Today’s employee experience highlight: our 3D rigging and pipeline TD, Niels Dervieux. He joined Stim Studio right after graduating and has played an essential part in the company’s development. Quiet strength, curious and self-taught, Niels talks about his experience and what it’s like to work at Stim Studio.
Niels has been passionate about 3D animation since secondary school. He was always drawn to animated films and knew early on that he would make a career in this industry.
It’s during his second year of studies that he discovered his passion for body rig thanks to Félix Ferrand, co-founder, who was teaching character modeling at his school (while working for Framestore) and introduced him to this field.
On his last year of studies, Niels was in charge of creating all the characters’ body rigs for the short-animated films the students were supposed to make. Through this experience and because he was always determined to expand his knowledge, he trained himself on his own to improve his technique and to learn how to code in order to be able to develop tools, scripts and solutions to improve his classmate’s workflow.
“Artists in the industry and former students have helped me improve my skills by sharing their knowledge and professional experience with me. But I also learned on my own through online training and tutorials how to code and what I do today. I’ve always been an autodidact.”
Joining Stim Studio has allowed him to combine both his passion for rig body and his technical skills. He contributed to making the studio grow by developing Stim Studio’s pipeline to create the characters of the animated film The Amazing Maurice, by Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann (starring Emilia Clarke and Hugh Laurie), with our friend and partner Red Star studio. Niels loves finding solutions and figuring out new ways to improve the pipeline.
“Solving technical problems is a fun and rewarding part of my job. 3D animation rigging is more artistic and subjective, while coding either works or doesn’t. And when it does, it’s very satisfying.”
Today, Niels works with Benoit Gielly, our pipeline and rig supervisor, who has been mentoring him since the beginning of his Stim journey.
“What is great about Stim Studio, is that the CEOs trust their team. They gave me many responsibilities from the get-go even though I didn’t have a lot of experience. They trusted me and they still do. What I like is that we all are at the same level and we work in close cooperation with one another. We all complement each other. I feel confident and supported here.”
Niels enjoys the friendly atmosphere at the studio and the fact that most of his colleagues are young.
“We all know and like each other and while it’s a human-sized company, we work on ambitious and large-scale projects with important clients for the cinema industry. We have the best of both worlds: attentive managers, friendly colleagues and the opportunity to work on big projects!”
Niels plays an essential part in the studio because his position requires a global view on the whole company. He is the one making sure production is going well from a technical point of view.
“When I take a step back and I look at all we’ve accomplished, it’s quite impressive. To see that a team of young artists, fresh from school, got this level of trust and the opportunity to work on great projects for the big names of the industry, it’s amazing. We all got to learn a lot and get far more experience than we ever would if we had been in big animation studios. This is the strength of Stim Studio. We are all proud of being a part of this adventure.”
In his daily routine, Niels is always searching for new solutions, learning new technic, keeping himself up to date on the latest technologies and software and trying to improve his work.
“I think the best skill for this job is curiosity. I also think that being willing to work hard is important. And another virtue is being able to remain calm without panicking when facing issues and difficulties.”
The quote that describes him best and his job is a quote from the French singer Charles Aznavour: “I’ve never gone to sleep a night in my life without learning something new”.
“I always need to learn and challenge myself to do better”.
And that’s what he finds every day at Stim Studio, the opportunity to work on exciting projects, to manage the 3D animation pipeline and the studio’s technical needs while keeping on learning in a friendly and safe environment.