EP 42 – Raphael Lacoste – Senior Art Director, Matte Painter and Concept Artist – Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed franchise, Terminator Salvation, Jupiter Ascending, Death Race…

We are lucky to be joined at this month’s Syn Studio podcast by Raphael Lacoste, the Brand Art Director of the Assassin’s Creed Franchise. As a Matte Painter and Senior Concept Artist, Raphael has worked on films such as: Terminator Salvation, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Death Race, Immortals, Repo Men and Jupiter Ascending. Raphael has won a Visual Effects Society award for his work as Art Director on Prince of Persia the Two Thrones cinematics and is also a popular and experienced teacher at Centre NAD, as an instructor for The Gnomon Workshop and has been invited as a speaker for the Syn Studio Gathering of Masters ‘16 and ‘17.

“Simplify. Go back to the basics of just the depth and the silhouettes and the choice of composition before going too far into the rendering.”

In This Episode…

Anthony, Stephen, Caity and Raphael discuss Raphael’s incredible experience working on the Assassin’s Creed franchise, what it’s like to be an Art Director, his inspirations, travels, artwork and more!


Here’s what you’ll learn:

[01:37] – Raphael talks about the types of landscapes that inspire his artwork often related to his travels
[04:49] – We talk WORLDS, and Raphael tells us about his background in 3D animation, photography for theatre and how he discovered what he wanted to pursue as an art career
[09:10] – Raphael talks about moving to Canada to work at Ubisoft and his experience as a first-time art director on Prince of Persia
[12:15] – Looking to challenge himself, Raphael tells us about joining the film industry and working on Hollywood movies
[17:44] – Why Black Flag was Raphael’s favourite Assassin’s Creed game to work on and the kinds of art and architecture that inspired the conception team
[21:25] – The highlights of Raphael’s film career and how Raphael balances his life with kids, work and personal art
[24:33] – Raphael discusses the creation process and programs behind his piece Landing Scene
[29:51] – What top three fundamentals would Raphael suggest to upcoming Concept Artists based on his experience reviewing portfolios
[32:03] – “How to loosen the details and get back to the fundamentals” – Raphael on challenging himself and studying other artists like in Tribute to Earle
[33:48] – Raphael discusses what he teaches his students and describes his process for creating Compositions And Shapes exploration
[37:17] – Drinking rum, travelling the world and joining a Pirate Crew? – Raphael tells us about the research his team did for Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
[44:03] – Life as a Ubisoft art director and the various tasks Raphael accomplishes throughout pre-production and production
[48:01] – What advice would Raphael give to junior artists getting hired on triple A projects?
[58:20] – Raphael divulges what game he would work on if he could pick anything in the world
[01:03:49] – “It’s not about recreating reality but about how you make the right choices to be yourself in the painting you’re making” – Raphael’s biggest inspirations and how they shaped the artist he is today
[01:10:26] – Raphael talks about one of his personal projects, Little Boy and his Rhino, the life events that inspired him and where he plans to go with it

Links you’ll like…

Raphael Lacoste:



Even More…

This interview is part of a series of exclusive Concept Art, Illustration, VFX, 3D and Comics Podcasts created by Syn Studio. If you enjoyed this podcast please share it with your friends. And please sign up below for our newsletter to keep informed about all of our great podcasts, interviews, tutorials, articles, videos and other material created for you: the artist.


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