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Beyond: Two Souls concept artist, Benoit Godde interview

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Date Added: 10th April 2015

Quantic Dream art director and concept artist Benoit Godde has become known for his moody environments in Heavy Rain. 2dartist caught up with him in October 2013, before the release of Beyond: Two Souls...

Concept art for the game Eight Days / Photoshop


Benoit Godde's career is a shining example of where hard work, perseverance and raw talent can get you. Each stepping stone has risen the bar that little bit higher, earned him that much more respect.

Now he works as an art director and freelance concept artist, working on such prestigious and award winning titles as Heavy Rain and La Vie en Rose. Not to mention the critically received Beyond: Two Souls. Could things be any better?

We caught up with him to find out, and to discover his own individual route to the top!

Hi, Benoit, it's a pleasure to talk to you today! Could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got into the CG industry?

My name is Benoit Godde, I am a French art director/concept artist based in Paris for some years now. I received my Master of Arts in Graphic Art/Design from ESAG Penninghen in 1995. After this, I worked as an art director in the web design industry. I spent a few years in some well-known companies at the time. At that time I concentrated mostly in graphic design.

Concept art for the game Beyond: Two Souls ©QuanticDream / Photoshop

In 2002, I decided to change direction and try to come back to what made me want to go to art school in the first place: drawing. After that, I decided to work as a freelance artist and started to work in the film industry. The experience was really amazing. I met many cool people during this work. At the time, my work was mixed media; half of it paper and the other half CG. But I can say that a computer has always been present in my pieces, either at home when I was young, in school or even today.

"Young artists often have the same bad habits: They think they can do everything faster and better"

When you were just beginning, what helped you the most in terms of a learning process and gaining experience?

Young artists often have the same bad habits: They think they can do everything faster and better. You give them a subject, and one hour later it's finished, and most of them have done the same already-seen idea.

Concept art for the game Beyond: Two Souls ©QuanticDream / Photoshop

At the beginning of my studies in ESAG, computers were forbidden. They wanted us to learn that ideas don't come from blank screens.

Today, when I start a new project I spend days searching to see what others have already done on the subject before I start. I'd love to say I open some books too. It is not really true. I surf the web a lot. And when I have enough reference, comparisons, and ideas; I open up Photoshop.

"Good artists copy; great artists steal”

So for me, school gave me a really good method. There is also a Picasso quote that can help; "Good artists copy; great artists steal.” But there's one last thing. Work, work, work... and more work.

Concept art for the game Eight Days / Photoshop

Can you take us through your typical work process? What tools do you use to get from an idea to a professional finished piece?

I do a massive amount of research before starting a project. I read lot of articles, I like to talk with people I am working with, share ideas, mime out the action of the scene, etc. It's not very important at this point to be in front of a computer. I like drawing on glass with erasable markers to share ideas. Then the image is started on the computer. During this process discussion with others is still important.

Concept art for the game Heavy Rain ©QuanticDream / Photoshop

What do you feel is the most important part of this process that you like to focus on?

I don't understand people who start directly on an image without asking themselves certain basic questions. I like to understand exactly what I have to draw. What kind of scene is it? What kind of information does this image need to show? Camera angles are very important. The details you put in your work need to say something.

Concept art for the movie Sur la piste du Marsupilami / Photoshop

"...if you like digital art, look around you and ask yourself if you are willing to put in the work"

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to pursue a career in the digital art industry?

This is a hard question. I don't have any good advice. Everyone's way in is different. But if you like digital art, look around you and ask yourself if you are willing to put in the work to be as good as you can possibly be.

Concept art for the movie Sur la piste du Marsupilami / Photoshop

Where do you draw your inspiration from? What are your major influences and why?

As with many concept artists, science fiction is a really attractive domain. Since I was young, robots have amazed me.

Starting with Great Mazinger, Metropolis, Star Wars, RoboCop, Terminator, A.I., I, Robot... There are so many of them. Years ago I discovered two short films called Tetra Vaal and Tempbot from director Neil Blomkamp, these short films really struck a chord with me.

Personal artwork / design for an Exo SpaceSuit / Photoshop

I am also very impressed by artists like Klimt, Egon Schiele, John Singer Sargent, Antonio López García, Lucian Freud, and lot's more. Their work with women and light is really inspiring.

What has been your favorite project that you have worked on to date?

I have some very good memories from a movie called La vie en Rose.It was in 2006 and was my first meeting with Olivier Raoux, a great production designer who sadly passed away in 2011. I was working as a concept artist on the sets team. The vibe was really crazy; I have never experienced such a way of creating with anyone else. He was someone that really listened to ideas. Usually when you work with a person of this caliber they won't consider new ideas, but with him he was always willing to consider something new. It was really different.

There have been other nice jobs after that too, but this one left me with some warm memories.

Personal work / Photoshop

"This PS3 game is going to really blow some people's minds"

What are you working on at the moment? And can you tell us about any projects that are coming up that you are really looking forward to?

I actually just started a new PS4 project at Quantic Dream. There are so many upcoming next-gen and current-gen titles that I am waiting for.

Personal work / Photoshop

It's always good to take time out from work and reflect. What do you like to do to relax?

'Nothing' would be the best answer. I don't have much time for me. Work takes time so when I want to relax, in the summer I like to go and lay in a park and read a book. Or have a beer and listen to music.

Related links

Head over to Benoit Godde's personal site
This interview featured in 2dartist magazine issue 94

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