In 2012, the toy company Mattel embarked on an ambitious reboot of their popular Max Steel franchise. This endeavor included an all-new CGI animated series with a cool graphic look by Canadian company Nerd Corp. Concurrently, promotional still pictures for the web were generated at Brain Zoo studios in Los Angeles where I was tasked with creating and rendering characters in dynamic poses on the computer. Many of the images required exaggerated perspective effects as is typical of comic book art. I had to use some trickery to achieve a superhero comic look with the 3D Max Steel characters!
The process for each image began with a sketch drawn by art director Tony Weinstock. Using Softimage, I posed an animation rig (from the TV show) based on Tony's sketch to create a computer-generated rendering. A wide-angle lens was not enough to cause the extreme distortion needed for the superhero look, so I essentially broke the character rigs to accomplish it. The only thing that mattered was how the character looked from the point of view of the render camera; therefore, I re-sculpted the characters, stretching and compressing as needed to get the crazy forced-perspective appearance. It was a lot of fun to use that particular technique which, although unusable in animation, succeeded perfectly for still images.
Here are a few more examples of the hundreds of figures I posed and rendered for the Max Steel promotional campaign:
Article © 2017 Joel Fletcher