When making my reel for this year I wanted to do more than just make clean cuts between projects in time with upbeat trendy music. My solution was to make an eye catch and engaging introduction short for my reel that also served the purpose of showing off my talents as a digital media designer. This idea had been floating around in my head for around a month or so before I acted upon it. I started pulling together inspiration for how I wanted the visual feel of the animation to have. The movie TRON: Legacy was a very big inspiration for the design of the animation.
I loved the movie when it came out and the clean futuristic and modern design style that was displayed throughout the design of the movie. Those designs have always been the thing I remembered most about the film. I decided to take the clean, minimalistic look and apply it to the bulk of my design concepts. Even from the start I knew this project was going to be very complicated and require a lot of thought before I even started designing or even opened Cinema 4D. I started sketching out the ideas I had come up with from looking at inspiration and different aspects that I pulled from my own imagination.
The modeling, texturing, animation, and rendering for this project in total took just a little over a month. I used my sketches shown above to help me have a game plan while making the different models. The sketches were pretty loose so most of the detail came while I was in the process of modeling. I built the project starting with the hallway and then building out into the main room, starting with larger box shapes to fill space and plan out sizing, then adding the detailed models as I created them. Most of the modeling was done with a mix between Adobe Illustrator files being extruded to make the shapes, and hard surface modeling inside Cinema 4D. The extruded Illustrator files also allowed for a very low poly count.
After all the models were made and animated, I went ahead and started texturing everything, which went much faster with the use of Octane's Live Viewer. I then went through and added dirt and scratches to the areas I wanted to be more worn down, using Octane's dirt tag. Not only did I apply this to the metal textures, I also was able to use it on the light textures to allow a more natural falloff at the edges of some of the lights. The way that Octane textures produce light is one of my main reasons for using it to render out this project. The blackbody emission illumination had the exact right feel that I had been picturing since the start of the project. The added speed during rendering was also a very big component as well. Bellow are the breakdowns of each scene from wireframe to final render.
After building the scenes, I had a great time adding personal details inside the textures that really only I would know were there(until this behind the scenes was made). I felt that it was a nice way to add a part of my personality into the work beyond just being the creator. Most of the blatant details show in the decals and stickers that I added onto the models. From Cinema 4D & Octane's logos to the Rebel Alliance logo from Star Wars.
The idea to add these decals I obtained from the animation Zero Day by Beeple. His highly complex visuals and attention to detail inspired me to add that level of complexity to my designs and approach for this project. I took a more light hearted approach when customizing the decals and stickers through including a QR Code that links to a Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up because that is the only good use for a QR code.
To add that layer of complexity I isolated parts from the animation in Cinema and rendered them out in black and white with the Cel Render to have pure a white wire frame and straight black background. I then applied those renders to the After Effects compositions and animated each layer out to then be added to the Octane textures. Rigging the textures to play the movie animations of the UI took a little bit of work, but eventually worked and looked just how I wanted it to. Running the UI animations through the Octane textures allowed the control console UI textures to interact with the scene by illuminating it, which I felt grounded it more in the scene than adding the UI elements in post.
Along with experimenting with different textures in Octane, I also was able to try my hand at User Interface (UI) design. The inspiration for the layout and style of the UI came from a mix of TRON, The Martian, and Semi-Permanent 2015 opening titles animation. I knew form the beginning that I wanted to incorporate the dot grid style that is popular now in UI design. I used Adobe Illustrator to layout all the elements that would be animated on the control console screen. The animation was done in Adobe After Effects using the Adobe Illustrator file so that any updates would be immediately changed inside the After Effects file. The general UI animations done in After Effects looked right, but still seemed a bit simple for the complicated information overload look that is so common in UI design currently.