Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video Part 1: The Batman poster, part of Artists and Their Work: Conversations about Mograph VFX and Digital Art.
- The most important is the idea. Somehow I see images in my head. So when I'm thinking about stuff like this I see this image in the back of my head. I do have a certain knowledge and experience right now after 13 years, so I know pretty much what to do or not to do. But I'm still learning as well. Every year we have the new movies and new challenges. Everything is changing, the approach is changing and how and when campaigns are taking off before the movie is premiered. So we have to think about it then we adjust so it's not just the graphics but it's strategy behind it.
- So Tomasz, tell me, show me what you got in this awesome Batman poster. - This is just a beta version of the poster that I was working on using Maxon. I can show you the compositing in Photoshop that was done for it. - So this is walking through all the layers. - Yes precisely, it just literally goes through layers nothing, no 3D whatsoever. I'm showing literally compositing from Photoshop standpoint, not focusing much on the 3D in it.
I'm just doing this to show how much work goes into it literally. - Sure. - So it's not like I've been given one image and then just shifted a color or contrast and stuff like that. - With a little more work than that. - Yeah, precisely. It's a little bit more than that. It's an idea first and then execution second, and details third maybe. You can see I'm using stock images and this image as well as 3D models.
They were made and rendered by me. - So the buildings that were seen right here these are 3D? - Yes, these are made just for that. - Nice, and did those come from the Greyscalegorilla? - No, this were from TurboSquid I think. - Excellent, excellent. - These are from TurboSquid but there were lead and texture just for that to make them more shiny. What you're seeing here I'm just compositing the-- - Adding a texture. - Batman's head. - Wow. - Adding a texture. Literally what I did was render the same head with a few different lighting settings.
And the reason why I did it in Photoshop it's way easier for me to revise it later on. Instead of going and rerender it in 3D I can just literally mask and unmask stuff in Photoshop. It's just foreseeing the the revisions coming, literally so that's the strategy there. - Beautiful, the foreground elements are really adding a lot of depth. - Thank you. The point was just to create massive object that says Batman, nothing else.
You won't be able to mistake this with anything else. This is wide version and of course later on from this it was cropped to the regular poster size. It just ended up being just a concept and then go anywhere. - Do you find that, well how often does that happen where you make this amazing piece of art that doesn't make the cut? - Very often, this is part of my job literally it's just coming up the most detailed ideas I can and presented to a client and then it's in their hands if their marketing department feels like this is it or this is not it.
So I'm not maybe shooting, I'm first listening what they want say through this image and interpreting this with the image. If the image hits the spot yes this is it, if it doesn't we have to explore again and again and again and again. - At what point in the process, like how far do you take it in terms of production before you actually show it to them? - I like to take it to the final, final stage. - Wow. - It's not the final size of the poster because we're building it in a slightly smaller scale.
It's let's say 50% of the original final scale but it's really highly detailed. I love details and people see details. - They really do. - I love to take it to the final, final stage. - You don't have any kind of, a copying phase that you go through where you've just mocking things up? - I'm trying to not to do this, I've been asked to do, to send work in progress but what I'm seeing in my head and what I'm delivering as a working progress is not exactly the same.
So I'd rather spend two more hours and finish it or be close to finish, instead of just sending just a head. For example with this one, I can show you that if I send just something like this I don't think it will go anywhere. This is a 3D model for it and it will be hard to see what I'm thinking about, right? - Yeah. - I will have to really be precise, describing what I'm planning to put behind him, what's in the front, will the light work? So this is the reason why I'm not, I'm trying not to send work in progress, so this is ...
- You don't want them to have to work to hard to envision it. - Precisely, because then it may be a good idea but it may lose on this level. - In the translation. - So this is the final poster for this and you see I would rather do this than just send something like this or even if it's one pass render. It's safer for me and we may avoid later on confusion and additional questions for this stuff. - Yeah, you're right.
Now how was this piece of geometry being generated? It looks like it's a texture on top of another model. - Yeah, it's actually pretty simple. I can delete this. I'm using my trickery here. - Trickery is awesome by the way. - Yeah, I have to use shortcuts it's all about time. What I did, I had a default Batman head and what happened is I decided to delete few vertices. - Wow, yeah. - To create those holes, right? It's just something really simple, basic stuff from Maxon, okay.
Then we have just few holes here and there. I'm not used to using mouse. Then I have a really simple texture that is with alpha channel, I can show you this texture I think. Bedded image. This is the texture, literally just like the basket kind of thing. - Wow. - With alpha channel. - And from a distance it looks like girders, wow. - Then this texture is applied to the head.
At certain scale, I don't remember right now the scale but it was, let's say, I don't know. - Yeah, there we go. - Let's say something like this so they know what I did just to create the illusion of this basket kind of thing. I just literally copy and paste the same object made it slightly smaller in size. - Look at that, wow. - With a slightly different ... - That's great. - With a slightly different scale of it so if you have a three or four, let's call it baskets in there then it creates kind of in decent, decent sense of depth and stuff like that.
