The Tomorrow War - Trailer
In The TOMORROW WAR, the world is stunned when a group of time travelers arrive from the year 2051 to deliver an urgent message: Thirty years in the future mankind is losing a global war against a deadly alien species. The only hope for survival is for soldiers and civilians from the present to be transported to the future and join the fight.
White Spike Brief
The White Spikes had to be a powerful enemy. Director Chris McKay described the White Spikes to me as vicious creatures that attack and eat everything in sight. He asked for a compelling design that conveyed the hunger and intelligence of these creatures. Additionally, the White Spikes needed to have different abilities such as fast swimming and flying. It was important that they were agile and able to move extremely fast. It was my job to translate all this information into one cohesive design. In our Skype meetings, Chris mentioned H.R. Giger’s Alien and Hellraiser as a reference point but he also encouraged me to show him additional ideas. He liked the work from my portfolio and wanted to see what I’d come up with.
In order to make them more threatening, Chris felt they needed to have some kind of an offensive weapon, and asked for a plausible way of how the White Spikes could shoot at their targets. I came up with the idea of spike-shooting-tentacles and presented the idea in this sketch. Chris loved that idea and wanted me to develop that particular design further.
Legs and Claws
During the design process I added joints to the legs but kept two tentacles which became the two tails on the back. Based on notes I received from Chris and production Designer Peter Wenham, I did 67 different alterations in total until we found the final version. Those alterations consisted of different head shapes, eyes, spikes and legs.
Because of a planned meeting at the studio, I only had a few days to sculpt and render the White Spike. It was a tough deadline considering the complexity of the design, and exporting a model for rendering can be a time-consuming process. Thanks to 'ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge' I managed to finish everything on time.
To make a good design, I think it’s important to find a good balance between realism and imagination. If you design a creature too outlandish or abstract, it will look unbelievable and silly. And vice versa. If you make a design too realistic, it will look boring. I like seeing actual anatomy in a design, this makes it look more grounded. Using reference photos from real-life animals is a great help to accomplish that.
Earlier White Spike 3D Concept. This version had bigger insect-like eyes and longer hind legs. I used KeyShot at the end of the process for the final rendering. The program enables me to present the design in a very photorealistic way so that the client gets a good idea of what the character might look like in the finished film.
I want to thank Chris McKay, Rob Cowan, James E. Price, Peter Wenham, Randy Starr, Skydance, Amazon Studios and Chris Pratt. Also shoutout to the artists and animators who brought them to life: Weta Digital, Luma Pictures, Framestore, Method Studios and Spectral Motion (for their on-set animatronic).