When we started to think about the market, we wanted to make something cold and dilapidated. Something that represents the world in which our heroine lives. But at the same time it needed a touch of colour for the cyberpunk side. Represented by the billboards. We started with the design and modeling of the stands, we had to make these stands largely with spare and reused parts. The whole market has been modeled on 3dsMax, the shaders have almost all been made on VRay to save a maximum of time. I try to get out of 3dsMax as little as possible. The compositing was done on After Effects with plugins such as Magic Bullet Looks by Red Giant but also Sapphire by BorisFX.
The main references used for the alleyway were the rainy alleys of Manhattan, something scary but also quite fascinating.
An alley where you're not sure you want to go. The main difficulty was to find a way to realistically illuminate the character.
At first we thought about billboards, but it was illogical to point the billboards at an empty alley. So we opted for an illuminated smoke that allows a perfect legibility of the silhouette.
The whole Alleyway has been modeled on 3dsMax, the shaders have almost all been made on VRay to save a maximum of time. I try to get out of 3dsMax as little as possible. Only a few props were shaded with Substance Painter. The compositing was done on After Effects with plugins such as Magic Bullet Looks by Red Giant but also Sapphire by BorisFX.
When we imagined Esis’ apartment, we wanted to have a home that reflects her personality and her work. So we chose to have a large central part she can use for her work and built around her living amenities. The challenge was to advance the apartment and at the same time the plans one by one. So I used a Lightmanager that I made myself, to have only one apartment scene and therefore not have a different scene to update. When the apartment was well advanced I could separate the scenes to be able to work plan by plan. The apartment changes during the creation of the time machine, the objects Esis Droid doesn’t need are put in unnecessary rooms for her such as the bedroom.
For the modeling part, most of the objects were modeled on 3ds max and textured on Substance Painter, when they were close to the camera. Small objects scattered on the ground were placed using Forestpack. Finally, some of the props have been converted to Proxy. For the lighting I did a general lighting of day and night which I then iterated according to the scenes.
The composing was largely done on After Effects, with plugins such as Sapphire and Looks. Then the film final grading was made on Davinci Resolve.
Our main character Esis is an independent, engineer, tomboyish girl, and she is Aries (matters to Antoine).
Esis is a genius in mechanics and technology so we tried to get as close as possible to what a real engineer would wear to work. Protection gloves or glasses, resistant overall and so on, but still keeping the cyberpunk vibe.
We wanted to have a semi-realistic artistic direction, as in Ready Player One or Alita Battle Angel ; with realistic texture and stylized proportions.
For the skin texturing, I projected polarized pictures and then I added freckles and moles by painting them directly on Mari. For her tatoo, I made several templates on photoshop using references, and then project it on Mari. I used Substance Painter for the texturing of all the clothing parts. Her hair and peachfuzz was made with Ornatrix on 3dsmax.
I had to sculpt skinmorphs to make every movement she makes clean and realistic. Because we had a short deadline, I focused on the more important ones, such as her arms and gloves, because we have a lot of hand closeups.
Modeling and UV was done on Maya, added details on zbrush with a displace, baked a normal map with those details in substance painter and finally made the shading on it. I realised too late in the process I haven't used enough UDIM, on some big close up, texturing is a bit blurry, especially for the displacement map, we feel that it is a little soft as well.
The head was one of the biggest challenges, we wanted a realistic design without necessarily having a human face (like in I Robot) but we wanted something that returned a human look, one of our references was Chappie for that.
With the absence of eyebrows, the expressions were passed through the eyes only, with the eyelids tilting laterally.
At the start, the robot did not have the same morphology as the other character, for the sake of simplicity in terms of motion capture and animation, I reworked the modeling to fit on the other. Moreover, this is the same person in the two characters, having only one person for the motion capture was better to feel this is the same person. It's a good thing because it made the character more feminine and more alive!
It was a big deal making the Fx of the film. We wanted something realistic, but we also wanted the Fx to serve to movie and not the opposite. Every time we achieved something, the questions were: Is that too big? Does it steal the focus?
This was our mindset while working with the environment team!
For the technical part, we mostly used Tyflow and Phoenix FD. It allows us to work faster and to have a better visualization of what we are creating with VRay. Our goal was to always keep the cyberpunk feeling of our movie.
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