Olive Titouan: From the School of Self-Taught

AREA | Posted 1 December 2009 4:25:50 am


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Olive Titouan- Photo

Olive Titouan

I'm 23 years old and I live in France. I'm a completely self-taught artist. Since I was 10, I’ve been drawing and have always been interested in art -- more specifically in illustration and character creation, so I naturally chose to orient my studies towards drawing, painting, and all the fundamentals of art. I seriously started working with 3D six years ago, learning on my own, through books, friends, and the Internet. I'm currently focused on my personal work but I'm planning to do more freelance work soon.

The area avatarThe Area:

Bonjour Titouan and welcome to the AREA.

The area avatarTitouan:

Hello everyone. I'm really happy to be there!

The area avatarThe Area:

Being a 23-year old CG artist, at this young age, you already have the direction of where you want to go. We can see in your work that you like to create characters and you have a great sense for colour and lighting -- what would be your dream job?

The area avatarTitouan:

Well I don't know if I have a “dream job”, my goal is to work in the industry creating original and captivating characters and moods on innovative projects. Of course it's always a dream when we hear those names spoken, like DreamWorks or Pixar, but I assume I have the time to think about it haha. :-)

The area avatarThe Area:

What are you currently doing now?

The area avatarTitouan:

I'm currently working on several freelance projects. The rest of the time and as often as possible, I work on my personal projects trying to improve my skills and my knowledge.

The area avatarThe Area:

You have furthered your visual skills by taking up traditional art study – would you ever consider going to French CG schools like Gobelins or Supinfocom?

The area avatarTitouan:

I've made the choice to learn by myself and I've never regretted it, but I think you really need to consider all the positive and negative points beforehand to make this choice. Everybody isn't made out for this! You really have to be motivated because nobody will be behind you. You're not supervised. It has never been a problem for me, but I think that point could be harder for some people who are used to always having someone behind them to tell them what they have to do. It was a really good experience for me and I know some people who have been really disappointed by their school and have decided to learn on their own. <br /> Anyway I really think one path isn't better than another. You just have to ask yourself good questions before making your choice.

The area avatarThe Area:

So you have always been fascinated by art, even as a child. What was the decision that made you move over to the 3D side?

The area avatarTitouan:

Yes I was already playing with a pen when I was a child, I even tried to create my own comic but stopped before the end hehe :) I've since discovered CG through video games, I was fascinated by the characters I saw and I tried to draw them out. <br /> I made my first steps in 3D on my first computer when I was about 15 years old, trying to put volume into my sketches.

The area avatarThe Area:

There are numerous 3D apps out there – why have you chosen Maya for your work?

The area avatarTitouan:

I remember when I began to learn 3D, I tried several different apps. I wanted to see which was the best for me. When I opened Maya for the first time, I saw that it was done for me. It was really intuitive and customizable with all the marking menus. I could finally create my own workflow. And I just stopped to open other apps after that.

The area avatarThe Area:

You have created some fantastic characters. Can you tell us about “Jeune Princesse Mandchoue” (Young Princess Mandchoue), who is she and what is her story?

The area avatarTitouan:

I wanted to create an original young girl with an elaborate 'hairstyle' and makeup, something colourful and detailed with some mysterious elements. I tried to give a particular and charismatic mood... But well, I'm not good at describing my pictures. I prefer that people imagine their own story. Each person sees different things in an image and that's just what I like!

The area avatarThe Area:

The image is beautiful in its simplicity – awesome colours, great modeling, lighting and rendering. What did you use for rendering and what was the most challenging part in making her?

The area avatarTitouan:

Thanks ;) I used mental ray to render this image. The most challenging part was certainly the rendering because I wanted to have something really close to what I had in mind and it had to be really clean even at very high resolution. I spent a lot of time on the shaders too, and on the texturing process.

The area avatarThe Area:

Mister Dandy is a bit reminiscent of Willy Wonka from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The fancy suit, top hat, vibrant colours…and the addition of tropical fishes! Can you tell us about this image – who is Mr. Dandy, was this commercial work?

The area avatarTitouan:

Mister Dandy is a personal work. At first it was just a 'sculpt exercise' done in freestyle with no references. But when I found the shapes really good and funny, I then tried to push this sculpt higher -- adding a hat and a jacket, and I finally created the full body. I then began to search some references in books and on the Internet with “dandy” as the keyword, I then found some pictures on Tim Burton's film (I didn't see the film prior to this). The colour and the style was very close to the orientation I wanted to create for this picture and I decided to keep those same colours and patterns.

