SOLi is a 3D animated short film made in Blender for the Computer Animation class at Politecnico di Milano, BA in Communication Design, during Italy's 2020 spring lockdown.
As a group of design students, it was our first experience both with 3D animation and a with a full CG production of such complexity.
Everything started with the script. During the writing process, a series of choices were made to simplify the work in the subsequent phases as much as possible. One of these was that all characters had to wear an helmet. This trick, in addition to being perfectly consistent with the narrative, spared us the need to give the characters facial animations. Another choice that simplified our work was to choose a very desolate setting, which reduced the number of models needed to populate the various environments. However, this is not to say that the short was written with the sole intention of minimizing the difficulties. Despite all of these precautions, in fact, the project quickly turned into something much bigger than we had originally imagined.
The look of the characters is a mix between an astronaut and a diver. We really loved the analog quality and the sense of oppression of old diving suits and the cleaner shapes and bright colors of astronauts' suits. The orange color was chosen primarily to contrast the mostly grey background. In addition, orange it's also the overalls' color that prisoners often wear, mainly in the US.
Talking about the architecture design, we drew a lot of inspiration from Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photographs. The Control Tower is inspired by one of their series called Water Towers and the Abandoned Factory from another series called Coal Deposits.
The storyboard was an essential guide throughout the entire process.
These are some characters, props and environment assets made for the film.
The animation stage was by far the one that took the most time.