Teaming up with close collaborators that shared the same vision, we set out to make the project as diverse and visually impactful as possible. The visual language was designed to create compositions that focused on bold type layout with a Japanese typeface, contrasted with stark 3D environments.
Production kicked off with an animatic which laid out the blueprint for the sequence, while aiming to not be locked down to a single idea or concept, rather a natural progression as ideas and elements came together. Animation effects R&D took place concurrently to determine how the ideas from the storyboard would come together, and the amount of production time required for each shot. Cinema 4D was used for all 3D assets with the exception of World Machine, which was used to create the landscapes in the end sequence. Animation was a combination of Cinema 4D tools with the addition of X-Particles and Turbulence FD. Octane was the primary renderer inside Cinema 4D.
Patrick Goski had the task of modeling the age variations of the bust as well as the melted head at the end of the sequence. We had the model for the bust yet we needed to retopologize to be able to create the age variations in Cinema 4D using sculpting tools.
Each shot of the sequence was kept live within the edit inside of After Effects. This allowed the cameras and animation to stay in flux until all shots came together with enough context to lock picture and finalize the frame count to render from 3D. With the style of the edit, we wanted to play with pacing and camera moves that you would normally see in more experimental live-action edits; rarely with fully animated 3D scenes. Mixing slow and ambient shots with sudden bursts of energy and chaos helped to accentuate the eerie, meditative yet unnerving tone that we were going for. Not only did we tried to capture that idea within each shot, but also in the arc of the entire piece.
The custom Japanese typeface was created in Adobe Illustrator. We put each letter together in a modular fashion, piecing each one together from a selection of predetermined horizontal, vertical and angled shapes. This resulted in a monoline typeface where each piece could be animated independently when imported into After Effects. Each letter was built adhering to a horizontal grid comprised of five-quadrants of equal height. This not only gave the typeface a very uniform appearance, but also allowed us to create a very interconnected style of animation where each letter could feed into another when building on a sentence.