For the environment, I really want to achieve a futuristic dystopia look. Thick, smoky skies will help add to the idea that Earth is heavily polluted. The buildings are going to very compact and appear as if they are piled on top of one another, drawing from the concept that the whole of Earth’s surface is covered in manmade structures. I looked at some images of deforested areas to get a sense of what an area that once held many trees now looks like. It is quite common for futuristic settings to have blue and neon lighting so to add a different element to my animation, I explored a range of colour schemes. I like the idea of using acidic colours to the sky to once again show the potential effects of pollution.
I love the colour palette in the Blade Runner 2049. The sky is so gritty and smoky, a big contrast to the bright orange colour. It makes the environment appear very harsh. I used Blade Runner’s colour palette as inspiration for my own. There are some bright colours here but they are leaning towards grey tones and slightly muted variations.
I created a sky in Photoshop, trying to capture a hazy fog effect and tested it out on a concept I created of a ‘tree graveyard’ setting I hope to include in the animation to help illustrate the fight of the last surviving tree on Earth against is harsh environment. I added in rough sketches of the characters to see how they could interact with this environment and have the characters scanning the dead trees with their devices, trying to detect any signs of living plant life. To create a variety of fog effects I created custom brushes in Photoshop, using the generate clouds effect and giving them various blurs and opacities. I created four brushes altogether, which will allow me to create different thicknesses of fog with ease. In particularly smoggy areas in my story I will have a layer of wispy fog on the front layer that I can animate the position of in After Effects to make it appear as though the characters are moving through it. I also created some mock ups of the main city set. I used some found footage of skyscrapers and edited them in Photoshop to help give an idea of what the 3D model I create will look like with the chosen colour palette.
To help create the layout of the 3D city model, I made a city map in Photoshop to show where the roads and paths are. I used city maps of Glasgow, New York, Hong Kong and Kowloon as reference.
As the tree is the last on Earth, it is important that it is very old and large and quite spectacular. I really like the trees which low hanging branches that touch the ground but then again a tree whose branches are reaching upwards could add to the idea that the Earth is devoid of nutrients and it is stretching itself up high to soak in as much Sun as possible through the smog and polluted atmosphere. Pictured below are:
1. Ponthus’ beech in the Brocliande forest, Bretagne, France
2. Angel Oak, a Southern live oak located in Angel Oak Park on Johns Island, Charleston, South Carolina and is estimated to be 400-500 years old.
3. A tree I took a photograph of during a visit to Vondelpark in Amsterdam.
I’m exploring the idea of having the last tree in a remote location, to give reason as to why that one tree has survived, like a forgotten about island. I would still have visuals of the impact the state of the planet has had on this location, while it has been forgotten about by humans or the effects of our pollution are far reaching. I feel including a mass of dead trees surrounding the last surviving tree would be a perfect way of illustrating this. Below are some early concepts of the tree. I really liked the long sweeping branches of the Angel Oak, the branches touching the floor really adds to its age. I like the idea of indicating that the last animals on Earth have sought refuge in this last tree. One way to achieve this is to have lots of glowing eyes looking back at the characters when they reach the tree’s location, or having an animal scurry up the trunk or even birds flying out between the branches.