François Téchené

François Téchené

Creative Director
François Téchené

Latest posts by François Téchené (see all)

At Purism, we do all our videos and other promotional material internally, with Librem hardware and free software only. This is part of our policy and I think it’s important, when I believe in something, to act in accordance with it.

A few days after releasing the video of the Librem 5 hardware design, I was asked by a few people to publish an article describing the process of making this video.

In early 2019, we shot a funny commercial for Librem One and I made a blog post, along with a video, to explain the process of making this kind of commercial with Librem hardware and free software. I was not going to do a “behind the scenes” blog post again but the Librem 5 video is entirely made with 3D graphics and the workflow is quite different so I think that it is interesting to describe that process in a new post.

Making the 3D model

The goal of this video is to show the design and features of Librem 5 hardware. So, in other words, to disassemble the phone and to show what’s inside it in terms of hardware.

In order to achieve that in a visually elegant way, I decided to go through a 3D model and do the entire video with computer graphics.

Modeling the phone and all its electronic components was a long task, that, done in parallel with other projects, took me a few months to complete. I started just after the release of the Chestnut batch and completed it a few weeks before the release of the Dogwood batch that had a slightly different design. The key points being the same between Chestnut and Dogwood, I decided to release the video anyway, without going through the long process of modeling again.

I used Blender and as I am not a proper 3D modeler, I had to learn while I was advancing the 3D model. Blender and its community are so great, that it is not difficult to find the right information. I learned a lot during this project.

Animating the model

Once modeling was done, came the fun part of animating! I love animating because it feels like giving life to something. There is something magical in animations in general.

To do so, I put the 3D model in its own Blender file, in order to reuse it whenever I need to, and linked it into another file that would hold my animation’s main scene. I am not sure if that is the best approach for this particular animation but it worked for me. From there, I put up a simple scene with a few lights, a touch of color, and I started animating.

Even though, I divided the video into several scenes in the script, I ended up animating the whole sequence in a single timeline, as a unique sequence shot.

I ended up rendering the animation as a PNG image sequence with the new EEVEE render engine from Blender, which is very fast on my Librem 13 while producing a pretty realistic output.

Adding the audio

Although we do visual art internally at Purism, we don’t do music. Therefore, I had to find an existing track for this project. Finding the right music is always pretty difficult. I know that music tastes are subjective and I usually try to find a track that matches the rhythm and the mood of the video. I also look for music that is released under a free license in order not to be in conflict with the free license of the video itself (all the website’s visual material is released under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 license).

Thankfully, there are some amazing artists in the world of free art and I ended up using the beautiful track “Sphere” by Creo, which is modern, full of energy and happiness.

I used Kdenlive to edit the music with the image sequence that I generated from Blender. I didn’t know which music I would use while doing the animation so I had to slightly edit the image sequence for it to nicely match the rhythm of the music track.

Conclusion

I love working on this kind of video project. It makes me put my head in my dreams, my creativity, like when I was a kid, but this time with the tools to bring this creativity to life.

Lately, I have been working on another project that was very special to me. It is a traditional hand made animation, that is not for Purism but that I made with both my Librem 13 and Librem 15 along with two graphics tablets, free software and lots of love. I will come through the details of making this project in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

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