The area avatarThe Area:

I noticed that you used Paint Effects in the image…most identifiable are those clusters of crystals. Did you use paint effects for anything else.. grass maybe? And the flower on his jacket? ;-)

The area avatarTitouan:

Yes you have a good eye! I've rendered a Paint Effect pass for this image: crystals, starfishes and the flower.

The area avatarThe Area:

In your own interpretation of Captain Nemo and his Nautilus submarine, did you draw upon any visual adaptations of Jules Verne's writings for inspiration? <br /> Though it is ‘one’ image, we can observe that there are many assets within the scene. Effort put into evoking the feeling of solitude through the environment with whale, the ship in the background, items on the desk and wall, Nemo...was no small task. Can you tell us what this image was created for and how long you had spent on it?

The area avatarTitouan:

This image was done for a contest based on Jules Verne's universes where I won third place. I always draw many sketches beforehand, to begin the digital work. This way I exactly know where I'm going. I think it's really important to follow a directive line.

I decided to show Nemo in his Nautilius and to try to describe the sadness, the rage and the conscience of this man through this picture with the sea in the background, which is the only thing able to appease Nemo's heart and all his suffering. It was a really hard work and I don't know if I achieved my goal. Anyway you'll understand the story of this artwork better of course, if you've read the book

I spent almost 3 months on this picture.
I rendered this image with the help of render passes. Assembling the scene was certainly the most difficult because of all the elements. I don't know why, but the modeling of the face, his expression and especially the posing for Nemo was really problematic even if I finally managed to do something which I was pretty happy with…

The area avatarThe Area:

Do you have any plans to produce animations with Nemo or any of your characters?

The area avatarTitouan:

Of course I'd like to create animations but the fact is that it takes a lot of time! And I spend already a lot of time with all my 3D stills works. But if I have the opportunity one day, no doubt that it could be a very cool and instructive experience! :)

The area avatarThe Area:

Who or what are your sources of inspiration when designing characters and are there any CG artists who directly inspire you?

The area avatarTitouan:

There are a lot of people that I greatly admire but the artists that I currently really like are Justin Sweet and J.B. Monge. I really like their talent and their style.

The area avatarThe Area:

What is your favourite part about doing 3D?

The area avatarTitouan:

Modeling and sculpting are certainly the most interesting and challenging parts for me, but I like to be able to do all of it. I try to push forward all aspects of doing a picture from the beginning till the end!

The area avatarThe Area:

For those who have just discovered 3D – can you share what was the hardest part when you started doing 3D, how you overcame it and if you have any advice for them?

The area avatarTitouan:

Learn to draw, study traditional art, look at the world with attention and trying to transpose what you see is, in my opinion, very important. <br /> Staying in front of your computer is not always a good thing for inspiration. It's sometimes better to go outside and look at the clouds, the sun and all your surrounding environment. When you come back, you'll see the things differently and in a better way. <br /> Everything is hard at the beginning. But with patience, time, passion and tons of work, we’ll come to forget the technical aspect to concentrate all our efforts on the artistic side and that's where it becomes really interesting.

The area avatarThe Area:

Thanks Titouan :-) for sharing your colourful world to us, we hope to see more of your work in the future.

The area avatarTitouan:

Thank you. It was really a pleasure ;) Don't hesitate to have a look at my website to see more of my work: ;-)

Additional Link

Making-of the Queen of Scarabs



Posted on: 1 December 2009 4:17 pm



Posted on: 1 December 2009 6:59 pm

great work


Posted on: 2 December 2009 2:08 pm

Double Wow! Great work!

mashiur rahman

Posted on: 4 December 2009 8:07 am

i want titouan scene with IK & materials

serhat kadir

Posted on: 4 December 2009 10:34 am

yok ya bunları bir insan yapamaz


Posted on: 5 December 2009 5:51 am

lovely artwork


Posted on: 10 December 2009 8:28 am



Posted on: 30 December 2009 10:47 am

it,s great work,have you ever tryed animating your work.


Posted on: 6 January 2010 5:48 pm

very inspiring work and comments.


Posted on: 11 June 2010 6:13 pm

if you was doing some work on a character how much will it be would you sell the Young queen

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