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Automaton
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Automaton

by ddaannn200 on 1 Jun 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

In a world of a mechanical dystopia, a frightened young boy must learn to control his power in order to survive! Spent the year developing this film during my Senior year at the Cleveland Institute of Art! Special thanks to Bryan RitzSpikes for texturing and modeling some of the assets for me!

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In a world of a mechanical dystopia, a frightened young boy must learn to control his power in order to survive!

The goal I had in mind was to create a short film that tells a story with a unique style. Taking inspiration from Into the Spiderverse and League of Legends cinematics, I wanted to use 2d effects both to help sell the style and save time on renders. I also used a shader network that I developed over the summer to project the halftone texture and hatch shadows onto the character and environment!

Since I was making the film by myself mostly, I wanted to try and be efficient in the process of making the film as much as possible. I tried to use pre-made models and characters whenever I could to make sure I could complete the film at the end of my senior year. I ended up retexturing and tweaking all of the UVs to make sure they would work with the shader network I made. I also had to change character outfits to make them fit into the story together.

Characters

The boy

The rig, Cartoon Boy, was bought from CGTrader with the help of my school. I remodeled the outfit to fit the story and textured it with some more worn colors. The bottom right image shows the rig as it came in, and the top right image shows the rig with the outfit change.

The mentor

This character uses the Apollo rig by Ramon Arango, and I also modeled the outfit where he's wearing the blue pants. Thankfully I got help from my classmate Bryan RitzSpikes where he modeled and textured the cargo pants for the character that I ended up using!

The robot

The robot rig was made by M-Rigs (Agent W), and had a bit more of a makeover done. I completely remodeled and reskinned the torso, waist, and shoulder pads to give the character a more intimidating presence. Once I finished the remodel, I made a design of how I wanted the textures done and handed it off to Bryan to texture, who absolutely nailed the look! I also asked him to make a version with a lot more scratches for when the robot claws its way out of the rubble!

The layout started with a simple sketch, and as the story developed some parts of the environment changed. The first row of images shows the early stages of the layout while the second row shows the final iteration used!

The outdoor environment for the first shot of the film was made using an outdoor pack that was bought on CG Trader and spread across a plate using Maya's built-in MASH plugin. The images on the right contain some screenshots from the film along with lighting tests done to try and get a feel for how I wanted the film to look.


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