The Art of Via

The Art of Via

by synriviagun on 29 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

Hi! My name is Synrivia Gunawan, Via for short. These are my portfolio, showcasing Visual Development, Concept Design, and Matte Painting.

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The Lost Empire is an IP project I did about an archaeologist who accidentally discovers a hidden empire on his research trip to Peru. The chief and most of the people of that hidden empire there does not approve his sudden 'intervention', since they have been keeping it hidden for thousand of years. However, there are also some people who are more open-minded and want to learn about what is out there.

The Archaeologist is an energetic guy who is always curious about anything. He is a tech-geek, who later introduces the technology he brought to the people there.

The challenge for this project was how to make it stylized enough with clear shape language to suit a feature animation style. I went through a lot of sketches for each characters there to finally found the best one.

Chief is a serious and strict, yet charismatic leader. He always assumes that the world out there is bad, so he tries so hard to keep his people invisible from the outer world. His daughter, however, has a very different view about the life out there. She is a tomboy and mischievous girl. She does not like his dad's over-protective manner towards her, and therefore really longs to explore what awaits her out there. That is what makes her bond with the archaeologist later on. 

The Grandma is a quirky, yet somehow wise old peasant lady. Unlike the chief, she loves the idea of exposing the empire to the outer world. In the story, she is like the comedic character who brings colors and widom to the archaeologist and the chief's daugther later. She owns an alpaca, which she loves dearly. Compared to the grandma, the alpaca is far more elegant and a tad arrogant. Despite that, she is very loyal to the grandma, always aids her whenever she needs her help.

This is the main palace, and its surrounding where those civilization lives. I wanted it to be in a very high place, on top of the hills, surrounded by waterfalls .

The challenge for this piece was how to make it looks epic and hidden at the same time. 


This is a story about Maruna, a girl originated from Papua, Indonesia who stucked in the Afterlife. She is a very adventurous and curious elementary school student, yet a bit clumsy at the same time.

It was a very fun project, I learnt a lot about designing character at that time. 

Jethro here is Maruna's guide in the afterlife. He is a grumpy bird who always feels uneasy whenever there is someone who bend the rules.

The first time I designed a stylized creature, it was quite hard but at the end I was satisfied with the result.

The Redemption Land is the Land of the Afterlife journey. Maruna has to reached this building in order to go back to the real world.

The challenging part during this process was to keep the style consistent with the other characters. I really enjoyed painting this environment at that time.


Intruders is a group project I did during my final year in college. It is a scifi themed story about an astronaut crews who unknowingly bring a parasitic alien aboard the spaceship back to Earth. 

I got a chance to design John, the main protagonist of the story. 

This is the main prop that John always carries around, since he is a medic guy as well as a co-pilot of the ARGO crews. This was also the first time I used 3d to help me in the design process. It was a fun experience.

This is the friendly alien that the crews bring from the Earth to aid them carrying heavy stuffs on the planet. We imagined that in the future, people will be having their own alien helper, kind of like pet in the current setting. To make it more like the part of the ARGO crews, I give the alien a name tag as an access card to enter every room of the spaceship. 

CryoPod is the hibernation pod that all the ARGO crews used throughout the journey. The early idea that I had was that this machine can also be used as an escape pod; that is why I decided to give it a more aerodynamic shape to the design.

Engine Room is actually the main room inside the spaceship where all the fights happen in the story. I used 3d as a base to help me designing the room. It was very challenging, since engine room is supposed to be detailed filled with all the machine and engine inside it. I spent quite some time to research how the actual engine room look like inside the spaceship.

It was a tough process, but very happy with the end result.


This is the resolution part of the story where the twist is revealed

Lara, standing at the exit door, turns her head toward the dark corridor with an eerie blank expression. More aliens start to come out from that corridor as they have been hiding there the entire time.

This is the Climax scene of the story.

Inside the locked engine room, Lara is pinned down by the super aggressive alien Eugene. At the same time, she desperately tries to reach the stun gun on the floor not far from her. 

This scene happening in the bridge is the first moment where the ARGO crews realize there were malfunctions in the Engine Room. 


Desert City

A Fantasy World themed project. At that time, my idea was to show an epic entrance into the Desert City. 

Scifi City

The challenging part this time was how to make it look futuristic enough, and that is why I played around with the lighting. I want that city to look lively.

Ancient Egyptian Throne Room

Epic Nature


Journey is a short film project about an old man who rides on a train to the destination of his lifelong dream: The Moon, only to be disappointed once he arrives.

Here are some of my contributions during that project : poster design, color script, and old man design.

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