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Ulbehqi - 2D Trailer

Ulbehqi - 2D Trailer

Neryece Rawcliffe
by Neryece on 22 May 2023 for Rookie Awards 2023

A 2D animated trailer showcasing Jane and her sudden journey into the world of Ulbehqi. This thread has the final film as well as the best of all the pre-production work and some other finished assets.

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Ulbehqi is a world that I've been working on since my early teens and having this opportunity to finally bring some aspects of the world to life has been exhilarating!

This specific project is a trailer.
The trailer format allowed me to showcase more of my world and its characters than a linear story would have.
What you will see below are the best pieces of the whole pre-production process as well as the final results. 

Synopsis: Suffering with nightmares of a fantastical realm, Jane is given the chance to explore it under an alias. Determined to find the origin of her nightmares, she is met with both conflict and kindness by those who reside there. 

Character Development

Jane is a 19 year old girl living in the UK who, for her whole life, has experienced the same intense nightmare every night. On one of these nights, she gets transported into Ulbehqi only to find she isn't herself. 

My first task was to re-design Jane, who despite being the main character, is mainly seen in her other form Olesia. Though not shown much, I still wanted to consider all aspects and find a design I liked. 

I started by sketching different faces while keeping some aspects of the old design in mind. After choosing my top 3, I mixed hairstyles and colours which resulted in the final design you see. 

When re-designing her I wanted the colours to reflect her mood, blue being perfect to convey the undertones of sadness and stress the nightmares are causing her. The dull colours also helped to contrast the fantasy realm, helping to differentiate  the two worlds. 


Olesia is who Jane becomes once she enters Ulbeqhi. There is more backstory that goes into why that happens but I don't want to bore you right now... 

Olesia was by far the hardest one to design outfit-wise as I was unable to settle on anything. I knew I wanted her outfit to be practical with her being proficient in using a sword but it also needed to fit a simplistic style and blend into the fantasy realm. 

I first decided on her hair and then moulded her outfit around it. I always find going complex and then toning a design down is the best way to prioritise the best visually pleasing aspects that the complex looks give. 

Once I had some final outfits that I liked, I started to do some test sketches to see how the athlectic designs I went for would look at different angles. I had to ensure it would be easy to animate as this design would be showcased the most throughout the trailer.

I wanted her colour scheme to compliment her hair as well as contrast her other form, Jane. I had dabbled with some royal and deep blues, as well as a forest green, but I knew that they had a higher chance of blending into backgrounds later on. This resulted in red being the safest and final colour. 

Next was another vital design, Olesia's sword.
I took inspiration from many well known swords to help create a design that was balanced and look as though it held significance. 

I then chose purple and blue, as these colours complimented Olesia's red well and made it so Jane's blue was still present throughout. 


The first character that Olesia interacts with is an Elf called Elianna who, unbeknowst to Olesia, actually knows that her sudden trip to Ulbehqi was actually planned. 

Elianna had to have a welcoming design to ensure she read as a friend, not foe. This resulted in her colour palette being full of pastels. 


Lior has no personal record within Ulbehqi causing him to be a walking mystery. His wary nature also causes him to become Olesia's first foe. 

The main concern with Lior's design was his mask as I knew the red would cause it to become the main focus. Due to this, I needed to ensure it held the right amount of mystery and unease that should come with his character. 


Aja is a warrior that was shunned from her fellow Giants due to her abnormally small stature. Due to other long lore circumstances, she becomes encased in stone. 
Her design was finalised quickly as she is stuck in her stone form for the majority of the trailer.


These two are twin fairy brothers that Olesia encounters in an abandoned forest.
Their designs are quite simple as I imagine flying with lots of clothing would be a pain.
I wanted them to look graceful but still threatening so I put their magic on display at all times by having it on their forearms. 



After completing the rough storyboards and many animatics, it was time to develop the style for the backgrounds. 

I had very little experience illustrating backgrounds so I knew I had to find a process that I could follow. 

I started by doing some studies of temperate forests which were the inspiration for Elianna's home and from there, I chose some brushes and worked on a more simplified style that still communicated colour and light well. 


All Backgrounds were split up into layers and then exported as PSD files into After Effects, which allowed me to do a multitude of effects and slight animations to bring each shot to life. 


To end this very long thread, here are some edits to show the process of some shots!

Thank you so much for scrolling through! 

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