They mostly come at night… mostly

Space art For con­cept artists Wayne Haag, Matthew Hat­ton and Dane Hal­lett, work­ing on the lat­est Alien film was a dream come true…

ImagineFX - - Editor’s Letter -

Re­gard­less of whether the new Alien film is any good, the art be­hind it is a nice blend of the fa­mil­iar and fresh.

Con­cept artist Wayne

Haag has been work­ing in the film in­dus­try for over 20 years now. But while you might as­sume he’s seen it all, col­lab­o­rat­ing with Ri­d­ley Scott on Alien: Covenant was still some­thing pretty spe­cial.

“It’s prob­a­bly been one of the most cre­atively free jobs I’ve had,” Wayne says. “Even though we were pro­vided as­sets such as CAD mod­els of sets or ship mod­els, given spe­cific di­rec­tion or pro­vided ear­lier de­signs, we were still al­lowed to take it where we thought the shots could go. Be­cause light­ing is re­ally my thing, I al­most don’t care what I’m paint­ing, as long as I get to light it.”

Wayne ex­plains that pro­duc­tion de­signer Chris Sea­ger served as the artists’ di­rect link to Ri­d­ley Scott. “We’d some­times get Ri­d­ley-grams to work from, or Chris would give us a fairly loose brief and let us go to town. He gave out shots or scenes at ran­dom ini­tially, be­cause he didn’t know our par­tic­u­lar strengths, weak­nesses or de­sires.

“But even­tu­ally Chris gave us lo­ca­tions to work on that seemed to best fit our style, or that we’d al­ready es­tab­lished a look for, or be­cause we were tech­ni­cally pro­fi­cient in a cer­tain area. Within the broader con­text, the three of us worked with the set de­sign­ers, help­ing to flesh out the even­tual look of the sets and lo­ca­tions, but also the greater en­vi­ron­ment be­yond.”

Wayne’s work on the project was en­tirely dig­i­tal, but in­volved quite a mix of ap­proaches, he adds. “Some started with 3D as­sets. Some I had to build the 3D my­self. Some started from a purely pho­to­graphic ba­sis. And some­times I just started off paint­ing, even­tu­ally

It was like a bunch of mates hang­ing out and paint­ing cool stuff. Every­one pushed and helped each other

bring­ing in some photo bash­ing or adding 3D el­e­ments.”

Some of the art­works took up to 15 ver­sions be­fore be­ing given the ex­ec­u­tive thumbs up, while oth­ers were ap­proved on the first go. “If there were higher ver­sions, it wasn’t be­cause the art was bad; more likely de­ci­sions about the sets hadn’t yet been fi­nalised, and so we had to ad­just ear­lier works to fit a new brief. Ev­ery­thing comes down to cost and so, more of­ten than not, I was asked to re­move things from my paint­ings – lest they end up be­ing built when they shouldn’t be.”

group ef­fort

Some­thing else that made work­ing on Alien: Covenant spe­cial for Wayne was his re­la­tion­ship with the other artists who were busy work­ing on the project, he adds.

“I’d known some of them through­out my ca­reer, so it was like a bunch of mates hang­ing out and paint­ing cool stuff. We all had a great time. It was one of those jobs where every­one pushed and helped each

other. It was an Alien film so we weren’t about to phone the job in – we all wanted to do our best.”

Fel­low artist Dane Hal­lett con­curs. “Grow­ing up, I’d al­ways wanted to work in the film in­dus­try, and I re­ally al­ways just wanted to draw mon­sters,” he en­thuses. “And Alien is my favourite film. So when I heard about Alien: Covenant, I sent the su­per­vis­ing art di­rec­tor Ian Gra­cie an email that said: “I just want you to know that within your life­time you’ll never meet any­one who loves Alien as much as me, and you’ll never meet any­one who can draw the shit out of the Aliens like I can.”

Dane started out do­ing reg­u­lar con­cept art on the movie. But then the job took a very dif­fer­ent turn, be­cause he was tasked with cre­at­ing fin­ished art that ac­tu­ally ap­pears in the film.

How so? Be­cause in the script Michael Fass­ben­der’s char­ac­ter, David, does na­ture stud­ies of ex­trater­res­trial wildlife. “Then pretty quickly his draw­ings de­tail his own mad­ness, and he be­comes like a mad sci­en­tist,” Dane ex­plains. “And the draw­ings be­come like a sur­real fan­tasy.”

To cre­ate this on-screen art­work, Dane teamed up with an­other con­cept artist, Matthew Hat­ton, and the pair pro­duced 600 draw­ings in to­tal. “We be­came the hand of David: we were re­spon­si­ble for all his draw­ings,” says Dane. “And Ri­d­ley loved our stuff, to the ex­tent that he said to me: ‘I’ve never taken any­thing home be­fore but I’m def­i­nitely tak­ing these home’, which was very flat­ter­ing.”

go­ing berserk

Again, the pair had the cre­ative free­dom to run with their ideas. “This was one of those beau­ti­ful movies where I just got let off the leash,” says Matthew. “It was awe­some. We got the lan­guage down and it was leash off, go berserk, draw as much as you can draw. It was nine months straight, and we didn’t have a day off.

We got the lan­guage down and it was leash off, draw as much as you can draw

One of Dane Hal­lett’s pieces as the ‘hand of David’, this ap­pears on the cover of the of­fi­cial ‘art of’ book. Con­cept art by Wayne Haag de­pict­ing the ‘Mother Jug­ger­naut,’ the mas­sive ship wit­nessed in David’s flash­back scene.

Anatom­i­cal study of male engi­neer cre­ated by Matthew Hat­ton. Anatom­i­cal stud­ies of an alien egg cre­ated by Dane Hal­lett, drawn in the hand of the film char­ac­ter David.

Art­work cre­ated by Dane Hal­lett for an In­sta­gram cam­paign led by the Alien: Covenant mar­ket­ing team.

Unused Eliz­a­beth Shaw con­cept by Matthew Hat­ton show­ing ten­ta­cles en­cas­ing her face and in­serted into her head. This large-scale piece by Dane Hal­lett, de­pict­ing failed face­hug­ger ex­per­i­ments, was two me­tres long.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.