3D Concept Art presents project KIDDO. A project interview with Tito Fernandes, the man behind the story and Kinosys films. A personal project that became bigger than anticipated. It became an international collaboration with artists around the world and with artists in association with VFX partner company UNIT.
3D Concept Art presents a special projects interview about KIDDO.
| 3D Concept Art: Tell us about your starting idea, how was it born and what was your main goal?
| Tito Fernandes: → It was back in 2012 when my brother and I come up with the story, derived from all sort of inspirations, but primarily from the need to tell a very good female protagonist story, which at the time wasn’t necessarily the norm. Almost 6 years later and this story is as current, fresh and relevant as ever. This goes in line with our main goal as it is allowing for the project to get noticed and perhaps, who knows, get made into a feature film, or a tv series, or even a video game.
| 3CA: As you progressed with your storyline, You as a producer, which difficulties did you face, What were them?
| T.F: → Mainly the difficulties inherent to not having the money to pay for talent, which in turn makes the process tediously slow and forces you to doubt every single day if you ever going to see the end of it. Luckily, 1 out of 10 artists said maybe that became a yes, and that’s how the film gain their invaluable expertise and contribution. The project was fully self-funded and executed on a part-time basis, and it took 2 years of post-production work to cross it over the line. That in itself couldn’t have even been possible without facilities and a decent VFX pipeline, that came in the shape of a partnership with an exciting London-based company called UNIT.
| 3CA: During the time you spent working on the concepts with your team and what should be on the different shots, what did inspire you?
| T.F: → So many things really. My brother and I were brought up by women, so that was number one. The rest was all the films that marked us over the years, all the way to books and concept design that I scavenged religiously for the whole 5 years it took to get the project made.
| 3CA: Did you use previs and why?
| T.F: → I have a strong background in VFX, primarily in Previs. These days, a lot of it is being overused because directors and producers don’t know what they are doing in an ever-growing VFX heavy narrative material. In my case, and because I’m biased, I rather not fully rely on just one tool I went down the traditional route, similarly to the way I write (I like to write on paper first then type it on the machine), where from a strong descriptive script, I wrote a shooting script; then thumbnailed a rough storyboard that later was polished by an amazing artist (Charles E Downman); and turned that into a 3min long animatic. That was enough to understand all I needed, from framing to timings, and that I could perhaps benefit from previs clarification.
I filled the animatic gaps on the full CG shots, like the flyby and crash landing shots, but it was primarily a beneficial tool to understand the last slow-mo shot. Being such an ambitious shot, it came with tremendous complications. Previs allowed for me to pinpoint them all, and against everyone’s advice, I went ahead and attempted to execute it. The only way we could fit it into our shooting schedule was to break the whole thing down to the decimal value and take it onset for the wire work and motion control guys.
So I did and the result was that it only took us 11 takes to get it right, to time human operation versus machine precision. The take was far from perfect, but nothing an enthusiastic VFX marathon couldn’t fix it. A shout out to Antonia Tootill for getting the biggest bruises on her shoulders to get us this shot.
| 3CA: How much of your time went to R&D during this project?
| T.F: → For over a year I had collaborators around the world building all the moving parts. So RnD is hard to quantify, but once we had a roof, it took 2 months to get it all polished in the very capable hands of my CG Supervisor, Raphael Beyeart and his partner in crime, Victor Kirsch.
| 3CA: When working with such big fields of terrain in several shots, what was your process when trying to achieve a believability to those terrains??
| T.F: → We tried different 3D approaches, but the ultimate solution was DMP, or better, matte painting over the 3D attempts. The great thing about having done the 3D pass was that I got the composition that I wanted, by laying out all parts of the frame. The subsequent job was to pain the right things, in the right scale to give compers what they needed to assemble.
| 3CA: For the environment, did you use any satellite data or was it a random type of terrain that was sculpted/modeled and which tools did you use?
| T.F: → Yes, Raphael was a lead on the ENV front. Once I blocked and laid out the shot, he was the one experimenting with all that. He did use satellite data and photogrammetry assets that came from MegaScans sponsorship. In the end, most was sabotaged with 2.5D nuke projections of the DMPs, except one shot, the FG rock that stages the lizard’s gag. The close proximity to the camera made Raphael realized than no matter how detailed all photoScans were, nothing could hold that level of scrutiny, so instead, he decided to take it and sculpt his own version of the sand rock.
| 3CA: In shots up close, what texture resolution did you have on kiddo and the ape??
| T.F: → Kiddo had 10x 8K UDIMS. We also had them in 4K and 2K version and scripted the swap-ability depending on the nature of each shot. On Gizmo (the capuchin monkey), we had 3 UDIMS 1x face at 8K, 1 for the hands and feet (exposed skin) at 4K and 1 for the body (covered in fur) at 2K.
| 3CA: When working with greenscreen there is a lot of possibilities, what were your major advantage and disadvantages when working with the different types of shots?
| T.F: → The advantaged is that you can create anything, the problem is that anything requires way too much work compared to going on location. I give you the example of the desert drone shot, it’d have been 100x easier if we had gone to a desert, even a beach to get Kim’s plate, but because we didn’t, it took us so much time to get it all done. Nonetheless, that was really the test I myself, to try to create a believable world that was completely made up from nothing. I hope we deliver on that.
| 3CA: What is your advice when it comes to making this type projects and doing those as an in form as proof of concept? As well with an international team?
| T.F: → My biggest advice to anyone is, as painful as sometimes things are even taking 5 years of your life to achieve, believe that you can do it and NEVER give up. You only have yourself to blame if you don’t follow your vision and your dreams. If you want something, go get it!
3D Concept Art Community thanks Tito Fernandes for this interview about Kiddo. Where he shares his knowledge and shows us how an idea can flourish and mature even though a few years have gone by. A project that was made in collaboration with VFX company UNIT with much care, determination, and passion.
Proof-of-concept trailer pitch for KIDDO, created by TITO FERNANDES. Developed by a worldwide team or artists in association with VFX partner company UNIT.
What do you think of Project Kiddo?