SAND WANDERER – Making of
„As the world starts moving around him,
the young desert dweller decides to follow the footprints of his fellow tribesmen to the origin of natural forces,
After winning the Dutch film award ‘Wildcard’ with my movie ‚Typewriterhead‘, the opportunity arose to create something new. I wrote several scenarios, sketched, experimented with different styles and worked on the implementation. My intention was to let it visually appear more like hand-painted, like to lose the „cleanliness“ that is often seen in 3d movies.
In terms of content I wanted to create something that everyone can understand and at the same time something that I have experienced on my own journey. For this I used a metaphor on the subject of time.
„The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
Albert Camus, The Myth of Sysyphus and Other Essays
My workspace: Screenplay, boarding and animatic…. During this important step I got a lot of support from Ernie Tee (Script Coach).
Here you can see some tests with sand and ink/water for the green screen footage I later used during the compositing..
Some style tests: I tried out Mandelbulp3D for the desert, different dynamic solutions for the sand animation and a couple of effects to achieve that handmade feeling. Because the main character had to become older during his journey I had to create a pretty difficult RIG setup which was able to do what I wanted.
My first rough animated scene. All the details came later….
RIG of the main character/s. (I made one rig setup for all wanderers. Also the age and size of the character can be altered gradually.)
….dynamic hair. Anyway, in the most scenes I finally had to manually animate the hair, because of computing power and/or mesh penetration issues.
Desert storm tests, with a wobble script:
The skeleton hand disintegrates dynamically. for that dramatic scene:
The most important of the 12 passes I used for each of the 9384 frames:
Then everything went to the sound design and foley art department. Foley sound was made by Maurits Overdulve.
Sound design by Wiebe de Boer during the final mix day (above) and music by Michel Banabila (beneath).
In life, like Sisyphos, we often have to try things over and over again until we reach our goal, and we can draw positive or negative conclusions from the obstacles that present themselves on our path. This is our scope of action and within it time is the only constant. Compared to the cosmos, we are quite insignificant. However, this also gives us a certain kind of freedom to change things within our limited environment without risking being punished by God for a wrong decision. As we see in this film, he often has quite different concerns.
If we reduce the essence of ‚being‘ to our individual perception of existence, then, in my opinion, we are never really dead, but merely experience a recurring reality. Time is change is God is life is space.
The film reflects the struggle and the melancholy that life holds, but also the irony and hope that a new beginning brings.
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