5 questions with Xavier Chassaing

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July 10th, 2015

Xavier Chassaing is a self-taught video artist who started to play with chemicals and electronics at the age of 8. After his “Scintillation” in 2009, the artist released last month another amazing piece of work: Dry Ligths.



Dry Lights is a trip through an electric desert that depicts an imagined environment of cacti and canyons, moving from hidden caves to lonely cliffs along pulsating rivers of light. In this 3D short film, Xavier Chassaing suggests that surrealistic fantasies can exist in real life. Rising to the technical challenge of creating the foundation for this full 3D film almost entirely on his own, Xavier Chassaing beautifully used Clarisse iFX in Dry Lights to give life to these hypnotic fantasies.


We had the great chance to interview him on his experience with Clarisse iFX and his answers brought a special light on Clarisse as a very powerful and intuitive tool.



Could you describe typical issues you faced with Dry Lights that led you to choose Clarisse?
At first, “Dry Lights” was a very open project based on close-up views of cactuses. When I first tried Clarisse iFX, I discovered that its versatile and powerful capabilities were able to manage a nearly unlimited amount of polygons. I was really eager to go beyond the limits of Clarisse iFX and see how far I could go with it.  This is how Dry Lights ended up into this monumental project with billions of illuminated cactuses!
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome in Dry Lights?
I've tried to use Clarisse iFX at its very best and it quickly became obvious that I couldn't have managed such a large-scale project as Dry Lights with any other software. Throughout the project, I was never worried about how far I could go with the video. I knew from the beginning that, thanks to Clarisse iFX, it was possible to handle massive complexity and extreme detailed scenes.
What did Clarisse bring to your artistic work?
What Clarisse iFX brought to my work is the necessary organizational capacity that inherently comes with such a huge project! Indeed, while discovering Clarisse iFX native logic, I had to work with a very meticulous organization. It would have been totally impossible for me to complete Dry Lights without it. Besides, the other huge advantage of Clarisse iFX is its powerful responsiveness which gives you the incredible opportunity to constantly work on your final images. The fast feedback from the renderer makes complex artistic changes very painless!



You're not a 3D expert, how long did it take you to get used to Clarisse? Do you find it intuitive? Did you face any difficulties at the beginning? 

My 3D knowledge was limited to small particles simulations but still, I was already familiar with the logic of software based on nodal construction and procedural workflow such as Nuke, Ice, XSI... I didn't waste any time trying to find my way across the soft and I have just watched some video tutorials to get the logic of Clarisse iFX workflow! In less than two days, I was already able to render complex shots! All my geek friends were so jealous!
What do you like about Clarisse?
I've really enjoyed Clarisse's speed and interactivity, as well as its procedural organization and its hyper-flexibility to solve complex problems. I was not always sure to use the most optimized way to work but I've always ended up finding a technical solution that was working into Clarisse iFX. As a film-maker, I need to be able to change every detail of my work until the very last moment, and this was possible thanks to Clarisse iFX!!!


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