In 2010, Etienne Badia graduated in Animation Film Production after studying higher studies in Arts Appliqués (MANAA) at L’Idem France. He has worked in animation and game development studios such as Wendigo Studios, Frima, Old Skull Games or King Barcelona as anArt Director. He currently works as Head of Art at the french mobile game startup Voodoo.
From his time at the school, Etienne highlights the particular attention the teaching team develops towards the students and their work. Today we share the interview we have conducted with our alumni for the section L’Idem Talent. A space in which we collect the experiences of our graduates after their training at the school.
What has been your career path?
After I graduated, I got my first job in Québec as Game Artist, in a small company called Wendigo Studios. After one year, I joined a larger company: Frima, still in Québec. I got to work with nice franchises like Ice Age, Skylanders, or Teenage Mutan Ninja Turtles. Two years later I came back to France and joined Old Skull Games, a young startup founded by a friend of mine. I worked there for 5 years as Art Director, we shipped many games for Bandai Namco and Nickelodeon. Then I accepted a role in King Barcelona as Senior Art Director. King is a powerhouse, with 2000 employees and 2 billion $ of yearly revenue. I was involved in all King games, to cite a few: Bubble Witch 3, Diamond Diaries, and Candy Crush Soda.
Which are the essential characteristics of a good animator?
Mastery of the principles of animation, understanding of games technical constraints and pipelines, passion for game design, reliability and autonomy. And of course, being able to take feedback, and to embrace change.
According to your experience, what qualities should a profile like yours have?
To be an Art Director the number one skill you need to develop is visual decision making. You don’t have to be able to do everything, but you need to guide your team with a clear art vision for the game, and communicate it clearly. Understanding the market, your audience, and the new trends. Then you have to be an excellent people manager and possess great leadership abilities.
Why did you decide to study at L’Idem France?
I visited several schools in France, including major ones at the time, and I fell in love with the human dimension of L’Idem. Even though the school was small, I felt the teachers and the team were passionate and cared about students. I felt reassured by that, because I knew I was a student who needed to be pushed.
How would you describe your time at L’Idem France?
It was an amazing time. I was curious about everything, I enjoyed every courses and workshops. There I found a real passion for art and creativity and was able to do something I loved. Also, I was top of the class since day one, and this felt amazing and motivating. My family paid for the school, and I was happy to make them proud.
What would you highlight from everything you learned at the school?
Everything is a highlight, from all the skills I learned, to all the teachers and the school crew I met.
Finally, a piece of advice for our students.
Work hard, deliver more than expected. You are in competition with students all around the world, so you have to give your best there is no other way. Listen to teachers. Maybe it’s difficult because you can’t always have the social life you want, but trust me: it will pay off and you will have a great social life as a professional later. Work nights and weekends, it’s now or never.