As a child, Félix Ferrand was an avid cartoonist. He would spend most of his time drawing and was convinced that one day, he would work as a full-time artist. He enjoyed imagining and drawing characters. After high school, he studied computer graphics before turning to 3D animation. He studied at ESMA Montpellier for four years. That’s where he met his friend Jordan Soler.
“During my studies in 3D animation, I realized that’s during the rigging phase that the character comes to life. For this reason, I decided to specialize in character modeling and facial rigging instead of concept art. I think character modeling and rigging really bring the character to life.”
After graduation from ESMA school, Félix joined Illumination MacGuff in Paris where he worked for one year. There, he worked on facial modeling and rigging of the Minions characters (Despicable Me 3). Then, he worked for Supamonk where he got to supervise the character modeling and rigging team. It was a great experience because he had more responsibilities and was able to work on very different projects: advertisements, semi-realistic trailers, short films, etc.
Félix wanted to gain comprehensive knowledge on his specialty and knew he needed to work on realistic films. To that end, he joined Dneg in London where he was able to work on feature films: The Avengers and Venom. He was in charge of facial modeling and rigging of the main characters of these two films. These experiences enabled him to strengthen his knowledge and expertise in his field.
“I then worked as a teacher and head of studies in a 3D animation school in Lyon. It was a very instructive experience and a great opportunity to train many aspiring talents. Imparting knowledge and skills is an excellent way to get better at your job. As a teacher, you learn a lot!”
While teaching, Félix was still working for Framestore on a feature animated film. Félix had always wanted to have his own studio and teaching allowed him to train students who later on, joined Stim Studio as employees. By a happy coincidence, he met Thibaut Vuillin, CEO, and asked him to teach VFX compositing. They worked together for a year and it quickly became clear that they share similar plans and vision. They decided to merge their two companies to create their own 3D animation studio.
“Our first project was the feature film The Amazing Maurice. We put together a team of artists with our former students and we started this great adventure!”
Since then, Stim Studio has had many different projects for the cinema (see here). Through his experience as a teacher, Félix believes trust and respect are key to sustain a good and healthy relationship with the artists in the studio.
“I believe in horizontal management. Thanks to my experience in large animation studios, I know what works and what doesn’t. At Stim Studio, we want that every artist feels involved in the company’s development. We are very transparent with them. Our decisions are understood and they respect us. What’s missing in the big studios is the close relationship we have built with our employees.”
The goal is to keep on delivering high quality work on assets for blockbusters and to eventually produce films and series for the cinema industry.
“I believe in hard work and in making sacrifices to achieve what you want in life. For me, talent does not exist. If you want to do better than yesterday, do it again today with twice as much energy.”