By his own ad­mis­sion, John­son never quite feels com­fort­able with 3D an­i­ma­tion. “I’m an ob­ses­sive old man stuck in nos­tal­gia, so I like my high-bud­get anime movies from the ’80s, and I’m re­ally not a fan of 3D in anime,” he says. “That’s the way it’s gone now. You see a ro­bot or a car, and it’s made in 3D.” But his short is an at­tempt at a 2D an­i­mated pre­sen­ta­tion of the 3D world hid­den in orig­i­nal 2D form. So while his cre­ation is rich in hand-drawn craft, it’s draped over a 3D frame, used as a ref­er­ence point to keep per­spec­tive. It’s a tech­nique partly in­spired by the 1984 movie of Su­per Di­men­sion Fortress Macross, where the team used cig­a­rette pack­ets and boxes to build a 3D model, be­fore pho­tograph­ing it and draw­ing in 2D over the junk modelling rig.

Clearly the pro­ject wouldn’t feel au­then­ti­cally R-Type if it didn’t fea­ture one of ’80s-era gam­ing’s most iconic bosses, the Giger-flavoured Dobker­atops, from the cul­mi­na­tion of the game’s open­ing level. This se­quence, also in­spired by level one, demon­strates how John­son has fleshed out the orig­i­nal game’s 2D back­drops

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