creatives.
It was scary in a way, but the challenge and the opportunity were impossible to refuse. Absolutely no regrets today.
Q: Describe the project in 3 words
A: Challenging, unseen, fun.
Q: What does your role as a VFX Supervisor look like on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem project?
A: Overseeing the production of the picture. I interacted with the Director and the Production Designer to understand fully their vision of the movie.
I worked closely with all the departments to make sure we were doing everything necessary to get the expected result.
I worked with developers and supervisors to quickly get the technology and workflow in place, whilst evaluating the risk and the cost of each decision. In this regard, I was particularly involved in shading development and lighting workflow.
I was then reviewing and giving feedback to most of the visual departments to present work to the creative team consistent with the Art Direction.
Q: Who is your favorite TMNT character, and why?
A: Flyman aka superFly.
To me, he is probably one of the most successful villains in Animation’s history. He’s Scary and funny with a real background to motivate his actions. His design, acting and final look are incredibly good.
Q: What was your favorite part of the project?
A: Creating the tools and technology to achieve the look of the movie were a super exciting part. The Mikros Animation team has really been a partner with Nickelodeon to get a great animation on screen, providing solutions and recommendations.
Q: What have you learned since working on the TMNT film visual effects?
A: That you can really get the artists from every department out of their comfort zone and enjoy it when you get them to understand the final look.
Q: When you’re not working on a project, you can be found…
A: Being a dad of young kids, probably in the playground. And when I have the opportunity to do so, on long hiking in national parks.
Q: Share something you’re proud of.
A: I am very proud that we could build such a trustful relationship with the creatives. It is a great reward for the teams and their implication.
Second, I think that we did great in injecting stylization in early departments such as modelling and surfacing to really bring something special on screen and not just having it processed in post. We have made critical choices early in production that paid off.
Q: Anything you can share about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem film?
A: When we started to brainstorm on a special character, we were stressed about its level of complexity and anticipated major challenges at every step. I can’t say it was exactly easy, but it turned out to be one of the best-optimized characters and not such a big deal in the end, whilst still a real success on screen. Some minor and anecdotic parts of the movie have been much more problematic in comparison.
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