Behind the Breathtaking Animation of BAÏDIR
If you’re a fan of illustrated animation, you’re in for a treat. After raising tens of thousands of dollars from hundreds of fans to create a teaser for his animated space opera “Baïdir,” creator and director Slimane Aniss was gracious enough to chat with us and share some behind the scenes. There are several KitBash3D kits that made it into the official trailer – see if you can spot them!
KitBash3D: Slimane, before we dive into that magnificent trailer, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your artistic background?
Slimane: Hi! I’m Slim (Slimane Aniss), and I've been a France-based director and motion designer since 2005.
After obtaining a graphic design and animation degree, I started work as a freelance motion designer, mostly for advertising. One of the first projects I worked on was a TV spot for Canson’s fine art papers. At the time, it was the very beginning of motion design in France. It’s definitely a favorite memory – we discovered so many tricks to create good renders of drawings and painting animations. I also met my best friend Marc Fouchard, a motion designer and feature film director.
Now, for the last 2 years, I have been focusing on what I’ve always wanted to do: creating an animated series.
KitBash3D: Very exciting! And that series of course is “Baïdir.” Can you tell us more about the story behind it?
Slimane: It tells the initiatory path of a hero, Baïdir, who is willing to do anything to locate his sister Nayah and thus restore their family’s lost balance. It is also a story that echoes a much broader collective quest: restoring the planet’s lost environmental equilibrium.
In 2089, while environmental and climatic disasters ravage our planet, Earth, a corporation by the name of Chrysalide is promising to ferry humanity to a new world: Eccoh. Nations pitch in to build a gigantic space fortress named the Ark. Materials are delivered to this huge construction site via twelve orbital elevators. Chrysalide controls them all and has hidden them in twelve distinct sites across the globe.
On one day like any other, Nayah is kidnapped by Farod, a strange character with gorilla-like features. Her brother, Baïdir, chases after them all the way to an energy portal. They disappear as they come in contact with the multicolored rays of light.
On the other end of the portal, Baïdir winds up aboard a mysterious vessel hovering over a forest of giant flowers. After an altercation with Farod, Baïdir gets thrown out of the vessel. Lost in an unknown world, in a landscape both marvelous and worrisome, he sees Nayah’s kidnappers’ vessel moving out of his line of sight, over the horizon. Baïdir is now alone.
Our goal with this story is also to make one of the first French shōnen (Japanese comics written for young boys). We grew up with all those fantastic stories from Japan and we really wanted to make one here in France with all those inspirations but mixed with our European graphics styles.
KitBash3D: It sounds like this has been a dream project of yours for a long time. What has the development process been like?
Slimane: For me, Baïdir is one of those once-in-a-lifetime projects. I created this character back when I was an animation student. I had this simple idea of this kid who has to look for his little sister on the other side of the galaxy. Two of my best friends joined the adventure, Charles Lefebvre and Thierry Rivière, and we decided to make an animated TV series produced at Andarta pictures. At the time, it was very difficult to produce this kind of continuing storyline show in France, but now with the advent of Netflix and others, we think we have many more opportunities to tell the Baïdir Story.
KitBash3D: It's definitely a great time for finding distribution, especially with your work so far already garnering so much attention. It’d be borderline criminal for this series not to be made!
But going back to the trailer – the look you achieved is absolutely incredible. Can you tell us more about how it was made?
Slimane: For the production of the trailer, I started with a first draft storyboard to set up the shots and rhythm using placeholder music by Adrien Sepulchre. Then Charles Lefebvre refined every shot to get the final animatic.
From there I started to set up the 3D layout for every shot and delivered that to 2D animator and background artist Victorin Ripert. I did multiple passes with Octane Render (masks, Z-depth, etc.) to make the background color process easier.
KitBash3D: To the untrained eye, it’d be easy to think the whole piece was done with 2D illustration, so it’s fascinating to see where and when you used 3D in that animatic. Plus, it’s one of the coolest uses of our kits we’ve seen!
Slimane: KitBash3D assets helped us A LOT, haha! For the first shot, for example, I kitbashed Art Nouveau and Utopia together to quickly set up this future Paris. It helps me to find a good angle shot and a light based on the color key we created at the beginning of production. Then it was really easy to render it in Octane with all the different passes.
Victorin Ripert has done incredible work on backgrounds to refine all the details. He said to me that the 3D layouts were a benediction for his health, hahaha.
KitBash3D: Makes sense! It’s a very clever way to work so you can explore your sets and determine the cinematography before committing to the illustration step.
One more question before we go: what drives you to keep creating?
Slimane: WOW! Tough question! I think that the thing that makes me wake up every morning is the willingness to tell stories that really matter... I worked in advertising for so many years trying to sell useless things, now I feel that it is really important to bring sense to the stories we'll tell to our kids.
KitBash3D: And hopefully pass the torch to the next generation of storytellers! Thanks so much for your time, Slim, and best of luck expanding the Baïdir universe!
About Slimane Aniss
Slimane is a senior motion designer and film director based in Paris, France. With over 15 years of experience, he has worked with major global brands including Ubisoft, Dior, Sony, and more. For more stories and adventures from BAÏDIR, you can visit his website, or follow him on ArtStation, Linkedin, Instagram, and Behance.