How Weight of Thought created a futuristic trailer inspired by the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Dimitrov, who was already a big fan of Heavy Metal, jumped at the chance to take on the project. Working under his studio name Weight of Thought, Dimitrov built a team of past collaborators, including friends and his brother, to tackle the project.
We spoke with Dimitrov about how he created the promo video using Cinema 4D as the hub of the project along with ZBrush, Redshift, Magic Bullet, Substance, Marvelous Designer, Mixamo, and Octane.
Tell us about your path to being a 3D artist.
Dimitrov: I’ve been in the motion design and VFX field for close to 12 years and currently am creating short form 3D animated brand films with my own company, Weight of Thought. It's been somewhat of a nomadic journey into the world of 3D for me.
How did the PlayerZero project happen?
Dimitrov: I decided I'd seek out some new projects to clear my head and lo and behold, one of the first emails I read was from Heavy Metal CEO Matt Medley. He had seen my “Weightless” trailer and wanted to talk about a new project.
We met over Zoom and had very similar aesthetic tastes and a really good rapport. We are both sci-fi nerds. Matt dug a lot of my personal work and wanted me to interpret his script with that same aesthetic.
Tell us about developing look of the Player Zero trailer.
Dimitrov: I’ve always been inspired by sci fi films from the ‘80s and ‘90s, as well as anime from that same time. The opening shot in the trailer is a direct callback to the 1988 animated feature “Akira”, which is a stellar piece of animation. As an homage to the film, I even made sure the motorcycle was red and included a nice Akira-style motorcycle slide in my animation.
I was also able to bring on one of my favorite artists to tag team the project with me, Harrison Vincent. Since we had such a long history of working together over the years it made the project that much easier. He’s more of a Redshift guy and I’m more of an Octane guy, and it was really cool to blend our styles together and see his work take on more of an illustrative aesthetic.
Talk about your production pipeline.
Dimitrov: Cinema 4D was our main hub where all the magic happened, and we used a lot of other tools along the way, including modeling the characters in ZBrush based on the concept art. The decimation processes (controlling polygon count), and the crazy intuitive workflow made it awesome to switch between the two programs.
We also modeled the robots and motorcycle entirely in ZBrush and my older brother, Alexander Dimitrov, assisted us with the development. ZBrush helped in the process by offering us the flexibility to easily kitbash various parts together and iterate on the design
Redshift and Octane were used in tandem as our render engines. Redshift really helped make those indoor scenes pop with its ability to handle VDBs and fog volumes—it was a life saver for shots like the cryo chamber. We created the textures with Substance, allowing us to add a lot of fine details to the models. Mixamo was used for all the animation, saving us a lot of time.
What’s next for you and Weight of Thought?
Dimitrov: For me as an artist and as a company, I’ll be doing a lot more personal projects this year. I feel like last year was the year of taking on client work and this year is the year of creating more work centered around my personal aesthetic goals.