Final Major Project – Initial Concept

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For my final major project I want to create a 3D animation that tells a story about a robot that is in love with nature. I’ve always liked stories with similar themes to this where something synthetic can covet the organic so deeply. Stories like this can make us realise how detached and disinterested our own species are becoming in our natural world. That’s not to say that I’m against technological advancement, I’m very much for that and it it something I’m greatly interested in though I feel it shouldn’t come at the cost of our beautiful planet.

I intend to use the 600 hours of this project to produce an animated short film 4-5 minutes in length depicting a dystopian future where humans value technology more than nature and the lengths humanity may go to, to achieve a higher level of technological advancement. I hope to create my own 3D characters for this project, rig them and animate them and blend these characters with 2D backgrounds. I will mostly use Maya, Photoshop and After Effects.

Inspiration for this project came from movies that depict Earth in the future, such as; WALL-E, The Lorax, Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, SilentRunning and the Netflix original TV show Altered Carbon. All of the above are set in a dystopian world where plant life is scarce or nonexistent and humanity have near destroyed planet Earth.

In WALL-E, the robot character WALL-E was created for the purpose of cleaning and compacting the mounds of rubbish humans have abandoned on Earth. WALL-E loves to collect human objects and appears to appreciate nature when he comes across it. Humans in this film are totally immersed in technology. I wanted to emulate this parallel where nonorganic life cares more about nature than organic life.

Silent Running is an environmentally themed sci-fi film set in a post-apocalyptic world. When all plant life on Earth has ended, humanity have preserved some plant life for future generations in greenhouse-like spacecrafts. When ordered to destroy the plants to make room for cargo, the main character rebels and with the assistance of three robots does anything possible to ensure the survival of the plants. Inspired by the greenhouse ships in Silent Running, a potential way to indicate that the robot species have an interest in preserving plant life in my animation could be creating glass pods that contain plant samples from various planets, and orbit around the robots planet.  These could be visible during the opening shot where the robot is travelling from to Earth with his home planet shown in the background.

The Lorax involves themes surrounding deforestation. Humans live in technologically advance settlements with only ‘plant life’ in sight are artificial trees that serve as lampposts and metal flowers. I’m entertaining the idea of incorporating this into my film, perhaps not the flowers but the ‘tree’ lampposts in some way. I’m looking at the Supertree Grove in Singapore for reference as well.

Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 and Altered Carbon, all depict futuristic cityscapes that are heavily built up. I looked at these films mostly for reference for skyscrapers and buildings but also for inspiration for colour palettes for my animated film. I really want to capture the hazy, polluted skies depicted in films mentioned above. There is a great scene in Altered Carbon of stacks of shipping containers piled up on top of one another on Golden Gate bridge where people are forced to live due to overcrowding. Creating a scene that similar to this in my film could really help to illustrate that humanity are truly using every available inch of the Earth’s surface, leaving no room for plant life.

This is an ambitious project but I feel I can learn much from doing it. I’m excited to begin creating the assets! I’ll be posting regularly with updates.

Yahni 🙂