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    Dark Waters was created as a story-telling project. The main idea was to explore strong "film" atmosphere with a consistent narrative orientation… Read More
    Dark Waters was created as a story-telling project. The main idea was to explore strong "film" atmosphere with a consistent narrative orientation. Of course a lot of references appear through this project such as Indiana Jones, Pirate of the Carribean, Black sails, Hook or even Lost... I have always been fascinated by the courage of  explorators and the way they face the unknown and through this project we tried to retranscribe this passion for exploration, unknown and mystery places. Read Less
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  I am writing this under a mental strain that soon enough should be no more, for I am doomed, and with me the crew that embarked on my ship and its last destination. If, by any chance, you stumble upon these hastily scrawled pages, do not take me for a fool or a madman: my mind is guided by reason but the world around me is not, and my fear intensifies as gravitational forces are pulling me towards the unknown.







It all started with a map pointing out the location of a sunken ship that contained valuable treasures. It was all too late when I realized, in the middle of an ocean I did not know the nature of, that the longitude and magnitude of said map were wrong—likely imagined or inadequate—and that my expedition was guided by a careless geographer who led me to nameless waters.



As the days went by and I was desperately looking for a land where to settle and find out about my current location, the nights grew colder and darker, with nothing in sight but tempered waves and formless clouds. Whispers about being lost spread among the crew, and the seamen scowled at me with such a hostility that I spent many days secluded in my cabin, giving brief orders to my 
first-mate so as to avoid facing a mutiny or worse, having to walk the plank.


Alone and feverish, I spent countless hours looking at the map for hidden answers in between coordinates and outlines. I was about to lose hope when I came across an odd design that I did not perceived before, since it was not on the map itself, but its legend. The latter stroke me as all too detailed, giving lengthy descriptions in a manner that was neither justified nor useful, and I managed, after a great deal of time, to retrieve from them fragments of an elusive sentence:


“When the sea is restless,
[…]
Remembering old ships hunting in the mist of her mass,
[…]
She holds an alien air that banishes many a horizon—
[…]
And posts the universe to which she is a door.”



As soon as these words were discovered, I hurried out my cabin and went to the ship’s deck to set out our new destination. If the seamen were confused by my presence, I managed to convince them by explaining that we were going towards treasures beyond thought and much more valuable than the decomposition of an old sunken ship. I was firmly convinced by my own words because the strange map and its puzzling words, by whatever contingency I could not fathom, were addressed to me—and me alone.









After three days of navigation, I woke up to a mist that contained a heavy air filled with deep silence and dreariness. I could not restrain a shiver, for I felt uneasy as if facing an ancient stillness and with it, an ancient voice that muttered inaudible words, awaking forces I could not measure. It is then that, cradled by waveless waters, I saw it as vividly as in my imagination—the island—secluded among the immensity of the sea and yet visible to all, shining from afar because illuminated by a cloudless piece of sky above it. While my crew was in awe, I could hear some of them mumbling things about the place recalling the mythic Avalon where everything was at rest, even death itself. But this island before me—if not the fruits of my feverish dreams—I saw it once, when I was still a child running around in a bygone library before stumbling upon an old book, and in it, the story of a sea-door, a cosmic portal in the form of an atoll at the confines of the universe. I believed in that story, as I hope you believe in this one, because finding the island requires to first encounter something under the form of an address, and to lose yourself in the journey it leads.









To lose yourself—literally. As I speak my ship is being pulled towards the island without any trace of wind nor waves; pulled by murky forces lying in the depths of these perilous waters, for there is no escape to dare conceive—everything around the island is doomed to enter its territory, and to surrender to its laws. 









I do not know what will happen to me and the rest of my crew, but I know for certain that there is nothing else in that island but the end of life and the abolition of death—all in the name of the uncharted.















300 Years Later














This journal, if ever to be found, might lead you to it, but be careful what you wish for and do not trust maps, for there is nothing else but a sea post and with it, the vanishing whispers of a soon gone legend—










Directed by Thomas Dubois


Art direction & Visual development by Thomas Dubois
Written by Alexandre Dubois
Graphic & Title design by Manon Calvet










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Dark Waters was created as a story-telling project. The main idea was to explore strong "film" atmosphere with a consistent narrative orientation. Of course a lot of references appear through this project such as Indiana Jones, Pirate of the Carribean, Black sails, Hook or even Lost... I have always been fascinated by the courage of  explorators and the way they face the unknown and through this project we tried to retranscribe this passion for exploration, unknown and mystery places.

The story was developed with my brother Alexandre Dubois. The story evolved through discussions, back and forth and we tried to capture a strong atmosphere. Then his talent for writing and story-telling made the narration steps to another level.

The project was produced in about a month and a half, only on free-time. It's never easy to find time for this type of project so passion and communication are essentials to make the production enjoyable. One of the main challenges was to create a cinematic feel through the images and the narration. Framing, colors, mood are tools to communicate the story we wanted.

Below you will find some elements produced during this exploration. Skecths, researches, 3D, identity researches ... Manon Calvet (my partner) jumped into the project and produced the title design and some graphic design that gives more  personality to the project. It was an important +. 

A lot of the props elements (3D) were either modeled or gathered from resources site such as Turbosquid or CGtrader. I also used some elements from photobash.org. Most of the shots were done with a workflow involving Cinema 4D, Vray for C4D and Adobe Photoshop.

Hope you will find this usefull. Of course the project could be developed a lot more. it's a learning curve that is never finished, always growing and exploring. Each project is a journey.

 


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Map and Captain's Journal found in the desert


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Storyboard

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Colorsript

For the color script I get a lot of inspiration from Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo from Tonko House. I admire their work since a long time and love their approach on light, colors and story-telling.

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Process

Some process shots and C4D type scenes. 
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Identity






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Sketchs



CREDITS


Created by Thomas Dubois
Art direction & Visual development by Thomas Dubois
Written by Alexandre Dubois
Graphic & Title design by Manon Calvet​​​​​​​


Additional thanks to :

Stephane Mol
Veronica Menaldi
Romain Sontag
Amir Zand