5 Questions for Joel Dos Reis Viegas

Today we have Joel Dos Reis Viegas from Steambot Studios for this interview. Steambot is a creative agency specialised in developing ideas and providing concept art for the entertainment industry.

I was told that they had just launch a Kickstarter campaign for an animation called URBANCE. I actually posted about it in March 2013. They are now crowdsourcing for funds to bring their dream to life, a 26-minute animated episode that represents the start of a TV series.

Watch the trailer below:

Their campaign ends on 6 Nov 2014 and you can see more details at https://kck.st/1rhtFmM

For one of the tiers, they will be giving out an artbook that features the art from URBANCE. The limited edition art book has already all been taken up. Even the standard edition is in limited quantities also.

Alright, onto the interview...

Qn: Can you tell us how Steambot Studios has changed since it was founded in 2006?

Since the creation of Steambot, we did produce a lot of art for video games and movies companies without necessarily saving time to really kickstart our IP's. Since Exodyssey, we always wanted to create a new IP at a larger scale than just producing books. Few team members didn't share the same overall vision, focusing more on the outsourcing service than the IP creation.

This year, Sébastien and I decided to fully assume the reason Steambot exists and launch URBANCE, our first Animation TV series. Steambot is more creative now than ever!

Qn: Producing a full episode of animation seems to be quite different from Steambot Studio's main line of work: creating concept art and providing art direction. What's the motivation behind producing an animation like URBANCE?

As concepts artists we often work on only one aspect of the production. But we did accumulate so much knowledge over the years that we though it was pity to not use them efficiently in creating something new and combine our love for urban art, music and animation. All in one. We had the chance to read a lot of scripts and we felt confident in making the jump and start writing too. That was a huge step!

Qn: What's the most challenging aspect of creating an animation? Do you guys have any experience in doing this? Your trailers look very impressive.

Oh, thank you! Well, we always been big fans of animation at Steambot. Producing the animation is definitely the most challenging aspect we had to face. I have a background in 2D and 3D animation (Les Gobelins school in Paris) and I also had the opportunity to animate or supervise animation in the past (Thief, Naruto, Skyland). But it was quite a challenge to do that for ourselves, that's true.

Qn: What's the process like for creating an animation such as URBANCE?

First, you have to design the characters and do A LOT of research.

Second, I block the design and make sure all the segments are easy to animate...

Then I start sketching from poses to poses directly in Toon Boom Pencil Check Pro software. It's simple and intuitive to use. This part is definitely the funniest but also the more challenging.

Finally I clean up my drawings and fill them with colours. This last step is the longest and the most repetitive, but it's very exciting to see your animation being made believable.

Qn: Can you tell us some of your favorite animated films or shorts?

So much to tell... Tekkon Kinkreet is definitely one of my favourite anime from all times. AKIRA, Redline, Spirited Away, Mind Game, Samurai Jack, L'homme qui plantait des arbres by Frédéric Back. These animes really influenced me.

Thanks to Joel Dos Reis Viegas for this interview. I hope his URBANCE Kickstarter campaign will be successful. Again, readers, you can back the campaign before 6 Nov 2014 at https://kck.st/1rhtFmM


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