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Description of the Image

The CG image "Dead Angels" is a thrilling digital artwork showing the close encounter of the hero and a long extinguished angel race called "The Illochim". Matte painting artist Sven Sauer meets 3D artists Igor Posavec and Antoan Simic to create an emotional and intimidating depiction of the moment where the last seal of the legend is broken and the real truth behind the myth of angels and the unknown behind it are revealed. The CG illustration was inspired by the Perry Rhodan adventures, and the aim was to compose a striking shot in radial composition, with a mix of expectation and fear, mystical elements, organic forms and thrilling cold colors.

 

 

Prolog

The CG image "Dead Angels" is a thrilling digital artwork showing the close encounter of the hero and a long extinguished angel race called "The Illochim". Matte painting artist Sven Sauer meets 3d artists Igor Posavec and Antoan Simic to create an emotional and intimidating depiction of the moment where the last seal of the legend is broken and the real truth behind the myth of angels and the unknown behind it are revealed. The CG illustration was inspired by the Perry Rhodan adventures, and the aim was to compose a striking shot in radial composition, with a mix of expectation and fear, mystical elements, organic forms and thrilling cold colors.

 

 

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01
The Illochim (Herbrew: Engel) was here represented as an ancient race out of the depths of space. To create a different view on the misinterpreted creatures, Antoan Simic started first with the rough sketches of the chimera that gave birth to the legends of angels and dragons alike.n close together over the last years - therefore their partnership. As a result we now find a grouping of animators, 2D as well as 3D artists, working hand in hand.



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02
This Illochim Model was created in Max as basic geometry with approximately 4000 faces, and brought over to ZBrush for detailing. Antoan Simic has spent the biggest part of the creation time to define all wrinkles, muscles and veins, since the model was later a part of cinematics and large scaled images. We finally ended up with 4 million faces of geometry. The following step was to bring all those details into 3DSMAX.



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03

Igor Posavec created the 16bit displacement map in ZBrush, applied the UVs on the basic 4000 face geometry and added scene composition and light setup. He used the FinalRender Displacement Modifier and the FinalRender Dirt Shader to achieve the mummified look of the skin. The best solution for the skin was a mix of a few procedural shaders that mimic aged skin spots and veins. Finally the Illochim was rigged and brought into the folded position inside of the frozen tank.

 

 

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04
One of the most difficult tasks was to create a huge and complex scene with a group of monsters and complex surrounding geometry. Even without displacement mapping, the scene had more than one million faces. By turning on all details on the frozen aliens, it was almost impossible to render the image. Therefore a rebuilt scene with much fewer polygons was used to allow for the light setup. In the end all high density geometry was replaced with displacement maps to allow short render times for the high resolution image.n the world - you just have to put them into a new context. Shanghai for me is "cyberpunk" come real, making it the perfect raw material for showing a fading city.

 


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05
In the beginning it was planned to fill the belly of the crashed Illochim space ship with eggs. But during production the hibernation tanks became more and more important and forced us to integrate them into the organic form of the space ship. Therefore Sven Sauer had to develop a much better way of visually connecting the complex organic hull environment of the ship construction and the mummies of the creatures in the tanks.



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06
In the following step of production the eggs were replaced with muscle tissue and veins. The photo material for this was delivered by one of our friends, a student of animal biology. The source for most of the images are rat cadavers. The Hero walks directly over the tissue structures and a main artery in to the hearth of the space cruiser!

 

 

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07
In order to achieve the huge size of the interior Sven Sauer has narrowed the perspective and moved the focal point lower. In the background the first drafts of the vein structure has been implemented - at that moment there was still no focus on details, but just additions of rough accents. But the room was still looking very small since the Tanks seemed like a 2d billboard in the center of the room.

 

 

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08
As a solution the number or tanks was reduced to 3 in order to open up more of the background area. Afterwards the 3d tanks were integrated into the two-dimensional background image that contained the organic environment. A good way to amplify the 3d effect was to add strong highlights and environmental reflections to the glass tanks. From this point on Sven Sauer did the detailed paint work of the scene. The main goal was to achieve a simple readability and coherence of the image, the viewer should not be confronted with a puzzled patchwork.

 

 

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09
The light setup for the Matte painting was based on a gradient from dark flat color tones to the light highlights. Just like with an oil painting Sven added layer after layer of light to combine the foreground, middle and background planes. Most of the time was invested into the analysis, removal and addition of light accents - how much light is just enough for the user to see and recognize something? From which moment on does the light composition start to become flat and boring? And what role do dust, smoke and depth play in this painting?

 

 

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10
In the final step Sven draws the last fine and ornamental muscle weaves and small highlights in dark areas. Last finishing touches were made to avoid any symmetry and obvious pattern repetition. These last corrections opened 'holes' in the image, allowing the viewer to look deeper into the forbidden corners of the ship in some areas. Ultimately Sven Sauer darkened the foreground cliff to create a visual focus and draw the observer into a tunnel vision, just as a traveler who's following our hero behind his back would see it.

 

 

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