Étienne Badia

Study: Animation
Alumni – Art Director at Voodoo (Paris)

In 2010, Étienne Badia graduated in Animation Film Production after studying Applied Arts (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 Art Director. He is currently Art Director at the French mobile game startup Voodoo.

From his time at the school, Étienne highlights the special attention that the teaching team develops towards the students and their work.

Where do you work at the moment?

I am working at Voodoo as Head of Art. Voodoo is a french mobile games startup with studios all around the world. We specialize in publishing Hyper Casual games. We have shipped more than 100 mobile games, and we have more than 300 million monthly players. We are number one in the world in terms of downloads in the game category. https://www.voodoo.io

What has been your professional career? (How has it developed since you left school: in what positions have you worked, in what sectors, if you can highlight a project in which you have worked and of which you feel especially proud)

The day after presenting my work to the Jury at l’Idem, I was on the plane to Canada. 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. After 2 years, 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 grew the company from 6 to 50 employees and we shipped many games for Bandai Namco and Nickelodeon. I then accepted a role in King Barcelona as Senior Art Director. King belongs to the Activision Blizzard group, and is renowned for its games like Candy Crush, Farm Heroes, and Bubble Witch. 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.

Finally, I very recently joined Voodoo as Head of Art. My role is no longer about individual games, but it’s about managing the entire art department across all studios around the world. I coach and mentor the teams that are developing our next hit games.

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.

In your experience, which qualities/skills 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. Giving art feedback that is relevant and actionable. 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?

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 school?

It was an amazing time. I was curious about everything, I enjoyed every courses and workshops. I struggled a lot with the general education system, and here I finally 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 of everything learned in school?

Everything is a highlight, from all the skills I learned, to all the teachers and the school crew I met.

A tip 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.

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