Mesh To Bone Shape

When rigging, you usually want to add custom shapes to your bone controllers. It helps to simplify the selection of these bones and moreover it gives information to help the animator to understand quickly what a bone can do. In Blender, the default procedure can be really tedious so we have created a script to help handle adding and editing custom shapes to bones.

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Mesh To Bone Shape

lucidity: a naming convention template tool

In a previous article we shared our way of organizing the files. In this one, we’ll introduce you to the use of a simple python library called Lucidity, very useful to start handling your project naming conventions. The aim is to quickly check if your file paths are correct, or build paths from a set of variables, without coding your own parser.

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lucidity: a naming convention template tool

Cut-It out: our talk at the #bcon17

We attended the 15th Blender Conference and it was a blast! Every year we gather so much energy and ideas during those 4 days. Kudos to the organizers for this hard work. And this year we were invited to present part of our work on the feature film Dilili in Paris.

Damien took 20 minutes to present the solutions we had to develop to handle this 90 minutes feature film. And more particularly, the creation of the 500 characters needed to populate the early 19th century Paris. Those characters were built using an old cut-out technique, like flat paper puppets but in a digital process. For more explanations, we’ll let you watch the talk, for which we were kindly authorized to show the very first shots of the movie, which is yet to be released in October 2018.

We will go back more in detail on the processes and other solutions we deployed in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

Cut-It out: our talk at the #bcon17

An introduction to organizing project files

We thought me might share thoughts around our file organization. Of course there are plenty of ways of organizing your work, and this is one of them. But it’s simple and complete enough to fit many animation projects. Before describing it we will start with generic tips and thoughts.

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An introduction to organizing project files

Cameraplane : a tool for 2D sets


For one of our projects we had to handle 1300 shots, using 600+ different 2D backgrounds. Those sets were composed from one to more than 100 layers (underlays —e.g. buildings—, overlays—trees in front of the characters—, skies,…), annoying to handle and set properly in Blender. So we created a small add-on called cameraplane.

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Cameraplane : a tool for 2D sets

Making Of Antarctica


Antarctica is a documentary directed by Jérôme Bouvier and Marianne Cramer co-produced by Arte France, Paprika Films, Wild-Touch Production, Andromède Océanologie. It depicts the expedition led by Luc Jacquet to show and raise interest in the effects of climate change in the polar regions.

We produced animated sequences to illustrate the two films with cartographic images, to show natural phenomenons about the oceanic current, circumpolar current, ice melting, etc. We have also made “overlay graphics ?” to show how the fauna is adapted to the harsh climate.

In this article, we show two experimental processes using scientific data to make our cartographic animated sequences, with art direction by Eric Serre.

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Making Of Antarctica

Making Blender tools outside of Blender (part 1)

Two years ago, when I started working with Blender coming from Maya, I was very frustrated by Blender’s GUI limitations for TDs. The options for creating tools looked too limiting, and still are as far as I’m concerned.

Don’t get me wrong, there are great designed features for TDs. Creating an operator is easy and then you can use it everywhere you need, the API is strong and I like it. My complaint is more about windows and widgets. And I had to find solutions.

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Making Blender tools outside of Blender (part 1)

Opening the kitchen

La Cuisine is the blog of the technical department of the French studio Les Fées Spéciales. Established in 2015, based in Montpellier (in the south of France), the studio creates animated images, CG and digital 2D animation for feature films, shorts, museums or other companies. The studio relies on two main aspects: social innovation, through the use of a cooperative structure, and technical innovation, using and participating on free software solutions as much as we can. You can find more on the french website and blog of the company : www.les-fees-speciales.coop.

Willing not only to be free-software enjoyers, we have decided to talk about it, share our tools (as imperfect but as useful as they may be), and explain experiences and methods. This is why we have created this blog, La Cuisine. It stands for “The Kitchen” in French, a place where the process of creation is mixed with a lot of technical skills, looking for new recipes.

This blog reflects some of the works of the company but also our opinions and struggles. We share a certain way of doing things: our way. It might not be perfect, it might even be wrong sometimes. But we share it because we haven’t found a better solution, so it might be helpful for others, and because we learn by sharing.
Of course articles are open to discussion: react to our posts, be free to say what you feel or think. Is there a better way to do something? Tell us, we’d love to hear from you and learn best practices.

Today the technical department is composed of:

  • Flavio Perez, co-founder and co-owner of the company, technical supervisor.
  • Damien Picard, co-owner of the studio, he is doing a PhD thesis on free software pipelines, within the company.
  • Duy Kevin Nguyen, also co-owner of the studio, has a PhD in physics. A long time Blender and real-time enthusiast, he joined the team at the end of 2016.

We will introduce ourselves later, but we do not consider ourselves developers or computer engineers. We are graphic designers who love coding and we are curious about almost everything. We love experimenting stuff; playing with whatever material we have. And it is not limited to the company projects or field of expertise, either. We’ll try to share that too.

Expect to find in this blog technical making-ofs and postmortems of some projects, code and tool explanations, thoughts and research about how we work, conferences notes, and hopefully many more things. If you have any questions, feedbacks or comments you can also contact us by email : la-cuisine [at] les-fees-speciales [dot] coop

Opening the kitchen