We recently spoke to Christope Huet, the digital artist behind the fourth PSD, in series 3, of the TEN Collection (a collaboration project with 5 photographers, and 5 designers, from 10 different countries).
Fotolia: Christophe, we’ve been looking closely at your work for some time. How would you describe your design style?
CH: Maybe some people say I have a style but it’s hard for me to say it or define it. I don’t have any special recipe. I just focus on the best balance that the image needs.
Fotolia: What about your inspiration? Where do you get your ideas?
CH: I don’t have time to look at the TV nor the internet (except for searching for new software). I try to go and see exhibitions regularly. I travel quite a lot. I play the piano every day and have practiced yoga for a long time now. These are my main influences.
Fotolia: No doubt your upbringing in France has also had an impact on your work to some degree?
CH: One is always influenced by the culture of his country, his family and friends. Practicing sport or music regularly for a long time has a big influence too on your behaviour and your way of thinking. That’s my case.
Fotolia: And what would you describe as the key qualities behind a good designer/digital artist?
CH: The main quality for creative activity in general is to stay open, with enough room in the head and the heart to leave room for new things to come in. For photographers, designers, photoshop artists, one should work for the image itself, not for one’s ego.
Fotolia: Could you tell us a bit about why you joined the 10 project?
CH: The fact that I could share a project with a photographer I’ve never worked with and who comes from another country. The experience of sharing a creation in that way was exciting.
Fotolia: Have you ever collaborated with an artist before?
CH: As I work for ad campaigns, most of the time I work with an art director and sometimes with photographer. There are quite a lot of people who are supposed to give an approval. So it’s always teamwork.
Fotolia: How do you find working with others on a project?
CH: Most of the time, the constraints are huge and I have to do with them. We have to talk about the project and I have to find the best solution to get the best result. Sometimes, it’s hard when you have to share the creation with people that absolutely don’t know about your job. But it’s not that often.
Fotolia: How did you find working with ‘The Future’ as a project theme?
CH: ‘Future’ is a huge theme and I didn’t want to do a kind of “end of the world” image. I preferred a more simple vision of future. Aiming for simplicity, we thought we would make a futuristic human portrait image.
Fotolia: What sort of emotions and motivations lay behind your soon-to-be-released project?
CH: As we wanted a portrait of people, I proposed Mikel a kind of tattoo/light implant that is coming through from under the skin. This could be a sign of what we may see in future times.
It was the only creative support we had before the shoot. We even didn’t know how to make it. We improvised and worked the creation in real time, leaving room for other ideas and opportunities that could have appeared. Keeping an area of creative freedom for both of us was the most important thing to me. I mixed Mikel’s image from the shoot and one of his personal images I liked, to bring my own vision of the image.
The idea of a red box inside the body came from an image Mikel shot for his “B desert” series.
I put it in the portrait and liked the fact that this box didn’t fit to the body and at the same time the red colour made me think of the heart. A square heart ? Yes, I liked this symbol; it seems that one tries to put people in boxes that don’t fit to them. Human beings with universal values should be placed over money, power and selfishness but that’s not the case and maybe in the future it will be worse. The red box doesn’t fit to the bodies with its sharp angles… So we’ll have to struggle to keep the part that defines us. And the tree of life inside, like a lung, this tree is up side down because that’s the way a baby come to world, the head to the ground, the feet to the sky, with the heart over the head. This second symbol is strong, too. And we needed to keep the link between the head and the heart (drawing by the light coming through the veins), so that they could feed each other. Never one without the other. Like we need the other and the other need us, the head needs the heart and the heart needs the head.
That’s the tree of vital energy.
Fotolia: Could you describe your usual work method to us?
CH: As I said, I don’t have any recipes. Each image has its own potential. The main thing is to understand the purpose of the project, then to find the best solution (shooting with a green background, CGI model-rendering, model making, stock image…). We discuss with the people concerned (art director, photographer, client…) and we can therefore begin work on the image.
Fotolia: Have your tools and work method been different for TEN ? If so, how?
CH: Yes, it was a bit different for TEN. We didn’t have the “client approval”. More often, it’s binding.
The other point is that Mikel and me didn’t know each other before the shooting and there were no art director to make a link between Mikel, the idea and me. We were freer and at the same time we had to find our own place in the creation research. Not that obvious but challenging!
Fotolia: Could you share with us any tips or tricks you used for the creation of your recent 10 Collection work?
CH: You’ll be very disappointed, I don’t have any tricks. Not that I want to keep my knowledge just for me. I like teamwork so I like to share. Well, I use Photoshop like everyone does. I use most of the time curves and hue/saturation. Sometimes I add grain to link the different images (especially when it’s a mix of photo, CGI or stock image). As I said, nothing really special. The most important thing is to take care about the light when you do montages. If the light comes from the same direction, there won’t be any issue to make the image work.