Lazarus is a company that applies recycling to the human body : pitting veterans against one another, rewarding the winner with a free edge-cutting prothesis and capitalising on the loser by recycling them.
The factory produces cutting edge prosthetics thanks to the repurposing of actual human bodies. This was the most important environment of our short film and also the most complex.
The rest of our environments represent other departments of Lazarus corporations. The Arena is where they have the veterans fight one another, a place of spectacle and violence much like the roman colosseum, but with a futuristic twist.
The Room as well as the Training Room showcase Lazarus’s health oriented side, providing a safe space for the veterans and the infrastructure to rebuild their strength.
To showcase the inner workings of Lazarus we needed a character to go through their program. We came up with Sierra, a veteran who lost her eyesight. She awaits her eye prosthesis in an operation room. We focused on making her muscular, but with a harmonious body type to enhance her background as a fighter.
We kept the same kind of mindset for the secondary characters emphasizing the size of Sierra’s adversary in order to get some contrast between them, mimicking David against Goliath. We varied ethnicities and body types so as to help differentiate our characters, and honestly for fun. However in an effort to be efficient, we kept the same topology for all of them, thus helping transfer blendshapes and textures when needed.
SETUP AND ANIMATION
SET-UP / BLENDSHAPES AND SKINMORPHS
We knew from the beginning that we would need quite a lot of special effects. Ranging from simple sparks and smokes, to stage fireworks and eye dissolutions. All of them were created using Houdini and demanded various amounts of research and a number of trials and errors.
Once our CG was rendered, we used Nuke to help our shots come alive : we emphasized backlit shots, and boosted our color palet to get very bold saturated images much like Sony’s Edge [Love, Death and Robots] and Guy Richie directed movies. We made the decision to always generate our motion blur in post such as to quicken rendering times, and have more control over it.