2018, An Exciting Year for Free Software

Dear Visitor, the Technical Department wish you a happy new year!

And this incoming year is a very exciting for a lot of reasons!
Let’s start in terms of projects for us. Next October will be released the feature film Dilili in Paris for which we worked hard for the past two years. Hopefully you will see it in festivals before then. And you’ll have more articles about that production soon.
This summer will be seen the opening of a very nice archeology and geology museum. The museum is located in Lodève, next to Montpellier in France. We are currently creating more than 45 minutes of animation, interactive programs, and multiple 3D reconstructions for the museum. It’s improving a lot our tools, methods and pipeline and we will share more on that too, later this year.
And we have other nice projects. So we are very busy, but we have a lot of things to share along those works, so stay tuned.

But it’s not only about us, it’s about huge releases in free software too!

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.

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.

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.

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.

How to install python libs in Blender (part 1)

EDIT 2020: This series is now obsolete since Blender 2.80. Please see this answer on StackExchange. Here is a possible function to install modules inside Blender, provided you can modify the Blender directory:

import subprocess

def install_pip_dep(module_name):
    python_path = bpy.app.binary_path_python
    subp = subprocess.run([python_path, "-m", "ensurepip"])
    if subp.returncode != 0:
        return False
    subp = subprocess.run([python_path, "-m", "pip", "install", module_name])
    if subp.returncode != 0:
        return False
    return True

if __name__ == '__main__':
    install_pip_dep("triangle")

In this article, we share some tips to install third-party python libraries for your scripts and add-ons. This is the easy way, when the library exists on repositories accessible to package managers such as pip.

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.

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…