Opening Movie 2019
A dark and mysterious world awakes. Little by little. From blooming flowerish life-forms to quirky glowing creatures… Where are they going? What is their meaning in life? There must be more…
How it began…
We had the great honor to do the opening movie for the offf design festival in Vienna. We teamed up with Eyup Kus and Martin Ludl and Katja Ludl from Spine Productions. Together we created this idea of an outer world that’s hit by a strange meteor-thing. Of course the planet’s inhabitants – quirky, strange creatures – get curious.
The whole team wanted to create a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously and has a surprising, weird twist to it. Because that reflected the spirit we all share. Having fun, trying new things, and have more fun.
Defining the style
Working together in this constellation was new to everyone. And so was the process. So at first we had the idea and nailed the story down. We knew we had to try things out to see what the actual style was going to look like, but working out some very early styleframes helped to not only visualize the idea but to make clear that everyone in the team is thinking in the same direction.
Because filming the backdrops was very experimental, we decided to build a quite loose storyboard, that was more of a guide for shooting then a strict storyboard which we normally do. Then we made a storyboard cut of it to see if the story works.
Filming the miniture world
We had a small studio set where everything was built and shot. The world was made out of classic soil, stones and branches combined with kinetic sand, fluorescent color and mist from the fog machine. We used blacklight bulbs to make it glow and cut wholes in cardboards where the mist could arise.
Designing the characters
The creatures should look and behave weird, that was for sure. When designing the characters it was important to know how they are going to move. We gave just the leading character a humanoid shape and tried to avoid close similarities to earth’s animals. When we saw the blacklight effect of the filmed material it was clear for us to make all characters very glowy and very saturated. Because we wanted the characters to move very smoothly and have a “one-shaped” look we decided to smoothen out all edges.
Now that we knew where the story was going and what the creatures were doing, we made a quick animatic. We cut the filmed material and put scribbles of the animation over it. It was important to see if the story makes sense and how the scenes work together.
The goal was to have a very smooth and fluent animation of the characters to match it with the liquids and fog of the world. Because it is a strange world, we mixed the movement-behaviors underwater and in the air. To get the defined look and animate it we recreated every character in After Effects. Every character had to be built differently, depending on the movement we wanted to go for. We used the rigging tools Rubberhose 2 and Duik.