Hello, and welcome on the entry page of "Familiers" !
First of all, you must know that throughout this project, we wanted to tell a story that is very close to a fairy tale. We also have sought to include the family value in a very present way, the devotion of the characters, even to the notion of sacrifice.
More simply, we wanted to tell the story of a power-seeking cat, on how he gets to make the biggest mistake of his life, and especially how he manages to fix it. Showing that love is the most precious thing, over ambition.
Everything started with this pitch: Two familiars, are fighting for the affection of Loar the witch. Their rivalry turns out to be dangerous for the witch...
Even though the two animals are very clearly rivals, we have tried to make them feel a form of complicity between them, such as the fact that they seem to implicitly agree to squabble as soon as their mistress turns her back, in the beginning.
One of the biggest challenges of the film was to manage to clearly show the three days in which the film takes place, a factor that made us review the script, and re-do the 2d & 3d animatics quite a few times. Working to keep things fluid in a 6mn time frame.
Huzil - Adopted by the witch, she gave him a piece of talisman, giving him access to magic. He always had endured difficulties to master his powers, and remained relatively weak despite his efforts.
Loar - Has been living away from humans for many many years now, away from the village where she grew up and were chased from. Wise and calm person, who has a lot of love for her familiars.
Ludu - A slightly sneaky owl, but full of good will. He got adopted by the witch before Huzil, who also gave him a piece of talisman to give him access to magic. This is why he likes to remind to his fellow cat that he got more knowledge than him.
Rigging was also an other big challenge for the team, with all the feathers of the owl for example. Also, the amount of hair & fur we have in the film made the animation setups and rendering a lot more complicated than we hoped for in the beginning.
The last big challenge we had on "Familiers", was obviously the FX part with all the magic stuffs ! After trying a bunch of things to get something believable with not so much details in it, we managed to find a way by merging 2D hand painted FXs layers in Toon Boom, with 3D Houdini FXs in postprod. The team worked very hard to get fluid and enjoyable effects in every shots.
"Familiers" has been an amazing experience to each and everyone of us. The craft of a short-film in a team of 6 members made us learn so many things, it was tough, but rewarding ! We hope that this article summarizes fairly well the making of the movie.
It is available on YouTube since a few months, and has already reached nearly 2 millions of views ! Clearly, we didn't expect our film to be so far-reaching ! This is really impressive.
Thank you for reading this entry, and to everyone who has/will watch the movie !
Familiers team (Alexia, Maxence, Alexandre, Oscar, Jonathan & Adrien).