QD & ME – CATHERINE ESTEVES – 3D Animator
Quantic Dream: Please introduce yourself! What’s your name, where are you from, and what is your role at QD?
Hi, my name is Catherine, 38 years old, mother of 2 little pirates, and 3D Animator for almost 10 years at Quantic Dream. I’ve been working in this field since 2006; before being an animator, I did set-up and layout. I made my debut on Moot-Moot, an animated series broadcast in France on Canal+. Then I worked on other small series and did some advertising. And just before “settling” at Quantic Dream, I also worked on the films A Monster in Paris and  Cinderella.
QD: How did you come to work in the video games industry? Was it a lifelong dream, or did you luckily stumble into it?
After working on series, I wanted to try something else. I joined the team in charge of facial animation on Heavy Rain, for a ten-month mission, then I went elsewhere for a few other experiences, and finally I came back for Beyond: Two Souls, this time to work on body animation
QD: Let’s talk about your job at Quantic Dream! Could you elaborate more on your role, and the role of your team?
I’m in charge of taking the data that was shot in motion capture and making it look good in the game! It’s a bit complex, as our animation team is involved in two stages of the production, but that’s what’s interesting. So first we adapt the actors’ and actresses’ movements to the characters in the game, this is the retargeting phase. Then we place them in the settings, so that there are the right interactions, those indicated to us in the game design documents; this is the layout phase, the result of which is then delivered to the game building team, which assembles all the elements that make up the game.
When all the animations are integrated and the production is done, we rework the animations in more detail to make them more fluid, more natural, to be as close as possible to the actors’ initial intention. And from time to time, we also do keyframing, which consists of reworking the animations by hand, to modify or improve certain movements.
QD: Tell us more about the members of your team. Any fun story to share?
Lots of memories! Power outages on Heavy Rain, evening afterworks at the Bouillon Belge eating couscous, impromptu barbecues, and pastries, lots of pastries that we share regularly.
QD: Can you describe to us a typical day for you? Does a typical day even exist for you?
I don’t really have a typical day, as my work evolves according to the stage of production. When the game is being built, I have to communicate with other teams, depending on the problems encountered: Game Building, Game Design, Camera… And when there are animations to be provided, we’re on fire from the start of the day!
QD: What are your external inspirations that are reflected in your job?
I keep a close eye on animated film production.
QD: Be careful, BIG question… What are your favourite games?
I’m not a gamer at all; when I play it’s with my children, mostly at Mario Kart.
QD: Tell us more about your hobbies outside of work.
I love to bake cakes!!! I also have very classical hobbies; I read sci-fi books, do some sport, I sometimes draw.
QD: All right! What does your perfect Friday night look like?
Barbecue with friends, in my yard.
QD: Do you have a message for our readers?
Always be curious and share your experiences. We always learn a lot from each other.
QD: Final question! Chocolate cake or Fruit pie?
A mix of both! I love baking and eating pies, but chocolate is one of my favourite things, so maybe I’d be more up for a chocolate pie, made with an excellent dark chocolate.