The line between film, CG, and videogames grows thinner and paler every year. It’s becoming ever more difficult to discern what is human and what is digital these days, while the tools to create this content are constantly improving (and becoming easier to use too). The Unity game engine — free to download for beginners/students — has exploded in popularity within the game industry since its release in 2005; notable games include Hearthstone, Rust, and Wasteland 2. Unity recently released their “Cinemachine” component, which enables users to output scenes as stand-alone movies, which can be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo.
Leading filmmakers, like Robert Zemeckis (Beowulf) and Neil Blomkamp (District 9), are embracing these new technologies and pushing the envelope of creativity. Blomkamp and Oats Studios recently debuted a short film, ADAM: The Mirror, which they created entirely in Unity. This short shows off both the amazing storytelling and cinematography possibilities of this tech.
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ADAM is actually a series of short films, which tells the story of a human whose brain has been erased and imprisoned in a robotic shell. When the hero is expelled from a walled city with a crowd of his fellow prisoners, the newborn cyborg realizes he is exiled in a post-apocalyptic world.
It’s weird and surreal stuff, partly because the animation lies somewhere between a PS4/XBox One cutscene and a full-blown CG scene from a mid-budget film. All of the characters are robots (with human brains), so the creepy “uncanny valley” effect isn’t a major issue.
The story is your typical dystopian fare, but the real draw here is the realization that anyone (that means you) can download Unity and create their own short films — bear in mind that Blomkamp had a LOT of technical and artistic help in pulling ADAM together — but there are dozens of Internet sites connecting creative folks these days! However, even the “vanilla” Unity download contains lots of free props, models, animations, and effects. This is far more than just a hobbyist tool, as committed filmmakers can (relatively) easily create high-quality, animated shorts cheap and fast. It’s the future, kids!
Are you excited about the possibilities of combining game technology to create animated films? Let us know in the comments down below!
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SOURCE: Oats Studios