Accueil » Annecy, Day 4: Debates on AI, Pagnol in XR, Unreal Engine Showcase

Annecy, Day 4: Debates on AI, Pagnol in XR, Unreal Engine Showcase

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The Annecy Festival continued on Wednesday, June 12, with new meetings and interviews, a roundtable on AI, and a XR session on Marcel Pagnol.

Roundtable on Generative AI: An Uncertain Future

One of the most highly anticipated conference of the week took place today, and focused on artificial intelligence.

The room was packed. The conference brought together Boris Labbé (director of Glass House), Jean Jacques-Lonni from Sacrebleu Productions, Camille Campion from French digital arts school Creative Seeds, and director Verena Repar.

Flavio Perez from French animation studio Les Fées Spéciales studio helmed the debate. He explained that he deliberately avoided inviting specialists, who are already very visible in conferences. Instead, the session featured concrete examples and reflections on AI’s challenges.

Verena Repar discussed her short film Echoes of Grief, officially selected at the Annecy Festival. The film sparked strong reactions when the Festival announced the presence of generative AI in a student short film featured at Annecy. She explained that AI mainly helped stylize sequences rendered in Unreal or Blender, followed by processing in After Effects to stabilize the result.
Camille Campion talked about a recent AI day organized by the Creative Machines collective and its conclusions: current generative AI tools are barely usable by studios due to lack of control.
Discussions quickly turned to ethical and ecological issues. Some panel members emphasized the importance of controlling dataset contents, for example by using “noAI” tags that are available on several platforms used by artists. Others argued it might already be too late, given that online works have already been harvested and technological advancements are outpacing legislation.
Another observation was the difficulty of predicting generative AI’s real impact on the animation job market. Camille Campion noted during the Q&A that this makes it hard to predict necessary changes in educational curricula. “I am also afraid,” he explained to a concerned audience.

Balancing pessimism about AI’s impact and cautious optimism about potential ways to control how AI is trained and used, the roundtable couldn’t definitively determine what lies ahead. Discussions continued outside the conference room, touching on comparisons with photographers, possible actions by unions and associations… Opinions varied and evolved through conversations. The future, more than ever, is uncertain.

We noted that the audience was much more lenient than on Sunday: no boos, but applause, as is expected for this type of conference at MIFA. The panel’s doubts and nuances, even from those who had experimented with AI, contributed to this atmosphere.

Pagnol le Magicien – WIP XR

Before the AI roundtable, we visited the Chambre des Métiers d’Annecy to attend a WIP XR session on a project about the life of the famous Marcel Pagnol.

Ashargin Poiré, Nicolas Cabos, and Voyelle Acker, along with Patrick Eveno, discussed the techniques and scenario designed to immerse viewers in the authenticity of 1920s/30s Provençal life, dear to the author and filmmaker.
We will cover this project in a dedicated article soon.

Animation in Luxembourg

Back at MIFA, we visited the stand focused on animation training in Luxembourg, featuring BTS and BDA programs.

The University of Luxembourg Competence Centre recently discussed their Bachelor’s program on 3DVF, highlighting major advantages like very low costs compared to private schools and the possibility for French students to join after one year of study at another school.

Unit Image interview

Léon Bérelle, co-director of Unit Image studio, made a stop at the Annecy Festival. He kindly granted us an interview to discuss past and upcoming projects, technical and artistic challenges in game cinematics, the work done by Unit Image on Love, Death & Robots, their views on generative AI, and the state of the market.

The article will be available soon on 3DVF. In the meantime, you can watch one of Unit Image’s latest projects: a cinematic for a DLC of the game Elden Ring.

Unreal Engine Showcases New Features

We also talked with the Epic Games team, who came to promote Unreal Engine. While a morning session was organized for schools, the MIFA stand highlighted the latest advances in Unreal 5.4, focusing on new animation tools: modular rigging tools (usable without specific technical skills) and deformation tools for squash & stretch animation.

Callipeg: Animation on iPhone and iPad

A bit further, the Enoben team was strategically placed in the first MIFA stands, presenting Callipeg Mini, an iPhone version of their animation software for iPad.

Good news: an Android version is expected by the end of the year!

We will continue our exploration of the Festival on Thursday, June 13, with a presentation of a future project by nWave studios!

The picnic organized by several European animation schools attracted a large crowd.

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