ZeMarmot project at Libre Graphics Meeting 2015

Studio Girin has participated to Libre Graphics Meeting for the last 2 years, and we will again this year! This time, it happens from 29 April to 2nd of May in Toronto, Canada.

We will do a presentation for funding of ZeMarmot; 2D animation film made fully with open source software at LGM.

We are planning to start funding our project for production cost from that day and are preparing a short teaser movie for this.

The clip of presentation will be posted on May, at LGM 2015 closure.

ZeMarmot Recent news

Last week, we applied for support on scenario writing for the Project ZeMarmot.
We hadn’t decided the running time until now, but we finally settled for a time as we wrote the files. The running time is 45 min. Yeah, that’s mid-long. Of course, the actual finale time may vary depending on funding. Let’s say this is our goal. We will keep applying to get other supports anyway.
We are trying not to raise expectation too much… But if it happens, it would be great.

Below are a few sketches, related to the current state of the synopsis. For instance Marmot’s India travel.

taj mahal
Marmot flying over the Taj Mahal in India
An Indian cattle. It looks like wise (or sleepy).

Below pictures depict sample cut strips. These might be small spoilers. So, I won’t explain these strips!


The Marmot’s burrow

So our animation projet has got a Marmot as main character. His burrow is therefore quite important. So we did some research. Of course our character being of the specific “Alpine Marmots”, we focus on this subspecies.

So the Alpine marmots live mainly between 1500 and 3000 meters high, above forests. It seems they prefer clear largely exposed area so that they can spot any predator from far away. They live in group, in large burrows, up to 3 meter deep and 10 meter long, with a main room, toilets, a main entrance facing south (they like their sun!), and even emergency exits.
Well we won’t bore you more with details, you can find these all and more on the web. Funny also as it seems more than a kid must have had homeworks on the marmot’s burrow out there! Pretty funny. 🙂

Here are some research images.

go out entrance concepts homeresearch

ZeMarmot Project

We are working currently with the animation artist Aryeom Han on a 2D animation project, entirely made with Free Software. This is still the start, we are mostly defining the main and secondary characters, the graphics style and the synopsis…

This movie is based off an original idea from Jehan, who had started — years ago — to doodle a small marmot who liked to sleep and nap everywhere. He started to make it into a webcomic with the help of Aryeom. It has been quicly decided to make it a movie instead.


A marmot living quietly in his burrow, whose favorite activity is sleeping, discovers there would be unheard extraordinary things outside his mountains. The small rodent decides to leave in a trip around the world.

The main character

The Marmot, our key character, is a small rodent from the western European mountains. As a consequence it would be an Alpine marmot (scientific name: Marmota marmota).

We tried several graphical styles and are now indecisive on 2 styles. Here they are.

ZeMarmot, first version
ZeMarmot, first version

ZeMarmot, second version
ZeMarmot, second version

And here are some scans of illustrations and various research drawings.
ZeMarmot walking
ZeMarmot walking

Meets a hedgehog
Meets a hedgehog

The burrow, home sweet home
The burrow, home sweet home

Libre Calendar 2015

The Studio Girin is participating to a Libre Calendar, with Aryeom, our animator, drawing 2 illustrations in the calendar.

Some artworks of Wilber, the GIMP mascot, made by Aryeom.
Some artworks of Wilber, the GIMP mascot, made by Aryeom (she will also draw another, completely new, drawing for the sake of this project!).

This will be a typical “old-style” (= paper) calendar, with 12 artworks (drawings, photographs and 3D renders). The Calendar and all the artworks will be released as Creative Commons Attribution 2.0, which means that you can basically use these artworks however you want in your own creations as long as you credit the original authors.
These artworks are made by 6 awesome artists, all using Free Software, in particular GIMP and Blender, but also likely Inkscape. And we will do the finale calendar page layout with Scribus. So this is a full “Freedom” calendar, wouhou!

If there are enough sales, hence profit, it will be mainly used to fund the artists and also donated to the 4 aforementioned FLOSS projects. So I hope you’ll go get one!

Anyway go see more at: Libre Calendar 2015!

Quick Update: mirror-painting? I have not forgotten!

