freestyle 3D concept illustration animation color instagram loop character motion design


a blender journey


Blender 2.8 is actively developed by hundreds of people around the world. Included are animators, artists, VFX effects experts, hobbyists, scientists and more. All of them are united by an interest to further a completely free and open source 3D creation pipeline.

This step convinced me 10 years ago. Blender was able to accompany my first steps into the evasive world of 3D. My original approach was very laborious. The GUI and its ambiguous tools were not within the reach of newcomers.

This graphic series is the functional proof that this free software is ready for production.


Directed and animated by Thomas Charier.

Animation ~ Concept ~ Motion Design ~ 2D ~ 3D

PARIS ~ 2019



Blender is a free 3D creation suite and opensource. It supports the entire 3D pipeline: modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, composition and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

  • ~ free to use for any purpose, forever. ~



Freestyle as its name suggests is a purely experimental work. This series is both the result of a technical learning but also a personal research around graphics and colors. The creation of short loops makes it possible to cover most of the functionalities of a 3D software and develop a visual language as the posts progress.


All this work was carried out within Blender. The research was developed with previous concepts designed with GreasePencil technology.

The objective was to find the limits of the 3D creation pipeline in a single software package. This study highlights a new approach to the graphic process.


The first intention was to experiment with contrasting colours in a community competition. The result exceeded the expectations of the initial approach. The original idea was transformed into a series of tryptics mixing traditional animation and 3D composition.

3D sketches, modeling, colors, 2.5D animation, lighting, rendering with Eevee, composition and post-production are the key steps of this project.

Once combined, the workflow has a huge potential for illustration that I had never noticed before in any 3D software.


This mixture of 2D and 3D animation combine to bring the viewer into a unique universe, rich in color, on the border of the abstract.

As with any creative project, there have been twists and turns and changes of direction throughout the production process.

The first compositions were based on a concept art never before exploited. The illustration staged typographical matrices ~ used in letterpress printing ~ component a face.


Over the creations themed letters gradually cleared to give way to more abstract geometric solids. The staging of typographic characters remains nevertheless very effective to give meaning when the narration is ambiguous.



The creative stages are similar to a fusion of traditional drawing and sculpture. The freedom of the 3D space allows a graphic improvisation without the composition constraints of classic 2D illustration.

This technical flexibility makes possible a new interaction between traditional animation and the 3D environment.



The overall vision of a graphic work during the animation process is usually a recurring problem for 3D artists. This very important notion in the elaboration of an illustration was made possible by the Eevee rendering engine.

Light and volume management is editable in real time for easy adjustments. The creative process is fast and intuitive.

Optimizing the scene was not a crucial criterion. The textures remain very simple while preserving the graphic spirit of the flat areas of colors.



Freestyle is for me a capital part in the renewal of my creative process. The possibilities offered by Blender are astonishing and undermine the old practices still integrated in most 3D creation solutions.

The publication of these loops on Instagram shows by the statistics that the abstract illustrations have less impact than the figurative scenes. The challenge is to take into account the appreciation of the spectator's figurative works and bring them to the limit of interpretation. This process operates when a narration makes the connection between these two universes.

Abstract geometric shapes and color contrast are the most abstract part. Animation is here one of the key elements in the understanding of the action.

The animation in 6 frames per second allows in a few keyframes to express the idea of movement and facilitates the interpolation of traditional animation. This animation style became a trademark and is part of the identity of this graphic series.