Who's this Klanger? An interview with Eran Hilleli, Art Director
June 09, 2020
Eran is responsible for the elegant aesthetic of SEED. He has earned himself acclaim across the globe for his signature art and animation style.
His impressive portfolio of work includes the music video, “Boy's Latin”, by Panda Bear, live visuals for Skrillex, and winning ‘Best Animation’ at the 2010 Vimeo Awards.
Eran, how did you find your way to Klang?
A mutual friend of Mundi and myself introduced ourselves. After having a long call with Mundi I knew something very interesting is about to happen.
How would you describe SEED´s aesthetics?
Minimalistic 3D graphics that take cues from anime aesthetics with an emphasis on elegance and sprinkles of quirkiness. The fun part is that it’s still evolving and getting defined as we go.
Which challenges have you and your team been facing, defining the visuals of such a vast project?
Exactly, it's that vastness. Constraints and limitations of experience are where I would usually find many answers regarding design and visuals. SEED’s vast scope and features are extremely challenging in that regard.
What are you currently focusing on?
Currently, I’m focusing on the character system which is very exciting to work on. After designing many characters in the past, I find this to be a beautiful challenge. Designing something much wider, the sum of possibilities and edge cases of character in this world. There is a lot of experimentation and a very refreshing process where you become an audience to these beings born in every click.
How would you describe the importance of visual aesthetics as an overall important gameplay factor?
Using visual aesthetics to devise a coherent world and visual language has huge importance in creating a setting that is believable and which allows an immersive experience for players. These foundations are crucial for gameplay as they are the space in which gameplay can be read and experienced through.
If the gameplay is the soul of the game, then its aesthetics would be its body. Hmm 🤔 not sure I’ll agree with that in the morning...
What inspires your work?
Folk tales, Japanese animation from the 80s, early video games aesthetics.
What tools and programs do you use on a daily basis? Any new exciting discoveries?
I tend to change my workspace often, so I’m always laptop-based. In the software world, C4D is my sword, by now it's part of my brain. It has become quick for me to model things and then draw them, especially if they are meant for 3D work, so I use it in all parts of production if in early sketches or final models. I love taking inspiration from musical instruments into my animation and visual work so often I will play around with the OP1 + OPZ which I love. For drawing, I really like more limited tools that have their own character. Recently I fell in love with a lovely app called HEAVYPAINT.
How do you deepen your skills?
Through creative work and actual content making. Learning tools and skills on the computer just for the sake of it never worked for me. When there is something I want to make, but don’t know how to, then that becomes the best way for me to learn, tying the skill to actual creation.
Do you work on any side-projects at the moment?
At nights I’m working with a dear friend of mine on small projects, these can be creative software or digital toys. We recently released our first project called Looom, a fun and playful tool for creating drawn animation.
And are you playing any games these days?
I recently took a good taste of Animal Crossing for studying the character experience there. Unfortunately, I don’t have the fraction of the time needed to dive really deep in there. Raising two very young kids is tricky on video games time, which is also why I have still not finished Breath of the wild 🙈.
When short on time, I often revisit classic action sports games I love, like windjammers, super pang, sensible soccer, super sidekicks, and Bomberman.
What will you enjoy exploring most on planet Avesta?
Going on exploration expeditions. Making small camps in remote areas, exploring the biomes of the planet.
In what way do you see the world you experience in the game related to your own daily life? In what ways could strong parallelisms occur?
I became a father a few years ago and I am learning deeply about the merits of good communication through proper collaboration. When entering our playtests, this familiar feeling arises.
Make sure to dive into more of Eran´s amazing work here! Thank you for coming by, stay safe and healthy.