Then just literally it's nothing crazy here, I was, where is this stuff? Then it was just landscape part. We did different texture of course on the top of that. - Right. - That's there. Let's say something like this then the camera angle of course and the different lighting and here we are. The most important is the idea then execution, somehow I see images in my head. So when I'm thinking about stuff like this I see this image in the back of my head.
It may be hard for some people to see it and this is how it happens. It happens like this with the posters, with anything that it's visual. So I'm seeing it in my head like let's say 95% of this is what I wanted and then literally I'm just executing this. It's almost like executing the image that sits here. It's like literally going and thinking about this so this is how it happens. - Where does it start then? Does the client come to you and saying, "Tomasz we see a giant sculpture of Batman "in front of a city." Are they getting that detail with you or they're just saying-- - No.
- Make something that-- - Sometimes. It really depends, under like in the movie posters it's I'm reading a script or synopsis and I'm seeing, I don't know main twist in a movie. So I'm trying to create something around that. Sometimes it's a metaphor that I'm looking for. Sometime the only support is from stock images because there is nothing yet and we have to start promoting already. - Right, right. - Sometimes I just have images from a movie, shot on a, stages and on location.
So it really depends. So I have to modify my ideas and use what I can, what I have. I may have the best idea but I may not have anything to support it, so I may drop the idea and do something else that supports the other idea that I can use the images for or mask it or compete or do all sorts of things. It really depends. Each movie is different, I hate to say it but really it depends. For now, at the moment, I've been working in a movie poster industry for 13 years.
- Wow. - So far, I've been working on 450 different campaigns. - Wow, that is a lot. - It's a lot. That is a lot, so it's a really quick turnaround. There is the theatrical, movie posters, television, and stuff for video games as well. So it is a lot, you have to be quick, you have to visualize pretty quickly and you have to have this sort of marketing thing because beyond anything these posters are selling tools.
So each studio, each producer wants to sell his product, is it a movie, is a video game, is it something else. So they come to us and to look maybe not for answers but they look for partial answers, what it may be. Most of the time it's an early stage, it's a movie being in production, in pre-production, or just maybe even a script. There was so many times that we started working on a possible solution for movie that was in a script phase.
There was nothing yet. There was no cast, no director chosen, there was just a script. At this stage we're just thinking because if you think about it, every year in the States there is like I think seven or 800 movies being produced. Each had to, in an ideal world that will be that each will have a separate campaign and then you can recognize it and each will have a distinct campaign along with the movie. In order to do this, you have to really sit and focus and where and how you would like this movie to be promoted.
Is it a Christmas movie, is it the summer blockbuster, is it a Valentines day movie? You have to think about this all ahead because you have a competition of the same time slot and you have to be really careful what you do. And you can't do obvious things because other people may do obvious thing and then you have two movies and different genre probably being marketed with the same tool. - Yeah, like Antz and Bugs Life. - Precisely something like that and it's so easy to make it the same way, you have to make it different and there is a lot of thinking trust me, there was a lot of thinking in that.
What I do, I'm trying to visualize and put those images literally like crystallize, visualize whatever needs to be done, whatever it was said or written I'm trying to visualize that. Whatever direction I was given from a studio or a different agency or I don't know, marketing department, I have to visualize that to show it to those people and discuss it later on, and evolve and then revise and go back and forth in order to solve this problem because it is a problem, from their perspective it is a problem.
I'm there to help them literally. I do have certain knowledge and experience right now after 13 years. So I know, I think pretty much what to do or not to do but I'm still learning as well. Every year we have new movies and new challenges. Everything is changing. I don't know, we have a Twitter right now, we have Facebook, all the social media. So stuff is changing, the approach is changing and how and when campaigns are taking off before the movie is premiered.
We have to think about it then we adjust so it's not just the graphics but it's strategy behind it. - Now in terms of the campaign overall, are you getting involved in, so you're making the key art, right? But then are you doing other aspects of the campaign as well? - Sometimes yes. Yes, like the websites we're thinking about graphics for website, for mobile and stuff like that, and that's another, I don't want to call it problem but it's another thing to think about. When you're designing it you have to think about, okay it will be-- - It's going to show up in banners.
- Precisely, it has to look nice in a banner, it has to look nice in your iPhone or whatever and that makes your life a little bit more miserable because title has to be readable if it's small. Literally, I hate small posters, this is my thing but when it's small it have to be readale so you have to think about this. You can do your happy graphics as long as you want but there's a point where you have to readjust everything and make it readable.
- Make it readable, yeah. - Because you want people to read this stuff.
- Nick Campbell, motion graphics artist, photographer, and entrepreneur
- Marc Potocnik, designer and 3d artist
- Tim Clapham, VFX artist and educator
- Alan Torres and Stephen Morton (Cantina Creative), design and visual effects artists
- Aaron Limonick, concept artist
- Mike Lowes, 3D animator and technical director
- Lorcan O'Shanahan, motion graphics artist
- Scott Keating, 3D artist and illustrator
- Clear Menser, visual effects artist
- John Robson, motion graphics artist and filmmaker
- Grant Miller, VFX supervisor
- Tomasz Opasinski, creative director and movie poster artist
Watch for fresh insights into the careers and creative processes of these working professionals.