Project 2501 – Homage to Ghost in the Shell
3D Concept Art presents the first interview categorized as special projects, going behind the scenes asking, what is Project 2501 in this interview with Ash Thorp. He is one of the main characters involved in this homage to the well known classic, Ghost In The Shell.
It started as a photo tribute directed by Ash Thorp and Tim Tadder and became a worldwide collaboration with artist like Furio Tedeschi, Gavriil Klimov, Maciej Kuciara and many more. The project expanded so much that they had to create teams around the world. Dedicating their free time to respectfully honour the movie which was groundbreaking and still is and was released in 1995. Directed by Mamoru Oshii and co-written by Masamune Shirow and Kazunori Itô.
| 3D Concept Art: Tell us about your starting idea, how was it born and what was your main goal?
| Ash Thorp: → My friend, Filipe Carvalho, and I had repeatedly discussed wanting to work on a passion project together in our limited spare time so that we could grow and learn from one another. Since we are both MASSIVE fans of Ghost in the Shell, it seemed like a great choice to collaborate and rebuild the title sequence in a media we know and love.
| 3CA: Project 2501 became a worldwide collaboration, where is it headed and what is the project status right now?
| A.T: → The project quickly grew as I discovered along the way how much original content needed to be created in order to execute the vision. The project is completed, as the primary objective was to merely generate high resolution still images in an innovative and modern adaptation, while maintaining the key iconic shots/elements that I loved growing up watching the film.
| 3CA: Creating the visions of Shirow Masamune’s manga and Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the shell isn’t an easy task, which were the biggest challenges?
| A.T: → One of my main challenges was ensuring the work stayed at a level that would honor the original anime. The original film is such a masterpiece that I wanted our efforts to portray that same captivating and beautiful quality. Once I completed the photo shoot with Tim Tadder, we quickly realized that the captured photos were an amazing start to something surreal.
Since the work on this project was done only in our free time, it took months and months of hard work to get these results. Keeping everyone motivated and on track to complete the project over this extensive time span was indeed a challenge as well.
Base body model by Hanno Hagedorn. Final mech body by Colin Thomas. Head by Furio Tedeschi. Environment modeling by Gavriil Afanasyev Klimov, Valentin Sorokin and Vaughan Ling.
| 3CA: How did you and other involved artists and teams manage to keep on top and distribute the different task when having a collaboration in so many different places?
| A.T: → I employed the use of a project management database called Basecamp, which kept everyone informed on the progress of one another. We also used lots of emails and communication via Skype as well. It was a bit of a nightmare at times, not having the convenience of being together under the same roof, while also being located in different time zones on top of that, but we made the best of it.
| 3CA: Trying to keep both the originality and also adding your teams own interpretation, even slightly, must have been quite complicated, how did you solved some of those aspects related to photography, 3d concepts,simulations, environments etc,etc. And then keep the essence?
| A.T: → I knew in the very beginning that I wanted to recreate as many of the original shots as possible, but when actually getting into the midst of the project, it gave us some very challenging tasks regarding details and integrating photo quality at a believable scale.
I personally watched the anime over 30 times during the 9-month span of building the project, and I also have all of the manga and concept design art books relating to the film; so I used all these sources as muse to help guide the team.
I hope the die hard fans agree that we stay true to the original and were able to enjoy the level of work and detail we all put in to capturing those iconic elements.
| 3CA: Modeling the different assets, environment and character involved different artists, what where they biggest challenges when trying to capture all the fantastic detailing and the overall feeling and structure?
| A.T: → The 3D team had a great base of reference to help inspire them, which is the manga, the anime, and a few art books I own regarding the process and concept art from the original film.
I think the biggest challenge for the 3D team was keeping the assets and art direction consistent. Building assets that were detailed enough to give the viewer a sense of believability and match the level of the live model from the photo shoot was quite demanding. Everyone really worked so hard to accomplish this project, and I couldn’t be more proud of all our efforts.
