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The making of Bet She'an


By Paul Hellard


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Date Added: 20th February 2014
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French animation school Supinfocom Arles reveals Bet She'an, a surprising graduation movie that sees civilization evolving into crows. Discover the secrets to their success in this exclusive feature.


Words by: Paul Hellard


This surprising piece is set in the city of Bet She'an, where mankind is progressively morphing into crows. A sculptor decides to leave a trace of this dwindling humanity.

After a run at the festivals, this small crew is glad to finally be able to release their graduation movie Bet She'an. Created in 2012 at the French animation school Supinfocom Arles, the film is now available for the community at large.


"In the city of Bet She'an, where mankind is progressively morphing into crows, a sculptor decides to
leave a trace of this dwindling humanity"

For the entirety of 2012, a small band of 5 or 6 animators were cloistered away at Supinfocom Arles to work on a short animated movie. "We were allowed complete freedom on the subject, with no particular guideline,” says Corbeaux Sup. "We started working as a team with a bunch of drawings. The basic plot was from Julien Soler. He told of a king being sculpted while his people were beginning to change into crows.”

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The team had been working on pre-production for 5 months where they developed a side project about the deep intent of the movie. On another, the general graphic style of the short and all the design orientation was to make it 3D, to accentuate the environment and lighting required.

"We took 3 more months to generate a proper 3D animatic. The project required that we produce a large number of drawings and to design every aspect of the visuals. Meanwhile, all the modeling and rigs for the characters were finalized, as well as developing our own painterly rendering pipeline.”

There was an extra 3 months dedicated to fine-tuning the animation, modeling and lighting all of the shots, sculpting the statue and creating the clouds. The rest of the time was spent rendering and compositing every shot while matte paintings were being finalized and also 2D FX. They completed the film 13 months from the first drawing to the final export.

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Key frames

The Supinfocom crew were restricted to keyframe animation, but there was only one animator. Bastien Letoile had only 2 and a half months in animation because he was also doing the rendering and FX. "There was a lot of character sculpting in the shots,” says Letoile. "These all had to evolve in the animation throughout the film, morphing from a human character to a more bird-like creation.”

Letoile's most challenging work was to find actions for the hybrids in the short; their wings were blocking their arms and their movements were very limited. "We took a long time to find a proper action for each of them,” he explains. "There needed to be something very animal, even close to velociraptor-like with some of them.”

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