After busy year of making visuals for Skrillex, French graphic designer and animator Kadavre Exquis, reunites with electro pop duo Equateur for The Lava – a tale of human survival in the face of genocidal robot overlords, much too epic to be contained by a single music video. François takes DN behind the scenes of his colourful sci-fi saga.
The whole process took around 4 months. I started with the writing and then jumped into the storyboard/colorscript. We couldn’t afford to spend too much time on the whole process, so the production was a total rush, though I really wanted to keep control of the evolutions of color in the video so I held onto creating those and tried to stay as close as possible to them for the final result.
It’s quite easy for any sci-fi fan to identify The Lava’s inspirations – Star Wars’ masters such as McQuarrie or Joe Johnston, the ultimate Syd Mead of course, the French sci-fi avant-garde: Laloux/Moebius/Mézières, and so many others. It is quite impossible to name them all, though they all deserve to be mentioned alongside those I just named. I found a lot of inspiration in the meetings I had last year as well. I met one of the super talents from Big Lazy Robot VFX studio, and other talented people obsessed with robots while working on a project together, and those guys contaminated me; which was good because (at my level), a robot animation was much more achievable for this super fast production.
As the song was quite delicate to use for a narrative purpose, I decided to cut the story into two pieces. If everything goes fine, the next instalment should arrive in the future with another of the EP tracks. The story follows one of the last survivors of our kind after the race was decimated by a mysterious robot society. The next episodes will be more focused on the escape itself and how it all started.
For the animation I combined 3D/2D, simply because it was easier for me to produce as I was alone on the production. I dedicated most of my time to the 3D models, the background painting and the animation. For the 3D parts, I am very proud of having used the free 3D software Blender, which is too often negatively regarded when it comes to professional production, though it allowed me to quickly jump into 3D thanks to the tremendous community Blender has grown, so I owe them quite a lot. For the rest, it was made with the Adobe classics such as Photoshop and After Effects and a Wacom Cintiq.