Head by Furio Tedeschi, Environment modeling by Gavriil Afanasyev Klimov, Valentin Sorokin and Vaughan Ling, Gavriil Afanasyev Klimov in collaboration with Valentin Sorokin created cables and Christopher James Ford on shaders, lighting and render set up.
| 3CA: At the end credits we are able to see a animation sequence, how long time did the animation sequence take, what was the difficulties with it and aim?
| A.T: → The head prototype was created by Furio and took many months to fully build out. From there, his rendition of the head was sent off to the Poland team to be rigged and animated. We also went back and forth over sound design, camera angles, pacing, and animation for a week or so until we locked down the final released version. I think the main difficulty for building that sequence was struggling with wanting to do more and more to really show it off.
In the end, I decided it would be best to leave more things up to the imagination and to not overdo it just for the sake of showing it. For me, the majority of decisions were made based off the feel and mood I wanted this project to emulate from the original.
| 3CA: Doing a CG movie or short version would be a dream come true for many fans, what are your future plans when it comes to something of that scale?
| A.T: → I would love to do something with Ghost In the Shell beyond the still image realm, but that would require an even larger scale operation and budget. Its an insane amount of work building and creating worlds especially when you are living in the shadow of a masterpiece. I aim to direct and build out projects of this large magnitude in the near future and will be taking many of the lessons from Project 2501 with me.
| 3CA: For those who would like to join forces with your team and help out in the future, what are your requirements?
| A.T: → I think a really great trait that I look for in any collaborator is a hunger and humbleness to grow and learn. This kind of work on this level of quality isn’t easy to do and it takes the effort of many people doing the best that they can to accomplish the task. The passion and eagerness to grow and build great work is the key ingredient to a great collaboration.
| 3CA: What is your advice to other artists that would be interested in doing a homage or tribute to an all-time classic and use a worldwide collaboration?
| A.T: → I would say that you should be willing to give everything that you can to the project that your working on. I think it’s key to pay your respects honestly and not to do it for selfish reasons.
For me, real honest art comes from a pure place; so if you can capture that and express that to the world, then I think you have something special and worthy of an audience.
3D Concept Art Community thanks Ash Thorp for sharing his knowledge and advices in this interview about this great project, 2501. The small project that became a world wide collaboration with stunning artists.
Ash Thorp – Director / Producer / CG Artist
Anthony Scott Burns – CG Artist
Chris Ford – CG Artist / lookdev
Colin Thomas – CG Artist
Filipe Carvalho – Art Director / Designer
Franck Deron – Editor
Furio Tedeschi – 3d lead / CG Artist
Gavriil Klimov – CG Artist / Environment Design
Hanno Hagedorn – CG Artist
Kevin Kwok – Web builder
Maciej Kuciara – CG Artist
Michal Misinski – CG Artist / Compositor
Milton Fernandes – CG Artist
Simon Jones – CG Artist – Simulation Artist
Vaughan Ling – CG Artist / Environment Design
Valentin Sorokin – CG Artist / Environment Design
Wedge & Lever – Poster Designer
Adam Tunikowski – Additional Compositing Artist
Aleksandra Rafalksa – Animation
Jaroslaw Handrysik – Additional rendering artist
Kuba Pietrzak – Sound Design
Michal Misinski – Supervisior
Piotr Bialousz – Additional CG Artist
Tomasz Dyrdula – CG Artist
SAN DIEGO CREW
Tim Tadder – Photographer
Dahlia Snyder – Shoot Producer
Mark Peery – Tim Tadder Assistant
Taylor Abeel – Tim Tadder Assistant
Kevin Joelson – Behind the Scenes Cinematographer
Rebecca Joelson – Behind the Scenes Photography
Natalie Bohlin – Hair and Makeup Artist
Christine “IDiivil” Adams – Talent
Fizah Rahim – Photographer
Rezaliando – Photographer
Our Family and Friends
Bahi JD – Advisor
Kaz Oomori – Cultural Design Consultant
Ryan Hawkins – Additional 3D modeling
Tomas Dyrdula – CG Artist
Vitaly Bulgarov – 3D asset contributor
What do you think of Project 2501?