The making of Shatterline
Being creative means being courageous. We need courage to create something new because most of the time we do not know where a fascinating idea will take us.In this interview with director A. Liustsiber, and CG supervisor and team lead Andrey Bogdanovich we hear about the ups and downs of the making of our Shatterline teaser told from two different points of view on the creative spectrum.
What are you most proud of on this project?
To communicate the extreme ambiguity and the split personality of Gollum/Sméagol defining the gaming experience. One more important requirement was to show Gollum differently than in the movies.
My people. Our task was to create a teaser with photorealistic human characters and fooling the eye is a task for a superhero. We had production meetings three times per week, where we kept track of stuff, discussed things and planned our next steps. Sometimes we would have disagreements until we were red in the face! My team was literally obsessed with the project and worked very hard, outdoing themselves. We all had so many strong feelings about this process, so it was quite exciting.
What was most challenging for you in this work?
As the director, I had to craft a perfect story. Something that would work smoothly from the very beginning and convey all these events concisely–like the idea with the watch. When a screenplay flows, post-production becomes much easier. But I guess, my main job was pretty simple: choosing and promoting good ideas that help the story to grow, and keeping us on track. All this while completely ignoring my ego (laughs). For example, to test the mood and feel of the story, I prepared a WIP edit with reference music and SFX that we considered purchasing. But then our composer and sound designer Eugene offered to write an original track. I had to take him up on it because I knew this would be breathtaking.
I think it was the final rendering and the assembling of all the scenes. At a certain point we understood that we had a ton of rendering to finish in a short amount of time, so we gathered all the free computers we had available in the office, put them all in one room and connected them to a single monitor. So every time we had to render a scene, we had to go into this room that was so hot you could almost fry an egg. It was super inconvenient, but really funny.
What have you learned during this creative adventure?
For me it was definitely the MoCap studio that we created ourselves. It was a challenging task--and I had some doubts--but our team carried it beautifully. Also, we had a blast, because not one of us was a professional actor. Nevertheless, we kept one of the last shots of Strix in the teaser made by Olga, our product manager, and not the one made by a professional actress. Olga was actually much more precise in her timing and the expressiveness of her performance. Everyone who wanted to try was welcome and all of our colleagues unleashed their creativity there.
So many things. We tested Unreal Engine, worked on shading, created a virtual studio and then the MoCap. We had no face capture tools, so we created them with bike helmets, ski poles, phones and lots of adhesive tape–rolls of it. In the end it worked pretty well, it had to, because our characters sell their faces pretty well.
When we at Playsense unharness our creativity, we are rewarded with a great feeling of achievement, personal satisfaction and simply a lot of fun. And this is the general vibe we got from speaking with these two amazing professionals who help move the industry forward.