Journey of an Asteroid is my passion project, a short film that observes an asteroid's journey through the solar system. What was supposed to be a 7 week project originally turned into 48 weeks as I quickly realized the scope of what I was trying to do was larger than I thought. Most of the process took place at my PC creating asteroid renderings, while some aspects were shot live-action. Here, I thought I'd throw up some images/documents/breakdowns that were created for the film.
I want to say the conception for this project happened sometime around February of 2017. You can see here what my original plan was, and how long I intended to take. Originally, I thought I could finish it by April 7th in the same year. I'm not really sure what I was thinking, other than I had never spent more than a few months making anything. Feel free to laugh with (or at?) me while reading the schedule, because here I am, releasing it a year later.
The next step in making my short film were the storyboards. Here, it's time to take all those ideas in my head and finally put them down in a cohesive shot-by-shot sequence on paper. It became the road map for what I was about to make. (storyboards pictured by Leo Diaz)
At some point, I got it in my head that I would add a scene where you can see the mars rover, looking up at the sky while one of the asteroids gets sucked into orbit. At the time, I had never done any serious 3D modeling. Just random things here and there, but I never spent more than a day or two on it. Modeling and texturing the mars rover took two weeks from start to finish, so it was big step up from what I was doing before. Starting with the wheels, I used reference images of the rover to match the general forms. To texture the wings/solar panels, I found an image of the rover from a top view and projected it onto my model, creating displacement, bump and specular maps in Photoshop.
Here we go. This is the big one. The visual effects in this film was by far the most time consuming part in this process. Not really sure where to start with it. Designing the asteroid was mostly taking a sphere in Cinema4D, adding a displacer and layering up different noise types to get the look of the rock. Below is a breakdown of S4S3, which later becomes shot 2 in the sequence. Asteroids were rendered in Octane, and everything else was composited in After Effects. Video Copilot's saber plugin came in handy throughout the project, from the main title to the fire in this shot. I used a large 8K texture of the earth meant for 3D but just scaled it up and added a gradient of warm light coming from the left to match everything else. And of course, the shot wouldn't be complete with a little lens smudging! I learned that adding a fast blur adjustment matted by some fractal noise is a really effective way of faking that. Try manually masking in and out certain areas to control the focal point of the scene.
FOREST VFX BREAKDOWNS
I wanna say more about these...but I'm tired. So here's some more breakdowns:
A Year Later
And voila! A year later, here are some stills from the final film. I will keep adding to this page with some more breakdowns soon, but in the meantime you can watch the film in all it's YouTube compressed glory!
YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/Q7MWlGTKkbo
Vimeo Link: https://vimeo.com/253861199