What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Xavier Ramonède, I’m mostly a 2D animator but I’m also an illustrator and character designer.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I have made a lot of little jobs when I was a student : I worked in an hotel, then I worked in a supermaket called Monoprix where i sold fishes and sea food, bread, cheese…
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
It’s hard to tell because there can be a lot of differences between the mood on a production and the film itself. Working on The Illusionnist was very long and hard but the movie has been nominated for the Oscars and won a Cesar (the french Oscars), but my favorite movie I’ve been working on was Nocturna. It’s a very small budget feature film from Spain but it’s a very beautiful movie.
How did you become interested in animation?
First I wanted to make films like Toy Story but I absolutly didn’t know how they did it, so I was aiming for a computer school. But then I discovered a french animation school called Gobelins and decided that’s where I wanted to go. I discovered almost everything about animation there.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Toulouse, a city in the south of France. My very first meeting with animation was on a stop-motion short film called Abraxas, I met the director in my high school (he knew I wanted to be an animator), so he offered me to make the designs and to animate on his short film. I was very young (19 or 20 years old) but it as a very interesting experience. But it’s really after finishing Gobelins that I started to work as a real animator.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
My days at work are very simple: I arrive between 9 and 10 am and I leave between 7 and 8 pm (some days I can leave much later). And all day long I just animate.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
The best moment in an animation is the first rough : it’s the animation but with very fast and rough drawings. It’s the moment where you find all the ideas and the all look of your movement, it’s the most creative moment. The tie-down, the moment when you draw your animation with precise drawings, is much more longer and technically very difficult.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
When you finish your animation, you have to make your exposure-sheet, to put all the charts on your drawings, the numbers and all the informations for the assistants and clean-up artists. The work has to be done but it’s more paper work than animation.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
In France, there’s almost no big studio so each time a production is over, we have to look for another production in another studio. We never know where we gonna be the next mounth.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Usually I work as a traditionnal 2D animator, so except a line-test software, I don’t really use any technology except paper and pens. But time to time I work on Flash with Cintiq or pen tablet, and I even work as a CG animator in Maya.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I had the chance to work in France with many former animators from Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks like Bolhem Bouchiba or Yoshi Tamura, we all have a lot to learn from those guys, they have been working on a lot of awesome movies.
I had the chance to travel in California and to visit Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar with friends working there. There I had the chance to meet many great artists I really admire, they were great moments.
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
Time to time you have to work for crazy people driving you nuts… In those moments I try to do my job as professionnally as I can, and I try not to take it too personnal.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I always have personnal projects, mainly animated short films. I never finish them but it’s always motivating to had a goal and something to push you to work when you’re at home.
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I take Tap Dance lessons. Not since a long time so I’m still at the first level, but it’s very pleasant, I hope one day I could dance like Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain !
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Believe in yourself and keep going. It’s not easy, it takes time, but with hard work, if it’s what you really want, you can do it.