The Aesthetics of The Impossible Future

We decided to make an animated documentary about our future. Why animation? Because it is what we know best, and because it seemed to us like a good way of presenting groundbreaking ideas that are only known in certain circles to a broader audience, turning complex concepts into stories anyone can relate to.

However, there are thousands of possible techniques and styles. What should be the aesthetics of this project?

Launching our search, we first defined the following guidelines:

    • It had to be relatively easy to do and easy to animate.

       

    • We wanted the illustrations to have an adult feel, distinguishing our style from children’s cartoons.

       

    • We wanted to include real-life imagery (archive images, photos and videos, clips from other films, etc.). It is not the same to witness the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in photo as it is in drawing.

We started working on the design of our characters with Leo Campasso, who made some initial sketches.

Leo created these illustrations using the rotoscoping technique, working directly in Flash (Adobe Animate) to trace photos and videos of Wall Street.

Style statement: simple drawings on photographic or filmed backdrops.

Rotoscoping tests.

We filmed ourselves in chroma key to test how the characters would coexist with the backgrounds.

This homemade chroma key served as the movement reference later to be replaced by animation.

Wardrobe:

Sometimes, we leave the “original” wardrobe of the character we draw on video.

Other times, we generate textures with fabrics from different parts of the world and incorporate them as vector elements.

In some takes, other elements that are not people can be illustrated, but all people and animals have to appear in drawing.

Meanwhile, Nano Benayon designed backdrops of a dystopian future, and others of an optimistic future.

For some images of the first video, Daniel El Nilo created some 3D elements.

Certain elements remain in 3d in the final image.

Others are 3D references for rotoscoping, like these robots.

Balloons designed by Diego Berakha.

In post-production, the animations and the filmed environments come together. Lighting, backlighting, depth of field and reflections add detail to the whole composition.

The Impossible Future has a mutating aesthetic, with rules that can be redefined as different people bring their own interpretation.

If you work in animation, editing, audiovisual production, social networks, or if you have other skills to contribute, join the team.

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