Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs


Early days in France

fmx/09 Stuttgart, May 8, 2009


Xavier Nicolas, Jerzy Kular

Sogitec, the first CG studio in Paris

ExMachina main studio in Paris at the end of the 80's

In 1982 Xavier Nicolas was working at the audiovisual department of Sogitec when he had the idea to use the airplane simulators developed by this company to make films. They had to develop everything: Starting with an experimental film “Maison vole” with INA, followed by many corporate and commercial films and the first French feature film with CG visual effects “l'Unique”. By creating this new business line, Sogitec became the first computer graphics company in France. Xavier led this new division to the number one position in the Digital Media space in Europe by selling and producing award-winning computer graphic films.

In 1989 Sogitec and TDI (Thomson Digital Image) merged to form ExMachina who became in the 90s the main digital visual effects company in Paris. Xavier was Co-founder and President of ExMachina Paris (1989-1995) then Founder and president of ExMachina Tokyo (1995-2000). 

Xavier Nicolas' career in animation and computer graphics has spanned over 25 years - from commercial films and corporate presentations, to visual effects - in Europe and Asia. His domain experience includes both computer graphics production and studio management. Recently, Xavier has been instrumental in business development for visual technology companies in Silicon Valley, including Believe Inc. and PiXlogic Inc.

Prior to joining Lucasfilm, he was one of the original founders of the SOGITEC CG Group, then President of Ex Machina, a pioneering computer animation studio in Europe, with offices in Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles. Xavier’s production credits also include various large format film attractions for Iwerks Entertainment and stereoscopic films for international expositions in Japan and Korea as well as high-end games for Atari and Square-Enix.

Jerzy Kular started his career as a rostrum operator. In 1983 he joined Xavier Nicolas and the Sogitec team, first European CGI studio where he brought his film expertise and worked as director.

In 1988 he joined TDI Image which became Ex Machina where he started as co-director (with Jose Xavier) of 1789 , a 13 min. film for the bi-centennial of the French revolution mixing CGI and traditional animation.

He largely participated in the popularization of the "French Touch" in Europe, the USA and Asia. Best known for his innovative work in Expo and theme park films. First all-CGI ride film. First all-CGI 70 mm 3D Attraction film, first CGI 3D ride film.

Currently Jerzy Kular is Head of Studies at Supinfocom's Indian franchise in Pune.

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More information (in French) on the Wiki about French Computer Graphics history

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photo credit: Reiner Pfisterer