Utopia Utopia

“A journey through an imaginary Mausoleum in Chandigarh, Le Corbusier’s modernist city in Northern India.”

Film by Optical Arts, U.K., 2020.

Notes from the filmmakers:

Utopia is a short film using a cross section view. This perspective is used exclusively as we follow the characters enigmatic journey as they navigate the complex concrete structure looking for the tomb at its core. As they navigate the structure we see and hear glimpses of the changing environment as the building reveals itself. Inspired by architectural perspective illustrations first developed in the Renaissance period and still used in the present day. The film adds the dimension time being compressed as we travel through the scene. The building was designed in collaboration with an architect to create a functional structure and incorporating the letter form of the ‘U’ in the final frame.

The building had to be designed precisely in the context of the film’s narrative as the layout and structure defined when each element, room and character appears and disappears. Due to the large amount of detail, several iterations were necessary to find the right balance between complexity and readability. Throughout the project various style frames were developed to explore the different materials for the building.

The project was created in Houdini using a procedural approach to be able to globally control the timing, animation and lighting. This approach saved time as the geometry of the building kept changing regularly through the project.

The look of the project was achieved by combining several passes in compositing to create the illustration aesthetic.

Creative direction: Optical Arts
Vfx supervisor: Fabrice Le Nezet
Architect: Gabriel Hill
Audio: Sonjay Prabhakar
3d team: Valentine Arles, Luke Howell, Ollie Harris
Animation: Pascale Boris
Style frames: Liam Waters


Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.