The journey that was not traversed in the day is impossible to make in darkness.
First off, let me thank you folks at Epic Games for taking the time to check out my little project: a ten minute Short I am Seyi Kolawole, Architect, Designer and Visualisation Artist by day, Cartographer of dreams by night.
"The Hunt: Soothsayer's Requiem" has been a passion project I've been working on and off, in my free time since 2014 and was born from a passion for my Culture and a culmination of all my interest: African traditional History and Mythology, World-building, Art / Design, Folk-tales, Astronomy, Mythical creatures, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, 3d Animation and 3d rendering.
As an African, it has always bothered me how Media in general has represented and depicted our culture: at best, with an agenda, at the worst with downright disingenuity. I believe its time we as Africans start to tell our own stories to the World from a place of wonder, authenticity and truth because they are stories worth telling and what better way to tell it than a 3d animated short film.
"The Hunt: Soothsayer's Requiem" is an African traditional Science-Fantasy Universe inspired by traditional West African culture’s origins and Mythos of gods and goddesses, fantastical creatures and enchanted forests set in an era lost in time and space.
A world of lush, luxurious tropical rain forests teeming with life from the dark and damp underbrush all the way to the dizzying heights of the canopy. A world of waterfalls and rivers cutting through the dense landscape, of massive rock formations and granite hills. A world of vast rolling grass plains to inhospitable deserts, of long-forgotten ruins in deep catacombs and snow-capped mountains. A world full of creatures, both fantastic and mundane, malevolent and benign.
WHY UNREAL ENGINE?
Since the start, I have employed Lumion as my main rendering and animation software for this project, especially for the environments but I soon hit a roadblock: I could not import custom rigged and mo-cap animated characters into the program, it only accepted models with move, scale and rotate animations via .fbx. So after months of trying to hack in a workaround without success I realized I had to re-strategize.
I made the decision to move to the Unreal Engine a few months ago simply because its the best-in-class real-time Engine out there capable of the blend of stylized and ultra-realistic visuals I'm trying to achieve. Couple that with the fact that I can also leverage the vast and awesome 3d library of Quixel Megascans and edit in Mixer to help in quickly building realistic environments all for free, its a no-brainer!
And the cherry on top for me has been the announcement of Unreal Engine 5. The implications of Lumen and Nanite has me giddy with excitement! A lot of the technical grunt work of prepping assets to work in the engine and achieving realistic lighting will be bypassed.
WHY ASK FOR A GRANT?
Most of the things that have been done on this project so far, I have managed to do by myself. I'm in the process of starting to convert all the props and recreate the environments/sets in Unreal Engine which is in itself a herculean task right now. A grant would go a long way in helping me enlist some UE expert help in areas like VFX, environments, etc, acquire some hardware like the perception Neuron Mocap suit, which will fast-track the completion of this project.
I have big plans for this World I am building that involves a variety of stories and perspectives across different Media (feature films, Graphic Novels, an RPG, table-top board game) but I am concentrating on the Short Film for now. An epic trilogy of Novels is also currently being written by award-winning African fiction writer, Tosin Kolawole about the journey of our hero, Akinkanju.
So I heartily invite you into this world I've tried to faithfully document and hope it gives you as much joy as it has given me exploring it.
Cartographer and Scribe of The Order of Memories.