The main character of the film BURNED is a creature made of sticks that is threatened by a world in flames. In order to escape, it has to keep adapting and transforming into different creatures. The diploma project of Animationsinstitut alumni is full of cutting edge technology and was chosen as the official 2022 FMX trailer. Find out how it all came about and what else lies behind the project in this interview with director Justin Braun!
At the beginning of the project was my personal experience of a burnout. Depicting this feeling visually and in terms of content runs through the entire project. It’s about the feeling of chasing an idea or thing vehemently with all you have, until the difficult admission that despite all your efforts you can't make it and have to give up.
Yes, the character development of our protagonist is based on Quill—a software in which you draw directly in a VR environment. This is where the look with the sticks came from. Then, I developed an AI tool that combines the data from the Quill strokes with information from Megascan Libraries. This allowed us to get automated templates for the other characters, which we then developed manually to the point of photorealistic rendering.
The process was similar for the environments. Here we worked with satellite images, among other things, which we then matched with Megascan libraries in the Unreal Engine. Finally, we decided on a motion capture shoot, where we also recreated parts from the digital world to adequately bring the characters and scenes to life.
At the beginning of my studies, FMX was always an exciting way for me to connect with people I otherwise thought were out of reach. Being able to meet people who inspired me to dive into the film world, even before I started studying at Filmakademie, was very exciting. Meanwhile, in addition to these things, FMX is a perfect opportunity for me to reconnect with colleagues and friends I've made on my journey through the film world—also at FMX itself—and talk about new ideas.
After the restrictions of the last few years, I'm looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues again who now live scattered around the world. I’m looking forward to interesting talks and meetings, and exchanging new ideas while having a beer.Justin Braun, Alumnus Animationsinstitut
Towards the end of the production phase of our diploma project, Andreas Hykade approached us and offered us the opportunity to use our film as the trailer for this year's FMX. We were very happy because we have positive experiences with FMX and it is very cool to be a part of it.
But I think the main reason were the similarities between the message of our short film and the theme of this year's FMX: "Changing the Game". Change is usually part of innovation and for me, on both a personal and professional level, this is something I am involved with. Both sides are interesting: fear associated with change but also working in a field where you are constantly learning new things and developing technologies that trigger said change.
After the restrictions of the last few years, I'm looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues again who now live scattered around the world. I’m looking forward to interesting talks and meetings, and exchanging new ideas while having a beer.
I'm in the middle of moving to London, as I've taken a job here. I also hope to have a bit more time after this year's FMX and work on new ideas once I finish my studies and relax a bit!