Hello all,

A quick update about the mirror painting feature in GIMP. I have regularly people reminding me, and you are right about doing so! But know that It is not forgotten. Simply my life has been a little going on many directions lately, with moving back to my home country after about 5 years on the road (and still not fully stable), trying to manage a non-profit for Libre Art in Paris (you’ll hear very soon about it!), and various projects.

Yet the mirror-painting project is not dead. I simply know that GIMP 2.10 is not to be out just yet, so there is no need to hurry right now, while there are much more pressing things for me to do. Also be assured, with the platform I used, I don’t get the money until it is done, which I think is a good thing.
Anyway I’ll give more news about it soon, I hope. But you’ll likely hear about other projects before.
See you soon!

AXIOM: OpenHardware Cinema Camera

Hi all,

A small news about a project I have been following for quite some time, and even participating a little, though not as much as I would have wanted unfortunately. Have you heard about the apertus° project? Well that’s an OpenHardware project, whose goal is to make a real and professional cinema camera.

Apertus° is running a crowdfunding campaign right now, just a few days to close in, and we really hope everyone interested would make this story happen!
To know more about the project, read below.

Apertus AXIOM beta concept art
Apertus AXIOM beta concept art

Apertus° was born from a community of hardware hackers around the Elphel Cameras. Elphel cameras are themselves OpenHardware, and using Free Software, which makes them awesome already by definition. But they are clearly rather made for technical projects: science projects, and such. One of the most famous projects based on an Elphel Camera is their usage for Google Street View.
Several people in the cinema business liked the idea and hacked something from these, but that was not enough. After all, why wouldn’t it be possible to have a real professional-quality cinema camera fully OpenHardware? This is how the apertus° project, community, non-profit entity and even small company came to life. Notice the ° in the title? This is for “openness”, where usually companies and people would set a ™ for Trademark, a clear position taken against all the restrictions most companies would like to set on everything and everyone.

We know about small scale OpenHardware projects (well they may be high scale in diffusion, but the hardware itself is small), like the now-famous Raspberry Pi or the ColorHug. But this is another level.

Of course you will say there are a lot of other huge and awesome hardware crowdfunded nowaydays, but you are basically funding for people to make proprietary product and a company without real control of what will happen after. You get your perks, but then what? OpenHardware is a complete different story. You are building a future where you have the control. This is not just about this specific object, a camera or whatever this is. This is also about sharing and spreading knowledge, not being considered as a walking wallet and an idiot. Because now it is a camera. Later it can be your fridge, your whole computer, from the motherboard to graphics card, your car maybe even, and why not your whole house! In a world where we are renting more and more, where every object is now a black box that you are forbidden to open (or your warranty is told to “expire” prematurely), where even car dealers can’t fix your car, with proprietary electronics, anymore, this could be a refreshing change of pace.
Let’s take back what we were supposed to own, one object at a time!

So now, if you are not interested at all about filming yourself, I understand you wouldn’t fund the bigger perks, but what about stickers or a t-shirt to show your support for the project?
And if you are interested into filming, well, consider funding for your own OpenHardware camera! I can tell you, I reserved my own camera by funding long ago. 🙂

Studio Girin is a bronze sponsor of Blender Foundation’s “Project Gooseberry”

Project Gooseberry, Blender Foundation
Project Gooseberry, Blender Foundation

Have you heard of the Project Gooseberry? Well this is the last animation movie project by the Blender Foundation. You may have heard of their previous Open Projects: “Elephant Dreams“, “Big Buck Bunny” (and the brother game “Yo Frankie“), “Sintel” and “Tears of Steel“. Mostly short movies and one video game. Well the project Gooseberry is the last project of the family. Basically the concept is easy: the project’s finale result, as well as all its raw data, is released under a Creative Commons attribution license, as were all previous projects. These movies are free as one can get.

And this time, they want to go even one step further, as they are attempting a feature-length movie, which is huge. If the project succeeds — and with the Foundation’s track record, I’m sure it will — this would be a very important milestone for Open Cinema, as well as for Free Software (since one of the goal is also to improve the Blender 3D software).

