Netflix: Swiss to create visual universe in “Love, Death and Robots”

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Two Romands, Jessica Rossier and Bastien Grivet, designed the sets for one of the features of the series. A unique tribute to the designer Moebius.

“The Brutal Pulse of the Machine” follows an astronaut who is trapped on one of Jupiter’s moons.

Si Dr

Undeniably, the terrific anthology series produced by Tim Miller and David Fincher for Netflix, “Love, Death & Robots”, continues to amaze us.

Available in a little over a week, season 3 gives us some real nuggets. We especially remember David Fincher’s first production in the field of animation, with “Bad voyage”, with a giant crab in the middle of a group of sailors; “Night of the Little Dead,” a planet ravaged by the zombie outbreak speaks to small scale, and then the remarkable “Jbaro,” which puts a deaf knight against a mermaid in a lake in a ultra-realistic visual style. But it also came out of the batch “The brutal pulse of the machine”, which follows an astronaut trapped on one of Jupiter’s moons. An initiative and introspective journey of extraordinary beauty, executed in a graphic style honoring Moebius, the brilliant cartoonist of comics.

Romands Jessica Rossier and Bastien Grivet were behind the design on this stage. The couple (they married in the city) founded their own company – Wardenlight Studio – in the south of France, near Montpellier, where they worked as “concept artists” in prestigious audiovisual productions, between video games, TV and cinema. That is, they oversee, in the initial drafts of a project, the development of visual universes, sets, cars and other weapons, based on a scenario. They worked on “The Witness”, a unique part of the first season of “Love, Death & Robots”, on the games “Call of Duty: Black Ops III” and “Halo Wars 2″, on the animated film ” Spider-Man: New Generation “, as well as” Star Trek: Prodigy “, an animated series for children that should be available in Switzerland this year, with the upcoming arrival of the Paramount + platform .

They told us about their dive into the world of Moebius and the “trekies”.

Jessica Rossier and Bastien Grivet work as

Jessica Rossier and Bastien Grivet work as “concept artists” in prestigious audiovisual productions.

Si Dr

Sometimes it takes a while between finishing your work on a movie or video game and releasing it. How do you usually discover the works you work on?

BG: There’s always a little bit of anxiety until we don’t know if our work is respected or not… But we can always be surrounded by friends. There, for this episode of “Love, Death and Robot”, we organized an aperitif in our house. So we crossed our fingers very carefully, we launched Netflix… and we weren’t disappointed (he laughs).

JR: Sometimes it really takes 3 years between the time we submit our designs and the finished product. In the meantime, there are always changes, sometimes radical, to our proposals. There are times when they completely change the direction of the road or fail to move the animation from our concepts and therefore have to change it…

BG: But there, in “The Rough Pulse of the Machine,” they stick to it. With a few details, we can see all of our work. When we got to the project, the artistic direction was already there. They chose to copy the style of Moebius ’drawings and called on us to make sets in this style.

How do you adapt his universe?

JR: Starting with a lot of documentation, going through his work, from beginning to end, to absorb his style …

BG: Above all, we had to do a lot of testing to find the aspect lines of the comic because Jean Giraud (alias Moebius) was drawing with a ballpoint pen. We had to find a way to change the feel of this technique in Photoshop. And I think we succeeded in our bet, by re-creating this feeling on the pages with ink, specifically on comics.

What aspects of the film did you work on?

JR: Leading the sets this month is Jupiter, where the film takes place. But also in graphic effects, when the hero begins to hallucinate. That aspect of the work was also nice because we were really able to let go and use color schemes that are usually very little used in cinema.

BG: Since “Spider-Man: New Generation” and its Oscar for best animated film, in 2019, all productions have given way to artists. The film shows that a pretty crazy visual style can be appealing. To date, the animation industry has not taken much risk and restrained itself from the patterns created by Pixar and DreamWorks, while remaining in specific chains. But “Spider-Man: Next Generation” is a real game-changer. In the past, our field of action was more restricted, while since then, all of our clients have given us even more freedom.

