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We’re often asked how we came up with the name ‘Rogue Robot‘ for the business. Unfortunately, it’s not a hugely interesting story – we’re obsessed by robots, and it’s a nice, alliterative name.

But the more we lived with the name, the more we realised how well it fit with the way we work – getting away from production line working, trying to be different and break away from the old models of working.

And from this, a seed of an idea began to grow, eventually becoming ‘Rogue Robot Origins’.

The idea was to tell the story of a robot in a factory – one of many automata working slavishly to produce generic video-by-numbers. But a freak occurrence alters the robots circuits, giving him consciousness and the impulse to break out of the factory.

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Illustration by Adam Pryce

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Storyboard

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We were impressed by this unique and original idea. Until we realised it was pretty much a rehash of ‘Short Circuit Film‘. But that was fine – we’re big film fans and wanted to include a few film references.

We worked on a script, blocking out the action and shots, before drawing a storyboard from which we could work.

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3d Workflow

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This was to be our first entirely 3d production, and we used both Maya and Cinema4D to create or customise the models, including our hero robots.

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However, all of the animation was created and rendered within Adobe After Effects using a plugin called Element3d.

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This allowed us to build, light and render complex 3D scenes and move round them almost in real-time, making the process much quicker and giving us immediate feedback when looking at shots.

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Colour Grading & Effects

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Each scene was laid out in After Effects, and the cameras set up and animated, before adding lights, flares, shadows, ambient occlusion, fog, rain, smoke and any number of other effects.

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Once we had the individual shots rendered, we edited the film in Adobe Premiere and added a film grade to finalise the overall look.

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Sound

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Finally we built up several tracks of sound effects and then imported the film into Mixcraft – a music production tool – adding in John Carpenter style synth sounds to create a moody, tech soundtrack.

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Final Video

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Here’s the final film in all its glory.

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