I don’t often get tingles from the work posted here, but this new short film directed by Phillip Van had my entire body covered in goosebumps.
“And She Stares Longingly At What She Has Lostâ€? is one part of a five-part exquisite corpse project launched by Little Minx partnered with RSA Films. In addition to Van, four other directorsâ€”Chris Nelson, Malik Hassan Sayeed, Josh Miller, and Laurent Brietâ€”responded to the last line of text of the previous directorâ€™s script.
Using a script as the creative baton is an interesting approach to creating an exquisite corpse. The result is a set of high-end short films that share an ephemeral threadâ€”a conceptual rather than visual commonality.
As always, Method nailed the visuals and brought Van’s ideas to life in exquisite detail. The balance between fantasy and hyper-reality is one of the things that makes this piece tick. Each image is so charged with symbolic and emotional content.
Some technical bits from the release:
“Phillip had this idea of a man made out of water, someone who is not quite there,â€? says Caudron, Lead 2D VFX Artist on the project. “It was essential that he be a palpable presence, but also that he seem otherworldly. It was quite a challenge to appropriately balance the real and surreal worlds.â€?
To nail down a realistic image, the animation team scanned the real life actor into a 3D model, which gave them the manâ€™s complete geometry with which to work:
“The 3D model was a huge help,â€? says Caudron. “We were able to apply all our lighting and water effects in a series of layers. The character ended up being very layer-heavy, but it sped things up considerably.â€?
In creating the gnarled and twisted forest that represents the hardships of life, Boyd was reticent at first, but quickly enthused by the challenge:
“Forest scenes are notoriously difficult to render, due to all the detail,â€? he explains. “We got so into this project, however, that we started looking for new ways to work and new things to learn. Almost everything was shot against bluescreen, with just a few plants and shrubs around the set, so it was up to us to create the forest. To render the entire thing, I used a system called â€˜delayed reads.â€™ With the geometry of one 3D tree, we were able to have the system procedurally create unique trees at render time. While 3D trees are typically so dense in information that you canâ€™t have more than one open at a time, we were able to render out 100 or so each time. It was tremendously helpful.â€?