University project

Role: Everything

Audio: JP's Music Studio
~   4 min read   ~
 . ____________
The Brief
Retro never dies.
Back when I used to study Industrial Design, I made a concept of how the famous 1980 Sony Walkman would look like if it was redesigned with contemporary aesthetics. Now I had to add motion to it.
"Walk Again" was my final project for the Visual Effects subject at uni.
The class brief was to make a 10-20 sec piece which used at least 3 different FX. Additionally, my brief was to make a commercial that showcased the product and paid a nostalgic homage to the original Walkman.
___ . _________
Preproduction
I started by making a word list and a visual & kinetic moodboard in PureRef.
With the storyboard, the idea was to divide the commercial in three sections: the walkman moving/dancing, a tribute to the use of magnetic tape, and showcase the different color palette available for the product.
Although I know styleframes are vital, I felt the spontaneity of the project didn't call for one (being also a school project I wanted to experiment this choice). So I headed for the animatic.
The chosen ratio was used as an homage to the typical 4:3 used at the time.  N o s t a l g i a...
The final piece didn't end up being exactly as the original animatic, but it helped to have a morphological and timing previs and to iterate by layering flipbooks/playblasts over it.
______ . ______
production
I modeled and shaded the walkman in Maya, then I took it to Houdini to do most of the work.
I started with the dancing scene. I took a look at dancing tv shows from the 80s and started to take body mechanics and camera movements references. I specially liked one from The NYC breakers.
The colored sound waves were made simply with a ripple effect offsetted in multiple surfaces.
As for the "surfing" scene, MOP's was obviously the way to go.
This idea was inspired by the art with cards called "cardistry" (shoutout to my bro who practices this :D ).
The magnetic tape sim was done at last. Vellum is quite intuitive, but the tricky part was getting the correct material behavior.
After several tests, the method that worked for me was to do pre-roll with the magnetic tape as it would be inside a cassette. By doing so and increasing its stiffness, the tape always tried to morph to its initial rest state (making the "bendy chaos" look).
Everything was then taken to Maya as alembics to be rendered with Arnold; except the "surfing" scene, I just loved how the neon wireframe look in the flipbook (playblast) fitted the visual style.
__________ __
postproduction
I had been through the process of rendering in my PC. It worked for short and light pieces. In this case I ended up using Fox Render Farm (not sponsored :P) and it was just awesome. It worked perfectly with the tight deadline.
I then took the renders to After and did some final little tweakings here and there with noise and lens distortion. 
____________ .
Big thanks to
My professor Felipe Lega Castillo for supervising and imparting such an enjoyable subject.
JP's Music Studio for making the lit soundtrack.
Alfonso Díaz Messenger for sharing with us the power of render farms.

You may also like

Back to Top