The task then was to create graphics for a variety of different screens, from monitors in the LAPD office to inside the Wallace Library and Deckard’s penthouse. The team of six core members, scaling up to 10 when needed, worked from May to November, 2016, and produced over 100 original screens across 15 sets.
However, instead of simply extrapolating from the first film, Director Villeneuve postulated a world in which there had been an apocalyptic event that wiped out digital capability and files. It was from that base mark from which the technology would develop, making it, if anything, even more of a challenge. Peter revealed, “It was our deep experience of designing for film narratives and creating visual narrative devices that support plot, character and performance that enabled us to take such a highly experimental approach with confidence. Denis didn’t want to reference the original film directly but wanted a distinct look and feel to this technology. Our task was to reinvent tech as we know it. He was specific in his directions about wanting that technology to feel organic, abstract, optical and physical. So, for this project, we didn’t design interface overlays but the whole system for each type of technology, from the creation of footage, optical effects and projections, etc.”
It was the ease of use and the speed and stability of Cinema 4D that allowed us to experiment whilst being able to keep to the tight deadlines.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the morgue scene, which is a subtle reference to how Deckard used technology in the first film but incorporates a more mechanical and optical framework. The aim for Territory was to create a series of images that show bone tissue under increasing magnification that suggested an electron microscope but with more physicality and drama. Using art department references of pelvic bone, they created a series of images that showed the bone tissue in increasing magnification and abstraction, along with a mechanical system of optical lenses that physically shunted into place to lead up to the reveal moment when Officer K, Joshi and the audience see the serial number. Peter added, “It was a pivotal but very complex shot. The whole scene was carefully choreographed and shot with screens on set so that the actors could really perform against a live sequence of images.”