Is this freedom further enhanced by the fact that this series, “Love, Death & Robot”, is aimed at adults?

BG: We immediately felt a certain maturity in reading the script. For example, in the scene of seeing rocks turned into naked women emerging from the desert, for any other film we have to consider the camera angles adopted. While there, we had no restrictions. And it’s a real pleasure to have free restraint in the best depiction of the scenario. But one can’t stop the other because we’re now also working on the “Star Trek: Prodigy” series, which is intended for pre-teens, and that’s where we can leave too. I was designing some kind of real drone / ship for Season 2 and I was happy because I didn’t have to cut corners so the kids had dreams about my ship. We can still handle some scary concepts.

The duo is currently working on

The duo is currently working on the “Star Trek: Prodigy” series.

Warden Light Studio

Your episode of “Love, Death & Robots” was directed by a woman, Emily Dean … Do you feel the difference in the concept of the film, compared to this masculine universe?

JR: Yes, during our interviews, he was very quick to emphasize the sensitivity he expected to our proposals. Especially in this scene where the rocks turn into women. She was also happy that I could take care of it. And it’s true that for me this collaboration has been even more rewarding. I didn’t want to downplay the male look, but I think I managed the silhouette of these women, and the position of their bodies, without having in mind the desire to seduce a male audience. I just try to stay sensual in my line, while paying attention to their hair or their face like their chest or their fists. And all these aspects of my work are really respected to the end.

Now, how is your work with the new technologies that are advancing?

BG: In particular, we started using virtual reality to sculpt in 3D. To date, we have primarily worked with 3D software, number after number, using the mouse. Designing a robot, for example, took us maybe 2 days. While there, with my VR headset and controllers in hand, I could model it completely in space, like I would with modeling clay, in just two hours. This is a fantastic time saver. And in terms of sets, it allows us to grow them to walk around in them and really feel the space and the volumes. Very nice!

What does your work on “Star Trek: Prodigy” include?

JR: We started by working on concept arts, to figure out the graphic style of the series. Then we planned sets, spaceships and even different vehicles… We also hired my dad, Dominique Rossier, to take care of the spaceship’s computer interfaces! He’s been a graphic designer for over 30 years but most of all he’s a true “trekkie”, an ultimo fan who knows the saga universe inside out. His design is phenomenal! Crazy precision work where each button has its own function … So much so that you really feel like you can pilot the ship. He’s the type of guy who would say, “No, we can’t put such a button in there because at such and such a period, such and such an event happened and the Federation was changed at that hour”. Even the production, in the United States, is astounding. In fact, the ship from the first stage, which they designed before we started dealing with this aspect of things, they got a hell of a bad buzz on social networks, with fans who post screenshots on the screen by explaining this button, there. , top right, not possible. So they hired my dad to take care of the rest of the fleet and he now works as a Paramount expert, managing the “Star Trek” license. For him, it was a childhood dream come true.

BG: The series also allowed us to get into pure animation and start creating our own sequences, like the first few seconds of the first episode. We were really allowed to develop and add strings to our bow.

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In “Star Trek: Prodigy,” Jessica Rossier’s father works on spacecraft computer interfaces.

Warden Light Studio

How about soon to make your own short film in one of the next episodes of “Love, Death and Robots”?

JR: We are primarily preparing our own animated series: a big project that we hope to launch next year and that will combine our favorite themes: motorcycles, strong female figures , the supernatural …

BG: We love women kicking the ass of demons (he laughs)! We find a cartoon style but there is a realistic visual aspect to the interpretation of the photo. Let’s try to make a silvery aspect of the film … Basically, instead of taking inspiration from animated films, we took inspiration from the great American photographers: Stephen Shore, Joel Meyerowitz and his Kodachrome time … We’ll enforce the fair push before you start looking for a diffuser. But we’ve been talking to streaming platforms, especially Netflix, which we already know well… That should keep us busy for a while!

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