Skogvættir

ILLUSTRATION + ANIMATION + MUSIC + NFT

Skogvættir (NFT)

Brief

Skogvættir are forest spirits in Norse mythology. This is a first in a series of “cinematic album covers” and is accompanied by an original ambient track from my forthcoming album.

SOLUTION

This image was born from a long-forgotten scribbling in my sketchbook from ages ago. It came back to me like an echo on the wind and began to take root.

The NFT is a 1-minute loop, but the full-length track (6:42) will be availale to the winning bidder as a high quality looping video.

Vitals

Concept
Illustration
Animation
Music
Sound Design

HIGH RES STILL

Process

FULL PROCESS BREAKDOWN

CONCEPT + IDEATION

This image was born from a long-forgotten scribbling in my sketchbook from ages ago. It came back to me like an echo on the wind and began to take root. I found a scan of a copy of the original thumbnail (from who knows when?!?) along with a more refined sketch from some time later…

I never quite knew where this image was supposed to head, I just liked the idea of this figure with this king of wind-chime contraption…

One super-old and very rough thumbnail sketch.

A somewhat refined but still very old sketch

REFRENCE + INSPIRATION

As usual, I started by pulling a variety of reference and inspirational images, constantly checking back to my thumbnail and sketches to keep the original spark from being snuffed out.

ROUGHS

I first roughed out the scene in Photoshop, quickly bashing together a composition based tightly on my refined sketch. A quick pass at the dark and light values was all I needed at this stage.

Next came blocking out the scene in Cinema 4d using models from 3D Scan Store, trying to capture the spirit and guesture of the original figure drawing (Ultimately abandoning this particular figure… but we’ll get to that). The trees were created with 3D Quaker’s Forester.

Working progressively, I added more and more detail as I went along. 

TEXTURING + LIGHTING

Once I was happy with the basic blocking (or at least I THOUGHT I was happy… again, we’ll get into that) I started applying textures and lighting the scene. Here I’m using Redshift in Cinema 4D. I like to work iteratively, constantly rendering as I go along, making notes on what I’d like to change and repeating as necessary.

 

MUSIC

For me, one of the most exciting elements of producing NFTs is the ability to seamlessly combine my visual art with my music. In this case, the two were produced concurrently, each influencing and affecting the other. 

The music for this piece was generated through edited improvisations on synthesizers and bass… my standard modus operandi. 

Source tracking and editing was performed in Abelton Live.

Mixing and mastering were completed in MOTU’s Digital Performer.

CHANGING COURSE + DETAILS AND DYNAMICS

Once I got through my initial lighting phase I realized that it just wasn’t working as I had intended. Something had to change.

I ended up completely rebuilding the main character as well as all the dynamics of the chimes. After quite a bit of experimentation and trial and error, I was able to get our main figure moving with the help of Mixamo and the Character Rig in Cinema 4d. (With a special shout-out to X-particles for the vines and the matrix scatter object for the tiny vegitation!)

Wind chime dynamics test

Refined main character test.

FINAL C4D ASSEMBLY

RENDERING + COMPOSITING

My image sequence ended up being 360 frames which I rendered as multi-layered EXR files and composited in After Effects. It was at this stage that I created a seamlessly looping version of the animation by splitting the sequence and crossfading it with itself. A little bit of lens blur and light leaks help disguise the loop point…

EDITING

I brought the final comped renders into Adobe Premier for some final finishing touches… color correction, grain, and the like. I was also able to output a few different versions. As the file size limit on for the NFT was 40mb (at least that was the limit on Foundation) I created a 1 minute loop for the the actual NFT asset. I also exported a full seven-minute version which contained the full music track.

ALL TOGETHER NOW

Elevating your story through truly moving images.

Let's collaborate on something awesome.

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