Anyway we funded as a bronze sponsor. There are only 3 days left, and they have not reached yet the funding target. Thus if you like these kinds of projects, dear readers, I would really suggest to go and fund as well! And some day, we will make our own big project, and we really hope you will fund us this day too. 🙂
Go Gooseberry!

Report of Libre Graphics Meeting 2014

For the second year, Aryeom and I (Jehan) were present at the Libre Graphics Meeting, once again invited by GIMP.

Our (late) report in 3 words: it was great!
Our experience in an image:
Libre Graphics Meeting in Leipzig

So there are obviously two sides to it, right? First one, the talks! Second, the fun!

Talks, Workshops

The Known Topics

Well many interesting talks. I was looking forward the talks related to color management (Chris Murphy and Richard Hughes), because that’s a topic I’m trying to understand (though with great difficulty); I appreciated the Magic Lantern presentation, which was already installed on my own Canon DSLR camera, a project I’m following more or less closely; as well as the Entangle one, for tethered camera control, and which we have tried lately for stop-motion animations in particular (actually I had already contributed a few patch to the project and did encourage its maintainer to present it to LGM); and many others. But these are projects I already knew of, more or less. The great part is always discovering new projects!

The Right Way to do a Workshop!

In this “unknown project” category, my big favorite was Steve Conklin, first for his “Knitting machine hacking” talk, but even more for his corresponding workshop about “The basics of reverse engineering: How and Why?“. Well he prepared some home-made hardware, two cards plugged together, one with sensors and joystick; the other with some digital display, and the goal of the game was to understand how the card with sensors would work and the kind of data it can send, then remove it, plug our computers instead directly to the display card, and send the discovered commands.

Aryeom tinkering with the devices to hack during the Reverse Engineering Workshop.
Aryeom tinkering with the devices to hack during the Reverse Engineering Workshop.

Let me tell you: you won’t magically be able to reverse engineer your knitting machine directly after this workshop, but it gives a very good idea of the kind of work involved. And this was very enjoyable. Every workshop should be as well prepared.


Then another interesting project I discovered was Natron, a compositing software, graph-based, mainly developed in a research context. One of its main selling point was that it was able to use any OpenFX plugins. If I got it correctly, OpenFX is a Free Software, which works only on Windows, with a huge set of plugins, most of them developed by third party and proprietary. The Natron developers therefore regretted that we missed on the opportunity and their compositing software was there to fill the gap. The demo was great and it looked promising.

I only regretted the fact that I felt they could have contributed to improve Blender instead, by giving it the ability to use OpenFX plugins as node operations. Their main argument was unfortunately a misunderstood license issue, which was not a real issue. There is no law against using proprietary plugins on a GPL software on the user side. As long as you don’t distribute them, a user getting access to the software and the plugins separately is perfectly allowed to run them together.
Moreover there exists also this trick implemented by many software to diminish even more any risk: any plugin engine should be developed in a separate process, and this particular process is licensed differently, under a more flexible license, for instance LGPL.

Well it’s ok. It’s still an interesting software, and hopefully development will be going further. Let’s keep an eye on it!


A workshop intrigued me, as well as many of the other GIMP and GEGL developers: “GEGL is not GIMP – creating graphic applications with GEGL”. Someone, named Manuel Quiñones, that we never heard about was using GEGL for a 2D animation software named xsheet. Of course that was to intrigue us and so we went to his workshop.

Well one good point for GEGL is that, when people totally unrelated to a project start using it, it’s a good sign it reaches a stable status. And that helps improve the library itself.

Also more personally, this obviously grabs our interest because we also do 2D animation. It turned out the software was definitely not in any usable state yet. It was just a skeleton of what it could become in the future. But this is still interesting to see new experiments to do 2D animation on Linux. We’ll keep an eye on it.

GIMP meeting(s)

LGM is every year the occasion for a GIMP meeting, and so was this year, though I feel we did not discuss even half of what was planned, which saddens me. Well we discussed quite a lengthy bit about the relationship between developers and designers. I won’t detail this part.

