Mechanical Comfort: Ramen for the Soul
This artwork depicts the warm emotions of a robot chef. I graduated from SF Film School and completed this piece in May 2023.
I made a piece with the concept of "a warm meal at the end of a tiring day in the cold city."
Sometimes in movies or dramas, they say that what's being sold at small restaurants in alleyways is not just food but rather emotions. I wanted to create the atmosphere that such a space provides.
I thought, "What if we portray the exchange of emotions not between humans but between robots?"
Based on that idea, I created this artwork.
"Actually, robots can also feel tired and exhausted!"
To create the illusion of having been in business for a long time in one place,
I drew inspiration from various real restaurant alleyways,
Among them, I started the work with a reference to a ramen alley in Japan.
I chose a specific space and a main establishment to focus on, and gathered references related to the restaurant to set the overall atmosphere around them.
I arranged these references within the composition of the artwork.
Since the robotic subject takes the spotlight, I added sushi towards the end to complement the scene.
I divided the work into the exterior and interior of the establishment.
First, I established the overall atmosphere and space of the alley and gathered many relevant references.
After roughly placing the buildings, I proceeded in the order of the main establishment and the buildings closer to the camera.
I primarily used Maya for the creation, and for the fabric elements such as the robot apron, I utilized Marvelous Designer and nCloth. For the sushi, I used ZBrush.
I aimed to capture the traces left behind by numerous robots living their lives.
As it is an old alley, even just by looking at the textures, one can sense the passage of time.
I imagined, "What if robots, not humans, had used the objects we usually see around us?"
With this concept in mind, I referred to references and enjoyed the process of adding scratches and dirt to create the desired effect.
I worked primarily with Substance Painter as my main tool, and if the desired image wasn't coming out as expected, I would either paint directly or adjust textures in Photoshop.
I also used various methods such as incorporating photos I took while wandering around in my daily life to achieve the desired results.
I depicted a late evening time in an exterior alley with the sky obscured.
Except for the main focal point, all the other establishments had their lights turned off,
so I used ceiling lights and external lighting to gently illuminate the scene and prevent it from becoming too dark.
To maintain a coherent composition despite the presence of multiple light sources, I continuously adjusted the brightness for each individual light to ensure the scene didn't become cluttered.
Due to the significant impact of lighting on texture perception, I also made frequent adjustments to the texture maps to align them with the lighting changes.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the teachers at SF Film School who have been kind enough to answer my ongoing questions and especially for their continuous support during my personal slump.
I am truly thankful to the teachers who have guided and supported me throughout, enabling me to finish strong.
Good luck to all of you who are submitting for the Rookie Awards.