We were able to catch up with Nikita Kibirev on his newest project BRAND DEATHMATCH. Which is a mock video game trailer that sets top streetwear brands to battle it out to reach their customers in this contemporary comic book graphic style animation. Nikita gives up a great insight on the thought process behind this fast paced animation, and how he was able to take it from concept to reality.
Give us a little background behind BRAND DEATHMATCH:
I thought it would be fun to take rivaling brands who fight for the same customers and collide them in this made up game teaser called BRAND DEATHMATCH with personified companies beating the crap out of each other like they do in real life over all the 8 years of my career as a creative. I love how a similar idea was executed in the good old CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH in 90’s. And yes, that’s where the name came from.
Software used for project:
Conceptual artwork was done in Adobe Photoshop where I created a solid vision of the characters. To understand how the fight can unravel I created these stick figures and stock room in Blender that helped me with understanding how the environment needs to look for the characters to have an awesome brawl in it.
Many textures I drew in Bender. Posters and graphics were created in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. After I rendered the footage In Blender I went to After Effects to do the final cut of the video.
How were you able to transfer your personal nonrealistic art style to a 3D environment
I’ve always been the biggest enemy of dull photorealistic approach, a perfect example of worst for me would probably be the new Lion King and all Transformers and the best would be Spiderverse and Island of Dogs. Expressiveness is everything, and the form should follow the meaning. With that in mind I started working with my artwork and collecting examples of how 2D and 3D get combined, found everything on web on styled shaders, experimented with setup of different color lights, combinations of reflective materials, and ones that don’t interact with the light at all. Painting lines over 3D models also was effective technique.
With so many different personalities of each of the brands, how did you go about creating their backstories and characteristics.
When the general premise was created, everything else was just following it’s lead. I had a vision of how personifications of these brands need to look, and how it should fit into a kind of fighting game/superheroic esthetics. Since it’s about a conflict, I wanted to combine a streetwear/athletic kind of feeling, and a comic/sci fi visuals into their looks, that’s why street ninja, and a runner robot appeared good for the job.
Any advice to artist struggling with storytelling and scriptwriting in their projects?
To every artist I recommend to give at least one read to scriptwriting and cult-urological books. In any way your art is a manifestation of some sort of idea, a metaphor to what you think is important, and scriptwriting is all about that but unraveling in time, and culturology is about why some symbols have a the same meaning for everyone, and where these meanings originally came from. Start with Robert Mckee on storytelling and Joseph Campbell culturological side of things and you’ll be good.
You have some very extensive image heavy scenes during some of the fight battles. What some take aways from this project that you learned about the exploring 3D cinematography?
I created this animation backward to the way of how usually 3D animation is created. At first I created the whole room not being sure what part’s of it I’ll show at all. All the shelfs, all the logo-lamps, wires, chairs, doors, even a computer mouse, and when I was comfortable with the way how the environment feels I wrote the script on how to show it in a video. Main idea of which was to tell a story of a frozen moment right before the fight starts, where big part of exposition is told through still life objects located in this storage which by the narrative experienced many battles before.
The contemporary pop art and comic book style fit perfectly with the theme of Brand DEATHMATCH. How did that help develop character creation and the brand personalities while trying to stay true to their culture?
Contemporary art in many ways is about rethinking the ways how we approach main values, life around us and art itself as it’s manifestation. I took my subconscious feelings about brand, mixed it with my esthetics, and ideas that these companies tells through it’s communication. If I would do a full animation with these characters, I would love to incorporate in their dialogs the tagline of these brands, as I did in the first exploration artwork that I did. That’s my way of commenting of today’s consumption culture and how I see it is created on other side.
What draws you to streetwear? Are you a sneaker head, do you wait in line for the latest drops, or are you a mall rat who just watches in awe from a distance?
What brands like OFF-WHITE did to the hight fashion industry by democratizing it and ringing the street and working wear to it is a very big thing, and I’m totally on board with these esthetics. From yearly teenage years I skated, and drew graffiti. I can’t call myself a sneaker head, but I greatly appreciate the esthetics of Stussy, Nike, Vans, Adidas, and OFF-WHITE. I always keep an eye on new collabs and as a way of congratulating myself on well done project I love to get a pair of fresh sneakers or a new cap.
Thinking on how I want to show my characters I decided to pair each of them with an iconic sneaker model that represents each brand. ATMOS X NIKE AIR MAX 1 “CURRY” 2018 RETRO for the robot and classic black ADIDAS GAZELLE shoes for the ninja.
Where can people find out more about you and BRAND DEATHMATCH?
Instagram account get all of my fresh projects – https://www.instagram.com/nikibirev/
Website has a comic resume about my journey as a professional and a range of other projects http://nikitakibirev.com/