Computer graphics

Left Angle: making its mark in the creative sector

Changed on 09/11/2021
French start-up Left Angle specialises in computer graphics and is set to release the first version of a program developed exclusively for 2D and 3D graphic animation. Called AutoGraph, it will provide independents, studios and creative agencies with tools that are both affordable and accessible.
Illustration : pot de pinceaux
© R. Gino Santa Maria -

Movement in motion design

Motion design videos (animated graphics used either in films or in advertising) are becoming increasingly common across all digital channels, giving brands visibility and helping to form a positive opinion among would-be consumers. But the quality of these videos is uneven, and there are very few tools for designing them. Nuke, the most sophisticated and costly of these, is primarily targeted at major film studios, while After Effects, a more affordable option, provides only a handful of the features users require. AutoGraph, the latest arrival on the scene, is described as providing “a set of high-quality, accessible tools” by Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat, a former Inria research engineer and co-founder of Left Angle, the company that developed the software. This is a subject he is well-versed in. “While at Inria I worked with the Imagine project team [now Anima] and was involved in creating the Natron opensource video compositing software.” The success of Natron, available to download for free online, convinced Gauthier-Foichat to develop a new platform to be marketed by Left Angle. “With Natron we were getting over 500,000 downloads a year. But the community of users was mostly made up of cinema and special effects specialists, and they started looking for more and more specialist features. We soon realised we would need to set up a company in order to take things further.” 

Digital meets audiovisual

Left Angle (which has 8 employees on the payroll) was set up in late 2019 by Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat and Francois Grassard, a former creative director and audio-visual specialist, with support from Linksium, the incubator for the Grenoble Alpes technology transfer accelerator. Drawing on a wealth of experience in the special effects sector, the two co-founders negotiated the upcoming distribution of their product with one of the leading specialists in extensions and video effects in the US. They also have a close relationship with the Inria Grenoble - Rhône-Alpes centre. “We are looking to take on a PhD through the CIFRE scheme on a subject linked to the creation and stylised rendering of 3D animations. We have also kept up-to-date with current research, and we are regularly in contact with project teams, which helps us to identify good potential candidates.” 

AutoGraph: designing the future of video creation

The concept and interface for AutoGraph, the 2D and 3D graphic composition program developed by Left Angle, were recently unveiled to creatives and professionals from animation studios at the KIKK Festival in Namur, which ran from 4th to 7th November 2021. The result of around ten years of research on the subject, plus two years of intensive development, the software will be made available to independents and graphic content creation agencies through long-term subscriptions.

What sets the solution apart from a professional perspective is its wide range of features (and the range of creative possibilities available), which are both simple and intuitive. As Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat points out, such qualities are essential if you want to establish yourself on the market: “Many motion designers are self-taught, with a passion for animation. They want tools which are intuitive, which don't require a lot of complicated training and which will help them to produce original, high-quality videos within a shorter timeframe.” 

Cutting-edge but easy to work

The video compilation technology built into the platform cuts processing times for users for any tasks they might have to carry out. What’s more, changes are saved in real-time, making it easier to send alpha or beta versions to the end client. Throughout production, AutoGraph also encourages the automation of a whole host of repetitive tasks involved in the creation of 2D or 3D content. Running parallel to this, a number of online or cloud services are already in the pipeline, whether it’s for sharing videos between graphic designers and clients or for creating vast quantities of customised marketing videos. For this, AutoGraph features a range of template models and videos which can be used to create thousands of contextual videos based on information from dynamic databases.

Bpifrance awards

  • July 2020: Left Angle was a winner at the i-Lab awards (support for innovative new tech companies), organised by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, in partnership with Bpifrance.
  • July 2021: The company was a winner at the i-Nov awards, financed by the French government via the Investments for the Future Programme and coordinated by Bpifrance and the French Environment and Energy Agency.