Art direction, concepts, looks

The next step in the creation of my next film "I am Nightmare" is the creation of all the props,  sets and environments as all the characters are ready to go...

Before I get started on this stuff I have to know where I'm going... or what my concept for the world is... now since my films are original I have to really think about this stuff and make sure that my concept for the world makes sense with the story of the film... if you're doing parodies/remakes/re-imaginings/spinoff's the creator of the original property has already made many of these decisions for you...

So the first thing I must decide is....where is this place? what is everything made of? what does it look like? and WHY?

Once I've answered those questions THEN I have a clear idea of how to model and texture everything...

Since my focus on this film is the story I'm not going to try to reinvent the style wheel... I'm going to treat my already made 3d assets from HSM and other projects as sort of a digital backlot and use that stuff as much stuff as possible...

So the decisions I really need to make are more about textures and looks... will things be made of wood or resin? Stone or metal? What style will the matte paintings be in? Designed to be seamless with the 3d sets or a more fantastical abstract style?

When asking these questions I look through image reference...from my own films, test projects and also online.. I'm looking for a particular look that has things I want to include... once I've found these things then I do some quick test composites to make sure everything works..

I'll drop the characters in a scene with some set pieces... composite a sky in and screw around with looks in After Effects until I find something that is CLOSE to what I want... not EXACT because I know there's a lot of leeway in post to get a look you want...

My goal is just to figure out how to light and texture the stuff in 3d so that I can get the look I want in post... AND I'm also trying to get things to render as fast as possible so its a balance... does it look tite? Does it render quickly?

Once I have it close to the look I want I can go forward with my set creation and lighting knowing the I'll be able to get a look I want when I get to post.

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