Aaron Sims Creative Shares Production Tips at Gnomon

Posted December 24th, 2017 by Nicole Hendrix — Category: Events — 0 Comments

Artwork Courtesy of Aaron Sims Creative.

Artwork Courtesy of Aaron Sims Creative.

The visionary creative team at Aaron Sims Creative visited Gnomon to share their "Sketch to Screen" process.

At their exclusive Gnomon event, ASC went step-by-step through their team's collaborative process when creating concept design and visual effects, used on the likes of Stranger Things, Wonder Woman, Planet of the Apes, The Mist, as well as ASC’s very own original I.P. creations.

On the panel was Aaron Sims (ASC Founder and Concept Designer), Michael Pecchia (Executive Producer), Steffen Reichstadt (Creative Director), and Gnomon Alums, Erik Keefer (3D Artist), and David Olson (Look Dev Artist). Aaron Sims, the visual creator behind some of this generation’s most unforgettable cinema creatures, began his career over two decades ago as a special effects makeup artist. His pioneering techniques in the world of visual effects influenced the face of character and creature design in film, television, games, previs, and VFX early on in their application. His design-heavy VFX studio was formed to bring together a wide range of the world’s most talented concept and VFX artists. The exclusive event at Gnomon showcased how designers, animators, compositors, and various other artists at ASC work together to bring iconic creatures and worlds to life, from concept to reality. Watch the entire event here.

“Aaron was one of the first pioneers of riding pencil sketches to the digital sphere”- Michael Pecchia
Aaron Sims doing concept art for Steven Spielberg's 2001 film Artificial Intelligence: AI, where he first used his sketch to computer screen technique.

Aaron Sims Creative Production Tips:

  • Phase 1: The breakdown

    • Spend time with the script thinking about what is going to work and what will convey the emotion of the story.
    • Anticipate how the director’s aesthetic taste impact design.
      • Know the right questions to ask the directors and when to elicit that information.
      • There are no bad questions.
  • Phase 2: Inspiration

    • Pull a lot of reference. Use reference from entertainment and real world examples.

  • Fun fact: ASC used the inside of a snapping turtle mouth for reference when creating the Demogorgons.
  • Phase 3: Concept Design

    • Concept design is not just a sketch, it’s an asset or an application of textures and patterns to get many different looks and feels.
    • By using 3D, you're able to turn out more looks and get there faster vs. painting each one from scratch.
  • Phase 4: Storyboards

    • Solidify your story and lock it down before you shoot.
    • Do motion studies to make sure your design is functional and conveying personality.

Aaron Sims Creative is truly a unique studio with a highly impressive filmography, and led by a real industry legend. Based in Burbank, Los Angeles, many Gnomon alumni have gone on to build successful careers after graduating from Gnomon School of VFX in Hollywood – including event panelists Eric Keefer and David Olson. Some of the roles that Gnomon alumni have held at Aaron Sims Creative in recent years include:

  • Animator
  • CG Generalist
  • Concept Artist
  • Creature Animator
  • Digital Sculptor
  • FX TD
  • Lead 3D Artist
  • Matchmove Artist
  • Post-viz Animator
  • Previs Animator/Shot Creator
  • Previs Lead
  • Rigger
  • VFX Artist

Learn more about the studios and roles that Gnomon alumni go on to achieve at www.gnomon.edu/about/alumni. And watch Aaron Sims Creative’s new 2018 Reel below:


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