One of my personal favorite elements from the film is the Animus, which is machine that allows its user(s) to read and analyze a subject’s genetic memory. These memories can then be projected out onto an external screen where it can be viewed and interacted with in three-dimensional space. I instantly fell in love with this particular concept and dug right into the design process. I personally wanted to pull everything back and keep it to the core of design fundamentals with a limited color pallet, strong grid line, basic and legible typeface. Justin wanted the machine to feel old and dated, but designed and created by scientists and engineers from years ago. It needed to be chaotic and beautiful in a natural way. Random arrays of running numbers, lines of code, bits of feed, and digital artifacts were all considered. I always like to create my own personal fiction when I design anything in film. This was a wonderful practice in expanding my own personal narrative into the film space.
I first started with breaking down the various beats of each asset needed, which ranged all the way from how the machines boot up to full brain scans of Cal. I enjoyed exploring how the data around the mind would fill in and spill over into various layers and stages. Although the basic principles were needed, we didn’t want to do a typical MRI scan image.
Once the designs were approved by Justin, my images were passed along to animator and simulation artist, Ryan Cashman. It had been a few years since we last worked on a film together, so it was really great to work closely with Ryan again. We understand one another well and communication was effortless as the designs and direction came alive through Ryan’s amazing abilities. Utilizing Houdini’s toolsets and AfterEffect’s ability to tie everything together, the project really took off to produce some astounding results.