Making the Steampunk Vision II VJ Pack – Part 1

In the last couple of months I’ve been working on the Steampunk Vision II pack (a sequel to the Steampunk Vision Pack). It’s still in the works, but I can already share with you some images of the creation process. 

But first, here’s the current state of the pack – what I call: 

"The Steampunk Vision II Puzzle"

I’m using a Trello board to keep track on what loops have been created and what loops are still missing (blank atm). The cool thing about having a Trello board, is that I can shuffle those images (cards) and rearrange them differently – to “Visualize” how will they mix together or maybe lead to another – to create flow or meaning. I get more ideas for “missing” loops this way, and when I create them I add them to the board.

The last cards (with Element in their names) represent Element Loops that I will add after the Pack’s Core Loops are done – these elements might not look good if played “as are” but can be the building blocks of endless combinations – a Modular approach that I will explain in a VJing Tutorial that will be made for the release.

The Steampunked Butterfly

The first Loop I created was of the Steampunk Butterfly. Done all inside After Effects using the Elements 3D Plugin (E3D), this Butterfly is made of Mask Layers that create the wings as well as the cogs.

While I was posting work-in-process images on our Facebook Page, someone suggested adding “a touch of leather“. What an awesome feedback, dude! I since then integrated leather to my workflow and it looks awesome.

The Armillary

In case you (temporarily) forgot, we, on planet earth, are spinning and travelling in space in an enormous speed. It’s easy to forget – with all the hustle and bustle of the daily stuff – but we are part of a marvelous mechanic wonder that keeps on evolving.

I was always pulled by the stars (see the solar systems in Vectorius, for instance) and I swear, building this Armillary (named after its many Arms – that hold the planets) has been the sheer joy of a little kid that got to assemble the planetary kit of his life.

After the system was built, all that was left to do is keyframe the rotations on the axes of the arms and rings, place cameras in weird places, turn on that shallow DOF (depth of field) – then watch how everything moves in perfect coordination – in and out of the frame.

The Steampunked Brain

Sometimes, I feel the flow rushing inside my brain. When it’s really good it even releases some Steam (through my ears). So having a Steampunk representation of a brain was inevitable.

I started with sculpting half of a brain in C4D and added the pipes. I then took this basic model to After Effects and, inside of E3D (in Symmetry mode) added all the other parts: Springs, Connectors, Boilers, Valves & Gauges

Planing on making it Shake, as if real pressure was flowing in those pipes. Was pondering if I should add some steam into the loop or just leave it as is – and give you separate steam loops that you can compose live, in-between the layers. I asked you guys on our Facebook Page and was happy to hear that you VJs prefer to composite it live. That’s a Pro approach and I felt proud for the VJ scene as a result.

“Sometimes, I feel the flow rushing inside my brain. When it’s really good it even releases some Steam (through my ears)”

That’s it for today, folks. I’m sharing with you the work-in-process in order to give you some insight & inspiration, as you might wanna create content yourself, now, or in the future.

When I release the final VJ Loops pack – it’s all looking great and shiny, but the process is long, and involves having hope, especially when things look awful in the starting phase of each loop (can you see it?) 

You just gotta keep on grinding and eventually something good comes up. 

I’ll be posting more updates as things progress – so hang tight!

•• update – You can continue reading Part 2 now, and… the pack has been released – watch a Live Mix Preview on the pack’s page: Steampunk Vision 2 ••