The art of an Em­pire

Stormy seas Stephan Mar­tinière ex­plains how he gave 300: Rise of an Em­pire its dis­tinc­tive aes­thetic

ImagineFX - - Imagine Nation -

When Stephan Mar­tinière was asked to come up with con­cepts for the new movie 300: Rise of an Em­pire, he im­me­di­ately had a clear vi­sion of how he thought the se­quel should look and feel.

“Con­cep­tu­ally,” Stephan says, “it was im­por­tant to keep a monochro­matic feel. I was very in­ter­ested in ex­plor­ing a colour pal­ette that mixed black, dark grey and greens to bring a stormy and omi­nous feel to the scenes. Storm, the bat­tle scene paint­ing, is a good ex­am­ple.”

The Dal­las-based cre­ative is a 25-year vet­eran of the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try, hav­ing worked for Dis­ney, DreamWorks and Uni­ver­sal on projects such as TRON: Legacy, Star Trek and Star Wars: Episode II and III, pick­ing up a string of art’s top awards along the way. Stephan was ap­proached by longterm col­lab­o­ra­tor and Rise of an Em­pire pro­duc­tion de­signer Patrick Tatopou­los to join the project.

“I was asked to do two things: es­tab­lish the de­sign of the Per­sian fleet – in­clud­ing the generic ships and Artemisia’s more elab­o­rate one; and to paint key scenes bring­ing the fleet into con­text and defin­ing a mood, de­tails, tex­tures and colours for other parts of the ships, such as the deck and Artemisia’s quar­ters.”

To see more great con­cept work from Stephan’s time on the film, visit

www.mar­ 300: Rise of an Em­pire is out on DVD and Blu-ray in June.

Stephan por­trays Athe­nian hero Themis­to­cles as he charges the Per­sian war­riors on a horse, among the ropes and mayhem of the rag­ing sea bat­tle. Stephan wanted to com­bine an his­tor­i­cally be­liev­able Per­sian ship, with fan­tasy el­e­ments.

This bat­tle scene, set in a rag­ing storm, was one of the key mo­ments in the movie. Stephan cre­ated it with a stormy, muted colour pal­ette.

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