Les Dieux Changeants
22495
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Les Dieux Changeants

Les Dieux Changeants is a CGI short movie which depicts the destruction and collapse of ancient Greek and Roman statues.

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I was interested since some time in dynamic simulations involving fragmentation and destruction of 3d objects. One day I stumbled upon a 3d model of Laocoon and his Sons from Denmark’s Statens Museum for Kunst and I got the idea to employ 3d scans of old classical statues in those tests. I started working on this in a very extensive and thorough way.

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It’s been very fascinating to me working on the artificial collapse of these ancient masterpieces, both from an aesthetic and technical point of view. I’ve been visually intrigued by the static, millenary beauty of those marbles being suddendly put into motion by a physical event, the hit of a bullet. It’s also been a painstaking work on details and tons of tests continuously doing and redoing things. The project has grown to a point much further than a simple 3d work and in the end I used my own suggestions to create a short movie of it with a philosophical significance.

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Everything in this film is inteded to be simple and essential with much care on details and photography. Black backgrounds, one moving lightsource for every statue, basic editing, the sculptures speak for themeselves in light and darkness.

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I wanted to depict the act of destruction allegorically as an uncertain process oscillating between negative annihilation and positive creativity, readable on many levels and left open to the viewer to discern. I like the idea that everyone could draw his own interpretation of this work together with the emblematic end quote from Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. It could represent the end of something, a transformation, a cycle, a re-evaluation of established values, the beginning of something new or just something mysterious or fascinating to look at.

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Chopin Nocturne op. 27 n. 2 was the perfect musical counterpart to me. It’s one of his most beautiful pieces. Its intimate sweet melancholy opposed to the kinetic brutality of the statues disgregating creates a contrast which gives force and delicacy, primitive energy and decadence at the same time.

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I developed this project mostly during the second Covid19 winter lockdown in Italy in almost complete isolation, through November 2020 to March 2021. 3Ds max and Vray have been used for the production. I did all the texturing with Substance Painter. All the fragmentations and dynamic simulations have been created with RayFire, a fantastic plugin for 3ds Max developed by Mir Vadim. I created the piano rendition entirely digitally on MIDI files using Reaper and Kontakt with a good Steinway library.

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The 3d models are freely downloadable from the Statens Museum of Kunst profile at MyMiniFactory. They have been created from the Royal Cast Collection of the Museum as part of SMK Open, an ongoing project focused on digitizing the Museum art collection to make it freely available to everyone. For more information:

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https://www.smk.dk/en/article/smk-open/
https://www.myminifactory.com/users/SMK%20-%20Statens%20Museum%20for%20Kunst

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I collected a great deal of photographs around the web during the texturing process and I followed the real traits and features of every sculpture. I didn’t intend to create perfect replicas of the real statues though. They are just quite resemblant. The 3d casts have some difference too from the originals in some part here and there.

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Directed and produced by Lucio Arese

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Compositing, editing: Lucio Arese

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Music: Nocturne op. 27 n. 2 by Fryderik Chopin

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Category

Film