Aaron Sims has been working in the industry as an artist for over 30 years. With his start in practical effects, the level of creativity and attention to detail throughout the shop is second to none. Primarily known for their creatures, characters, and world-building, Aaron Sims Creative continues to expand its slate across multiple genres and entertainment platforms using KeyShot throughout their process. We talk more with the team to learn how they use KeyShot and why it’s so important to their workflow.
What sets ASC apart as a Concept Design and Visual Effects Studio?
From concept design and key scenes to previsualization, rapid prototyping, motion studies, animation, compositing and beyond, we take a holistic approach to concept visualization in our unique ‘Sketch-to-Screen’ workflow. As such, we’re always pushing the limits of what can be done and how we can make our characters truly iconic.
Ready Player One – Gunters Concept – Aaron Sims Creative
What is unique about the development process at ASC?
We are artists, so our development process always follows solid, design-driven technique. Training one’s ‘artistic eye’ is the paramount objective so, regardless of the software you’re using, the art always carries through.
Stranger Things – Juvenile Demogorgon (Polywog) Concept – Aaron Sims Creative
Where along the process is KeyShot used?
We use KeyShot in a number of ways. We use it for quick design passes and for final rendering of assets. For instance, sometimes we’ll use KeyShot to get the basics of the lighting for a character and the many passes we need to comp, pull them into Photoshop, bash them together and then paint over to get a very quick but very refined character design. Other times, as in the case of Aquaman, we refine the materials and the layers in KeyShot so we can render character turntables for key presentations at the studios.
What projects have KeyShot been used on?
KeyShot is at the core of our design pipeline so we use it constantly. We work on about 60-80 large tentpole films a year but here is a list of a few, recent films:
- Men In Black
- Stranger Things
- Wonder Woman
- Justice League
- Ready Player One
How does KeyShot help save time, money or improve quality?
KeyShot has been instrumental in reducing the amount of time it takes to get a design model rendered and into Photoshop for a final paint over. We used to have to render in ZBrush or Maya which was either way off from where it needed to be or a time-intensive process of getting the shaders and textures just right so they would render properly. With KeyShot, even if the render isn’t ‘perfect’, it’s so fast you can version and get results to the client in hours as opposed to days.
X-Men: Dark Phoenix – Alien Concept – Aaron Sims Creative
What advice would you give to someone interested in concept design and visual effects?
Nurture your fundamentals as an artist first, then develop a diverse toolkit of technical and software proficiency. We are all about cross-training and encouraging artists to see the bigger picture when it comes to concept development and visualization. Rather than limiting yourself as a specialist, develop your understanding of what comes before and after you in the pipeline. It will make you a valued member of the team and promote creative collaboration.
Men in Black – Character Concepts – Aaron Sims Creative
We’ve actually just launched our ‘Sketch-to-Screen’ Studio Masterclass that teaches the methodology and process of bringing a concept and film to life from the script page to screen debut. We cover every step in the process, without focusing too much on the technical details, so storytellers and content creators from all disciplines can build a better understanding and appreciation of the creative workflow. Learn more here.