Overkill's: The Walking Dead
Aiden Cinematic Trailer
Video Game Cinematic
role: lighting td, some lookdev
production: Goodbye Kansas Studios
While not exactly adored by critics, or players, or even the publisher, Overkill’s The Walking Dead spared no expense when they commissioned powerhouse Goodbye Kansas Studios to produce a series of cinematic trailers for the game’s release.
The Swedish VFX house is renowned for their character work, and with a proper schedule, everything – from model to material to animation – is on point. Most shots started out already ‘photoreal’ with the default HDRI, so my work was to bring out the detail that all the talented artists before me had put into the characters and the world around.
The ‘dead’ were created with such love and devotion it felt gratuitous to hide them in smoke and out of focus. Rather than sticking with the overcast daylight setup, I decided to light each zombie individually and move the rig with them. As the protagonist Aidan is only seen from the back here, I wanted to make sure to let his trademark backpack, and the spiked baseball bat shine
The transition shot transports us through time from a pre-apocalypse lunch-break into the zombie-infested wasteland the game takes place in. To accomplish this, the camera pushes close up into Aidan’s face while he kicks back to rest his eyes for a second.
The light then shifts away from a sunny spring day, and gradually our protagonist’s face shows residue of dried sweat, dirt and blood. For this we created two unique light rigs, skin textures and grooms that could be blended later in compositing. To suggest the passing of time, both rigs were rotated as mimicking a change in the sun’s position.