How did you go about recruiting artists?
I've worked with some of them before (Weta Workshop, Jordu Schell) and others came about because I'd loved their work or they were friends of friends that were recommended.
It's really hard to find animators in Max actually so I had to do more of that than I would have hoped. And the budget was so low that it was kinda sorta semi-favour anyway, which translates to "will take much longer than normal because they have a day job".
But you can't really complain. I'd love to pay everyone top dollar and run it properly, but I put it together the only way I could with the money I had available.
What timescale did you work to?
I kinda started on the idea in 2009-ish and have been dipping in and out of it at various points since. I did a batch of design work at the tail end of 2010/start of 2011 which included the main creature design.
It's been sitting on my shelf daring me to make it come alive since then. Shaming me. So about a year ago I committed to working on the teaser full-time till I got it done or ran out of money, whichever came first.
How did you design the creature?
I started with some references and sketches to guide the look and feel. I did 2D storyboards for the teaser and assembled them into an animatic pretty early on. The initial idea of the story and world came together really fast.
I reached out to Jordu Schell (opens in new tab) to design the creature. We'd met generally and I loved his work so was looking for something to work with him on for a while.
When this came together he was the first person I called to design the creature. Jordu is someone I can give a vague brief or a loose sketch then just let him loose and he'll always deliver something amazing.
How much of a perfectionist were you?
I've always had to work with major limitations (usually financial) so a big part of the process is to try to get to somewhere that works in the fewest iterations possible so I'm not pissing away people's money and time.
I love the design process though so I could spend forever doing this, down to the last rivet. It's never really finished – you just have to reach a cutoff point where it's good enough to work with. Like, there's no point adding more detail here because the camera will never get that close – that sort of thing.
So I guess you could say I'm not a perfectionist. I'm a "good-enoughist". You have to remain pragmatic.
Next: Getting hands-on with CG...