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Spatial Storytelling: Andre Zakhya’s Innovative Approach to Animation

Andre Zakhya
Andre Zakhya

Renowned within the animation industry, Real-Time 3D Artist and Animator Andre Zakhya is gaining widespread acclaim for his trailblazing contributions. The skilful combination of his architectural expertise, storytelling prowess, and cutting-edge technology results in visually stunning and immersive experiences that captivate audiences in the entertainment sector.

Born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, a country known for seamlessly blending the splendor of the Mediterranean coastline, majestic mountains, and enchanting waterfalls, Andre’s cultural roots are a significant wellspring of inspiration in his work. Now residing abroad for the past six years, splitting his time between Germany and the United States, he has cultivated a deep appreciation for his heritage, which he channels as a driving force in his creative endeavors.

In his work, particularly in the music videos and concert visuals, Andre’s architectural background assumes a pivotal role. Despite the seemingly contrasting nature of architecture and music production, his unique perspectives and skill sets significantly contribute to the visual aspects of his animations. Andre’s expertise lies in the realm of spatial awareness, a skill meticulously honed through rigorous training.

This expertise lends itself well to creating visually captivating and meticulously composed animations, particularly those that employ elaborate sets, environments, and stage setups. Andre’s impressive ability to convey emotions effectively through the innovative use of color palettes, lighting, and atmosphere can be attributed to his architectural training. Understanding the nuances of how distinct spaces evoke specific emotions, he masterfully translates these concepts into animations that effectively produce the desired mood in the viewer.

Within the arena of concert visuals for music artists, Andre is instrumental in creating immersive and visually captivating experiences. These concert visuals complement the music, enhancing audience engagement by creating a compelling atmosphere. His background empowers him to approach world-building methodically and thoughtfully, enabling him to skillfully construct intricately detailed virtual realms that seamlessly intertwine with the music.

As a highly regarded member of Strangeloop Studios, Andre boasts an impressive portfolio featuring collaborations with internationally acclaimed artists. One of his most remarkable achievements was contributing to Blackpink’s enthralling performance at Coachella in 2023. A first for Coachella, this groundbreaking event signaled the first time an all-female band headlined and marked a significant milestone for the group and the visual production team. Utilizing the capabilities of Unreal Engine, Andre transformed 2D reference images into stunning 3D environments that synchronized seamlessly with the beats, snaps, and melodies of each song.

Andre mentions “Concert visuals have the power to evoke emotions and set the mood for a music performance. Whether it’s a desert pink landscape or a dreamlike fantasy realm, the visuals can transport the audience to a different environment and evoke specific feelings”

Equally remarkable was Andre’s involvement in Nicki Minaj’s Video Music Awards show in 2022. Amidst the constraints of demanding timeframes, Andre’s mastery of 3D modeling and audio-reactive visuals played a pivotal role in augmenting the visual expanse of the performance. His creative contribution to the song “Beez in the Trap” showcased a meticulously designed urban environment adorned with elements that dynamically responded to the music’s rhythm and intensity. Taking into account Nicki Minaj’s distinctive style and identity, Andre worked closely with her creative team to ensure the visuals remained faithful to the rapper’s vision. 

“For this project, Audio Reactivity was achieved using real-time technology (Unreal Engine) through what is called Blueprints that are coded to achieve that effect. The same technique was also used for ‘Super Bass’ which mainly had a speaker and spikes that would pulse on the beat of the music.” Andre commented when asked about his work on Nicki’s VMA show.

In addition, Andre’s debut in concert visuals for the Grammy Performance of Lil Nas X in 2022 displayed his commitment to translating music into visually stunning experiences. Within two weeks, he built a mythical and enchanting world to support his “Industry Baby” song. Lil Nas X’s unique style and aesthetic seamlessly aligned with the stage’s ethereal crystalscape and audio-reactive visuals, transforming the stage into a realm of magic. Andre relished the opportunity to blend his artistic vision with cutting-edge technology, resulting in a seamless fusion of visual and auditory elements.

When we spoke with Andre, he recalled, “I had the unique opportunity to translate the emotions, energy, and rhythm of the music into visual form. By analyzing the music and understanding its structure, I created visuals that synchronize with the beats, tempo, and mood of the music. Bringing the music to life visually and creating a seamless fusion between the auditory and visual aspects can be an incredibly fulfilling experience.“

With a rich architectural background, Andre harnesses the power of spatial awareness as a fundamental element that bestows upon him a distinct perspective and invaluable skills, profoundly shaping the visual components of music industry projects. Having set his sights on the future, he harbors ambitious aspirations. As part of his vision, he has plans to establish his own production company or studio, which will allow him to explore deeper into the realms of the entertainment industry. Taking advantage of his architectural background, he intends to continue ‘building’ worlds for music videos, movies, TV shows and games for entertainment giants in the space.


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