The Darkest Age Has Begun
Is it a sign of the times that we've begun to make our long-gestating short film Dark Ages now? Perhaps. It has long been in different drafts, but we've finished our script and are starting production on boards, animatics, characters, sets and a trailer. Much of this will be done with the assist of our favorite real-time tool, Unreal Engine.
What is Dark Ages? Well, we'll tell you a bit more about it over time, but at its heart, it's a dark stop-motion inspired children's fable. It has influences that range from Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer to Tim Burton and Rankin Bass. We are challenging ourselves to make a film with modern technology that feels like a hand-crafted film. To do this, we are relying on careful artistry and some actual hand-crafting. Our lead character, the Professor has been built as a rudimentary stop-motion puppet and scanned into the computer to retain a sense of puppet scale and details.
The following slides show the progress of the Professor Asset. First the finished product after lookdev in Substance Painter. The next 2 slide are frames from the photogrammetry shoot with and without the apron, which we wanted separate control of in the rig. Next, the raw scan data output from Agisoft Metashape, then the texture output. The texture was put through a delighting process before being further modified in Painter for the final character. Lastly, we have a native 3D asset for the welders goggles which weren't built in puppet form, but crafted to match the existing scans.
We'll have a lot more to say as we progress, but we're excited to begin this journey and finally realize a long-standing dream project!