“The Specimen” – Alternative Realities Render Challenge

I undertook the "Alternative Realities" Render Challenge to create a sci-fi inspired animation

The challenge was to design and produce an individual visual effects shot. There were a two fundamental rules; to keep the visual weight of the sphere shape which dominates the upper right of the frame; and not to change the animation of the humanoid provided.

I’m still relatively fresh to this type of 3D work, so this was a really great exercise to broaden out skills in the areas I already had experience with, and of course to learn some new tricks – which was my sole motivation throughout.

I’ve been using Blender for just over 18 months and After Effects for years. Having already had some experience using .exr files and cryptomattes for visual effects compositing, during this project I’ve now built upon this workflow further. Absolutely love the power cryptomattes offer when compositing.

I had a few ideas but settled on a sci-fi / space idea. The general idea was to feature an animated alien specimen which an android was carrying from a just landed cargo ship. The video in this post shows the work I produced on this challenge, with a brief breakdown showing some of the processes involved.

There have been some incredible pieces of art created in this challenge, over 2400 artists were involved!

A 3 hour long video of all the Alternative Realities Challenge entries has been created with all the renders seamlessly showcased. This video in itself must have been a challenge to produce. The video nicely separates all the entries into categories, chaptered to help break up the sheer volume of work, and also making it a nice thing to dip back into from time-to-time, a great source of inspiration.

My entry is just around 147 mins in, under the ‘Space’ category.