Iconic sci-fi films inspire abstract animation

Jordi Pagès references classic sci-fi to create this surreal but beautiful animation for The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film.

The London International Festival of Science Fiction and Fantastic Film briefed director Jordi Pagès with a sentence - 'Sci-fi is born here' - and he delivered with this beautifully lit and composed animation (with sound score from Combustion).

"I referenced several iconic films from the genre," Pagès explains. "I wanted to visualise the festival represented as an alien cocoon: a container of all the new talent and productions that where about to be released during the festival.

"To recreate the underwater movements, I used tools like cloth simulation, particle systems, jiggle deformers, and soft body dynamics etc. Most of the time I had to mix two or more techniques to achieve a realistic organic movement.

Pages had to mix two or more techniques to achieve a realistic organic movement

"For the rendering I was keen to get away from the general GI render look that a lot of 3D work has, so instead of using GI I applied a lot lights to my scene - in some shots more than 50 - to control every little highlight, shadow and tone.

"Then all the renders were composed with After Effects using complementary tools like Trapcode to enhance the contrast and polish the final look.

"It was quite a challenge to achieve the look of the semi-translucent skin for the cocoons, as they had to feel like there was some sort of warm life inside them. For that I had to combine several layers of materials with different levels of alpha, using Subsurface Scattering for the base layer, another layer for the skin veins, and the last layer with sub polygon displacement for the thicker and darker part of the skin that almost doesn't allow any light through.

"Then I placed some lights inside with warm tones, and I was happy with the look of the see-through skin," says Pagès.

""It was quite a challenge to achieve the look of the semi-translucent skin for the cocoons," Pages comments

This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 175.

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