GIMP meeting in Leipzig, LGM 2014
One of the GIMP meetings in Leipzig, LGM 2014

We still managed to list the remaining major checkpoints to deal with in order to be able to release GIMP 2.10, which is a good step forwards.

Also another part I am happy we discussed, though we did not get time to go deep enough, was the release process. And in particular I was proposing to pass to a rolling release system, at some point in the future. The fact is that we often have features, ready for years, in our development tree. Yet these features are blocked in the grand scheme of the major/minor release system.
Well what about being able to release single features, or even a single bug fix, if needed be?! The good news is that this idea seemed to have been globally well received. The bad news is that we probably won’t get to it until at least GIMP 3.0. And that’s a long long time in the future. So the discussion just happens to be pushed back to later for re-discussion.
The main problem is that before the GTK+ 3 port (happening for GIMP 3), having rolling release would mean developing things both for GTK+ 2 and GTK+ 3. Well I personally don’t mind. I think that in most cases, the overhead would not be that huge. But most were not ready to take the step forward. In any case, I still hope this will happen some day. I will keep pushing. 🙂

The Fun

Patrick David

Well no that’s not a project name. This is a photographer, Patrick David, major GIMP user. He was definitely everywhere this year, taking photos with strange DIY apparels, using salad spinners (or similar) and university whiteboards to make light his own. We went to a photo walk with him, the day before the talks started, and Aryeom went to his workshop.

Photo walk with Pat David: everyone searching for the right photo?
Photo walk with Pat David: everyone searching for the right photo?

It is definitely interesting to see someone enjoying one’s art so much. And so he deserved well his own point in my report. 🙂

Leipzig’s Museum of the Printing Arts

The day before the actual event starts, we went to the Museum of the Printing Arts, and that was very cool. I recommend this visit to anyone passing through this town.

A font forged, in front of our eyes, during the museum's visit.
A font forged during the museum’s visit.

A very interesting fact was that the various machines were actually working and in use, by any locale artist wishing to try one’s art with older printing technics. Just too bad we did not stay longer, Aryeom has really wanted to try lithography for a very long time now.
I wonder if such access to old printing machines exist in other cities, and in particular in Paris. Anyone knows?

Movie Night!

The first day of talks ended with a movie night, and this was the occasion for visioning various short films under Free licenses in a cinema. And there were definitely interesting films, many made — it would seem — in school context.

I would like to find again these films though. Unfortunately I cannot find the list of projected movies anywhere on the LGM website, and the organizers don’t seem to answer my many emails. ;-( If anyone reading this has this list, I would really appreciate you copying it in the comments. 🙂

Auction Sale

For helping the GIMP project, Aryeom had this awesome idea to paint an actual Wilber — nothing digital, with actual acrylic paint on canvas — and to auction it, donating all the money to the GIMP project. Well we could have organized this better, but we still had nearly a dozen bids and the paint got sold to a nice locale fellow living in Leipzig.
We unfortunately have no good picture of the paint, but here is one that Michael Schumacher took before it was sold.

Wilber Offline, Autumn
Wilber Offline, Autumn (Acrylic on canvas)

Note: if you ever follow us, you might have recognized that this was inspired by a digital painting that Aryeom did earlier on GIMP.


And the most important for the last! The food! Well we had a lot of bier, some schnaps, and some sausages, obviously. A lot of potatoes cooked in all sorts of manner!
One of the highlight of the stay was definitely Auerbachs Keller, a historic very old restaurant that Goethe used to go to, and which is featured in his famous Faust play. Well there are actually two restaurants, one small and expensive and a big, more like a family canteen, cheap, but just as awesome. Just go to the cheap one. It’s definitely worth it. 🙂

Brunch at the GIMP apartments, after the last day of LGM
Brunch at the GIMP apartments, after the last day of LGM

And to end the two week in a firework, we found a place where they would serve Schweinshaxe, a typical Bavarian cuisine. Well that was not completely locale then, but for some compelling reason, Aryeom really wanted to try this, and the awesome fellows of the GIMP team searched and found a very nice restaurant.
So here is a small animated Schweinshaxe (the one Aryeom ate! Well I helped her at the end… :p) to end this on a tasty note: