In the picture: Rytis Sabaliauskas, illustrator Visualisation

In the picture: Rytis Sabaliauskas, illustrator

Rytis Sabaliauskas is a completely bonkers illustrator from Lithuania who joined our studio the past couple of months to follow an Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs. He is about to pack his bags, filled with chocolate of course, to head back home. So, it felt like the right time to have an interview.

Tomb – Rytis Sabaliauskas, 2017

What did a day at the studio look like?

My day started by saying a friendly “yoyo” to everyone. Then I would quickly catch up with emails and the projects. I also checked in with the rest of the crew. What had they been up to? Sometimes I would play with an app they made or review some VFX-work. Or gave them my humble opinion without beating around the bush.

I usually spent a big part of the day creating artworks, either personal projects or for projects at the studio. Whilst this is still my main focus, I also sat together with production and management once or twice a week. This way I was able to learn more about the organisation of a company, accounting, the used software,…

Why did you become an illustrator?

I’ve been surrounded by nature since childhood, but ended up spending a lot of my time on playing video games. It made me fall in love with all those virtual worlds crafted by talented digital artists. Eventually, I made it my goal to become such an artist myself.

The road to get here wasn’t easy, it was and still is a bumpy ride. But it hasn’t stopped me from reaching my dreams. Because, in only a couple of years freelancing, I have worked on various projects, ranging from small book illustrations to new IP’s.

I feel like my career has just started. And with my head held up high, I look forward to what the future will bring.

Why did you pick Belgium as a place to learn more about entrepreneurship?

There is no real reason. You were the only company that accepted me. (laughs)
No, to be honest, I had a good feeling after our first interview. During that first skype session you showed me around the studio by filming it with your iPad. It made me feel welcome. And the city itself also looked interesting.

Rytis, cutting Belgian bread like a boss.

Glad to hear. Did it live up to your expectations?

The first 24 hours were hell. I rented a flat, but it turned out to be a scam. So, I had to search for a new place to stay. Eventually, I ended up staying with Patricia Lopes. She is a local cinematographer who often collaborates with VC Studios. She reintroduced Ghent to me and I got to know it as a vibrant city that I ended up liking a lot.

Anyways, once settled in, I started with listing my experiences to plan my future. Will I try to grow as an artist or entrepreneur? What is the balance between those two aspects? These questions are still on my mind, but being here already helped a lot. I became more self-sufficient and found a direction to go in.

Where do you want to go?

My ambition is to lead a visual development studio for the entertainment industry. Being at VC Studios, I’ve not only learned a lot about the European film industry, but also about the different stages of film production. I also discovered new ways to tell stories with digital technologies, as done at Holofarm.

Working closely together for the last couple of months, we’ve established a good partnership. I hope to be working with them on some exciting upcoming projects when I’m back in Lithuania.

The feeling is mutual! Good luck, Rytis!

XR Storytelling in Immuno-T 2.0 Augmented Reality

XR Storytelling in Immuno-T 2.0

After the creation of the motion comic Immuno-T, a story in motion, prof. Tessa Kerra approached us again to think about new ways to give a stronger in-depth look on the scientific details. The motion comic is already covering a part of it, but simplifies some steps. This extra addition would fill those gaps.

During prototyping, we looked into Sketchfab and decided to use this platform to share 3D-models and add notations to them. It's even possible to view the content in VR & AR. Which makes it perfect as a tool to get a closer look at what's happening.

Try it out for yourself: https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/immuno-t-t-cell-2d8c403c303b4c31b9c51e876d972b0e

After deciding to use Sketchfab, we started drawing storyboards to explain the different steps of the process. After that, we created 3D-models, added animation, rendered the whole scene as a video and did an export to Sketchfab.

https://sketchfab.com/3d-models/immuno-t-de-t-cel-en-de-kankercel-2f5cac94fea544ecbb60cf5221dcb594

Visualisation

The feeling of being at home

We wondered if we could recreate the feeling of being at home. How does the place feel in the evening? Or during bright daylight? We partnered up with Sy-bo, a renovation company, to translate designs from Sketchup to Unity3D. You can watch our latest research below.

Storytelling

Making of Immuno-T

Finding the right medium

In the beginning of 2017, professor Tessa Kerre came with the idea to develop a game in VR about immunotherapy. 

During our first meetings, we questioned ourselves if this was the right medium to tell the story. When communicating such a difficult matter, a person should be able to keep eye-contact with other people.

Perhaps AR would be a fitting medium. It’s also certified ‘fresh’ technology, something the University of Ghent was looking for to showcase during their 200-year festivities.

But during first user tests we had the feeling that the linear flow of gaming – combined with a ‘fun’ level – was missing the goal to easily communicate a very complex topic. That’s why we went looking for a way to translate a story to a mobile screen. We found a lot of inspiration in the article ‘Space into game, time into book‘ by Erik Loyer.

Look Development

A major aspect of this project was the look development. How do cells look like? And cancer cells? How will the world around them feel like? We first started the process with finding references.

Once we decided that the format would be a motion comic instead of an AR-experience, we experimented with graphic novel styles. The following artwork was delivered by Gert Stevens.

Concept Design by Gert Stevens
Concept Design by Gert Stevens

During user tests it was decided to keep in line of the original concept. The graphic novel style had a lot of production value, but a part of the audience preferred a softer visual style which would be digestible for all audiences.

Eventually, we started storyboarding with those characters.

When the storyboard was approved, we rendered the different elements and composed them to one image.

Immuno-T, from dream to reality
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