On a trip to LA last year I met music producer Brooks Aleksander on a group trail run, before attending a live event hosted by Rich Roll in 2020, fast forward about 9 months I suggested a music video project we could collaborate on bringing together visuals and sound.
The goal was to create a short animated film in a ‘low-poly’ style with 3d tools Cinema 4D and Unreal Engine. We wanted to craft a visual narrative and musical experience that took you on an alien’s journey, as he finds himself woken into another world.
This is a story about challenges and rewards, an alien wakes up on a strange planet, curiously goes on an adventure, overcomes a few challenges, gets rewarded for their efforts and discovers something they never expected.
This was a collaboration between myself (in London), Brooks Aleksander / Adam Orfale, both up and coming music creators based in LA. Using the storyboard concept as the starting point, we worked collaboratively bringing the sound score together with the visual animations using Cinema4D and Unreal Engine 4.
After sketching ideas and key visuals, I began exploration in Cinema 4D, eventually producing the entire storyboard as stills and setting the art direction (tones, colours, textures, lighting) for the film.
The next challenge was how to bring the character to life, and being relatively new to 3D, I used Mixamo to create different styles and animations of the character that imported pretty easily into UE4.
The next big challenge was rendering, and being a MacBook Pro user, which is fine for Look dev, rendering high quality animation requires a lot of computer power.
Then Unreal Engine 4 appeared as an option, and I discovered it was possible to import everything over from Cinema 4D, and with a little work (a lot) I could set up the 3D world in a realtime environment. Adding camera rigs, lighting, real world effects (waves, skies) and much more.
After testing the rendering quality of Unreal engine 4, and the project being in a low poly style, I decided to go with it. This seemed the only way to realistically achieve production speed within a given timeframe on a new maxed out Macbook pro 16”.
Rendering from UE4 in realtime literally reduced render times to about 10 minutes a camera take! So this was super interesting to work this way, and unlocks the path to VR.
As the project is set up in realtime in UE4, and can easily switch to a VR experience with some development help. Looking forward to more of these kind of projects.
Concept,art direction, 3D design
Music & Sound design
Brooks Aleksander / Adam Orfale