Looking for a quicker way to storyboard? Or a new creative niche? Or simply want to mix things up?
Hopefully, this User Story can help.
Alexandre Heboyan is an animation director based in France. He works on large international projects — and smaller scale, more personal films. As well as directing and animating, he’s a senior storyboard artist.
Here, we explore Alexandre’s use of Blender, especially his enthusiasm for Grease Pencil, hybrid 2D/3D storyboarding, tips and favourite tutorials, and his thoughts on VR as part of the production pipeline.
Inspired by Alexandre’s Blender experience? Download Blender here. As always, it’s free to use for any purpose.
A still from the animatic for Alex’s forthcoming film, Maryam & Varto. “In the past, an animatic would take me weeks. With Blender, it took a couple of days.”
Meet Alexandre Heboyan
Alex studied 2D animation at the celebrated GOBELINS school of visual arts in Paris, an institution that supplies world-class talent to major studios like Disney, Pixar, and Universal.
In a career that’s taken him from France to Hollywood and back, Alex has absorbed diverse approaches to storytelling. There’s the blockbuster style from his time as an animator for DreamWorks, working on Kung Fu Panda and Monsters Vs Aliens. And, returning to Paris, a more whimsical vision in Mune: Guardian Of The Moon, which Alex co-directed, and stars iconic French actors like Omar Sy. Mune: Guardian Of The Moon synthesized Alexandre’s creative influences: 3D from his time at DreamWorks, and 2D from his education at GOBELINS.
A still from Alex’s movie, Mune: Guardian Of The Moon (2014). Maryam & Varto
Alexandre has a couple of projects in development. But he’s also working on an independent animated feature, Maryam & Varto — which promises to be beautiful and thrilling. You can see an animatic here.
Before we explore why Alexandre loves Blender, and how he’s using it for Maryam & Varto, it’s worth explaining why he found this project so compelling.
Maryam & Varto is an independent film co-written and directed by Alexandre and Gorune Aprikian. It takes place during the Armenian people’s darkest hour: their oppression by the Ottoman Empire in the early twentieth century. Alexandre and Gorune have Armenian roots, and the story is based on this shared past. Alex: “A hundred years ago, there was a huge diaspora of Armenians all over the world, including my grandparents, who came to France. And that’s why I’m here today.”
Against these huge, tragic events, Maryam & Varto tells the intimate story of two Armenian children fleeing the Ottomans… and encountering an unlikely ally. “The story of two Armenian kids being rescued by a Turkish teenager is based on reality,” says Alex. “Events like this really did occur.”
While Maryam & Varto aims to raise awareness around a heartbreaking period, it will do so in an accessible way. “It’s a deep and intense subject,” Alex says, “But we chose to avoid a super harsh tone. There have been a few films done on this topic, and they’ve been very dark. Here, we’re going for pure story: two kids and a teenager running away, and becoming friends. It’s serious, of course, but we’re mainly going for an adventure that engages the audience.”
Films like Maryam & Varto tend to have a limited budget, but thanks toContinue reading