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Interview: Nims Bun – a French Baguette for your rigs, AI and 10 years away from the Annecy Festival

This article is available in: French

Last year, we interviewed rigging specialist Nims Bun about his work: he worked for Sony Pictures ImageWorks, Method Studios, Pixomondo on shows such as Midway, The New Mutants. In the same interview, he also discussed his rigging system for Maya, Baguette.

We met him last week during the Annecy Festival and we asked him about his latest projects, but also about his feelings about the Festival itself, since he hadn’t attended the event for 10 year!

Nims Bun
Nims Bun

3DVF: First of all, following our interview and our article about Baguette, as well as the article published by 80 Level, you got some interesting feedback.

Nims Bun: I was quite surprised, I wasn’t expecting such a success since I released Baguette as an open source tool a few months ago. I also got some feedback at Annecy. A lot of schools are using Baguette, and animaton professionals also got in touch with me.
That’s awesome! Of course, I knew how many downloads there were, but in the beginning I didn’t have much feedback, just a few people tagging me on social media. Now that I have this feedback, I’m glad to see that the product is being used, on which projects it was used, and I know how I can improve Baguette.

Baguette video presentation by Nims Bun

3DVF: Any news about the development of Baguette?

Since the launch of this product I had to relocate and to get used to a new job, so I didn’t have much time for Baguette. But I know that there is a lot to be done, especially when it comes to documentation and tutorials.
Following the Annecy Festival I’m going to prepare some assets (a biped, a quatruped, etc), rig them, and share them alongside some information, so that everyone can learn how I used Baguette to rig them. I should also mention that the documentation will be available in English but also in French.

3DVF: That’s good news! Let’s also talk about your work at Framestore. What are you working on these days?

I’m working as a rigging supervisor at Framestore Los Angeles. We work on many commercial projects.
Recently, I created some modules that are taylored for cartoon animation, and we’ve been working on feature-quality characters, even if this kind of project isn’t usual at Framestore. The studio is indeed famous for their work on realistic projects, such as Marvel movies. We never had the opportunity to work on big cartoony projects.
That’s all I can say for now!

3DVF: AI is a hot topic these days, including during the Annecy Festival, and including when in comes to rigging. What are your feelings towards this trend? Are you afraid?

Not at all, I’m not afraid, I think it’s great! These tools are going to be very helpful. I didn’t hesitate to use ChatGPT to generate code, to explore new ideas. Of course, 3/4 or half of what is produced is bad code or just doesn’t work. But it gives me a good starting template.
AI is therefore good news for riggers. I don’t really have any opinion when it comes to other jobs in the VFX/animation industry: I didn’t check out Stable Diffusion and I don’t really know how good it is.

Right know, I think AI is an improvements at my level. I understand that artists can be afraid of loosing their jobs, but for riggers, developers, it’s a leap forward.

Annecy Festival - AI
A conference about AI during the Annecy Festival 2023.

3DVF: This is your first time at the Annecy Festival in 10 years. In the meantime, the event changed a LOT. What do you think of the Annecy Festival 2023?

First of all, it’s awesome to come back at the Annecy Festival. You meet lots of friends, colleagues, people who were in the same school as you.
Lors of things have changed. First of all, the event is huge, there are people everywhere!

Annecy Festival
Annecy Festival 2023

3DVF: Indeed, the Festival doubled in size since 2013, and the MIFA almost tripled!

Yes, back in 2013 there were about 7000 people attending the Annecy Festival. This year in 2023, almost 16.000 people were there! Wow!
In the evening at the Café des Arts (a popular place to have drinks after spending the day at the Annecy Festival) you can see that the Café is now too small, there are people in the streets, on the bridge.

Growth of the Annecy Festival (top, blue) and MIFA only (bottom, orange) over the years.
Please note that the 2021 edition was hybrid, and heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Figures given by the Festival itself.

There were a lot of changes. For example, back in 2013 you had tickets to attend screenings, and you could exchange them with other people. This isn’t the case anymore!
I really loved this approac, since you could give or exchange tickets with your friends.

3DVF: On the other hand, it understandable that they got rid of this approach: it just wasn’t practical anymore, given the growth of the event.

Clearly, they have to be as organized as they can. Which is why they now use QR Codes. That’s ok, it works well.

I did miss bikes along the lakes, though. You used to be able to give your Annecy Festival badge to borrow a bike, which was very convenient to get back and forth between the two main locations of the event, Bonlieu and the MIFA. I liked that, but you can’t do it anymore. There are shuttles, though.

3DVF: Were you able to attend a few conferences or screenings!

I just attended the Disney conference! We were given a glimpse of their upcoming animated feature, Wish. It will be released at the end of the year. Jennifer Lee (Executive Producer and Scriptwriter of the movie) shared lots of details with us.

We also watched a short film created in celebration of 100 years of Walt Disney Animation Studios, with many Disney characters! Lots of emotions, impressive visuals, lots of characters interacting with one another…

Annecy Festival - Disney
Jennifer Lee at the Annecy Festival 2023
Photo: ANNECY FESTIVAL/L. Gouttenoire

3DVF: This short film was also screened at the opening ceremony. We really enjoyed the fact that Disney features characters from their whole history, not just the most famous ones. For example, they features characters from Treasure Planet, even though back in 2002 the animated feature wasn’t a success.

Yes, all the characters are there, old and new! I also attended Eric Goldberg’s masterclass. A huge name in the animation industry since he worked at Disney as animator, animation director, co-director… This was another big moment for me.

3DVF: Thanks a lot Nims, and before we end this interview, let’s remind our audience that Nims Bun’s rigging system for Maya, Baguette, is available for free!

Annecy Festival - Disney - Eric Goldberg
Eric Goldberg at the Annecy Festival 2023 – photo ANNECY FESTIVAL/K. Pauli

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